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The backyard Party

Updated: Apr 29, 2023

When I was a kid the backyard party was all there was. You'd invite the class around and play. Organised activities consisted of a game of pin the tail on the donkey or pass the parcel. If you were lucky and had a pool, that would pass most of the time and failing that, Slip n Slide or even the sprinkler would tend to do the job. Since being a parent however I can count on one hand how many backyard parties we've been to, (my own not included).

What once was frowned upon as the domain of the rich or lazy parent is now common place. Outsourcing the party seems to be as acceptable as sporting a mullet hairstyle. But while the outsourced party can be great, there is a sense of monotony and predictability. Now that everyone is doing it the awe and wonder has somewhat dissipated. So if you want to try something fresh, save a stack of money and have a party that's completely original and will have the kids talking about it for years to come, then throw your own backyard party. Heres some great ideas to get you started;

1. Think of a theme. Over the years we threw a Spong Bob Square Pants party, a Ninija Turtle party, a Pirate party and a Ben Ten party. Once you have a theme encourage the guests to dress up. Make or buy a cake of that theme and decorate the house with posters, pictures or memorabilia that ties in with the theme. It doesn't have to be heaps but the kids will love any effort you make.

2. Organise the games. My preference is to run a mini-olympics type structure. Divide kids into groups of 4-6 depending on the size of the party. Set out 4-6 different activity stations. Ask parents or older siblings to man these stations. Include a scoring system for each child so that scorers can be recorded at each station. Make sure you include a range of different activities to cater for each type of child.

Mini Olympic activities:

* Throwing objects at a target: Whether it's a bunch of tennis balls being thrown into a bucket, a bean bag trying to hit a target, or a ball being tossed through a hoop. It doesn't matter as long as kids get a chance to throw something at a target.

* Running an obstacle course: Using chairs/ tables/ trampolines/swings or any other object in your yard set up an obstacle course. Use hoops for kids to have to jump between or carpet squares as stepping stones that kids need to jump on. Go over and under tables and chairs. Climb up and do 5 bounces on the trampoline, swim through the pool, run around the bird cage, touch a tree branch, climb through the bush. Whatever obstacles and objects you have can be brought into the course. Time each child for points.

* Minefield: You will need 24, A4 cardboard or old carpet squares or wood offcuts. Mark 6 of these with an X on one side. Lay out your minefield in 6 rows and 4 across. Make sure an X is in each row face down so kids cant see them. The organiser needs to have a piece of paper showing the map of the minefield and where all the X's are. Choose a child to go first. They put their foot on any of the first 4 squares in the first row. If they have picked the X you give them a nod and they keep going. If it's a blank then they have hit a mine and must go to the end of the line. The next child then has a turn and should be aware of where to tread or not to tread. The first child to make it right through the 6 rows wins. Each child gets a point depending on how far through the mine they got. Points 1 to 7.

* Water balloon toss: Line children up in pairs and have them face one another 1 meter apart. Using water balloons they pass the balloon pack and forward to each other on your cue. When everyone has done that they all take a step back together. Again on your cue they throw the balloons to each other. Those whose balloon drops are out. Those who catch it keep going. (You can keep everyone going and give extra balloons to save kids getting upset. You can record who went the furthest for points)

* Trivia: (about the party boy/girl). Come up with a set of multiple choice questions based on the party boy or girl. Questions can include:

- What is her favourite food, lollies, drink, show, subject, sport or hobby, band, clothes etc.

- How many siblings /cousins / pets / shoes (or anything else she is really into)?

- What is the name of her pet /mum / favourite teddybear / school teacher / soccer team?

- What countries has she visited?

- Would she rather never be able to go out during the day or never be able to go out at night?, live under a hot sun or extreme cold,? swim in a pool full of Nutella or a pool full of maple syrup,? time travel to the future or time travel to the past,? be 10 feet tall or 4 feet tall,? live in the country or live by the beach,? always have B.O. and not know it or always smell B.O. on everyone else? etc

3. Announce winners and give prizes.

After the mini Olympics is done and the children have had a chance to eat and have some free play, announce the winners for each event and then an overall winner. To save people getting upset prepare something for everyone.

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