Thursday, 13 October 2016

Our first foray into children's parties...

So Iz turned 2 a few months ago. When D turned 2 we were on holiday and so took a trip to the local aquarium, had a cake and everyone was happy. But this year we were about to move house and D had realised when it comes to his birthday he will be at a new nursery and not with any of his current friends (sob sob - I'm finding the whole leaving thing very stressful!!). So we decided to throw a joint Iz birthday/D very early birthday/leaving nursery party and even though it was prime summer holiday time, a nice amount of their friends were able to come :)





This is the first children's party I've ever organised - oh how fun it was arranging everything but also how stressful as you wait for your first guests to arrive! You could completely wing it but I think that would make you very brave... I found it much easier having a detailed schedule of timings (that could also be the obsessive neonatologist in me!) especially as there were lots of toddlers involved... so this is a rough overview of what we did:

Kids arriving from 2.45 (the lovely facepainter started a bit earlier so D and Iz could be painted before everyone else arrived)
2.45-3.15 - Garden balloons and colouring, facepainting
3.15-3.30 - Piñata
3.30-4.15 - Animal show
4.15-4.30 - Cake
4.30 onwards - picnic tea outside

I'll give some more details below. This post is completely unsponsored, I'm just happy sharing some of the fab people we used to make the party really memorable!

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In the garden 

In the garden I'd laid out a rug and a giant colouring scene. Each children had a named box which contained a DIY animal balloon (so cute and easy to make for even the youngest guest), a star wand and 4 crayons. In the end everyone made the balloons but didn't do any colouring - I think probably because it was just so hot outside!


Hanging frame

I bought this giant inflatable frame from Amazon and it was so much fun!  It was initially suspended from the ceiling so you could stand behind it but pretty rapidly it became the casualty of someone trying to swing on it so you had to hold it up instead. We did have some little props which D and Iz had loads of fun with before anyone else arrived but in the mad chaos of 30 people in our tiny house, soon got over-looked. But the great thing about this set of stuff is it is all completely reusable so I have now put it away ready for the next party :)


Pre-prepared picnic boxes

We had a picnic tea on the common outside our house and I pre-prepared individualised picnic boxes ahead of time. I got some cute princess lunch boxes and into each one put a juice box, two sandwiches, a packet of pombear crisps, a packet of raisins and an Organix snack bar. This made it so easy at teatime as I could just hand out one to each child quickly without having to worry if everyone had enough food etc. It also made it super simple for the child who had multiple food allergies as I just prepared her a different box ahead of time.




Facepainting 

Our facepainter was AMAZING! The designs were way better than anything I expected for toddlers and Katy was so good - not complaining at all when I gave her the teeniest space to work in and working really quickly so the kids didn't lose interest. If you are local to West London and having a party definitely contact Katy (http://www.cheekychopsfacepaint.com/) - if I could persuade her to come to us next year after we've moved house I would!!





Animal show

I've never seen one of these for toddlers before and I'm not even sure where I got the idea but I'm SO glad we did this! Zoo4You came to the house, brought 8 animals and the result was an awesome show :) the kids all sat round in a semi-circle and Declan brought the animals out one at a time. D and Iz got to hold each one first because it was their party and then everyone else got a turn afterwards. It was amazing! We had a tortoise, hissing cockroach, bearded dragon, snake, chinchilla, parrot, rabbit and skunk.







Iz was super brave and held all the reptiles. When the cute soft chinchilla came along though she started screaming and point-blank refused to hold the rabbit... Some children are funny!! It was a really nice mix of animals though and it was lovely that all the children got a chance to hold them if they wanted. 






I will definitely be asking Zoo4You to come back for another party in the future. They are based in Chelmsford, Essex and cover anywhere within a rough 2 hour diameter. They were always really prompt at replying to messages and answering my (many!) questions.


Piñata

I first saw this numbered Pinata on Jersey Momma's blog (thank you!!). As we had a party of toddlers I filled ours with pompoms instead of sweets (no thank you to a crazed sugar high!!) and 10 bangles (one for each child). Once the pinata was broken they took a bracelet each and later swapped that for a party bag.






Photographer

This might sound a bit crazy to have at a toddler party but I'm pretty photo obsessed and there's no way I could've taken photos and organised timings and made sure everything was going to plan... And Mr MFDS is rather minimal about photo-taking... After 3 years I don't think he's ever had to clear space on his iPhone (slightly different to me - having to do it every other week!!). Our photographer was Sarah from Sarah West photography and she was brilliant - friendly and very unobtrusive, happy to just mingle and take candid shots. A really lovely photographer to have around. All the party photos above are hers and she also took some nice family ones at the start before anyone else arrived.

And actually having a photographer, facepainter and animal show worked out cheaper than having a party at our local soft play. Crazy huh?! 

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Overall the afternoon went very smoothly. Mild rocky patch when the parrot decided to mistake Iz's plump arm for a nice branch to land on but that was quickly forgotten... It took quite a lot of organising as there were so many little bits but I wouldn't have had it any other way - I really enjoyed thinking about all the little extras. Maybe by the 20th kid party I've thrown I'll have got bored but this was my first and I loved it!!

I haven't talked about the rainbow candy number cake here but everyone loved it and having made one I now have a few insider tips so check out my other blog post about how to make one.



So if you're planning a toddler party extravaganza I say go for it! Let your imagination go and my top tip is - embrace Amazon with open arms! I do try to buy some things locally but Amazon has everything you could ever want pretty much (and more!).



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