When throwing a party with 5-year-old boys as guests, think noise, mess and chaos. And think taking it outdoors to a local park! A park's playground and large, open areas make it an ideal spot for free play as well as organized activities. Keep the boys active with a few well-planned games that will spark competitiveness with lots of laughter and grins as well.
Many local parks require reservations of pavilion facilities or picnic tables. If you plan on using such an area, contact the park office or the county recreation department to find out the requirements. For those facilities that charge a fee, most will want a deposit at the time of reservation with the balance due sometime before the party. Be sure to reserve the tables or pavilion well in advance to secure your date and time. If reservations are not accepted, designate someone to go early on the day of the party to claim a spot in the park. Be sure to send the generous person off with snacks and a magazine or two.
Make use of the park's grassy area with relay races. A combination of silly relays and competitive relays will be best for young boys. Try traditional relays such as carrying an egg on a spoon or running from point "A" to point "B." Or, have two kids at a time run while carrying a balloon sandwiched between their backs. For another game, if weather permits and boys are dressed appropriately, give each team an adult-sized pair of sweatpants. At the signal, the first child in line dunks the pants into a bucket of water, puts them on and races to the end and back. He then takes off the pants, passes them to the next child who repeats the process, and so on. Obstacle courses also can be made with the playground structures; ball-throwing contests and free play also are excellent ideas for little boys. Be sure to recruit plenty of adults to help with the supervision.
When having a birthday party at an outdoor location such as a park, simple finger foods work best. Prepare all food in advance so there is less work to be done once you are at the park. Make sandwiches cut into shapes with cookie cutters. Serve kid-friendly fruits and vegetables such as carrot sticks, grapes and apple slices. Cupcakes will be easier for small hands to manage and also will save you from the mess of cutting a cake on a picnic table. Juice boxes for the kids and canned drinks or bottled water for the adults can be iced down in a cooler in advance. Be sure that any food that can spoil is also put in the cooler to be kept cold.
Other small details must be taken care of for a smooth and easy party day. Bring a few large trash bags to collect trash in case the trash cans at the park are full. Have extra sunscreen and bug spray on hand for children who might need it. Provide extra seating for any parents who attend. Other necessary items include paper products for the food, tablecloths to cover any picnic tables and blankets to spread on the ground for alternative seating for the kids.
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