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Jungle Boogie

Todays blog is one of the easiest to write because I’m going to give you some ideas on parties-love them or hate them they are an essential part of a child’s social life-where else are they going to learn to hide under a table eating a blancmange, have a fight in a bouncy castle or get their faces painted like spiders?

Today my daughter had a joint party with five of her friends-all celebrating their third birthdays.

We decided to share the party after all six of us mums met in a parent and toddler group in a local library. It was a turning point in my enjoyment of being a mum. Before this I was stuck at home, used to working, desperate to go back to work. When I met these girls for the first time I wanted my maternity leave to last forever. When you become a mum friendships like these are invaluable. Anyway-I digress! So we all met and we thought a shared birthday party would be great for those of us on a tight budget.

I thought I’d share my top ten best party ideas for you-based on our party today:

  1. Eyeball jellies-these really were the star of the show. A lychee set in jelly with a grape or blueberry in the centre. Simple and great fun for kids (great for Halloween too) Courtesy of Gillian Jackson DSCF1829
  2. Share the cost with friends-we had a two hour party complete with face painting, games, bouncy castles, food and hall for less than £40 each. It’s easy to spend close to £200 for this sort of party on your own.DSCF1839
  3. When you are having a party for younger children the less structure the better. Just let them play and have fun. We had no sit down buffet and the children could just come and go as they pleased.
  4. Set a really broad theme-we chose jungle because of the bouncy castle we hired- one friend made home-made bunting in animal fabric, another friend brought yellow cutlery, animal plates, another friend bought wrapping paper to cover the tables with in animal pattern and I brought in some soft animals to put on the buffet table. Another friend made palm leaves to put on the tables, It all tied in so well and more importantly it was easy for us all to buy items in different places.
  5. With food have a selection of foods so parents can choose whether they want to have a healthy meal or a plate of party nibbles or a bit of both. We had a good selection of fruit, vegetables sandwiches, crisps and of course cake.DSCF1837
  6. Party bags-our entertainment company Fizz Kids sold these at £1.90 each which was a really good price as you can go overboard as they can often look cheap. Our party cups were nicely wrapped, jungle themed-with a whistle inside, sweets colouring book and animal stickers. By the time you buy a few bits you can easily spend three or pounds per party bag so it’s worthwhile looking at buying them ready done.DSCF1827
  7. Keeping everyone happy in a party- it’s important for all parents to make sure they’re children are behaving as tempers can flare up with all the excitement. Keep a lookout for any situations which may ruin others’ enjoyment of the day
  8. Try and include parents who may have come to the party alone-parties are great events to make new friends-not just for the children!
  9. Birthday cake-shop bought or home made-don’t worry. Just don’t forget the candles as that is what makes a little persons day.
  10. Have fun and don’t stress. The only way you’ll be judged is by how much fun the children have had-not on how much you have spent.

Thank you to Fizz Kidz and all my mum friends for making this blog possible.

Have a good week all

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Halloween Fun Not Saved For The Weekend

You don’t have to save Halloween fun for the weekend just because it falls on a work night. It’s one of the easiest calendar events to have some fun with and it doesn’t have to cost the earth.

I’ve decided this year to finish work early and while my daughter is in nursery I’m going to decorate my house with cobwebs, pumpkins, skeletons and ghoulish footprints. I absolutely love Halloween and am so excited to celebrate it with her.

I’ve invited only two friends who live close-by because on a work night I don’t think I could be hostess for the mostess for loads of kiddies. Three is a small party and it should be fun.

The lead up to Halloween has also kept me and my girl busy today as we started making some crafty things for the party.

First of all the invites-we painted paper plates to look like pumpkins-on the back we are going to write details of the party and will hand deliver them.

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We also made pumpkins to hang from the lights-they we fairly simple. Strips of orange paper glued on to a toilet roll:

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For party games there are lots of ideas on the internet-I’ve chosen pass the pumpkins, find the bugs in the jelly and a scary treasure hunt.

Here are some more fab ideas-click  /www.mydeliciousambiguity.com/2010/10/halloween-games-for-groups-of-toddlers.html

Drop the Ghost: Give each child a tissue to make a ghost. Help the child pinch the centre of the unfolded tissue and twist it to make the head of the ghost. Once everyone’s ghost is made, let the kids drop their ghosts from the top of the stairs or throw them into the air. As the ghosts float down, the kids try to catch the ghosts.
Pass The Pumpkin: Sit in a circle. Provide a plastic pumpkin for children to pass while the teacher beats on a drum. Children pass the pumpkin to the tempo of the music. Alternate between slow and fast. When the music stops the child who has the pumpkin stands and takes a bow. Continue process.
Monster Freeze Dance: Play Halloween music and have the kids dance around like monsters! The Monster Mash is a great song for this game. 
When the music stops the kids freeze in their monster positions. 
The first kid to move is out, and the game continues until only one child is left.
Donut Chomp: Thread donuts on a long piece of string and make sure to leave space between each. Have the kids race to eat the donuts off of the string with their hands behind their backs.
Pumpkin Walk: This game is played like musical chairs. Place different colored pumpkins on the floor (made from construction paper) and the children walk around them to music. When the music stops the adult calls out a color and the children try to find a pumpkin of that color and stand on it.
Pin The Heart On The Skeleton: 
Buy or draw a skeleton on a big sheet of paper then tape a heart to the skeleton where a normal heart would be. Cut out hearts from red construction paper and put tape on the back of the hearts. Blindfold the children and have them put the heart on the skeleton
Trick For a Treat: Make up a bag with candy and a bag with slips of paper in it. The bag with slips of paper will have all ‘trick’ apart from one which will have ‘treat’. The number of slips of paper should equal the number of children.
All the kids who draw a ‘trick’ will have a specified trick that they will need to perform to get a piece of candy. One lucky child just wins a special ‘treat’. The tricks can be singing a song, doing jumping jacks while turning around, other fun things that are fairly easy for little ones.
Guess Which Paper Cup Has Candy Under It: The name of this game says it all. Have children turn their backs while you place five or six cups upside down on a table with candy under one. Tell them to turn around. Have one child at a time come to the table, guess until he guesses the correct cup. Give him a small prize “for being such a good guesser”.
Marshmallow Bobbing: This game is a variation on Apple Bobbing. 
Take a large tub with ice water in it and float full size marshmallows in it. 
Each child is given a straw cut in half (shorter straws are easier to suck and hold the marshmallow). They then have to race to see who can suck up a marshmallow the fastest. Once a child scores a marshmallow they can eat it, and sit out to let another child have a turn if they cannot all fit around the basin at one time. Keep rotating until all the kids have had one or two marshmallows.
Halloween Eye Spy Activity: Go for a walk outside with the kids and look for Halloween decorations around the neighbourhood. Take turns playing eye spy and describing things such as: scarecrows, black cats, witches, pumpkins, ghosts, skeletons, monsters and vampires. Keep track of how many of each kind of decoration is seen on the walk.
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We will be lighting up our pumpkins (Making sure they are kept well out of reach of little fingers)
And I’ll be making a little buffet-there are tons of Halloween recipes online but as a working mum I will be making some of the easiest:
  • Halloween punch
  • Pizza witches fingers
  • Tomato eyeballs
  • Slimy ghouly jelly pots
  • Bat jam sandwiches
  • Gravestone cookies

Hey presto you have an easy toddler party.

I love being creative and the Autumn/Winter calendar events are the best-we are lucky to live in a country where the seasonal changes help create different memories.

My little girl will Trick Or Treat our house as I think at three she’s a bit young to go door knocking.

With her two little friends coming over this year I’ll get them to answer the door together so they can see the Trick Or Treaters without being frightened

I hope you have a lovely Spooky time with your family-

Have a great week

Amanda