I have always “outsourced” Lil D’s birthdays (except for her 2nd one) for a variety of reasons.
However, we had already decided that from her 8th birthday on, we would be doing it inhouse. So we went all out on her 7th birthday, which was at The Green Pocket, an absolutely lovely outdoor venue at a very accessible place. It was quite a bit beyond our initial budget, but it was my dream come true. We kind of themed it around the rainbow (for 7 colors, 7 years), and it was very colourful and kid-friendly. I’d always wanted a big place where kids could play without inhibition, and not worry about screaming, running, or breaking stuff, etc. The grown-ups too quite enjoyed the change in atmosphere and it was very well organized.
Her 8th birthday earlier this year was, as mentioned earlier, celebrated in-house. The biggest difference was that Lil D was involved in the whole affair completely. She decided what games would be played, and what gifts we could give (books are my fave return gifts, and Lil D loved the Little Miss series — perfect!), etc. The games we played were simple but quite fun, so I thought I would share.
Lil D had coloring sheets and crayons spread out in the living room, so that as soon as the kids began arriving, they could do some coloring while waiting for the other guests to arrive. Once they all arrived, we began the games.
1. Word Search: This was great fun, because the Word Search involved the names of all the guests. I had prepared the Word Search earlier once the kids had all RSVP’d. Of course, there were one or two missing, but the kids had a lot of fun searching for their own names! There was rampant cheating too, which I did nothing to stop! 😀 A variation of this game was played at a party I had attended. The names of the mother and child were scrambled, and the kids had to unscramble them. I think the kids love this sort of game where their names are also included.
2. Treasure Hunt: I have always liked this game, but I racked my brains trying to think of some way to simplify the treasure hunt so that I didn’t have a bunch of kids traipsing and upturning the entire house looking for clues. Finally, I hit upon a very simple kind of treasure hunt. Since it was Lil D’s 8th birthday, I bought 8 packs of cards (cheap sets, of course!) Then I jumbled all the cards together into a big heap on the floor. At the beginning of the game, each kid had to draw a card from a (another) deck of cards. When the game began, they had to begin hunting in the pile for 8 cards of the same colour, shape, and value. This was quite fun, except that you have to be careful that the little ones don’t get trampled on by the bigger kids! 🙂
3. Passing the parcel: Yes, this is an old game, but I clubbed it with a lucky dip. I hate to see the kids who get out first, and then sit on the sidelines with long faces. So I decided to cheer them up a bit. Every time a kid got out, she had to do whatever was written on the chit she had drawn (all “punishments” decided by Lil D), and once she had done that, she could pick something from a bag that held all sorts of knick-knacks. I had wrapped each article in newspaper, so it was difficult to tell what it was. The kids were excited having to unwrap the article and see what was within. I got some really cute knick-knacks, all under Rs. 50/-, at Sapna Book House. The curiosity to see what the kid had picked sometimes even got in the way of the game itself! 🙂
I think the best touch of all was by Lil D herself. She has a toy drum, so she put it on a stool which she decorated with streamers and stuff, placed it by the wall, and put up a poster which said “Hit the drum if you like the party” (a la Pizza Hut’s bell). I thought that was the cutest thing ever, and the kids too had a great time, hitting the drum whenever they passed by.
Planning birthday parties when the kid is a bit older is quite nice, because you get so many inputs and suggestions from the kid. It’s also a nice way to exercise those lazy creative muscles once in a way, no?