Welcome to Step 2: Arrival in the Se7en Steps to a Good Party Series…
Firstly you have already set the scene with your fabulous invitations. So every kid will arrive at your party ready and steady and eager for action… Now is your chance to rise to the occasion and keep repeating this mantra: “Kids are very forgiving…”
As they arrive I get them involved in an activity straight away – any lingering parents filter away as they are really not needed because their kids are too busy!!! And it is usually an easy theme setter activity: something to dress up in – you can buy props but the point is kids like to make stuff, they are natural creators… lots of kids don’t like dressing up, but they all like crafting, so its fine if they don’t want to wear the item… they have already lost themselves in the arty theme!!!
Se7en Easy Arrival Ideas:
Idea 1: Making lei’s for a flower party:
You need: mini paper cup-cakehloders some plastic straws cut into one inch pieces… just thread them onto scooby doo wire, alternating straws and ‘flowers’ on a piece of scooby doo wire.
Idea 2: Shoulder parrots for a pirate party:
Print out some parrots on card for them to color and have a few bright craft feathers for them to stick on… finally pin it on their shoulder with a safety pin.
Idea 3: Spy Outfits for a Spy Party:
We just made glasses out of two pipe cleaners and drew on mustaches with face paints.
Idea 4: Painted T-shirts for a Dr. Seuss Party:
We painted stars on a t-shirt for star-bellied sneetches.
Idea 5: Face Painted for a Circus Party:
Several clowns have been painted! Not to mention endless whiskers for wildlife parties. And we have used face paints to draw roman sandals on grubby feet for a Roman Party.
Idea 6: Dress-up for a Story Book Party:
This worked well, we let them dress-up as whatever they liked, there is usually a persona they are willing, even happy, to take on!
Idea 7: Decorate Wands for a Fairy Party:
We popped artificial flowers onto the the ends of pipe-cleaners…
I could go on, but I said se7en, so lets move on…
Another important factor regarding parties, that I need to pop in somewhere in this series is safety. Obviously you want kids who are visiting your home to be safe… and I have found that what is safe for my kids is definitely not safe for all kids! (All children are a bit mad, but not all madness is equal!)… I was once told a story of a child who broke his arm jumping on a bed while mom’s were chatting in another room – this has always freaked me out somewhat… So for parties here is my TIP: KEEP THEM UNDER YOUR WATCHFUL EYE…I close off all the doors to rooms that we won’t be in – we have high hooks as apposed to locking them, which kind of looks freakish to me!!! – There will be the odd child that really, really, really wants to go into your kids’ room and a firm “No thank you, let’s rather do this…” has always kept them at bay. The reward for this strategy is that you only have to clean up the party part of the house afterward and not the entire place, not to mention precious possessions will not have been destroyed while everyone else was off playing.
And finally, I did promise some gift ideas – so here they are: I only really have one good one… but it is such a good one… we live in a part of the world, which is famously diverse… my kids know kids from bunches of different cultures, some who have everything and some who literally have nothing (and I don’t mean very little of anything!!!). I always try and give gifts that have something to do… and that are not budget busters. We have a brilliant store in Cape Town, Merry Pac, where you can literally buy every kind of packaging under the sun, not to mention a bazillion type of boxes in all shapes and sizes… and the best gift that crosses all age/cultural ranges is quite simply a box of stuff:
- note books;
- different kinds of paper;
- office supplies – you can not beat office supplies (paper clips, bull dog clips, whatever);
- craft materials (craft kits are nice, craft materials are nicer);
- pens that look adult – like highlighters;
- stickers – helloooo – I said said STICKERS.
All you need to do is write the recipient’s name on the box in funky writing and you have a post box; a scrap book box; an office box; the list is endless! (I see this is a whole post erupting, so I will write about it more another time!).
Last word for now: Whatever you do, NEVER, EVER give a kid a gift you would not like in your home – you can be sure that that favor will be returned at another birthday. Just trust me on this, and use my years as evidence, just don’t do it!