The need to better each year’s birthday party has gotten out of hand. Hiring halls, entertainers, petting farms and Build-A-Bear workshop visits – to name just a few – it’s racking up the expense of celebrating your child’s next milestone. Along with upping the ante for other parents and for the next birthday itself.
Getting back to basics will show you that children are as happy with very little as they are with grand gestures; just look at Christmas Day with the attention paid to cardboard boxes over the toys themselves!
Here’s some party essentials for having a tea party to remember.
The power of homemade
When it comes to catering for your tea party, preparing in advance will save you money and stress along with giving you the satisfaction of seeing people devour your food. You can prepare finger sandwiches the day before and if you have a cookie/biscuit cutter, you can make them into shapes to get the kids excited.
Other savoury winners include party sausages, carrot and celery sticks with a selection of dips, cheese cubes, a variety of crisps in little bowls dotted about the table and mini pizzas made on half muffins. For children over the age of five, it will be difficult to offer a healthy feast that will be eaten so keep things simple and as safe as possible to ensure your little guests leave feeling full and happy.
Cupcakes are a good shout if you have the time to prepare them and you really don’t need to be that creative with the icing and toppings, anything sparkly will do!
For the birthday cake itself, you can take inspiration from Pinterest (if you’re going all out and doing it yourself) or you can lean on the baking skills of a good friend or colleague, especially if they have the skills to make something really special!
A bigger crowd
If you’re inviting the whole class, which could be up to 30 children, you’ll need to make the most of the space your home has to offer. Bean bags will come in handy, along with cushions on the floor and borrowed chairs from anywhere you can get them.
Another idea for opening up your living space to accommodate a bigger crowd is with bi-fold doors allowing you to bring two rooms together as one large communal area as and when needed. Then, when the last party-goer has departed, you can get everything back to the way it was.
There’s always the option of having people come over early morning (say 10am) for games and snacks or afternoon at about 2pm after the children will have eaten. It does move itself away from the tea party theme, but it will lighten the amount of food preparation you need to do with a bigger guest list.
Old school games
Netmums gives some excellent suggestions that spark the imagination including:-
Grandmother’s footsteps – One person is Grandmother and they stand with their backs to everyone else. The rest of the group stands well back from her – between 15 and 20 feet. Everyone has to move closer to Grandmother when her back is turned. When she turns around, anyone who she sees still moving has to go back to the beginning. The person who catches up with Grandmother and taps her on the shoulder is the winner. They then become Grandmother and the game begins again.
Eat the jelly – A messy one best left to the end of the party! Make individual bowls of jelly with an animal toy inside. Then each child has to put their hands behind their backs, and get the animal out of the jelly. The first one to produce their animal wins the game.
Touch and Feel – Take a box, and put a different item in it each time. Ask the children to put their hand in the box and guess what it is. Keep your items simple and obvious to guess such as an orange, cotton wool, shoelaces and a hairbrush.
Plus, there’s always the classics of musical chairs, follow my leader and the all-important playing with actual tea pots and saucers filled with juice or imaginary tea!
At the end of your tea party, it is expected that the children will leave with a little party bag filled with small toys and sweeties along with a slice of the birthday cake. Getting these sorted can be done a week or two in advance (bar the birthday cake slice) so get this out of the way early. If you’re feeling a bit swish and the party numbers are low, you could take inspiration from cute little fillers from notonthehighstreet.
However, if you’re trying to keep costs down then hit your local supermarket where you’ll find a great selection of small animal or car toys perfect for little party bags and some sweets on offer to distribute between the bags. Badges are also a good call, along with stickers and small notebooks and colouring books. Try to set a budget for each bag keeping about five spare just in case of unexpected guests – those annoying parents who did not RSVP!
What are your Children’s Tea Party ideas? How do you get back to basics to celebrate your child’s birthday?
* This is a collaborative post