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28 January 2020

Our first birthday party! Space Party!

It has been a while since my last post! And this new post will be very different from my last one. I shared a very personal side of my life... There is so much that I need to share, but bot today.
Today I will be sharing a brighter and lighter side of these past months. It is always a pretty busy holiday season for us,  besides Christmas we have two birthdays to celebrate... That's what happens when both your children are born around Christmas time, one just before and other after Christmas day...!

And today I will be writing about how we planed my oldest birthday party, and how we decided to celebrate birthdays which happen during the Christmas holiday. I do know that there are many blog posts sharing fantastic birthday parties, with extraordinary decorations! And yes, if I had a never ending budget I would love to offer one of those parties to my 6 year old boy... However our budget is limited, and we have to keep our feet grounded and not go crazy -  and  I only managed to do this because of my well grounded partner... I am very addicted to Pinterest and it was incredibly hard for me to keep this party within reasonable, and more practical limits. But it is difficult isn't it? As a parent you want to offer your children all their dreams! I am thinking about this party for a very long time,  my plans concerning the decorations, children's games and entertainments  as well  our party food are thought  far in advance  -over 6 months - so  we would not be stressing about it later. I used to take a quick pick at all sale items in stores as Hobby craft to look for bargains. All the decorations were made by me as well most baking. So the amount of work to do closer to the event had to be planned carefully and with a steady timeline so I would be doing things  with enough time. It helps that my partner was the one grounding me to earth, and reminding me about the time, so I would not loose myself!

But one step at the time! One of my goals was to have both of my children realise that even with the Christmas season their birthdays were important, special and different from our Christmas celebrations. As most children, they were quite excited about Santa Claus' visit. We decorated our home for Christmas and both kiddos helped us out. So, on their birthdays I made a bunting and we had extra large balloons with their age, to mark their birthdays. These days are special, its a celebrations of their birth, of the time they are in our lives and they are treasured. Even if in the midst of  Christmas season, which we all love, these days are so much more cherished!


And... back to my my oldest party! We also wanted to offer him a birthday party with all his little friends from school. It would be quite impossible to have a birthday during the holidays, so we planned his birthday party to  happen once school started, during the weekend. Since his birthday is happening during winter time we knew that the party would be happening indoors, ready for any weather. So, we had to rent out a large room with enough space for the children to run freely and able to cope with a large bouncy castle! We searched online for this and rented a large community room close to our home. We did this 3 months prior to the party due date, and we had to move his birthday celebration for a Sunday since our preferred Saturday date was already taken... So lesson learned renting the room have to happen with more time to avoid any disappointments...
His birthday party happened on a Sunday, during the first weekend after school resumed. The invitations were distributed during the last week before Christmas holidays so that the children's parents could rsvp with time. In the end my oldest party had 20 of his little friends attending!

Our party was space thematic, as space and the planets are subjects that our eldest is eager to learn and talk about. Our invitations were made by me, I used Canva for this. And all the little planets and stars that were featuring in the invitation were also used to make a little bunting to hang in the room, by an opening from where the food would be later available. Apologies for the photos as I was so busy on the day I had no time to take any good photos! 

The bouncy castle that we also rented was coordinating with our theme, it featured a few aliens and rocket ships!

I planned for a 2h party, that started from 14h30 until 16h30. I also draw a schedule of the party that I discussed with my partner so we both had a rough idea of how the party should happen. The first 30 to 45 minutes we figured that the kids would be entertained just by jumping and bouncing around! I  planned  for three games to happen and for the children to have enough free play as well - basically having time to play with the bouncy castle. Having a bouncy castle takes care for the kids never ending energy,  and its the centre of all the children attentions, they are immediately drawn to it! So after decreasing a bit of energy with the bouncing castle I started the scheduled games that I had prepared. The first one was my 'Moon rock hunt'.

Moon Rock Hunt 
This was an adaptation of the well know 'Treasure hunt'. I made 20 moon rocks, basically  paper balls wrapped in aluminium paper and hid them around the room. I made 20 moon rocks altogether,  5 yellow moon rocks, 5 green moon rocks and 5 blue rocks (see below).

moon rocks

Previously, whilst the kids were arriving, I gave them 'Space cadets' badges that I also made with Canva, so that the kids were in different teams, yellow, green and blue. 

The blue team should search for yellow moon rocks, green team searches green moon rocks and so on. The general idea behind was to make the search an effort to foster team work and to make it a little bit more difficult. They should be searching for specific moon rocks. I also made some signs that spread oround the room pointing the children to the spots where the moon rocks would be. If planning this seamed easy, practically the minute the kids realised that there were teams, they wanted to be in specific teams! 'I want to be on the blue team'... 'I want to be on x's team'. The minute I started to listen to this I got a little bit panicky! I immediately dropped the teams ideas and quickly said: 'no worries children! If you want to search with x, do it, and search for the colour you want'. Immediately the kids started to run all around the room  searching for the moon rocks! That was the main goal in the end, having them running around  the room actively searching! Not soon after I was surrounded by my many rocks! I quickly counted and there  still two rocks missing! Quickly shouted, 'Kids only two yellow rocks missing! Keep searching!' And they kept searching the room! After finding all the moon rocks there were a few sad voices 'I didn't find any rock' that I had to dispel, 'Its ok, this was a team effort! You were looking for x colour and your team found all of them! There are more games to play, don't be sad.'

Note: with 20 children this game took about 10', with the kids finding 20 moon rocks.

And then its time for my second planned game, 'Land the rocket'!

Land the Rocket 
Land the Rocket is an adaptation of  'pin the tale on the donkey'. I made the game myself reusing old cardboard boxes. I wrapped in space themed wrapping paper a large piece of cardboard. 

I printed a large moon from Canva, as same as the moons that  featuring in the invitations and the paper space bunting and glued in the centre of the cardboard. I then printed about 30 small rocket ships from canva and cut them, attached double sided tape and placed them in an envelope and stick it on a cardboard frame. And this is a picture of the end result, after the kids landed all their rockets!

Note: With 20 children this game took about 30' to finish. Some children were able to land a second rocket.

After this game it was about 16h, and it was time for snacks. The children quickly ate, and after another round with the children freely bouncing in the bouncing castle it was time for the last game, pass the space parcel.

Pass the space parcel
 This was simply the 'pass the parcel game', where the parcel was wrapped in a space themed paper. I wrapped small bags of sweets in wrapping paper, added more bags of sweets and wrapped again repeating the process over and over again. I did this twice, making two large parcels. This was the game that was more difficult for me to manage... I had to pay attention to the children that are very slow to pass the parcel as pay attention to make sure that  the song stops at a time that there's  new kids holding the parcels! Every child has to have a turn at opening the parcel.... And I had to manage two parcels at the same time so that the game would not take ages to end.... I was lucky that a mum that stayed at the party was helping me out at this, she could see that I was having difficulties! I let a kid  open a parcel twice which should be fine if you have loads of turns at 'pass the parcel', .... but we did not have so many sweets to let all the kids have second turns.  All it was fine in the end...The children also step in and started to say who already had a turn!

Note: With 20 children and two parcels, this game took about 20'.

And after this game it was cake time! It was the last event and with this we are pretty much at the end of the party! 

And at this point we barely had time to sing 'Happy birthday' and have the birthday cake! My oldest wanted a chocolate cake, which was great as the chocolate icing would be great as more  space than a featuring little white chocolate stars....

And we are pretty much at the end of the party....!
I was really scared about this first party to be honest... Will the kids have fun? Will they get bored? What can I do? But just the bouncing castle would have been enough... Just bouncing around is great fun for these little guys!
We also handed party favours when the children where leaving the party, a paper bag with light in the dark stars, a space pencil and a space rubber! 

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