Happy 4th of July

Happy 4th of July
What plans do you have?

Thursday, September 27, 2007

The Kindergarten birthday party

My grandsons have birthdays coming up in October, November and December. They’ll be 6, 4 and 1. The one year old is easy. And the 4 is pretty easy, too. But now that the oldest is in Kindergarten he has all these friends he wants to invite, too, so a simple family party isn’t enough anymore.

When my own children were young, I limited their number of guests to their age. At 6 that meant 6 friends. Other parents were not so restrictive and their children were allowed to invite their entire class or an unlimited number of friends. I always figured my kids didn’t need that many presents!

Okay, back to my topic. Parties with schoolmates for kindergartners.

At this age, they are pretty easy to please. There’s so much that they are interested in--superheroes, princesses, animals, professions (police, firefighters), cartoon characters--that there are lots to choose from. Party stores have all kinds of decorations and small toys to fit these themes.

Kids this age enjoy a party at a fast food play place, or a park, and are old enough for activities at entertainment venues. They are also content with at home parties, especially if some fun activity is planned.

When planning a party for this age think about:
- Will the guests’ parents hang around like they do for preschool parties, or will you be left in charge of these children, some you may have not met before? What is expected by other parents can vary from community to community, so clearly indicate on your invitation whether parents are welcome to stay, don’t need to stay, etc.
- If you aren’t having parents stay, request an emergency contact number with their RSVP or when you meet them. (Of course, you’ll meet the parents when they drop their children off.)
Keep the party short. 2-3 hours is plenty long.
- If serving a meal, besides cake and ice cream, keep it simple. Expect to have someone not like what you are serving even if it is something as universally liked by children as pizza or hotdogs. (I had a daughter who didn’t like the latter!)
- Planning, supervision, and clean up at an outside venue can be easier, since the restaurant or play place does most of the work. However, it will probably be more expensive than a home party.
- It’s customary to do goody bags so each child goes home with something. Give them out as kids leave and you’ll avoid things being lost.
- Kids will want to play with your child’s new toys. Sometimes the birthday kid has trouble sharing at this point. One solution is to open the presents right before parents are scheduled to pick up their children. Another solution is to have an exciting game planned immediately following, though it may be hard to drag them away from all those new toys.
- If you’re activities will be messy, warn parents ahead of time. Nothing worse than having party clothes ruined by paint, or torn on the homemade obstacle course, etc.

Articles for further thought:

This article title implies one answer, but that may not be the case. Read the full article: "Bashes for little darlings get bigger and bigger"

"Birthday Parties: Kid's Dream, Parent's Nightmare"

"All You Need to Know About Birthday Parties"

Activity and game ideas:

- Duck, duck, goose
- Cup cake decorating – one to eat now and one to take home!
- Pin the tail on the donkey
- Pinata bash
- Yard scavenger hunt, where everyone is a winner
- Water balloon toss or smash – an outside event

Resources for games and activities:

Ecology Theme brings nature to kids’ birthday parties

This list goes beyond birthday parties, but a number of the ideas could be used as a party activity. Each idea has a clickable link with more details.
Kindergarten Learning Games and Activities

And the best resource of all—THE BIG LIST: Birthday Party Ideas where parents have shared what they’ve done for a variety of parties. Click on an idea and it’ll even have what age they did the party for.

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