Parents! I think I’ve cracked a birthday party code. A birthday party after school but before dinner. Competition with 5 other weekend birthday parties? Nope. Expensive meal or activity? Nope. Super fun afternoon of birthday celebration? Yes!
I shouldn’t take credit, actually – Anna said she wanted to have her birthday party on her actual birthday, which happened to be a Tuesday this year. The play date time frame just made sense, so we hatched a plan! We decorated with snowflakes, sparkles, and Anna’s color of choice: Icy blue:
Snowflake, silver yarn and blue ornaments hanging from the chandelier
The day before, I started thinking I was crazy to do this, since I learned (kinda last minute!) about the birthday-age-to-number-of-guests rule. This was somehow left out of my parenting manual, so instead of 7 kids, we had 13. But it all worked out:
2:45 – school is out. Brian meets Anna and her friends at pick-up, and walks them home to our house.
2:55 – 3:10 ish – kids arriving, warm up with hot chocolate. Hot chocolate with candy cane swizzle sticks and frozen whipped cream puffs, that is!
mugs with candy canes, ready for hot chocolate
Over-the-top hot chocolate!
Once all the kids had arrived, eaten snacks of pretzels, cheese and crackers, we got down to holiday crafty fun.
To keep the winter theme going, we used snowflake cookie cutters to make the cheese slices.
3:15 – 4:00 – Snow globes!
Snowglobe crafting station, ready for the party. I set this up the night before, so it was festive when Anna woke up for school that morning.
- Anna showing her friends how to make snowglobes
Creating snowglobe chaos
Some of the finished snowglobes. As you can see, the kids all chose differing amounts of snow!
4:00 – 4:30 – present EXCHANGE and cupcakes. Every kid brings a present (specified dollar limit), every kid leaves with a present. Lesson learned: I should have had a couple back-up presents, as one boy ended up with a girly present and I felt badly. He was a trooper about it, though. Cupcakes helped…
sparkle-icing topped cupcakes!
We were blessed to have received a big basket of baking goodness from Safeway, so we made beautiful cupcakes. Normally, I like to make things from scratch, but I’ve been a little busy lately, so I welcomed the ease of the packaged baking goods. They were actually delicious! Everyone raved about the red velvet cupcakes, and they looked so pretty because I piped the frosting on instead of smooshing or spreading it around.
The last half hour of the party, the kids were either playing with their new presents, running around my house like wild things, or making additional snow globes. I was glad at this point to be drinking a really good bottle of wine with two of the parents, who also happen to be good friends! In fact, that leads me to my best piece of advice for a play date birthday party, especially one involving a craft: enlist the help of a few friends! I was encouraging all the parents to take some time for themselves while their kids were here at the house, but I was really glad to have two good friends stick around to
drink with help us.
Anna had a great time, and we still had time to go out to dinner with family to continue her celebration. I hope more kids have after-school play-date birthday parties!