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This Saturday my 4 year old is having 5 Kindergarten friends over to celebrate being one meter tall (it's a 'one meter party').

We'll have a house and (weather permitting) garden for an afternoon of playing, games and eating meter long cake, meter long sausages and the longest spaghetti we can find.

We've had house guests before, but always with adults in tow.

Now we're going to be two adults and 6 kids and want to hear about the obvious (and not so obvious) things we should be doing to ensure everything runs smoothly.

  • Suggestions for ground rules
  • What kind of games (and how many) to play
  • Methods for controlling arguments
  • Name badges for the kids - yes or no? I only really know what one of them looks like, and would like to address them by name…
  • Anything else that comes to your collective minds.

All tips, advice, anecdotes, suggestions welcomed!

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Created a "parties" tag for you. Can't see any reason to have a second tag that's so similar? –  deworde Mar 20 '12 at 11:41
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@deworde A "Celebrations" tag would just be made into a synonym for "parties". You tagged appropriately, imo. –  Beofett Mar 20 '12 at 11:57
    
Do require the parents to be there. I've seen many parent drop off their kids and drive away like it's free babysitting. –  Some Free Mason Mar 20 '12 at 16:46
    
That's the plan… we promised the other parents they could have a few hours off… –  Edd Turner Mar 20 '12 at 16:47
    
It's happening tomorrow, for the sake of neatness I'll attempt to feedback what happened, what worked/didn't –  Edd Turner Mar 23 '12 at 21:58
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2 Answers

I always do my parties at home. I've been doing them since my oldest turned 3. She is now 8 and I have added 3 more kids to the mix, so you may consider me an expert.

I find games like 'Mr. Fox, Mr. Fox, what time is it", 'Red light, Green light' are great games, however they can't last very long (5-8min.) due to the potential of cheating after some boredom sets in for some kids, and this creates conflict.

I always go for a theme party, as it seems you have (some of mine, for other readers who may be interested, have been: bug party, pajama party, pirates do good deeds party, princes party, popcorn party, penguin party (I realize they are all p words, my daughter decided every party needs to start with p :))

I go for age appropriate crafts, and quite a few of them.

My party runs for 1.5 hours and goes something like this (for the younger kids, as you are talking about): 1. As they come they choose 1 (or more than 1) out of 3 stations. They are usually a beading project, playdough or legos, and some gluing/ sticker project. (all theme related). You will need an adult at each station to help, explain, and ensure that the child's name goes on their projects.

I have set up a line of bags with the kids' names on them where they can deposit the projects as they go. If they are too gluey they just put it in front of the bag.

  1. A group project, which is a bit harder.

  2. Games

  3. Cake

  4. Home

I get all the materials from www.OrientalTrading.com, a great site for stuff like this (and goody bag materials)

Any other questions or specific ideas for your party, or details about mine I will be happy to share, just let me know and I will add them to this post.

Good luck, and most of all have fun, if you do so will they.

oh- I also have a book prepared (on theme) in case we have that extra bit of time.

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I love the idea of having multiple stations! –  Beofett Mar 20 '12 at 15:57
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Keep it simple, keep it short, keep it contained.

Simple:

  • I would go with one or two games, with one more as a back-up. The kids may want to do more free-play than you thought, especially if the weather is nice.
  • Keep the food you serve simple. Variety often leads to chaos. You don't want a fistfight over the only green cupcake.

Short:

  • These kids are not that far removed from the afternoon nap, and may only have a tolerance of an hour to ninety minutes.
  • Stay away from activities that require extended attention, or waiting patiently. The group may be a mixed bunch at that age, and you won't have parents nearby to get them back into line.

Contained:

  • This is basic, but keep all the kids together, and relentlessly count heads. When I worked daycare, we'd count every ten minutes. Kids are ninjas.

Oh, yeah, and check EVERY parent's cell phone before they leave. My cousin ended up with a child at her house until 8pm, because the mother had left her cell at home and thought the party was a sleep-over. At least, that was her story, when they finally tracked her down.

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+1 for "kids are ninjas" :-D So true. –  Meg Coates Mar 20 '12 at 16:46
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