Sorry, I didn’t make it to the computer yesterday – I was binding off my shawl and there was no way I could stop. It’s soaking in the sink now, I’ll share pictures when it’s dry!
I wanted to tell you what we did for Kaya’s birthday party last weekend.
When we were thinking of having a little do (the first one – birthdays no. 1, 2 and 3 were all family affairs), I googled for ideas. But all that came up were village halls and bouncy castles. We’ve been to some lovely birthday parties for Kaya’s friends that were held in halls with lots of children, but I was after something smaller, at home.
Space here is limited, so I applied a rule I remember from my own childhood: to invite as many guests as you have years. We tweaked this a bit, because of little siblings and Kaya not being able to make up his mind who to invite. In the end he chose to invite this two best buddies from kindergarten (plus their little sisters) and his godfather.
I planned two activities: making rolls and making crowns. A lot of the preparation could be done beforehand, which even left me an hour of knitting before everyone arrived!
For the rolls I made a batch of dough (the Easter bread from Baking Bread with Children,
one of our favourites) and put out some nuts and raisins for decoration in little bowls.
For the crowns I cut a couple of crown shapes from A4 card, and punched a hole in either end. We had wax crayons and stickers, and felt letters to glue on for decoration. I had some elastic thread ready to fit the crowns to their king’s head.
The day before the party, we baked the cakes. Kaya has a photo album from his naming ceremony when he was a baby, for which I made a huge amount of decorated fairy cakes. That’s just what he wanted!
We walked to the sugarcraft shop together, and he chose pirate muffin cases, star-shaped cutters and red icing. He did all the mixing for the cakes, and cut out most of the stars, so these were really his cakes.
We left a few of them icing-free, for the younger children.
We also prepared a game I remember from way back when; Topfschlagen in German. I’m not sure what the English name is, ‘pot hitting’??
Basically, a child is blindfolded and given a wooden spoon. Then somebody places a pot upside down, with a little present underneath, somewhere in the room. The child has to move around, tapping the floor, until he finds the pot – the others coax him in the right direction.
Kaya loved our ‘dry practise’ with the pot (without presents) in the morning. That kept him busy for quite some time, hiding the pot himself and then tapping all over the house to ‘find’ it!
With all that preparation done, you can only wait for the guests to arrive and then go with the flow.
I had limited the party to an hour and a half on the invitations, but of course everyone arrived a little late and stayed much longer.
When the children arrived, nobody wanted to make rolls. So I just popped them in the oven and the children could take them home to eat in the end, along with their crowns, note books, pencils and bubbles.
The crowns were a big hit with the boys and the younger children too (and the mums). One of the guests was not so keen to join in the games, so it was quite a good thing to have the colouring pencils out, and have a few toys ready.
Sorry about this rather lengthy post, but I hope it might give you some ideas if you ever find yourself planning a birthday party for a 4-year-old.