Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Event planning mission: Children's Birthday Party

My event organising skills were put to the test this past weekend when I organised my first children's birthday party. With Kyla turning 10 two days ago and Ruben turning seven tomorrow, it was a joint party with family friends, cousins and school friends invited.

This party was a winner with little and big people alike. It's like all my skills and experience built up over the years set me up perfectly to put on a children's birthday party and I can definitely attribute a number of specific experiences to its success:

  1. I've attended my little friends Cameron and Connor's birthday parties for year and their parents have done cool stuff over the years. I've learned about catering for kiddies from their mom (we both disapprove of bowls of sweets) and obstacle-course games from their dad (a fellow orienteer).
  2. It helps that I've been baking since I was a child so cakes were a no brainer. A two-layer, chocolate dumper-truck cake for Ruben and a four-layer vanilla 'Frozen' cake for Kyla.
  3. I sewed up a bunch of beanbags for games.
  4. My car boot is always full of cones for orienteering skills games and navigation coaching activities. Cones are brilliant for games.
  5. I love obstacle courses
  6. I love traditional party games like Pass the Parcel and Musical Chairs. We also had 'Pin the eye on the minion', a variation on the much-loved classic 'Pin the tail on the donkey'

The children ranged from 4 to 12 and the adults from 36 to 63. 

All the children and most of the adults got into the groove and raced against the clock in the obstacle course. Each station was indicated by a red cone and participants moved from one obstacle to the next.

Here's what the obstacle course, fitted into a small garden, included:

  • Run to the first obstacle (about 6m)
  • Climbing over a big log (from the trunk of tree that was cut down a few months ago - about 1m high)
  • Five bounces on a small trampoline
  • Crawl under a 'net' - I used half-length metal stakes with rope criss-crossed between them; about two-metres in length
  • Hoola hoop
  • Step-and-catch - where you stomp on a plank to send a beanbag flying, which you have to catch (advanced challenge to catch the beanbag one handed)
  • Beanbag toss - stand on a plank and toss three beanbags (one at a time) into a bucket placed about four-metres away. 
  • Crawl through an upright hoola-hoop, which I'd cable tied vertically by using a half-dropper on either side; hoop just off the ground.
  • Hoola hoop again
  • Dribble a ball around and between a row of five cones
  • Touch the tree stump

The children got a practice round and then we timed them one-by-one. We then had refreshments followed by the adults racing against the clock on the obstacle course. 63-year old grandpa got the ball rolling. Adults could step through the 'crawling' obstacle. I was the only adult to crawl - hahahaha.

Cake followed and then Pass the Parcel, two rounds of Musical Bumps (a variation on Musical Chairs where you sit on the ground) and a round of 'Pin the Eye on the Minion'. Winners received a wrapped gift containing some novelty items and useful items like pencil crayons.

We wrapped up with something I saw on the internet… We put a plastic insect into a paper cup and poured jelly into the cup, which we set overnight. On party day we turned the jelly out on to a paper plate. With hands behind their backs, the children kids had to use their mouths to get the insects out. This was quite funny because they ended up with insect legs sticking out of their mouths. 

I only have photos of the cakes because we were too busy to take photographs of the activities! A family member did shoot video of the obstacle course racing so we're waiting to see that.

It was good fun and I'm looking forward to next year's party. I've got a year to come up with something super fun.

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