I have planned a fair number of children’s birthday parties over the years. However, after 18 months of Covid, I’m a bit out of practice. This weekend’s last-minute party reflected that (if we managed to have a very good time nonetheless).
My 12-year-old wanted to do something with a few friends. That sounded fairly low key. He really wanted to go to an arcade, but we knew a few folks would be uncomfortable with that, so then my thought was to get some kids together for a backyard nerf gun war. But then the weather looked a little iffy for Friday (the storm wound up hitting Thursday, but this was unclear ahead of time…) We had casually discussed the idea of a video game truck, and he told me Tuesday that’s what he really wanted to do, so I got online and searched for reservations.
Of course, booking something on Tuesday for Friday inevitably means that less is available. I finally found a company that called me back Wednesday morning and said they could come to our house on Friday. Great! I texted all the friends’ parents and was planning on that.
Then, while I was at back-to-school night on Wednesday, the company called me back and said they just could not get anyone to work on Friday. So, what did I want to do? They turned out to have a later Saturday night slot available (which they could tack on after a previous party so they knew they had staff), so I quickly grabbed that. And then texted everyone again to see if they could please come to the new time.
Fortunately, it wound up working out. One kid had to come a little later but we also got a new person who hadn’t been available for Friday. My other older kids each invited a friend too (it was billed as a big truck…) and we set out snacks in the garage. The kids loved it. As a pre-teen birthday idea, I have to say this is one of the better ones. The truck (45 feet long!) parked on the street in front of our house, and had four big screens for multi-player games. People could go in and out as they wished (to retrieve snacks and drinks since they were masked in the truck) but most stayed in much of the time. So I’d call that a win.
Of course, my stress level on Wednesday when I realized I needed to move my already last-minute planned party was pretty high. So…I’m working on getting my daughter’s party planned a wee bit earlier.
What’s been your favorite kid birthday party concept? We have done several Chuck E. Cheese iterations over the years, and Bounce U and the like, which all get the job done. For my eldest’s fourth birthday we had a party at the American Museum of Natural History, which was pretty cool as these things go. We also once brought four kids to a Phillies game. I have only done the backyard thing once, mostly because it involves a lot more activity planning than I really have in me….
In other news: I’d classify having a 45-foot game truck parked in front of our house as the week’s “little adventure.” This weekend’s “big adventure” was going to the PA Renaissance Faire on Sunday. Just like the game truck, this was a hit for big and little kids alike. We saw jousting and the four older kids all got to practice shooting arrows. I did not dress up in a medieval saucy wench costume, however…maybe someday ha ha. I think the people-watching alone could have kept me entertained for hours.
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