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Old 01-14-2010, 04:03 PM   #1
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1st birthday--how to balance simplicity while entertaining older kids?

YDD's 1st b-day is coming up soon & this is the one year I can keep it simple--just a few decorations to go w/ the color scheme/theme & some food. Problem is that our friends' kids (about 15 total) are 2-5y/o and need something to entertain them.
A bounce house is pretty standard entertainment-in-a-box, but adds a whopping $125 to the party costs. The list of 'close' friends and family runs long (DH is still BFF w/ his friends from preschool/elem/h.s. and his parents are BFF with THEIR parents, etc., etc.) so food and drink are usually a hefty part of our budget.
What can I do to keep the older kids entertained w/o a lot of cost?
I'm considering an Olivia the Pig theme--apparently it's on TV now, so I'm going to try to record it and have it on both the indoor and outdoor (cabana) TVs, but our friends' kids watch a LOT of TV, so it won't have that coma-inducing effect that it would on my TV-deprived DD.
The party's in late May--just a titch too early for a pool party (the pool's unheated). A few friends have had crafts set up for the kids and they kind of slap it together and call it Done w/in seconds.
Ideas?

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Old 01-15-2010, 10:43 AM   #2
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Re: 1st birthday--how to balance simplicity while entertaining older kids?

We're doing DS' first birthday in a couple weeks. It's too cold to be outside, and we expect about half as many small kids. To be honest, every time we have organized an activity for small kids at a party, it's been a waste of time - they just do whatever anyway.

I think we're going to set out a futon on the floor in a separate room with the toys, and just let them figure it out. My friend did that for her son's birthday, and it worked great!

I am going a bit nuts making Seuss-themed cupckaes, but I like to think I may be forgiven for that, as I used to be a pastry chef...
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Old 01-15-2010, 11:54 AM   #3
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Re: 1st birthday--how to balance simplicity while entertaining older kids?

For DD's 2nd bday party there were a few of my friends' kids that were between 2-4 yo and I just set up a kid card table with some coloring books and a couple packs of crayons. Then we put a giant floor pillow down at the end of a Little Tykes slide and they took turns going down and then eventually jumping around on the pillow.

I've been to friends' bday parties for their kids where they planned out activities and games and it didn't seem to hold their attention for long.

I got a pack of activity/coloring books at Target in the birthday party favors aisle for a few bucks. Easy peasy.
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Old 01-15-2010, 12:40 PM   #4
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Re: 1st birthday--how to balance simplicity while entertaining older kids?

Honestly, I really don't do anything special for birthday parties. Usually when I have things planned the kids just go play with the toys anyway, so I stopped planning.
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Old 01-15-2010, 04:12 PM   #5
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Re: 1st birthday--how to balance simplicity while entertaining older kids?

You could go to the U-Haul store or store it yourself type place & get some large wardrobe boxes (maybe one for every 3-4 kids) & a bunch of crayons/markers from the dollar store & let them color the boxes & play in them. You may even be able to get the boxes off of craigslist if you start posting for them now. My kids would be entertained for hours.
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Old 01-15-2010, 04:20 PM   #6
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Re: 1st birthday--how to balance simplicity while entertaining older kids?

Quote:
Originally Posted by amyk0202 View Post
You could go to the U-Haul store or store it yourself type place & get some large wardrobe boxes (maybe one for every 3-4 kids) & a bunch of crayons/markers from the dollar store & let them color the boxes & play in them. You may even be able to get the boxes off of craigslist if you start posting for them now. My kids would be entertained for hours.
If you do this, don't buy the boxes. Stores like lowes or anywhere that sells refrigerators have great boxes in the recycle dumpster.
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Old 01-21-2010, 10:43 PM   #7
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Re: 1st birthday--how to balance simplicity while entertaining older kids?

Some good ideas, thanks!
The party was prob. going to be at MIL's house--no toys. I was having a vision of the kids running around aimlessly while none of the adults get a chance to visit w/ eachother.
Boxes sound fun.
I actually found a park where they rent a picnic area cheap & have a train ride, petting zoo, bounce house, pony rides and carousel for just $1/ride.
Sounds perfect--'cept it's in a pretty shady neighborhood.
Still thinking on that one... We really love to take DD there, but the crowd is not the most well-behaved/
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Old 01-22-2010, 12:25 PM   #8
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Re: 1st birthday--how to balance simplicity while entertaining older kids?

For my first son I hired our local children's librarian to come do a mommy and me story time for the party. We paid her 50.00 and it was the best time ever. The other parents raved about the party for months. It was mostly other littles his age but my older nephew who was 3 at the time enjoyed it too. She did little songs, finger plays, and a few stories.
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Old 01-26-2010, 09:34 AM   #9
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Re: 1st birthday--how to balance simplicity while entertaining older kids?

Oh, that's interesting--is this something you do thru the library, or do you pay her on the side?

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For my first son I hired our local children's librarian to come do a mommy and me story time for the party. We paid her 50.00 and it was the best time ever. The other parents raved about the party for months. It was mostly other littles his age but my older nephew who was 3 at the time enjoyed it too. She did little songs, finger plays, and a few stories.
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