On Saturday, a group of twelve ~10 year olds descended on the local shopping centre in Perth to surreptitiously play a Birthday game for our Miss 10.
This year, we were wracking our brains trying to think of a party that was cheap, unique, fun for both boys and girls and could be held indoors in case the weather was bad. Miss 10 had ideas of an indoor sports or circus party, but it didn’t fit all our criteria. With more brainstorming and surfing the web, we stumbled across Amazing Race type birthday parties.
We ended up buying a Birthday Party pack from Chase Games, a website that has made up various Amazing Race type games. We ended up choosing the Mall Photo Chase. This game is basically like a treasure hunt, except you have to take photos of team members doing certain things or photos of certain objects/situations.
The pack is great value – it comes with rules, envelopes, score sheets, and the goals for the teams too. Wifey and I tailored the game a bit for the 10 year olds and our group. We used 3 fixed rounds of 15 minutes, we changed some of the goals to make them a little “safer” and Australian, and we let the adult supervisors tick off goals as we went.
So we gathered at our meeting spot, announced the teams, went through all the rules and handed out the digital camera and then unleashed the 4 teams of 3 into suburban Saturday afternoon shopping mayhem. We also had an adult for each team providing supervision, and also to be the adult in case they got into trouble.
And boy did they have fun! The kids had a ball trying to find all the goals. My team, even though we were lagging behind in the first 2 rounds, eventually won by getting all the round 3 goals which were worth much more.
Even the adults had heaps of fun, sharing stories of how the teams got certain photos (like of a team mate on TV!). Overall we found that most shoppers and shopkeepers were friendly and co-operative.
All the kids had heaps of laughs afterwards going through all the photos. Although, it did bring up points of contention and accusations of cheating!!
I definitely recommend this as a party option – although you need to be prepared, and if the kids are young (pre-teen), it’s best to have some adult supervision for each group.
Tips for other people:
Check that the shopping centre allows photography (look at the rules). We did have a backup plan – if security did want us to stop taking photos, we were going to continue as if it was a treasure hunt, but without taking the photos.
Make sure kids don’t run or disrupt other shoppers. Last thing you want is to attract unnecessary attention.
Make sure kids always ask for permission before photographing strangers.
Be prepared to explain what you are doing to security!
Last month, we hosted a Hawaiian themed party for our daughter. As per usual, we did some research on the internet and read up some party books on Hawaiian and pool themes. Here is what we ended up doing.
Our 7yo was invited to a Jedi party last weekend. Having 2 girls, we panicked when our daughter wanted to dress up for it. We just don’t have any Star Wars dress up clothes or lightsabers in the house at all!
Luckily someone suggested to use a karate outfit, so with a bit of googling, brown dance pants, black boots, a karate outfit and one of my Wifey’s brown belts, she looked quite good! As for the lightsaber, I found articles on the web on how to construct your own out of all sorts of things like reticulation popup heads and stuff. With only 30 minutes to prepare, luckily we had an old wooden sword lying around, so we wrapped that up with wrapping paper. Only later did I realise we had dressed her as one of the “goodies” but given her a red lightsaber which is for the “baddies”!!!
It was funny to hear stories from other parents on dressing their kids. It seemed that the boys in the class were very particular about clothing and era, choosing specific parts from the movies. It seemed that the New Trilogy was the flavour of the day with Anakin from the end of Episode 3 being a favourite with the boys.
Our 9yo was invited to a “scary” birthday party the other week. We asked her what she’d like to dress up as and she suggested a ghost!
OK, simple – a white bed sheet.. but also, a problem from a logistics point of view – did we have a white bed sheet that we were willing to cut holes in?? Luckily my parents had a spare sheet that we could donate to the “dressing up” box.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t convince my daughter or wife to remove the witch’s hat. I asked, “have you ever seen a ghost wear a witch’s hat?” Well… a rhetorical question since we’ve never seen a ghost or a witch. Is it a ghost of a witch or a ghost that is trying to be a witch? 🙂
On the weekend, the kids had a sleep over party with some relatives and a friend. Our little family of four suddenly became a large group of seven! It sure did seem like a good idea at the time 🙂
Judging by the amount of running, screaming, singing, dress ups and general mess that was made, I think they all had a good time. Wifey and I did comtemplate once during the weekend if this is what it would be like with 5 kids. (Note to self – need to save up for another TV – one TV is not enough to share between seven people.)
Luckily the kids are now old enough that I can get them to pack most of the debris up themselves.