Age 4 – Swimming party
Since I went over board at 3 years old I decided to scale back. Since we have a very child-friendly pool at our house with a shallow end that’s only 6 inches and the deepest part was 5 feet, I decided to have it at the house. So the kids that knew how to swim could go anywhere and those that were hesitant could hang out in the shallow end. We also have a playground and saying we have a large sand box is an understatement, you could play beach volleyball in it, so that’s great too.
I can’t remember completely what the menu was, but I think I had bought a tray of chicken nuggets, fruit salad and then had some chicken salad for the adults and croissants and some other misc things and then cake and ice cream. Any party at home is a lot of work, but its kind of nice to do that every once in a while for nostalgia sake and it’s easier on the budget. I had to schedule the party in September and keep the pool heated as you never know what temperature October will bring and he’s a late October birthday.
Age 5 – Zoo Atlanta
This was fun, but costly as you’ll need to pay admission for the child and adult, unless most of your friends have annual passes like mine did back then.
We had it catered by the zoo, they brought in pizza, chips, and drinks to a little camp ground they have onsite, then we had an animal experience in another camp. They talked about the animals and let the children touch them.
The nice thing was the it was Boo at the Zoo that day and the kids dressed in costume and were able to trick or treat around the zoo and play on their playground etc. We made a day of it, as many did. We did have slight rain sprinkles, but not enough to affect anything. I think I still had close to 30 kids.
Age 6 – Lake Party
The weather was great we had the party at our lake. Our course going over board like I do, I brought in a couple of tons of sand and bought small treasures to hide in the sand.
When each child arrived they received a bucket and shovel with their name on it to hunt for treasures. I had snacks and drinks on the picnic tables. This was a lot of work that day as I had to haul tables, decorations and food down to the lake and then on the return bring all the gifts back up to the house as well. I only survived with the help of many friends.
I hired an entertainer (wish I could remember his name) and he sang, told jokes, did some magic and made balloon animals for the kids. If he hadn’t been late he would have been great, but he was a 1/2 hour late and that’s tough when you have a group of kids to entertain. I had a large group as usual, maybe 40 kids but there was no incremental cost and the more the merrier is my theory!
Age 7 – Airplane Hangar
Well, this was my biggest and best yet. The party took place at an airplane hangar at Peachtree Dekalb airport. A client/friend of mine allowed us to use it and treated Chase to a Helicopter Ride around the city and Stone Mountain.
Chase landed in the helicopter at his party about 15 minutes after the party started like a Rock Star, for his “Grand Arrival”. It was the cutest thing and I couldn’t have planned it any better, all the kids rushed him on the tarmac in a group hug.
The children were allowed to look at all the aircraft in the hangar and sit in one that was attended by adults. I had entertainment come “The Reptile Guys” and they did a great show with reptiles and allowed the kids to hold them at the end. We had pizza and drinks for all and of course cake.As you can see, I just LOVE parties. Now let me give you ideas of the many of the activities that most parents plan for birthday parties. The ideas below will work for older or younger children, but in my “short” experience they’ve kind of trended like this.
Also I’d like to make a note that the girls and boys parties start to split around first grade, but many children (including mine) don’t want to leave anyone out and continue to have parties for boys and girls. I’m sure I’m missing many girls types of parties – like at the American Girl Store so if there are some locations I’m missing please feel free to comment as I don’t have any experience with girl themed princess parties or anything like that.
Younger /pre-school children: My Gym, Center for Puppetry Arts, Fernbank Museum, Zoo Atlanta, Kangazoom, the dreaded but necessary Chuck E. Cheese, The Children’s Museum, ponies and petting zoos. various characters can visit a party and conduct games or read to the children.
A neighbor just had a party that was a rock star theme and had a music teacher come and do songs for the kids. Many fire stations in Atlanta will give tours and allow you to host parties at their facilities. Here in Vinings you can actually schedule the fire truck to come hang out, but if there’s an emergency, they leave of course.
Elementary Age Children:
SS Fun House in Sandy Springs, Atlanta Rocks – rock climbing, The Gym at Peachtree Pres – gym activities including roller blading, basketball etc, Brunswick Bowling in Marietta(2749 Delk Road, marietta, 30067) seemed a bit safer than the one we went to at Midtown Bowl.
Laser Tag is at the SS Funhouse or in Marietta off of Delk road. Chattahoochee Nature Center has parties and guided hikes. Top Dog Sports will conduct various types of parties. One child had a karate party where he displayed his talents and each child received a mini-lesson. Young Chefs Academy is fun for smaller groups and the Georgia Aquarium allows sleepovers! Science themed parties where the children do experiments. There are trucks that will come to your party and the kids actually go on the truck to play video/arcade games. We did go to a super fun party at a Race Track in Gwinnett that had an arcade, mini golf etc, but it was a bit of a drive for the Buckhead crowd.
There are various entertainers/entertainment that will come to your home such as: Reptile Guys, Snakeman Steve, magicians, clowns, swimming parties or water slides at the home for summer parties. Of course, if budget isn’t an issue, you can get bands, musicians etc. I haven’t been to one with a movie theme yet, but in my research I found a company that will do outdoor movies. I think they’ll need to be a little older for that one. We recently went to Monster Jam at the dome I’m trying to find a way to make that the theme for next year – ideas are welcome! Of course as they get older parties can be smaller and at sporting or arts or race car driving (Andretti Indoor Karting & Games) events with a small group. We’re not there yet, but maybe someday…
Here’s a website that has some more ideas….and I would love to hear your comments, too.