Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Children's Birthday Parties

Up until now, all of our birthday parties have been family focused. For our son's first birthday, we invited a number of our friends to the party, but since then, it has generally been family and close friends of the family that have been included. We go all out with our theme - starting with themed invites, themed party ware, themed food (sometimes) and of course, the cake. I have so much fun figuring out the party after the kids have selected their theme. Stop by next week to see my Phineas and Ferb birthday party post.

This year, after having been invited to other friends' parties, my son asked about having a "kid" party with his friends. We thought that 7 was a good age to have a friend party (but were clear that this isn't necessarily an every year event), so we agreed. We looked into local party centers - Bounce facilities, mini-golf facilities, and such. We knew that these would all be options/activities that our son and his buddies would enjoy, but didn't see anything that was exciting to us and some of the costs were downright scary. So we decided to go a different route and do a sports themed party.

This past weekend, we hosted a birthday party for my son and his buddies (and one of their parents too, I'm not crazy enough to take eight 7 & 8 year olds to the ballpark on my own) at the local Minor League ballpark. It was a great way to celebrate his birthday. He loves baseball and so, what better way to celebrate than at a game. As part of the package, he got to throw out (one of) the first pitch and keep his first pitch ball. All of the children received as part of the package - a round of speed pitch, a spin on the prize wheel, a souvenir baseball, a lunch (hot dog, chips and soda) and Dippin' Dots ice cream (when will the future arrive?, they've been the ice cream of the future for years!). The team mascot also came over and paid a visit to the group and take pictures.

The guests all had a great time watching the game. The nice thing about a Minor League game is that all of the seats in the house are great seats. The boys were all hoping that we would catch a foul ball, but with our seats behind home plate, we only saw one or two foul balls get over the net hanging behind the plate.

Managing gifts was a little awkward. We wound up sitting on a bench above the bleachers to let him open the gifts, which worked out well. Then, we combined everything into a couple of gift bags (thank goodness for parents that wrapped in a gift bag) for carrying around.

A few of our guests even won a ticket to a future game, when they spun the prize wheel (one on their free spin, one on a spin their mom bought). In addition, we received vouchers for two tickets to a game at the start of next season, as a thank you for holding our event at the ballpark.

As an added bonus, since we selected a Sunday game and the team has Kids Run the Bases following the Sunday games, all of the kids got to go out on the field and run around the bases. There is something that the kids just love about running the bases.

One thing that worked well for us was bringing along a photographer. We have a friend that is excellent with a camera and he agreed to come along with us to take pictures, so that we could just enjoy the party. We offered to pay his admission and pick up some food and beverage for him at the game in exchange for his services as official party photographer. The pictures turned out awesome (definitely better than I would have done) and everyone was in the pictures, because it wasn't one of us behind the camera for all the pictures, like it sometimes works out.

Overall, it was a great package and even with buying the admission tickets for one parent for each guest, it was a reasonable price - especially in comparison to the other places that offer birthday packages. Hosting a party that was enjoyed by my son and all of the guests, works for me. During the game, my daughter told me that she wants to have her next birthday at the ballpark - not really an option, since they don't play in November - but further support that it was a successful event.

This post shared at Works for Me Wednesday.


Kendra aka The Meanest Momma said...

sounds like a great idea! i have a daughter with a november birthday, so i can commiserate on finding good indoor options.