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:
4. Cut cake
5. Giving out of goodie bags
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!
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