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School Kiddie Party Tips

Happy Monday!

A Team Umizoomi Party!
The "-ber" months are officially here, and with them comes birthday season in our family. September kicks off almost weekly celebrations that stretch until the end of the holiday season. If I'm counting correctly, in our family alone, we have 8 birthday parties coming up before the end of November. We're not even counting the birthday parties that are coming up in school. With all these birthday celebrations, no one is more excited than J, who will be celebrating his 4th birthday in a few weeks. He has already made his requests for his school birthday party. He wants blue balloons, including a blue number "4" balloon, a blue cake, and Team Umizoomi invitations. So far, all I've got are the Team Umizoomi invitations. I'm trying to see what I can do about the rest. I think that so long as I splash a whole lotta blue around, he'll be happy.

But anyway, if you're thinking of throwing your little one a birthday party at school, here are some basics you'll need to take care of.

1. Food. This is pretty basic. The most convenient way is to find a nearby McDonald's or Jollibee near your school and have them come deliver food for your kids' classmates and teachers. They're tailor-made for kiddie parties and you can't go wrong with spaghetti and fried chicken. Last year, for J's birthday, I decided to go with Amber's because like I said, there were a lot of birthdays in October, so for a change, I went with something else other than McDonald's. We had the same food though, fried chicken and spaghetti. But Amber's also has a lot of other choices that would be a hit with kids, a variety of noodles and fried finger food.

This year, I'm trying something new. As early as March, I had already been in touch with Kat, a mommy who makes these adorable bento boxes for kiddie parties. We had originally agreed on a Tomica cars theme, but J is super in love with Team Umizoomi. Thankfully, Kat will be able to work with it. You can check out her FB page here.

2. The cake. Aside from J's and KK's first birthdays, we haven't had one of those pretty fondant cakes. Instead, the boys love the oldies-but-goodies Red Ribbon or Goldilocks cakes. They're budget-friendly, nice to look at and pretty yummy too! Candle-blowing is a pretty big part of birthdays for kids, especially those aged 3 to 6, so the cake is a very important thing to have. For the school party, we sliced up the cake we brought and distributed it to the kids, and left the rest for the teachers to snack on.

3. Giveaways and other stuff, like balloons. While most parents do provide giveaways for the kids, I'm a bit on the fence on that for this year. I think McDonald's and Jollibee have kiddie party packages that include giveaways. Other options are small art kits, or the ever-popular loot bags of candy. Some parents make personalized bags and fill them with treats, and some pick practical items like name stickers or bag tags. I'd like something more unique though, and since Team Umizoomi isn't popular here, I'm still thinking of how I'll be able to integrate it into the giveaways if I do decide to have that.

4. Invitations. Last year, the parents were pretty consistent about giving out invitations before the party, to give the other mommies time to prepare a little something for the celebrant. This year, parties popped up everywhere with no invitation, so in those cases, what I usually do is send in a birthday gift after the party. I say this as a mom of kids who are not the celebrant, I appreciate the advanced notice, so I can find a gift. If not, I'll have to add "buy gift TODAY for (insert birthday celebrant's name)" to my long list of things to do.

5. One last tip. It might be prudent to provide a plastic bag or some sort of container that holds everything that the child might bring home from the party. Trust me on this. This is a lesson learned from painful experience. Imagine simultaneously trying to keep a Happy Meal container from falling apart, holding a cup of orange juice, a cupcake topped with a mound of sticky frosting, a giveaway bag and a balloon on a stick. Is that it? Wait, I'm forgetting something. Oh yeah, my kid!

After several birthday parties a.k.a. juggling acts, I decided to provide covered containers for the cakes and tetrapaks of juice for the drinks. The tetrapaks are easy to stuff into bags, especially if the kids hadn't started drinking from it yet. As for the cake, you don't have to worry about dropping it on the floor, or getting icing on your clothes, your hair and god knows what else. This year, I'm looking into providing huge plastic bags where you can just stuff everything so all the parents or caregivers who will be picking the kids up won't have a hard time carting everything around.

So there you have it! Happy planning, and I hope your child's school party turns out wonderfully!

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