Exclusive soft play hire, trampoline park, princess parties, pamper parties, hiring a cinema screen. These were just some of the results that came up when I searched '3 year old party ideas'
Our youngest turns three at the end of the month and has already been telling me all about this party that she's having but when you drill down into the basics of it what do we have parties for?? To spend time with loved ones on a special day, to mark the occasion? It seems that all of that has been long forgotten when planning children's parties.
I know very few of us want the mess in our own homes or to be solely responsible for entertaining hoards of children but are we losing the plot?
Everything has become bigger and better with parents trying to outdo each other to host the fanciest, most memorable party. Long gone are the days of jelly and ice cream, musical statues and paper chains and the sad reality is that unfortunately the children don't remember most of it.
I have to admit though that we are not completely innocent. Back in January 2013 I stumbled across a company whilst looking at hen party ideas for a friend(how the hell can a hen party idea be suitable for a 4 year olds party I hear you gasp but read on) and as a result we spent a VERY pretty penny on hiring a double decker bus that had been converted into a mobile soft play unit complete with top deck to bottom deck slide for little boys 4th birthday but the cost doesn't end there. There were party bags, food, drink and prizes for games. The reality was that the money we spent on one party that year could have actually paid for a short break for the whole family?
Having parties like these are all well and good but then the kids think "ooh, if we did that last year, what are we going to do this year" and right there in that moment is when a children's birthday party becomes 'The Greatest Show on Earth'
There and then we realised that we had lost our tiny minds and that we MUST have been under mind control and wouldn't make that mistake again. We've since let the kids take a few friends to the cinema, paid for the older ones to go out for a meal with friends, taken some friends bowling and this year? We have settled on a teddy bears picnic themed picnic in the park. Jelly and sandwiches, pass the parcel and bubble machines;a simple afternoon in the park with some of our nearest and dearest.
What we have to remember when planning these things is that the children won't remember how fancy the venue was or if you upgraded to the most expensive package. What they will remember is who was there to share their big day with them and how special they were made to feel.
Do you throw 'traditional' kids parties or do you go all out?