The birthday party comes home, snowman style
I’ve never fancied myself a professional party planner. And I never figured I would have to possess the skills of a professional party planner when mapping out my son’s fifth birthday party. When I was a kid it was cake, a few games, a couple of balloons and poof – instant party (this generalization obviously downplays the massive effort of my parents that is lost in hindsight). These days it seems if you haven’t booked the local bouncy castle/bowling alley/movie theatre/gymnastics club a year in advance, you’re screwed.
It’s not that I necessarily feel I’m competing with other parents, but with every party my son goes to the bar is raised, along with his expectations of what a birthday party should be. When I drop him off at a birthday party I’m always subconsciously casing the joint, looking for what I need to keep up with. It’s every parent’s instinct to not disappoint their kids. But it’s getting ridiculous. I’m scared if I book the wrong clown I’ll be giving my kid’s future therapist all the material he’ll need to blame me for my son robbing a liquor store.
So imagine my surprise when, after my wife and I rattled off the usual options of bank account-busting birthday venues, my son told us he wanted a party at home. That’s my boy! He wanted a snowman party, so we got right to work planning activities, cake, decorations and take-aways for the guests. It really is a fun idea that can be done with for less work, skill and money than I thought. And although this was for our son’s birthday, it could also easily be done for a kids’ holiday party.
We planned a couple of snowman-related activities for the kids. Pin the Nose on the Snowman was pretty easy to do – we made our own snowman out of white poster boards and cut some carrot noses out of orange poster board. We also played a Snowman Race game – it was basically the Halloween mummy race game where teams try to be the first to wrap a person in toilet paper, but with an added toque and scarf for that snowman touch.
For the craft we had the kids make their own snowmen. We picked up some Styrofoam balls, pieces of felt, pipe cleaners, googly eyes and glitter from the craft store. Before the party we assembled the Styrofoam balls snowmen on paper plates – connecting the balls with a bamboo stake then sticking them to the plate with a hot glue gun – and made little scarves and toques with the felt. The kids loved decorating their own snowmen and having something to take home to their parents.
We also created our own snowman party decorations that doubled as take home gifs for the kids. We bought white Christmas balls and painted snowmen heads on them. The kids took one with them when they left and had a lovely keepsake of the party they could hang on their tree at home.
Overall the party was a resounding, albeit exhausting, success. But the effort was worth it. Both for my son and for my wife and I. That’s not to say I’m ruling out a bouncy castle next year (it’s really up to my son, who am I kidding) but I would throw an old-fashioned house party any day. But not a Kid n’ Play-style house party though – that’s the wrong kind of old-fashioned all together.