February 12th, 2013 posted by Barbara Thomas
It’s summertime, and that means outdoor birthday parties. Hurrah! Parents of summer-born children are somewhat blessed, in that they seldom have to plan an indoor party, strategize to keep their furniture and carpets free from cake and ice-cream, and generally put up with the havoc a group of preschoolers creates indoors. But there are challenges to an outdoor party, too.
Here’s how to have a fantastic outdoor birthday bash:
1.) Let parents know that the party will be outdoors so they can dress their child appropriately. You don’t want anyone to show up in a fancy outfit that “can’t get dirty” or restricts their play. 2.) Have sunscreen and bug repellent handy; apply to the kids as they head outside. 3.) Have plenty of water on hand and encourage the kids to drink it. 4.) If you have preschool-age guests you may want to “remind” them to go inside and use the bathroom. 5.) The freedom of being outdoors tends to distract children from highly structured or organized games, but you can suggest traditional favorites such as Red Rover, Mother May I, Hide-and-Seek and Follow-the-Leader.
Many outdoor parties involve waterplay, which is great fun for all involved, but again, has its unique challenges. When playing with water:
1.) Again, tell parents in advance, and ask them to bring a towel. You’ll also save time if you ask parents to bring their child already dressed in their swimsuit, with or without street clothes on top. 2.) If you will have children in diapers attending, purchase a pack of Swimpers (maunufactured by Huggies. These diapers are specially made not to absorb water on the outside, but will keep urine (and worse) out of your pool. 3.) Of course you will need to supervise the children at all times during pool play. But a second (or more) adult is especially handy to help escort children to the bathroom, help them re-dress, and keep things running smoothly in general. If you have an above-ground or wading pool, a shallow pan filled with water can be placed next to the pool for swimmers to rinse their feet in. This will help keep grass and other yard debris out of the pool.
Food and Outdoor Parties
If you want to serve lunch, choose something (like sandwiches) that you can prepare ahead of time, to keep you from having to run in and out of the house. Or order a pizza! If you have plenty of helpers on hand you can barbecue, but children are such picky eaters…the time and trouble involved in barbecuing is seldom worth it. Serving cake and ice cream can be a bit tricky (and sticky) outdoors so you could subsitute: ice-cream sandwiches or bars, cupcakes, popsicles, slushies or sno-cones. Serve smaller portions since the goodies are likely to melt before your guests finish them. Outdoor play tends to get very vigorous, so your supervision is necessary to keep things from getting out of hand. You should also take a few minutes to childproof your yard /patio area before the guests arrive. Put gardening equipment in the garage, take down windchimes, move plants to another area, put any charcoal or lighter fluid out of reach, etc.