I was born on December 28th. As a child, having birthday parties could be challenging, but my mom, a constant party planner, was creative in providing me with summer half birthdays or having parties early (before school let out for winter break), taking me on a special day trip, and, even though I know she dreaded it, combining my birthday with other holiday celebrations.
Having had this experience as a child and teenager, I think I hold onto the need to create fun and unique birthday experiences for my own children (and thanks to my mom, I have a genetic predisposition to plan parties!). I also wonder if having a birthday around the holidays led me to plan Anna and Jack's births for May and June!
Today, birthday parties for kids have reached something far beyond the "come over to the house, play a few games, stick a candle in the cake, and go home" formula. It is easy to fall down that rabbit hole and think any party you plan has to be elaborate - why we feel the need to compete for some top party honor that doesn't even exist is just so crazy.
Back in 2013, in an attempt to combine our 15th wedding anniversary and kids' birthday parties together, we did a big open house, all-day type of party with lots of food, lawn games, a bouncy house, etc. I made the mistake of trying to do too much for the party and looking back, I should've asked for more help and/or just not tried so hard. I definitely think that party helped me to focus on the meaning of celebrating the ones we love - it should be about the moments shared, everything else is truly just icing on the cake.
So, for the past two years, we've just tried to find birthday experiences that celebrate who our kids are and what they love to do. We've gone to a farm, a bowling alley, an aquarium - sometimes as a planned party with their friends and sometimes, simply as a family outing. Since coming back to Fredericksburg, I've enjoyed discovering new ways to party! If you haven't read the birthday party location list on Fredericksburg Parent - take a look. And, check out a new place we discovered:
Anna just had her birthday party at Bricks 4 Kidz - a wonderful place for kids to explore their creativity by using Legos. The owner, Melani Lyon is a teacher who, along with other qualified teaching staff, lead participants through a variety of fun and imaginative activities. Bricks 4 Kidz offers workshops, camps, parties, and specialized programs - learn more at their upcoming Open House on May 21st.
It was so great to see the children focused and enjoying each activity station. My personal favorite was the ice-breaker of sorts, when each child reached into a bucket of Legos and made something from whatever they got; spaceships, houses, boats, and machines were all made with such flair! Then, they got to make robotic pirate ships and also used robotics to crinkle paper for a Parrot craft. What I truly appreciated about our hosts was that the kids were engaged, the parents could help out and socialize at the same time, and we had the place to ourselves. Easy. Relaxed. Simple. Parties like these make me want to plan the next one ;-)