No-stress kids’ party
I HAVE a parenting secret, it’s a good one. I have a sneaky way to put on a marvellous kid’s birthday party that almost no one follows: it’s called the zero-effort birthday party. At first I didn’t want to share it with anyone because the genius of the zero-effort birthday party is that in a world full of play centres and expensive children’s entertainment, the zero-effort birthday party (which is a super cheap option) stands out as unique and memorable. But, I’ve been convinced to show you how I do it by my editor and since she’s my boss, well, let’s just say I like to keep her happy. Okay. The zero-effort birthday party. Here’s how it works. Step one Find a local playground that your kids enjoy visiting. It needs to have some novelty factor though. So, you don’t want the normal playground you pop into every weekend when the kids need some fresh air. You want the one in the next suburb that you stop into every now and again to mix things up. I suggest choosing a playground that has toilets. Because nothing spells birthday disaster like a poosplosion, you know what I’m saying? In an ideal world, the playground is gated, meaning the level of required supervision of the small people drops significantly. Step two Send out your invitations. But, do it by email. I can see you frowning as you’re reading this. Email invitations? Isn’t that rude? No. It’s not. I went to a wedding two years ago after being invited through a Facebook event. The world is changing, friends. Embrace it. If you’re feeling really 21st Century, send the invite by text message. I have legit done this, and I was pretty chuffed with my efforts to say the least. I strongly recommend a morning party. I have two very good reasons for this. One: your child won’t be hyped up all day in anticipation of the party. Two: you don’t have to organise heaps of food, which leads meto… Step three Organise the catering. If you have wisely chosen to hold your party in the morning (10am-noon is more than enough time to be partially responsible for 20 screaming children, in my view) all you need to supply is a platter of fruit and some carrot sticks, rice crackers and hummus. If you’re really into zero-effort, and friends I am, then I recommend you get fruit that doesn’t require chopping. Strawberries, mandarins, bananas, grapes (for the older kids). Step four The cake. Ohhhhhhh, the cake. Here’s the thing; kids don’t care what it looks like, they just want to get that sugary goodness into their gobs. You know it’s true, don’t deny it. I recommend getting a Sara Lee slab cake from the freezer section, a tub of chocolate frosting and a box of smarties. Decorate as you see fit. This year, I got really fancy and tried to make my son a Lego brick. (I had some spare time on my hands.) It wasn’t exactly the most attractive cake in the world, but it tasted good and the kids were pretty excited. Step five Step five isn’t really a step so much as a list of all the things you do not have to do. Organise games. You’re at a playground. The entertainment has already been provided by your local government. You get to sit back and sip a latte while the kids amuse themselves. Thank you democracy. Organise balloons and decorations. You’re in nature. Out in the world. What do you need a balloon for? Organise party bags. They’re either full of sugar or full of cheap toys that will inevitably go in the bin at some point. Do the environment and your health a favour and don’t even bother. Organise a meal. Hello. You’re at a playground for morning tea. A bit of cake and cup of apple juice is all you need. Take out a second mortgage. The zero-effort birthday party is cheap as chips. Hooray! For more, visit www.kidspot.com.au.
NO FRILLS BUT PLENTY OF THRILLS: You don’t need to take out a second mortgage if you host a zero-effort birthday party.