I was reading an article on the Telegraph website today which states that traditional, smaller birthday parties are becoming more popular as parents try to cut back on their spending.
I have to say I haven’t really noticed this in our area. Most of the invites that my daughter receives are for big parties in a couple of our big soft play/leisure centres to which lots of children are invited. I think she’s been to a couple of small parties in friend’s houses but not many.
The Telegraph talks about companies such as Party Pieces doing very well, despite the recession and sales of traditional party games such as Pin the Tail on the Donkey and Pass the Parcel have increased. I’m not really sure I would call this ‘traditional’ since when did you ever have to go online to order a ‘pass the parcel game’ – you would just get a few sheets of old newspaper and make it up yourself. It all sounds a bit like one big advert for Party Pieces if you ask me.
Lily was five this year and we had one of the smallest parties I’ve seen since I was a child! There were just 6 children at the party and that included Lily and her brother. It was a mermaid/under the sea party which tied in really well with what they had been learning at school and a recent school trip to the National Marine Aquarium. Lily was the real ‘Birthday Girl’. Because the numbers were small and we were at home, we were able to focus totally on her and on the games we had organised.
How we themed the ‘Under the sea Party’
We hung some black netting onto the ceiling and suspended lots of fish, octopus, dolphins etc that Lily and I made from card (with lots of extra glittery and sparkly bits added of course!) We had quite a few blue and white balloons on the floor to look like the bottom of the ocean.
The first activity when they arrived was to make a ‘Mermaids crown’ which was basically just sticking a load of stickers and jewels onto pre-cut crowns made from card. They loved this activity and I was amazed how long it kept them amused. This kind of thing is great for children of this age as it calms they down a little and they love to take something home that they have made.
We then went out into the garden and played ‘Pass the Mermaids crown’. I had a very special crown for them (which was actually my wedding tiara) and they had to pass it to each other putting it on their heads. If the music stopped when it was on your head, you got to pick a prize from the Treasure chest (handmade out of a cardboard box). They were just small prizes like plastic necklaces and bracelets or chocolate coins.
We then came in for lunch and had a bit of time after lunch playing in the garden before their parents came to collect them.
Oh and I mustn’t forget the mermaid cake because I was quite proud of this (even if I say so myself) The whole party probably cost less than £30 including the cost of the cake and food. Are we just too busy and pressured to host parties ourselves or is that we can’t resist the marketing of big soft play areas desperate to fill their party rooms?