14 April 2014

The Not-so-Plain Party (kids birthday party on a budget)

The measure of a good birthday party is not whether it's picture perfect and looks like it could be featured in Donna Hay's Party Edition.
It's how wide the smiles of the kids are. It's how happy the birthday boy is and how hard he hugs you when he says, "Thankyou mama for an awesome party."

That's success right there; that's what you do it for. Not for pretty pinnable pictures or accolades from fellow bloggers - you do it for the shining eyes and happy laughter of your child and his pals as they have FUN.

By which standard I would say that Scrag's Just Plain Party was a resounding success.

Our "just plain party-on-a-budget" was created to the birthday boy's exacting specifications. Every game played, every item of food on the party table, every guest on the list, were all according to his wishes.

The birthday boy counts down the sleeps, crossing off each day on his calendar. Until finally the day dawns clear and sunny, despite the weatherman's predictions of rain.

[my sketchy "Scrag" figure from the invitation was printed out large and used as decoration ]

When guests arrive there are Dressups to change into, in our carport boutique. (We culled our costume collection and donated double-ups and outgrown items to our happy young guests).

Our resident Face Painters are also on hand to decorate the faces of party guests...

Who needs professionals when you have clever big sisters like Fab and Yaz around?

Game time begins with energy-burning Sack Races...

We use old pillowcases for the sacks and have several rounds, followed by  a "plate" and a "cup" final. The paparazzi are there to interview the winners...

It is hilarious (as well as easy to organise and fun to do).

Next up, Musical Mats. Fun and super easy.

We play the music and make them dance. Each round we take away a mat; the music stops and the dancers race to find a place to stand. We keep going until we have a winner. Or two.

[toadstool mats re-used from our fairy party; super easy to make]

It's thirsty work, all that jumping in sacks and dancing on toadstools. Just as well we have refreshing old-fashioned (homemade) lemonade on hand...

We catch our breath by sitting down for a game of Pass the Parcel - with a twist...

Between each layer is the ubiquitous lollipop, for sure, but every so often there's a note instead, daring them to take up a challenge in order to get their sweet treat...

[Stuff marshmallows in your mouth and say "fluffy bunnies"; hop on one foot for ten seconds
while patting your head; sing the national anthem - a few simple dares liven up this classic party game ]

The random dares keep things moving; it livens things up and keeps them all on their toes.
While they've been passing the parcel, I've been hiding treasure hunt tickets around the garden (for after we eat) and bringing out the food.

And now finally it's time for the colourful birthday feast...

We have all the party food favourites on offer: pikelets with sprinkles, red cocktail sausages, chips, popcorn, mini donuts and fruit skewers, as requested by the birthday boy.

We also have rainbow cupcakes and jellies...

(which I am rather proud of, I must say)
Finished eating? Had enough sugar? It must be Treasure Hunt time...

Hunt around the garden, in trees, under tables, inside letterboxes. You're looking for yellow tickets...

Look around the garden - there's some on the driveway too... Hey! Why is everyone rushing off to the driveway? Two canny lassies stay back and scoop the pool, finding loads of tickets while everyone else scours the driveway. Kids are so funny. But don't worry - everyone finds a ticket and gets a prize. Eventually.

We're almost out of time. Oops almost forgot  to do the birthday cake. We can't have that!

"Happy birthday dear Scrag, happy birthday to you...." we sing (tunelessly).

The party guests leave wearing their upcycled dressup outfits, sporting facepaint, lugging more upcycled prizes and a goody bag filled with sweets (just in case that gleam in their eye is from having so much fun not so much sugar).

The birthday boy is happy. He hugs me and tells me he loves me.
We pulled it off. A themeless classic kids birthday party, filled with colour and fun for ten guests costing under $100 for everything.
It's possible. I just proved it.

And didn't we all have such a loverly time?


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