Tag Archives: Party Bags

Birthday Party for a 4 Year Old Boy. Part 3. The sundries, the party bags, the entertainment…

23 Jun

I’m not sure when children’s birthday parties turned from a very easy to organise group playdate (in my childhood), to the angst ridden ‘ I have to throw my child the best party ever’ type of even that sends even the most cool and collected mother into overdrive.  I don’t recall the party bags of my childhood containing much more than a bag of sweets, a balloon and a piece of cake, yet now parents are so anxious that their child’s party is success, I have known mothers that have spent several hundreds of pounds, paying for entertainers, handmade luxury cakes and party bags containing gifts that rival the type of gifts the child might receive. 

So now, I would like to urge you to quell those fears that might send you on a midnight supermarket extravaganza, take a deep breath, and stop the madness!  Easier said than done I know.  I too have ‘over gifting’ and ‘over-catering’ urges, that I have to keep in check.  But it is possible. And lets face it, all the children usually want, is to run around together and a bit of chocolate. 

Party Invite


Invites. We made ours this year. Not because I am a mad keen crafting mummy. Simply because I couldn’t find invites in our chosen theme (Disney cars) and a had a box of stickers and an afternoon to kill. The recipients loved them, especially as each invite contained their name.  A morning occupied and a job completed. Result! 

The Party Table


Firstly the decor of the table. I really am not keen on being over-themed at a party. You know. Your child likes a toy. You buy the tablecloth, the plates, the cups, the hats etc. To my eye, it’s all a bit busy. I don’t mind buying one or two things, but it can add a lot to your bill to get everything in the one theme, and once the table is laden with food, nobody can see all that branding anyway.  I prefer to opt for plain old paper banqueting roll (more eco than plastic), then maybe one thing (like plates) in the party theme. 

Balloons. I usually order 2 or 3 helium balloons that i use to make a birthday ‘throne’ for the party girl or boy, then a big bag of multi-coloured balloons (or single colour theme if you prefer). 

Party games 

For Davids party this year I was lucky enough to have good weather so most of the games were abandoned as the kids played in the garden.  But just in case you are not so lucky, here are a few ideas aside from the ubiquitous (and almost compulsory) pass the parcel. 

  • Ice your own biscuit. Buy plain biscuits (I like shortbread), then leave icing and sprinkles on the table for the kids to decorate their own
  • Ice your own cupcake. As above but with buttercream icing and plain un-iced cupcakes
  • Make an edible  necklace. Use liquorice as the string, and thread with cheerios or hula hoops
  • Face painting. Rope in older children and any available adults to paint the childrens faces.  I am pretty hopeless at it, yet the kids still love it.
  • Treasure hunt. Either make a trail with clues for older ones, or simply hide fun-size sweets then get the kids to find them
  • Pin the tail on the donkey. An old scarf can be the blindfold, and you can draw the donkey on some paper in advance with the kids
  • My childhood favourite. The mars bar game. Get the children into small groups of about 6. Lay out hat scarf, gloves etc. Also lay out a chocolate bar (like a mars) on a plate with a knife, and fork. Get the children to throw the dice in turn. When they get a six, they have to dress up, then cut into the chocolate bar before they can eat that piece. While they are racing to do this, the others furiously throw the dice in turn, trying to get a six. If they are successful, the person dressing up has to stop and pass the clothes on to the new winner.  This game kept us occupied for hours as kids.

Party Bags 

Like I said, these seem to have got out of hand.  While I admire the generosity of some parents, I can’t also help feeling some guilt about the amount of landfill these bags filled with 5 minute gifts often contain.  I therefore tend to try to opt for something that might get some use before ending up in the bin.  I also hate plastic bags, which again will end up in landfill. So I either get paper bags that we decorate ourselves, or this year I simply wrapped the party ‘prizes’ in plain paper and decorated with stickers. 

One good option (although more popular with parents than kids I fear) is books. If you choose a retailer like The Book People, and buy a set of books that you split up, add a balloon, some chocolate and the cake, and you have organised a lovely, useful and fairly eco-friendly gift. 

This year I put the following in Davids Party presents 

  • Colouring book (in party theme)
  • Bubbles (also in party theme)
  • Balloon
  • Kinder chocolate and biscuit

Probably not the most exciting gift in the world, but hopefully one that might get some use and some smiles, before retiring to the landfill site. So that’s me done. Luckily our party season is now over until February, so I can relax, and pick up a few more ideas for next year from other busy mums. 

Please post your thoughts and comments too. I am always on the lookout for new ideas and shortcuts.