Thursday, 10 March 2011

Birthday on a Budget

We have recently celebrated our son's 10th birthday. Each year it seems to get more of a challenge to find a theme or just do something different to the old soft play, football and cinema parties.
So we decided to let 8 boys come over to ours and play some thing called 'Nerf' guns, which involved running wild with play guns for an hour or so. Luckily for us, we have a large garden, so they were dutifully kicked out side and left alone! Camps made out of wheelbarrows and growbags, wheelie bins and old cots soon pitched up around the house. They were loving it - and so were we, happy that it wasn't costing an absolute fortune to throw a birthday bash. It was a hard job to get them inside for party food and cake. As the son of a fabulous (even if I do say so myself!) home cook, I was expecting Alex to request full on home baked goodies, but I am rather ashamed to admit that his favourite food is pizza, and not my home made variety, one of the other shop bought ones. I was however able to put my mark of domesticity into the food by offering home made spiced wedges, carrot sticks and dips! Dessert was fruit kebabs and chocolate sauce. It all went down a treat with the boys, and then the cake...
Alex is a boarder, so what better cake to have than that of a skateboard? At his request obviously! I am pretty good, but not as good as my friend down the road who makes and decorates the most fantastic cakes ever. So I called on her to provide this - which once again was a huge hit with the boys.

Alex said to me after his friends left it was the best party he had ever had - and I had to smile. I thought back on all the other parties he had had and been to over the years, as well as the parties his brother has had. The cost and preparation involved, the time and the effort, when really all boys want to do is run around with pretend weapons and play armies! I have been missing this trick for years!

So my top tips for throwing a boys Budget Outdoors Party are as follows:

  • Chose a location you know is large enough for them to run around in and hide in places, such as the park or the local woods.
  • Limit numbers unless you have the help of a few adults
  • Make sure you tell the parents to dress the boys in old outdoor clothes & shoes
  • Theme the party to Cops and Robbers, Armies, Sports games, camp building etc and tell the parents what you want the boys to bring with them. (I asked each child to bring his nerf gun and some bullets!)
  • Make sure you name the safe base before you start
  • Brief all the guests before the game commences so they know game rules (we made them up)
  • Have lots of juice/water ready, this is thirsty work!
  • Prepare your food ahead, but keep it simple. Do not have too many things that need to be cooked at the same time. Or just order in!
  • Be prepared for splinters or bullet wounds (bruises!) and treat as necessary with minimum amount of fuss!
  • Join in and play with them, they think its the best thing ever to aim and fire at an adult!
  • And lastly Have Fun!!!!

In case of rain or bad weather, have the back up of the village hall, or in our case, our house and get down to a dancing competition and musical statues - kids are never too old for that - neither are us adults!

For fabulous cakes, get in touch for Rachel's number - she is Awesome.

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