Any­thing but child’s play

The Tribune (NZ) - - FRONT PAGE - RICHARD MAYS

Plan­ning kids’ par­ties in the Pinterest age is any­thing but child’s play.

To as­sist wary, and weary, par­ents manag­ing ex­pec­ta­tions and Frozen-theme fa­tigue, New Zealand’s first Kids’ Birth­day Party Expo is on in Palmer­ston North for two days this week.

It in­tends to show­case cre­ative and con­tem­po­rary easy-to-or­gan­ise ideas for cel­e­brat­ing chil­dren’s birth­days and mak­ing them mem­o­rable.

It was the brain­child of Palmer­ston North woman Emma An­der­son, the re­sult of one of those ‘wouldn’t it be good if there was...’ mo­ments.

‘‘When I be­came a mum I re­alised how time-con­sum­ing it was look­ing for party ideas, and how the costs add up.’’

An­der­son has two boys, Ro­man, 5, and Vin­cent, 4.

‘‘I have al­ways loved creating unique par­ties for my kids. I am not pro­claim­ing to be the best, but I have as much fun dur­ing the plan­ning process as the kids have on the day.’’

She sat on her idea for a few months, shar­ing it around a few friends.

‘‘In our Pinterest and In­sta­gram gen­er­a­tion, many fam­i­lies can be in­tim­i­dated by high ex­pec­ta­tions on what a child’s birth­day party could look like.

‘‘I now know that there are plenty of mums just like me - and it’s dif­fi­cult for busy par­ents who love to cel­e­brate their chil­dren, to find all the op­tions in one place.’’

An­der­son gave up her po­si­tion as a fundraiser for Aro­hanui Hospice in Fe­bru­ary to con­cen­trate on the project.

She used her event or­gan­is­ing back­ground to bring to­gether a se­lec­tion of lo­cal and na­tional sup­pli­ers pro­vid­ing a va­ri­ety of prod­ucts and ser­vices that range from catering, dec­o­ra­tions and pho­tog­ra­phy, to sta­tionery, en­ter­tain­ment and venues.

Among the ex­hibitors were a num­ber of start-up ven­tures go­ing pub­lic for the first time.

Christchurch blog­ger Ger­ar­dine Bax­ter, from My Kids Party, will be run­ning four free half-hour work­shops daily be­tween 10am and 4pm, cov­er­ing party games, food op­tions, DIY dec­o­ra­tions, and recre­at­ing trend­ing par­ties on a bud­get.

Expo en­ter­tain­ment at the Palmer­ston North Con­fer­ence and Func­tion Cen­tre will in­clude a bouncy cas­tle, mas­cot char­ac­ter guests, and a Satur­day af­ter­noon dance per­for­mance.

PHOTO: DAVID UNWIN/STUFF

Kids Party Expo con­venor Emma An­der­son with her son Ro­man An­der­son, 5, in the ball pit at Lol­lipops Play­land, one of the ex­hibitors at the Kids’ Party Expo.

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