Friday, 30 March 2012

A birthday party at home? I must be mad!

I haven't had a party at home for the children for years. I just didn't feel we had the space, particularly when trying to amuse a lot of boys who want to throw themselves around. But then, we got a chance to try out a home-based party.

You might remember we reviewed some Sand Art kits earlier this year. We were also offered the chance to review one of their parties. With Monkey's birthday coming up, I asked him if he was interested in holding one for his birthday this year. To my surprise, he said yes - I think it's testament how much the children enjoyed the kits.

So we set a date with Alistair, who is the owner of Kids Bee Happy. And then I thought - I must be mad; what am I doing? Have I lost my marbles? I let Monkey choose who to invite but ensured he didn't invite too many friends. We settled on 5 school friends and 2 neighbours, all boys. In other words, 8 boys aged between 5 and 8 and Missy Woo. I kept my fingers tightly crossed that they would enjoy it - keeping that many boys contained and entertained for 2 hours can be a tall order.

On the day, Alistair arrived bright and early. I didn't realise Alistair himself was coming as he is based in Scotland, but it turns out that he'd been down South working with some of his franchisees and had stopped over on the way back. The equipment took very little time to set up  - two tables, each with 6 metal bowls  filled with the different coloured sands. And that's it, apart from a laminator which we set up out of the children's way in the kitchen.

Making one of his pictures
The children were desperate to start making and were already making their pictures by the time the first guest arrived, as they already knew what to do. The other children couldn't wait to get started as they arrived and dived in. I was amazed how interested and thrilled the boys were. One of Monkey's friends said to me excitedly, "This is much better than I thought it was going to be!" as he dashed between bowls. Boys being boys meant it was slightly random - some colour mixing was definitely going on. But for the first 45 minutes at least, you would not have realised how many children were in the house, meaning I didn't need to worry about sloping off to cook pizza. After that, the boys gradually wandered off to play outside in the garden (thank God it wasn't raining!) whilst Alistair started to laminate their pictures. Most made two pictures to take home - Alistair even mentioned that some parents don't bother with party bags, even though we did.

The two hours of the party flew by - it was a good balance of activity time, letting off steam, food and cake, of course! All the children really enjoyed themselves and were totally absorbed by the sand art. Alistair was brilliant with the children, and I'm sure his franchisees will be too. They don't just do parties as they will also do sand art for school fairs, festivals, and weddings. It's so easy to do and the children get it really quickly.

What I loved most of all was how little mess there was - the mum of one of the boys stopped for a cup of tea after the party so we had a quick sit down whilst the boys played on the Wii, yet everything was cleared up well before 3pm, less than an hour after the party had finished.

I had 8 boys in my house for 2 hours and survived. It was quite relaxing actually - I never thought I'd say that.

Where do I get my medal?

(Kids Bee Happy kindly arranged for a free sand art party to be held at our house. I have not been paid further for writing this post. I have not been told what to write and all words and opinions are my own.)

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