Monday, October 29, 2012

My 10 ingredients for a top party.

This weekend past marked a couple of very important anniversaries for me and farmer Bren as parents. Together we threw our third and final five year old's farm party which happened to also be the 25th party we have celebrated with our girls and their friends.

Twenty five!! Crazy huh.

And as I've been sitting here downloading the photos and enjoying the calm before the next storm in two weeks, I've also been thinking about what I've learnt over time, about my top ten ingredients for a successful and FUN kid's birthday party.

1. Theme.
I like a theme. I like that it sets the mood before the party even starts and often gives a bit of an exciting clue as to what the party will be and what to wear. Over the years we've had spotty parties, cupcake parties, rock star parties, Jazzy once begged for a poo party but I said no, make-over parties, slumber parties and so many more.

2. Invitation.
Unfortunately I forgot to take a pic of Miss Pepper's sheep invitation (I did post one to instagram tho if you want to check it out), but we always make our own invitations. Mostly we draw a picture and colour them in and write the details on the back. My kidlets get so excited for their parties and making the invites feels like we are actually doing something rather than just sitting back waiting for them to arrive.

3. Craft activity.
Let's face it, I like a good crafty activity and so most of our parties start with something to make while we wait for everyone to arrive. On the weekend we painted flower pots and in the past we've done nail polish, decorated treasure boxes, tote bags and iced cupcakes. Mostly the item they decorate ends up being their take home gift too.

4. Tractor ride.
Well to be honest this was the first tractor ride we have ever done at one of our parties, but my goodness those kiddies loved it. They sat back in a pile of hay, got a tour of our farm and sang farm songs the whole way. 

I guess number four is really about doing something that celebrates the party's theme.

5. Free time.
We always have a long list of activities planned but love it most when the party goes off script. When the kids just go off and do their own thing and enjoy being together.

6. Big kids.
My big girls have finally gotten to the stage where they can happily run a party. I can't tell you how awesome it was to watch Indi and Jazzy take turns explaining the games and making it all happen. It also reminded me of when I used to run my sisters' parties growing up and how much fun that was.

7. Their faves.
Miss Pepper wanted a pinata. When we sat down and wrote the games list she couldn't stop talking about how much fun the pinata at Mimi's party had been and how much she wanted one for her own. 

We made the woolly sheep pinata by covering a balloon with strips of newspaper soaked in watered down glue. Once it was dry we popped the balloon, filled the paper ball with treasure, made little legs from toilet rolls and then covered the entire thing with cotton wool balls.

8. Our faves.
I like that we do old fashioned parties at home. I like that they are pretty low key but loads of fun. And I like that they are an opportunity to play some of the games of our childhoods. Three legged races, sack races, follow the leader, statues and egg and spoon races all made an appearance. Pass the parcel did not (thank goodness).

9. A yummy cake.
Chosen and planned by the birthday girl. In this case it was banana cake covered in chocolate ganache (mud) with plastic animals. And it all went which is always an added bonus.

10. Besties.
We like to have a friend or two stay behind after the party has finished to help open the prezzies, to play with the prezzies to finish off the cake and to continue the fun. Otherwise everyone goes home and its all over just like that.

So how about you?
Do you have special ingredients that you always add to make a great party?
What was the best themed party you ever threw/went to?
What's your fave party game?
Do you have a party season at your place or are they spread out over the year?

Party on dudes.


  1. great list!

    i especially like #10 - i had never thought of doing that, then a few weeks ago my son was the bestie that got to stay after the party and join in the family celebrations, it was awesome for him + I bet for the birthday boy too.

  2. Oh they are all so cute arent they. I think I would love the tractor ride too. Your pinata looks fantastic Kate. I bet they all went home very happy that day. Miss Pepper is 5 already, I cant believe it. They grow up so quickly dont they, and before you know it you will be planning all 3 teenager parties!

  3. I've only ever done 1 birthday party (so far) and we had a red theme, everyone wore red including the adults, all the decor was red, food was red (although I drew the line at red drinks, and had red cups instead), The kids all played with red playdough and played red rover! Next year is the big 5, and he wanted a zombie party!, but has changed his mind to angry birds... That will be much better me thinks!! I love this list, Kate. The party looks like it was a blast :)

  4. We have had a teddy bear picnic party, dinosaur party, footy party (heaps of fun and really easy), fairy party and once I even gave into the begging and was like everyone else and had a McDonalds party- but I made the cake.

  5. Wonderful photos once again Kate! There really is nothing like an at home party and they are especially fun when everyone is involved in the preparation. Really helps to build up the excitement! Love the sheep pinata! Love your number 10 too, I'd never thought of that but it;s always great when it naturally happens.

  6. I'm taking notes Kate! 25 parties, you sure have some wonderful experience and I'm sure many wonderful memories. I'm thinking of a Lego party for dear Cohen this year. Almost four, he is obsessed and I think nothing would make him happier. We have previously had a circus and a dinosaur party. Any suggestions for Emerson's first party? It will be my first girls party. xx

  7. that party looks amazing! My hubby and I are moving our kids to live on property next year, and i can't wait to throw a farm party! yay! the tractor ride would have been a hoot even for the adults xx

  8. That looks like an awesome party! Love the 1st photo with the little kiddies all lined up.

    PS: I'd like to invite to join the Bosisto's giveaway at my blog, I have 4 lavender packs up for grabs here:

  9. Looks like so much fun! Our parties growing up always were jam packed full of good old fashioned party games, my mum was the best at parties! So now any party we have is always themed, and full of all those games, the kids love it so much, though boy does it take it out if you..x

  10. Loved reading your hints about parties, and as I'm reading through I'm thinking, yes, yes we do that, yes, same, yes, then I got to number 10 and I thought what a brilliant idea ... I've never, ever thought of that, and you're right there's such an abrupt end to it all and I love the idea of a bestie staying behind a bit longer. Our little people's parties are finished for the year, but I'll save this idea up. Thanks Kate!!

  11. Yay, go the home party! I also have three little girls and would never pay a 'party fairy' to run all the games - that's the best bit! Although, I do like a party at a park with a playground too, for extra entertainment if the games run out (but then, we don't live on a farm!)

  12. What a treat and a delight. Just love the tractor ride. You certainly know how to throw a party:)

  13. What an amazing party this was for Pepper. It looked like so much fun!!! Your cake was just so precious, I loved the theme. Such a nicer party by having it at home and and homemade rather than taking the kiddies to a pizza place or someplace where so much money has to be spent that the purpose of the party is lost. And I LOVE the idea of having a bestie stay behind to continue the celebration. You two are amazing parents and your girls are so lucky to have you both.
    Much love,

  14. I love the Bestie idea too, looks like a wonderful day, what's not to love about a tractor ride?

  15. what a timely list this is! I'm sending out invitations tomorrow for my daughter's 5th birthday party in a few weeks. She loves anything rainbow, so at this stage the theme will be along those lines, but I do get a bit annoyed by all the picture perfect theme parties I see on perfect mummy blogs (you know the sort I mean?!)so the theme will be rather 'fluid'! This is the first proper kids party I've done though, with real mates. Do you have a favoured time of day for your parties? I'm thinking of having this one at 3pm, as everyone seems to have stuff to do, on Saturday mornings, and in these lovely pre summer daylight saving days, it might be okay to go a bit late... I have no idea really! But I am looking forward to doing the whole party thing. Thanks so much for such valuable tips!

    1. We've been throwing our parties from 1-3 lately.
      That gives us the morning to get organised and is after lunch so we only have to provide snacks.
      Also I find that any later and the kids are too tired.
      I hope the rainbow party is wonderful Broni.

    2. I think you are probably spot on... dammit, my daughter took the invitations with 3-5 on them to transition school today... oh well, it's a learning experience this parenting isn't it!! now, how to deal with those tired/sugared-up kids...

  16. How fun does all that look!!!?? Lucky kiddos!
    You are such a fun mom! :)

  17. It sure would help to have an actual farm when theming a farm party! That looks awesome! x

  18. Tractor rides are still a hit here even at eleven and twelve. We used to do number 10 until it caused a huge falling out with a couple of non-invitees, results still being felt 18 months later! Ouch...

  19. Oh I love it all!
    I always love doing themed parties for my kids, but we havn't had one in a while. We've decided to have a halloween party/family bbq this weekend so all the kids can dress up and have fun! I'm looking forward to it

    You do such a great job with your parties!
    The kids look like they had a ball!

    Rach x

  20. Love it Kate, looks like so much fun. We keep parties pretty low key at our house. Usually our farmer neighbours visit for morning smoko. We have sausages rolls & cake and the kids play in the garden. I always make the cake...we have had a cake very similar to Pepper's in previous years, it is simple but so cute.

  21. Hi Kate, I really enjoy your blog, your life is so like mine but with three boys and no camera! We are on an organic dairy. I was wondering if you had any ideas for handmade Christmas gifts for teachers. Thanks Vickie

    1. Get a camera and start a blog Vickie, I would so love to read it.
      And for teachers I mostly give them a jar of jam, a pot plant or a bag of bikkies the girls have helped make.

    2. Thanks Kate, I've been too scared to start a blog, I'll have to get some tips and give it a go, I'll link you in to my first one. Thanks for the gift ideas.......and the little shove! Vickie

  22. You throw great parties! It reminds of the parties i had as a little girl...especially that cake - I had one very similar to it for my 4th or 5th birthday.
    You have very lucky girls and sound like a great Mum!

  23. I love this party, she looks like she is having a blast. I love your ideas and I think you are making wonderful memories here.

  24. The smiles on the little girls faces just says it all. I love a 'do it yourself' party, and it kind of breaks my heart how many parents just want to pay someone else to do it all for them. I get great joy from throwing my little girls parties, but i must admit you do it so much better! I have taken notes for next year.

  25. One year, we made lanterns from sticks found in the bush and tissue paper (the wrapping kind, not the nose blowing kind!!), hung each lantern on a longer stick and took the kids on a twilight lantern walk. It was soooo lovely and the kids thought it was fab fun. When we got home, we hung the lanterns (still lit) on the gate, so parents could see them all. It was quite a gorgeous gate for a while there!

  26. Oh why have I not been keeping upwith your posts!? I was about to comment on your beautiful dream post when I scrolled down and found this one.... BEST party post ever I declare. Both my girls have had parties at my parent Mt duneed farm and tractor rides with a trailor full of hay bails has been the highlight for both! We managed horse rides for my eldest and of course apple bobbing and egg and spoon races AND of course the farm yard plastic animal cake!! (with green coloured coconut for grass, blah) I LOVE your sheep pinata and have tucked the idea away for similar goat pinata next year. Absolutely gorgeous, old fashioned, gumboot and dirt filled little girl's party Kate! :)

  27. Simple party is very nice. I like the way of having the party more special and find some ways on how to make it happen.

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