Oh the Scavenger Hunts I Love

IMG_5507A game of searching for something you want.
Or maybe it’s the journey that counts…

 

I love Scavenger hunts! Scavenger hunts can be Indoors or outdoors, Individual or team, require set up or not, materials and tools, or not, simple or complex. Themes, location, ages, numbers and goals all play a role in choosing the scavenger hunt of your dreams. There are so many kinds, but here are 4 of my favorite scavenger hunts for parties:

 

  1. Clue to Clue – in this kind of scavenger hunt individuals or small teams are sent from clue to clue with rhymes or puzzles, each clue sending the players on a journey to the next clue and eventually the final prize. I especially like to sprinkle in puzzles that reveal where to go next when solved, and hint at the story of the mystery itself. The participants can be almost any age, but must be readers or have a reader with them. The beauty of this style of hunt is that clues can be made simple for younger kids and really complex and challenging for older kids and adults. This kind of hunt is the foundation for our Mystery Party, a super challenging hunt to write and plant, but really tremendous fun.

 

  1. Web Hunt – This crazy fun hunt works well for ages 4 – 8, especially when you have a small prize to give. Tie a ribbon to the prize and have the participants follow the ribbon all around a room or area, under and over furniture and through other ribbons to find the goodie. Imagine a room filled with a web of ribbons, all leading to little animals or candies and all of the party kids following their ribbons through the web to find them. I call this hunt a “Spiderman Web Hunt” at a Super Hero Party or a “French Poodle Hunt” in an Around the World party. I just used this at a Harry Potter Party and called it the “Care of Magical Creatures” Class!

 

  1. Information Hunt and Photo Hunt – These two kinds of hunts can be each be on their own, but I like them together. Imagine sending small groups (3 to 6 people) with a list of information needed and pictures they must take to prove they found something. I have used this hunt as a fun challenge to help the players get to know a school or church. This kind of hunt can also be very competitive. I have a party called Extreme Home Survivor which is mostly a challenge photo hunt, and very recently, I ran hunts that were heavier on the information side for a New Student Event and a Confirmation Group hunt.

 

  1. Egg Hunt – This is the best kind of hunt for the littlest players, where they search for prizes hidden in an indoor area like a family room, or outside, like the back yard. I use this hunt to create a little running around time and its always filled with excitement and delight. My favorite way to introduce this kind of hunt is to tie it to a story where they have to go searching for something in the story. I hide Frogs or Pumpkins for my Royal Party and Shells for the Hawaiian Hula Luau.

 

There are certainly more kinds of hunts out there and I recommend you give them a whirl whenever possible! I would love to hear about your favorite hunts, so please comment below and share your fun ideas!

Delegate your way to Fun!

One of the three themes that MOPs (Mothers of Preschoolers) International has for the 2015/16 year is to “Embrace Rest”. I love this! My first thought was that it meant we should all go rest and relax in a hammock on a beach in the Caribbean. Wonderful vision, not always possible. What I believe “Embracing Rest” means more practically is delegating what exhausts you and enjoying the activities that energize you.

I love parties, it’s what I do, and I want you to celebrate. I truly believe that a festive gathering is one of the best, most joyful experiences to have. But if celebrating is only an exhausting stressful experience for you, then you are not going to do it. I have met many people who tell me that they would love to have a party for their kids, but it’s just too much work. Or their house isn’t clean, or they can’t bake a cake, or managing fifteen seven year olds is too overwhelming. These complaints can be very real. So what if you could get rid of the things that hold you back so you could get to the fun part. What if you could let someone else who is really good at that thing that drains you take care of it?
If you could delegate the things that exhaust you and keep the things that bring you joy, fulfill you, and energize you, wouldn’t that be perfect? Would you say YES to celebrating if it was fun, brought joy to your family and friends, and was filled with things you love? I gift
you a plan for getting rid of the exhaustion so you can embrace the best!

First, figure out what’s sucking the life out of you:

  1. Determine the things you hate to do.
  2. Figure out what is stopping you from moving forward.
  3. Ask if these things are essential.

Next ask, “Can these things be delegated, given away, or hired out?” If yes, then get rid of them and do the things you want to do! Find a baby sitter, Mother, friend, house keeper, or a professional. If cooking makes you stressed, then bring it in. If planning crafts makes you cringe, then bring someone in. Don’t do what you don’t want to do, do the stuff you love.

Finally, and most importantly, focus on the fun:

  1. What brings you joy?
  2. What do you find fun to do?
  3. What leaves you happy, proud?
  4. When you picture the after party time, are you glad you did it?

If you love making a pretty table, then do that. If being the party photographer brings you pleasure, then be it. Find the joy in your celebration. This is what Embracing Rest means to me – doing the fun stuff, having the celebration, and getting rid of the things that drain you.

Moms can have fun too!Need help with your party? We bring the games and crafts and run the party. Just ask if you need help to enjoy your child’s special day. I think this is an essential idea when preparing for your child’s next birthday. Do what you love, delegate the rest!

The 3 Most Important Places to Spend Your Money

Olivia and pink pig1Most people plan their child’s party within a budget, and no matter how big or small your particular budget is, you have to make a decision about what is worthy of your attention and resources and what can go with less. I’ve simplified this to three elements I think you should spend your money and effort on, to get the most bang for your buck.

I have experienced many kinds of parties on many different budgets. I have been to parties with modest spending, and parties with no limits, and this is consistently true: If these three spend-worthy items are skimped on, the party will be impacted negatively. If these items are considered, and taken care of, the party will hold greater pleasure for children and parents alike.

No matter the ultimate size of your budget, this is where your money should go:

  1. Fun

A great place to focus your party budget is the main event. Whether you are creating crafts or games or hiring entertainment, the thing that engages the guests at the party is worth the most investment. Really good entertainment that fits your child is worth every penny. If you are having an entertainer or bringing in an activity, get something or someone super engaging. If you are having crafts for the kids, you can be more economical by making sure those crafts do double duty as part of a game or part of the goodie bag. If the party is more game based, then the items you purchase for the game or its prizes can be awesome take home items. Don’t make a beautiful extravagant tablescape, but leave nothing for the children to do during the party. Spend on the engaging activities; it makes the party fun and memorable!

  1. Food

So important! What you serve matters, and do not leave kids hungry! If you don’t want to spend as much money on food, then do not plan your party over meal time. If your party is planned over a meal time, it is imperative that you feed your guests – nothing can kill a party faster than hungry children. It is possible to keep it simple: bagels or sandwiches for lunch, or pizza, if it makes it easy and it’s what your child likes. I think themed food is always a fun addition to a party and worth a little more expense. Serving hot dogs at a Puppy Party is really cute (have you made puppy chow snacks? Yum!), making monster faced pizzas at Halloween, really fun. Consider a food craft like cookie decorating that can double as dessert. Finally, the cake should be special too, no matter whether you buy your themed cake from your favorite bakery, the grocery store or make it yourself, make sure it’s pretty, delicious, and there is enough to go around.

  1. Help

If you need help, then admit it, and hire it. If food is a challenge for you, purchase already made items or hire a caterer.  If getting the house in shape is a stressor, pay your kids to help you straighten the house or hire a cleaning service for before and/or after. If you need extra hands for the crafts, hire a babysitter to be a helper.  Find someone to help you stay relaxed and have fun, it’s worth the money. A stressed Mom is never ever good for a party.

These three items are not only spend worthy, they are critical to an impactful and memorable party for your child. No matter what your budget is, prioritize your party elements to make sure you get the important things taken care of, and if there is money left, there are lots of wonderful ways to spend it!

Call us any time for a free party strategy session. We are happy to help you think through the elements, and most happy to work with you to plan an amazing event with all the fun food and help provided by Have A Bashery!

The Goody Bag Dilemma

The bird houses they built because the goody Bag
The bird houses they built became the Goody Bag

Goody Bag is defined as small bag containing candy, little toys, and other prizes, handed out as a thank you gift to guests at a children’s party. I would like to add this to the definition: A major source of stress and annoyance for parents and children when preparing for said party.

What should you put in the goody bag? How much should you spend? Will it be remembered, used, adored, or just eaten or thrown away? You could lose sleep over these questions!

Love it or hate it, it’s a party tradition. Traditions like blowing out candles, singing Happy Birthday, and eating cake are signature elements of a birthday party and so is the birthday party goody bag. I’m Sorry. It cannot be ignored, but it can be managed. It can be managed by making sure it fits your style, interests, beliefs, and values, just like the party itself.

If you don’t like the cheap plastic toys that break even before they get home, don’t buy them. If you care about the dental health of children, don’t include gummy candy. If play dough has plagued your home in the past, don’t send it home to others. My favorite goody bag components not only match the host family in style, but also fit the party itself.

My feeling is, if you can’t fight the goody bag tradition, you can make it part of the party – the things the children make, do, or find during the party that you are already planning. Consider giving a book at a birthday that features a story teller.  Use the craft from the party as the goody bag. How about making an apron, cooking tools and recipes from a cooking party the gift to go home? How about sending home the decorated pillow cases the children made at the slumber party – add a sleeping mask and a flashlight if you want to make the bag more substantial? Or keep it simple.

Keeping the goody bag as part of the party is the best way to keep it under control. With this approach, the expense is often part of the cost of the party, and the contents already fit the child’s interests, and the values of the family. Don’t worry about size or extravagance, amount of stuff, or the bag itself, just make it fit the party.