Birthday party II: a house full of toddlers
Maybe more important to Kabouter than the visits from friends and family, was the fact that "his friends" would come for his birthday. He had this request since Beertje's baptism.
Jan and I neither make a lot of pomp and circumstance around birthdays or other events and due to a crazy calendar last year, Kabouter had not truly had any birthday celebration previous year when he turned 3...but fortunately he did not realise it back then. But this year it was clear I wouldn't get away with a kiss, a card and a little present at the breakfast table.
I have no experience with kids parties except for the few that I attended as a child myself. There's never been one for me at my home in my childhood. The idea of having a big set of young children at my home stressed me, but Jan was so relax that he increased the allowed number of guests to invite for Kabouter. Ugh, thanks. He also offered to organise the party by himself when I was working but I wanted to be there on the other hand. I wanted to share the experience with Kabouter.
So we invited a small group of Kabouter's friends who all responded positively and I was wondering how I should prepare. The food was the major doubt as there were some allergic dietary restrictions to take into account but fries would solve that.
And then I wondered what else I had to prepare. If you google a bit, you land immediately on pinterest all themed wonderful poooha that makes my eyes roll. As said, we don't do pomp and circumstance and I don't believe the children have less fun when you don't have color matching decorations and a billion spent on a complicated themed set-up. We'd have some balloons and flags hanging up and I had grabbed Cars3 paper cups, plates and napkins along in the store when I saw that, so that was fine.
My main remaining doubt was activities: do you need to organise a set of games for 4 year olds or can they just entertain themselves for a few hours with the available toys? It was my feeling that a full morning of free game could be too long, so I prepared a small list of some game challenges/relay ideas as back-up that needed hardly any materials with the plan to occupy them with those for 60-90 minutes. Half of those we would play in the park next door so the children would be outside for a while with room to run and yell etc... After the first birthday party, I was too tired to do more.
And then they all arrived and our room got filled with children and all the toys got taken out and tested and there was activity everywhere and it felt very disruptive to stop them in their games to assign them one of my games. So I didn't, with the exception for the candy cord I had quickly made and which did interest them ( "who wants some candy?" "Yeaaaay" and instantaneously all the children are trouping around you :p).
The 3 hours went by ease, there were no drama's, there was lots of activity inside and outside and at the end all the toys were probably somewhere spread out on the floor but it was good and easy. Good to know. And the children had fun, I believe. At least they complained to their parents that they came to pick them up "too early".