Preschool birthday party observations & questions — The Bump
Pre-School

Preschool birthday party observations & questions

 ETA: I mean parties hosted outside of school, not things you take into the classroom. 

 We went to a birthday party (his first class party we've made it to) yesterday. Ds had a blast. I'm trying to figure out how I'm going to do ds's party so I have a few questions for you:

 

They had it at their home (the last two we were invited to were at other venues). Will you have your dc's party at home or at some other venue (where?)?

They didn't open gifts during the party. How did you handle this?

They had cupcakes instead of a cake. The kids loved it. Did you do a cake or cupcakes?

What did you do as treats or parting gifts?  They did a Pez dispenser that was like the Cars party theme. 

Did you have any kind of entertainment? Eg. Bounce house, activities.

Did you have just classmates or did you also have other friend's kids and family? 

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Re: Preschool birthday party observations & questions

  • imageMrs Manners:

     ETA: I mean parties hosted outside of school, not things you take into the classroom. 

     We went to a birthday party (his first class party we've made it to) yesterday. Ds had a blast. I'm trying to figure out how I'm going to do ds's party so I have a few questions for you:

     

    They had it at their home (the last two we were invited to were at other venues). Will you have your dc's party at home or at some other venue (where?)?

    They didn't open gifts during the party. How did you handle this?

    They had cupcakes instead of a cake. The kids loved it. Did you do a cake or cupcakes?

    What did you do as treats or parting gifts?  

    Did you have any kind of entertainment? Eg. Bounce house, activities.

    Did you have just classmates or did you also have other friend's kids and family? 

    We haven't done DS's yet (it is in Feb.), but we went to our first and I have thoughts on what we will do based on that.

     

    We will have it at a venue. Their party was at their house and it made me a nervous wreck. We have always done parties at home, so this will be the first one we have elsewhere.

    We will open gifts there.

    I would love to do cupcakes.  So much easier than cutting the cake.

     Will probably do it at a bounce house place.

    Not sure what the goody bags will be yet.

     We will definitely invite our other friends too.

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  • Last year when my daughter turned 3, we had the party at our home in the backyard.  A few weeks ago when she turned 4, we had the party at our local neighborhood park.

    We opened gifts during the party.  (Mostly for the guests.)

    Last year we only had a cake.  This year we had both.

    We've done treat bags both times.  They consist of a bunch of little toys, treats and stickers.  (One party DD went to gave away personalized Pottery Barn Kids backpacks filled with school items like notebooks, pencils, erasers, etc.  Can you imagine the cost?  Can't ever imagine us taking that route! LOL)

    Last year we had a bounce house.  This year we took advantage of the playground options and best of all...they were FREE.

    This year we invited one classmate (I'm very friendly with the mom outside of school so I personally gave them an invite) and the rest were friends and family. Last year was just friends, family and our next door neighbors and their kids who our daughter was very close with. 

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  • imageMrs Manners:

    They had it at their home (the last two we were invited to were at other venues). Will you have your dc's party at home or at some other venue (where?)? WE DO NOT HAVE PARTIES AT HOME TYPICALLY - ALWAYS AT A VENUE AND DIFFERENT VENUES BASED ON KID INTEREST.

    They didn't open gifts during the party. How did you handle this? I HAVE NEVER BEEN TO A KID PARTY WHERE THE KID ACTUALLY OPENED THE GIFTS. IT'S NOT DONE AROUND HERE. I'M NOT SURE WHAT YOU MEAN BY "HANDLE THIS"? 

    They had cupcakes instead of a cake. The kids loved it. Did you do a cake or cupcakes? DEPENDS ON THE VENUE. SOME VENUES HAVE INCLUDED ICE CREAM CAKE, CAKE OR CUPCAKES.

    What did you do as treats or parting gifts?  They did a Pez dispenser that was like the Cars party theme. I GIVE A GIFTCARD. USUALLY TO BARNES & NOBLE. MUCH EASIER FOR ME.

    Did you have any kind of entertainment? Eg. Bounce house, activities. NO ENTERTAINMENT SINCE IT'S AT A VENUE.

    Did you have just classmates or did you also have other friend's kids and family? NO FAMILY, BUT CLASSMATES AND FRIEND'S KIDS.

    image Mommy to Barbara 11/8/05, Elisabeth 5/13/07, Loukas 12/23/08 and Lazarus 09/25/12
  • We do at home parties (water games in the back yard) for our summer kid and venue parties for the winter kid.   The home based parties that I've been to always end up with all the kids divided up into different rooms and running all over the place.  Where we live most kids have a play room in the basement, food/kitchen/parents on the main floor and everyone wanting to see the birthday kid's room upstairs so they divide and spread pretty quickly.  I prefer to keep them more focused into one area and one task together just to foster more interaction amongst all of the kids and parents.

    No gift opening for us either.  It's a mad house and all the kids want to play with everything immediately and this is not a good age for delayed gratification.  When they're older and have fewer guests and more maturity to understand that it's not all going to be immediately opened and played with we'll try opening during the party.  It's not uncommon to have full class parties and opening 15+ gifts at ages 3 and 4 is just an unruly zoo that usually ends up with at least one tantrum and several getting their fingers stepped on because it's just so many kids trying to crowd up in 1 place so they can all watch/touch/comment.

    We do cup cakes because I'm lazy.  I don't want to spend my time cutting cake.  We've never done ice cream and I don't really plan to but it's fairly common around here.

    We do goody bags filled with stuff from the dollar store or dollar bins at Target.  I stock up on stuff year around and have found good stuff like silly string, big bottles of bubbles, play doh and tattoos.  So far the biggest hit has been little pots with soil and seeds that the kids get to plant once they're home.   We try to stay away from sweet treats just because we don't do a lot with our kids. 

    For our summer kid we bought a combo wet/dry bounce house and water slide this year.  If you use it twice it's the same price as renting and we ended up using ours about 4-5 times last summer.  Before this year we did water balloons, slip and slides and sprinkler toys and the kids always have a blast.  When he's older we'll probably do pool parties at the local water parks or rec centers but for now it's too difficult because not all of the kids can swim and lord knows the moms don't want to have to put on a suit and get in with them at a party.

    For our winter kid we do a bounce house venue.  When he gets older we'll probably do the bowling alley, movie parties, sleep overs and then when he's got a few besties we'll take them up skiing (that's what we've done for our now 16 yr old).

    We do classmates now that they're in school as well as our close friends' kids that have been coming since they were babies.  As they get older we'll go more the direction of just the kids that they play most with at school but for now I've enjoyed it as a chance to get to know all of the kids in their classes and many of their parents. 

    Our IF journey: 1 m/c, 1 IVF with only 3 eggs retrieved yielding Dylan and a lost twin, 1 shocker unmedicated BFP resulting in Jace, 3 more unmedicated pregnancies ending in more losses.
    Total score: 6 pregnancies, 5 losses, 2 amazing blessings that I'm thankful for every single day.
  • We haven't hosted one yet since DS turned 3 a few weeks after school started, so he didn't know anyone yet.  But since then, we've been to a couple of his classmates.  They were all held at an outside venue. 

    Neither one of them opened presents during the party.  That requires the guests to sit still and refrain from running towards the toys while the bday boy/girl is opening them.  It's kind of asking a lot for a toddler to do depending on how many guests there are.

    They gave out goodie bags with a few pieces of candy, crayons, temporary tatoos.  Honestly, I think the kids liked the balloon they got at the end the best.

    They were a mix of classmates and family friends.

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  • I have done home twice now for DD's parties with friends.  But I will say the vast majority we have been to have been at venues like kid gyms, pump it up, li'l monkey business and the like.  I pretty much go for what is convenient and when you have another LO who might be napping or need to nap, home is the most convenient.

    We didn't open gifts either.  First off, there is hardly any time.  2 hrs, maybe 3 is the max for DD and her set.  Second, kids at DD's age don't really have the patience to sit through opening a ton of presents.  Finally, kids that age are brutally honest so if she doesn't like something or we have another one or the like, it would be apparent and I'd rather not deal with the social clean-up associated with that. 

    I've done cake before but been to ones with cupcakes.  I prefer the grandoise presentation of a cake but really doesn't matter to the kids.  I've done ice cream too but always Dibs which are super easy to dispense and little to no cleanup.

    When DD's 3rd bday was safari themed, I gave a grab bag of stuff I'd picked up at the dollar bin and the like.  This year I let kids pick from a big tub of leftover party favors and gave each kid (really the parent) a mini bundt cake.  Those were a huge hit among the parents who I am sure ate them.  Think I'll go with the B&N GC like HarrietNJ does -- she is a wise woman and I have learned that that is likely the cheaper and easier way to go.

    We've had an animal lady come in with various animals including a wallaby and the Fun Bus (mobile kiddie gym).  Both were huge hits and saved me the time and stress of having to do activities.  

    I had a mix of both but that was easy as our family nearby has no kids her age.  If they didn't and DD was not close with them, they didn't get invited.   


    image
    DD -- 5YO
    DS -- 3YO

  • I haven't had a preschool class party for DD, but we went to one on Sat, here are the details:

    Michaels Craft store 10-11:30am

    The kids painted little wood boxes (they could choose.. mini coffins (boys liked them), jewelry boxes, star shaped box, etc)

    There was a bunch of free time where the kids got a little nuts, like running around and chasing and stuff.  No entertainment other than the craft, so it would have been nice if there was a little something extra for them to do

    The parents had snacks on a table, but it actually wasn't enough

    Paretns provided a cupcake tower

    Then the bday girl opened her gifts

    Prob a total of 8-10 kids

  • They had it at their home (the last two we were invited to were at other venues). Will you have your dc's party at home or at some other venue (where?)?  When DD turned 3 I had the party at the house.  I had a music theme and a "teacher" came and taught the kids songs/dances, ect.  It was nice because my house didn't get trashed because they were busy with the activity.  Next year, I will have it at a venue of some kind.

    They didn't open gifts during the party. How did you handle this?--Yes.  That may be a regional thing.  The other kids half watched and half played with toys while DD opened her gifts.  They were all excited when they saw her open the gift they brought.

    They had cupcakes instead of a cake. The kids loved it. Did you do a cake or cupcakes?--I did cupcakes...so easy!

    What did you do as treats or parting gifts? They did a Pez dispenser that was like the Cars party theme.--Each kid got a little tamborine and maraca...part of the theme.

    Did you have any kind of entertainment? Eg. Bounce house, activities.--see above

    Did you have just classmates or did you also have other friend's kids and family?--A few classmates that I knew the moms and the rester were friends/neighbors.

    DD~6 years old~born June 6, 2008 (1st grade)
    DS~4 years old~born November 6, 2010 (1st year of preschool)
  • They had it at their home (the last two we were invited to were at other venues). Will you have your dc's party at home or at some other venue (where?)?

    I had DD's last 2 birthday parties and will have her next one in December at our house.

    They didn't open gifts during the party. How did you handle this?

    No - we won't open gifts.  I have yet to attend a kids party where they opened gifts.

    They had cupcakes instead of a cake. The kids loved it. Did you do a cake or cupcakes?

    Haven't really given this much thought - I've seem both, whatever's easier I guess.

    What did you do as treats or parting gifts?  They did a Pez dispenser that was like the Cars party theme. 

    A little goody bag from the Party Store - some stickers, a little candy, a few cheapo toys - play sunglasses, kazoo, etc.

    Did you have any kind of entertainment? Eg. Bounce house, activities.

    No - they all seem pretty happy running around like maniacs.  I like the bounce house thing, but DD's party is in December, so it'll be hit or miss.  Every party I've been to with other "entertainment" usually requires some work from the parents and the kids don't give a hoot, so its silly to me.

    Did you have just classmates or did you also have other friend's kids and family? 

    We'll do the school kids plus other friends.

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  • We went to our first preschool birthday party for one of DD1's classmates last weekend. 

    It was at a venue (rec center party room), gifts were opened & it went fine, they had a cake, gave out Halloween-themed goodie bags (it was a costume party), and they had crafts like coloring, and making a ToT bag; and a costume contest (parents voted). Mostly, the kids chased each other around and played with the balloons. :)

    DD1's isn't until January. Right now I'm debating all of the details -- but I'm mostly concerned with how we decide on guests. If we invite her whole preschool class, that's 16 kids plus parents and possibly siblings -- and that would be a fairly pricey party at a venue unless it's one with a flat rate. I'm not sure I'm up to doing a party that big at home. 

    All our family is out of state and we only have a few friends with kids; this is the first year we've really considered a party with guests. Before it's just been DH, the girls and me at home and I decorate, make a cake, etc.  

    image

    DD1, 1/5/2008 ~~~ DD2, 3/17/2010
  • imagelite-bright:

     If we invite her whole preschool class, that's 16 kids plus parents and possibly siblings -- and that would be a fairly pricey party at a venue unless it's one with a flat rate. 

    FWIW - most venues are a flat rate for a set number of kids.

    For example - most bounce house places will run $200-ish for 25 kids - bring as many adults as you want.  Discounts often offered for week days.

    A class of 16 at a set rate venue probably wouldn't be a problem as most have an allowance of at least 20 kids and you figure you'll have some no RSVP's as well as a couple of siblings. 

    Our IF journey: 1 m/c, 1 IVF with only 3 eggs retrieved yielding Dylan and a lost twin, 1 shocker unmedicated BFP resulting in Jace, 3 more unmedicated pregnancies ending in more losses.
    Total score: 6 pregnancies, 5 losses, 2 amazing blessings that I'm thankful for every single day.
  • Where:  DS's birthday is in March, and I'm not sure yet if we will do it at home or at a venue.  We are in the process of moving to a new house that backs onto a private park, so I might wait until a few weeks before and see if the weather might be dry and warm enough for outdoors.  We went to our first preschool party this weekend at a bowling alley and DS had a blast! 

    Gifts:  We probably won't open gifts at the party...maybe only if it's at home, but definitely not at a venue.

    Dessert:  Probably cupcakes or cake/brownie pops

    Goodie Bags: Undecided...probably a variety.  Lollipops, stickers, mini Playdoh or a small toy

    Entertainment:  If it's at home, the park will be the entertainment...if venue, that is the entertainment.

    Kids:  Mostly kids from our mom group and neighborhood, and probably one or two from preschool.  DS doesn't really talk about other kids at school (no real "friends" yet), but there are a few moms that I like so I might invite them and their children.

    image
    image

  • We had their 3rd bday party (and will have the 4th in about 5 weeks) at a neighborhood park. So, built-in entertainment. :)

    We did open gifts at the end of the party last year, but most of the people were gone already. I don't plan to this year, because the party will be earlier in the day, so people may linger longer.

    We have always done cupcakes (I like doing lots of flavors, and this way the boys each get their "own" cake) but this year I'm doing a cake. I will probably still do 3 cupcakes for the boys.

    We did cookies as favors last year, and will do the same this year.

    Last year was just friends and their kids and family, this year will be all of their classmates + the other kids.

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  • They had it at their home (the last two we were invited to were at other venues). Will you have your dc's party at home or at some other venue (where?)? Last year was the first year we had a kids' party for DD1; we had it at our house with a Wonder Pets theme. The other parties we've been to have been a mix of homes and venues.

    They didn't open gifts during the party. How did you handle this? We've never been to a kids-only party where they opened gifts, so we didn't open gifts last year either. We do open gifts at family parties, though.

    They had cupcakes instead of a cake. The kids loved it. Did you do a cake or cupcakes? We had cupcakes for her kid party and cake for her family party. Cupcakes are easier for kids, imo, and they do love them.

    What did you do as treats or parting gifts?  They did a Pez dispenser that was like the Cars party theme. We did party bags with bubbles, Wonder Pets stickers and blow-outs, and maybe one other thing that I can't remember now.

    Did you have any kind of entertainment? Eg. Bounce house, activities. We had a bunch of games -- freeze dance, limbo, pin the W on the cape -- since we had a range of ages up to 8.

    Did you have just classmates or did you also have other friend's kids and family? We didn't have any classmates; we had some cousins, neighborhood kids, and friends' kids, and having to invite nine extra kids from school would have been way too many.

     

    I am still trying to decide what to do for her party this year, and I really need to get on it since her birthday is now less than a month away. We still always do a family party, and having to do a separate kids' party right at the start of the holiday craziness was a lot last year.

    Emily 11.29.2007 | Kate 4.3.2010 | James 8.22.2013
  • imagehowleyshell:
    imagelite-bright:

     If we invite her whole preschool class, that's 16 kids plus parents and possibly siblings -- and that would be a fairly pricey party at a venue unless it's one with a flat rate. 

    FWIW - most venues are a flat rate for a set number of kids.

    For example - most bounce house places will run $200-ish for 25 kids - bring as many adults as you want.  Discounts often offered for week days.

    A class of 16 at a set rate venue probably wouldn't be a problem as most have an allowance of at least 20 kids and you figure you'll have some no RSVP's as well as a couple of siblings. 

    Yeah, the problem I'm running into as I check out places (Zoo Lights, Jumpin' Jordy's, etc.) is that the number of kids included in the flat rate is often much lower than 16 -- more like 10 or 12. I'll look at some of the other places to see if I can find those with the higher guest count included, because 20 kids would be about right, I think. 

    image

    DD1, 1/5/2008 ~~~ DD2, 3/17/2010
  • 1. DD's party was at our community's former school.  It is a historic old school that was closed in the 60's due to consolidation.  My community has worked for years to restore it, and it makes a great party spot. The nice part is that it is free for anyone in the community to use.

    2. We opened presents at the end, because all of the little girls wanted to open them.  I was planning on waiting, but they were so excited that I wasn't going to say no.

    3. We had the kids decorate cupcakes, and then had a cake, too. 

    4. It was a Tangled themed party, so I sent them home with watercolor paints.

    5.  we had 4 planned activities, an impromptu balloon volleyball match, snacks, and no time to spare.  The activities were - coloring pages, decorating cupcakes, making party blowers, and making a mural (fingerpainting) on a large piece of paper taped to the wall.

    6 It was classmates and family.  Most of my family couldn't make it, so it was my inlaws, parents, and a friend of DH (this weekend also coincided with a hunting season). 

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  • 1. Since we have out backyard finally cleaned up we've been doing parties at the house. It keeps the kids more contained than a park and it's where I have everything at hand... I can relax more and enjoy than worry who's trashing what. We did do a large combined birthday party out of state this year at a "family fun center". It was a mess and I will NEVER do that again. The host kicked us out of the party area after a half an hour (we had paid for 2 hours), we didn't get our tickets, the area was small, kids running everywhere. Way more headache than it was worth.

     2. We normally don't open gifts.The children guests get bored easy with this, they'd rather play than see another child open gifts.

     3. I've done both. I don't care either way. I don't like "cupcake cakes" though. They look odd to me.

     4. Sometimes I do gift bags with little trinkets like crayons, note pads, hats, keepsake cups, etc. At the smaller ones I've hosted we did a pinata and the "gift" was the abundance of pinata candy.

    5. We'll probably do a bounce house next year but this past year we had the kiddie pool set up as well as the swing set. Kids that age seem to like running amok as opposed to having set activities.

    6. We always invite close family and friends. If we don't speak to classmates outside of school they are not invited. I'd prefer not to have nosy, judgemental parents at my home as I've seen at other parties.

     

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