Kate turns 7 – A DIY party

After 20 years, I’m so done with big exhausting parties. I’ve decided to cut myself some slack and do simple, meaningful parties which takes half the effort, but double the fun!

Now that she’s in P1, it’s time for Kate to start learning to plan her own party, with guidance.

First rule: She’s allowed to invite a maximum of 7 friends as she turns 7 this year. But I advised her to be mindful of the dynamics of the group because we don’t want anyone to feel excluded.

She decided to invite 5 of her best friends from school.

I asked what she had in mind and she came up with this:

1. Meeting
2. Lunch
3. Movie
4. Cut cake
5. Giving out of goodie bags
6. Farewell

Meeting?? haha wow, so democratic. She said they can discuss as a group what they would like to do.

I told her we need to add in some games and activities. I suggested clay or playdoh, which is my go-to activity for entertaining kids. Something which kids love but hardly get a chance to play with. I was half expecting Kate to say, “Huh? So childish!” but luckily she was fine with it.

The trick is in presenting it attractively to the children. (The wooden boards were from spotlight and trays from Diaso).

Playdoh is not just for little ones as it develops creativity, fine motor skills (our kids have lost dexterity in their fingers with too much gadget use), and it is a wonderful thing to be able to make something from nothing!

We had extra playdoh at work as we made them for our Children’s day gifts, so that saved me the trouble of mixing up a new batch. Just nice!

I was further affirmed after attending a talk by Esther Wojcicki, who raised 3 successful daughters, one of whom is Susan, CEO of Youtube and she stressed that the biggest 21st century skill to nurture in our kids is CREATIVITY. Yes, right through secondary school.

I upped the appeal by offering simple things like coloured crystals I had on hand for them to blink up their creations if they wished.

Kate went one step further and added on a couple of rules!

“Each person can choose 1 colour. If you need other colours, you can ask your friends nicely.”

Kate’s jewel box

It was heartwarming to watch how they were so polite and generous with one another and I was really happy to get to know the kids whom she spends her time with at school.

I prepared empty containers for them to take their creations home. One adorable friend made a “sweet shop” and said it was a gift for the birthday girl.

This kept them occupied for almost an hour. I loved how engrossed they were because I wasn’t sure how they would take to it. Some kids who are exposed to too much screen time can’t come up with any ideas and may say things like “so boring”. In fact, they are the ones who need more guidance to rekindle their creativity.

After a sit-down activity, it was time for them to get physical. What better way than to take out this ultra-unique, hand-painted Snoopy themed twister mat which Kate’s older sister upcycled.

This game never fails to elicit roars of laughter, and it is not always the strongest or most flexible one who emerges as champion but often the most resilient!

The kids were going “woah” and “so cool” and I hope this sparked in them ideas that art can be done on different mediums, besides drawing or colouring on a piece of paper.

They noticed that it was an old bedsheet and the recycle message sunk in. Haha, they might go home a look around for items to re-purpose.

Time for lunch!

When we were discussing lunch, Kate said, “Can we have my favourite tomato and spring onion quesadillas?”

Great suggestion. Only problem, I was quite certain not all of her friends would like that combination.

I set up a DIY station and the kids had fun choosing their own fillings.

Kate guided her friends along:

Step 1: Fold wrap in half
Step 2: Put filing only on one side
Step 3: Top it with cheese

What she forgot to mention was that it had to go into the oven and before we knew it, one child took a bite of it 😉

Don’t forget to give them full instructions if you are planning to do this!

I love hosting drop-off parties because not only is it really fun to be with the kids, but I don’t have to plan another menu for the adults and I can be fully present for the kids.

After lunch… it was movie time! The only thing Kate requested for was to have a movie screening and she asked her sister for permission to watch it in her room. We did the cake-cutting before starting the movie so that the kids were ready to leave when any of their parents came to pick them up.

I set up a snack station in case anyone was hungry before lunch or if they were peckish after the movie. The most popular were the tortilla chips, seaweed and sugary gem biscuits!

I allocated a pocket of free time to see what they would come up with and someone suggested a drawing competition. I loved how they naturally transferred their school rules here and one was the “discipline monitor” who issued warnings when the noise level got too loud. We had a whole half hour of silence as the kids concentrated hard on their drawings.

They ended the party with ring popsicles made with orange juice & everyone left happy!

Really, a perfect party indeed. Loads of fun, stress-free, and the most wonderful, well-behaved bunch of children!

Kate received a shiny unicorn lockable diary and immediately wrote in it that night. She reported to her “dear diary” that it was the best birthday party she’s ever had!

I really enjoyed myself too! Hosting the party and getting to know the kids.

Happy Birthday my dear Kate! Keep your childlike faith, surround yourself with genuine friends and know that we love you just the way you are!

About MummyWee

Michelle is an Occupational Therapist by day and mum of 6 by night. Besides the already very demanding job of managing 5 teenagers and one 6-turning-16 tween, she is also Founder of The Little Executive, a nurturing centre to develop children in their 4Qs to survive today’s volatile world. She also makes time to volunteer with children and the elderly in her community.

Kate turns 1 – A lucky 6th child
Kate turns 2 – A kampung affair
Kate turns 3 – A blessed child
Kate turns 4 – Family and close friends
Kate turns 5 – All that glitters is not gold

How I scaled down their parties from $1000 affairs to $100

Kate turns 4!

This is the first time we had a low key birthday.

I mean, really, really, low key.

After 6 kids, I’ve had enough of OTT birthdays. Of inviting the whole kampung, hiring magicians, jumping castles, and game hosts. That was before Instagram and extravagant dessert tables.

It didn’t help that we used to live in a condo and that became the norm and our kids expected it. I had a whole cupboard filled with presents which I could whip out when an invite came from one of the neighbours, which happened every weekend or so.

With Kate, I have stopped doing things just because and now I think through why we do what we do, so much so that one of my teens remarked recently, “Mum, Kate has such a different childhood experience from us!”

Last year, I tried to keep her birthday cosy, but I guess it wasn’t small enough. When too many guests arrived, she was overwhelmed and burst into tears. We thought inviting 10 kids was a small number, but add to that the accompanying adults, and it was all too much for a 3-year old.

This year, I decided to go old school and keep it simple. Nothing fancy, nothing lavish.

Thankfully, Kate seemed to have the same thoughts.

I asked her what she wanted to do for her birthday and she counted off her closest friends from school whom she wanted to invite home.

Each time I asked her (just to be sure), she mentioned the same 4 names, and she was very firm about it.

I was amused, because after 16 years of elaborate parties with 30-40 kids, with unhappy kids at the end of every party, I finally read that the number of guests should correspond to the child’s age.

So 4 years = 4 friends.

Perfect.

After handing out the 4 invites, I was slightly nervous. What if only 2 could make it? What a strange, boring party it would be.

Luckily, all 4 accepted our lunch invitation.

Birthday in school

The day before her party, she celebrated her birthday in school and was overjoyed that I turned up to celebrate it with her and her friends.


She was clearly excited that her best friends were coming to her party and she tidied up the living room without me asking.

I have been extremely busy the past 3 weeks, and couldn’t put one more thing on my plate. The night before her party, with nothing planned, I asked myself, how hard is it to keep 5 little kids entertained for 2 hours? It took me just 30 minutes to get everything ready for her party, compared to previous years where it took us a full day to cook and prep the house and activities!

Kate turns 4!

Just look at this photo.

I love how old school it is. Reminds me of the photos we had of our childhood!

Normally, I would be busy flitting around, keeping guests entertained and seeing to everyone’s needs.

This time, I could actually sit down and have decent conversations with the other mums.

Clay fun

#3 cooked up a batch of clay and they had fun adorning their creations with sparkly bits.

I came up with the brilliant idea to get the girls to make their very own DIY party bags! Ok, with a lot of guidance from the mummies.

I filled some baskets with snacks and little knickknacks such as stationery and girlie craft items.

After they were done making their bags, they chose what they wanted from the baskets to fill their party bags.

It was nice to see the girls give in to one another and no one fought for the same items.

DIY party bags

And of course, after lunch, the real fun began when the girls ran off from the adults’ prying eyes and made up their own games.

After her friends left, the rest of our extended family streamed in and I allowed Kate to skip her nap. She opened her presents and continued playing into the evening with her cousin.

Look what I made!
I am a convert.

No more big parties if I can help it.

My recent decluttering of our house using the minimalist KonMarie method might have something to do with my desire for simplicity.

Such an eye-opener. Less is indeed more. In many areas, with less frills, we can go deeper and enjoy better, the things which matter and bring happiness.

Happy birthday to my littlest!

May you always know where to find real joy and happiness.

~ www.mummyweeblog.com – a blog on parenting 6 kids in Singapore ~