Kids birthday parties. Sigh. I’ve been told *a time or two* that I go overboard sometimes. What can I say? I just really love birthdays! But this year I had no desire to clean my house for company OR spend a million dollars on a super cool rental space. So instead, we chilled out at the local park and bought some cake. It was without a doubt the easiest, simplest, and most fun birthday party we’ve ever thrown for the girls.
Since the girls birthdays are only about a month apart, we’ve been getting away with a joint party so far. This won’t last forever, but for now, we are joyfully still in the two birds, one stone party camp.
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Public Park Rental
After doing a little research into the
laziest hippest minimalist birthday party options, I realized I could rent a local park shelter for a $25 deposit. Umm… yes, please. I found one with both a bathroom attached to the pavilion and adjacent playground and quickly booked us a few hours on a Sunday afternoon.
Now to be totally honest, I was a little concerned about an outdoor park party in April in Ohio, but… you know me. I opted for the “what’s the worst that can happen?” frame of mind and moved on with sending out invitations.
Invites and awful RSVPers
We invited all the kids from both of their classes, plus a few kids from the neighborhood and family friends. I had to go with paper invites, as I didn’t have contact info for all the kids in each class. Getting them printed at Costco was simple enough, getting RSVP’s however… apparently very challenging.
Friendly PSA from me to you: JUST FREAKING RSVP. Because if you don’t I may end up in an emotional tailspin over whether or not my sweet baby girl has any friends at all. Or did the invites get lost? Am I missing something? Am I a socially awkward mom with no clue how to do school-aged birthday parties? Or any number of other anxiety fueled catastrophic thoughts?!?!
And because I’m an eternal optimist I wrote “Party will be held rain or shine” on the invites. That really threw some parents. I’ll tell ya.
In case anyone was wondering how my weather gamble turned out, the answer is just fine. Miraculously. The forecast predicted an afternoon of storms right up until about an hour before the party. But amazingly, the sun was shining and we didn’t get rained out.
There was a touch more wind than was helpful when tying down balloons though. I spent way too long getting beaten in the face with mylar before I finally gave up and accepted that the kids didn’t care one bit about balloon placement.
Not to say there wasn’t some stress about the weather. Jake helpfully suggested that it would all turn out fine – right in the middle of my weather-related meltdown. That went well.
Don’t worry – he’s still alive and we’re still happily married. It was only touchy there for a moment. Relax, am I right?
Party Decor and Set Up
Using the park shelter limited my decor options to some balloons and the cake. Which was honestly perfect. I had to actively fight my natural inclination to HGTV the crap out of that park pavilion.
Instead of festive plastic tablecloths, I opted for a giant roll of white craft paper. I taped it down to the tables and put out some art supplies. Table cloth AND an activity – all in one! It was a huge hit and it covered up those gross picnic tables.
So basically other than a few balloons, craft paper and a cake we didn’t do much. Simple. We were totally set up in about 30 minutes – and that included the time it took to manage the kids who were into everything while we tried to wrangle balloons in the wind.
The genius of the park party is that the activity is built in. There’s a playground, go play. The adults just kind of hung out while the kiddos ran around like animals, and it was glorious. Other than cutting the cake, the kids totally ran the show.
Besides the obvious playground, we also brought a few park friendly activities from home. Turns out, all it takes is a few bubble wands to create the party of the year for the preschool set. We also brought some chalk, jump ropes, playground balls, hula hoops, and sports cones.
Genius of the Park Party
Park Party = Genius. We didn’t do much besides bring a few toys to the park, feed the kids some cake, and hang out. Even I, lover of elaborate parties, have to admit it’s the way to go for the kids.
All they really want is to run around and play with their friends. And I don’t really want to clean up my house after 15 kids tear through it. Our park party was fun, simple and super duper inexpensive. I think we maybe spent $100 on the whole thing for two kids.
So if you are throwing a kids party – ditch the expensive rentals and hit up your local park instead. It’ll be fun, and besides… what’s the worst that can happen?