We are about to embark on Silly Season: that time of year when my little chickens hatched, one after the other, in April, May and June. Three months of birthday planning and parties are ahead of me, and I am already behind!
I really enjoy hosting the kids’ parties at home. Beth-Anne recently posted this list of tips from Alyson Schafer to our facebook page (via The Mabelhood) about hosting a party for kids at home. It’s got lots of sound advice, and I especially liked how Schafer spelled out present etiquette: decide ahead of time if you will open presents at the party or after. If you open them during the party, make sure the birthday child thanks each guest individually; if you open them after the party, make sure the birthday child sends a thank you note acknowledging the gift. I like my kids to open the gifts after the guests have gone home, and I’m glad to know that it calls for an extra thank-you.
In the past, we’ve had parties at which we put on plays, parties with a fencing instructor, and, of course, sleepovers that featured very little sleep. Beth-Anne has hosted a fabulous Ninja Party, and Carol has written about a horrible birthday party and the perils of trying to make everybody happy.
As I cast about for ideas for this year’s crop of parties, I keep coming back to the loot bags for inspiration. I love putting loot bags together, and I usually find a book that works with the theme of the party: knights, magic, fairy tales. My kids make bookmarks with a drawing and a note of thanks, and that goes into the book with each guest’s name printed at the top. Add a sweet treat, bundle it up, and you’re done!
This year I’m putting the cart before the horse and looking at books that have inspired me recently and that could give me a theme:
Charlie’s Dirt Day
written by Andrew Larsen
illustrated by Jacqueline Hudon-Verrelli
We could get the kids to paint flower pots, fill them with dirt and a plant and send them home with a good read and a green thumb. Between the painting of the pot and the planting of the plant, there could be the kind of birthday chaos that is best enjoyed with a short shelf life.
Life Doesn’t Frighten Me
by Maya Angelou
Paintings by Jean-Michel Basquiat
We’ve been twice to see the Basquiat exhibit at the AGO. Both times, Littlest and Middlest got busy getting their art on. The first time they sketched, the second time they sculpted, getting inspiration from the art on the walls. We could do an art activity and get the kids to create their own signature motif, like Basquiat’s crown.
Our Woodland Birds
written and illustrated by Matt Sewell
I can’t get enough of Matt Sewell’s bird illustrations. They are an amazing balance of being entirely his own style while being reliable enough representations to help you identify the bird. Littlest and I sat down yesterday to paint, a luxury afforded by the slowly tapering end of hockey season, and he painted an homage to Matt Sewell. We could give the kids sketch books and pencils and make bird art.