|Lee at the beginning of June... I'm afraid we were too busy with the party to take many pictures. Thanks to friends for the rest of these!|
Today (July 10) we had our friend party. Cody has Wednesdays off at this point, so it was the best day to do it. A few months ago I was browsing Pinterest and came across the idea to do a messy kid party, and thought that would fit well, since Lee isn't really into any of the traditional boy party themes like pirates or a specific movie; but a chance to play with friends and just be silly and get really messy? Right up his alley.
I've been watching for sales for the last month and collecting supplies and ideas. Today we had our babysitting swap so the kids went to a friend's house in the morning and it was very nice to have 3 hours with just Cody and I to prep for the party. We cleaned the house, cooked spaghetti, and baked Papa Murphy's pizza and set everything up. The kids started arriving at 11:00 AM and since lunch wasn't quite ready, Cody turned the water on his homemade waterslide (an old piece of subfloor leftover from building the house plus a tarp, covered with black plastic and clamped to the edge of the trampoline so it wouldn't slide around, with a hose on it to keep it wet) which was a huge hit. Once lunch was ready we ate, then the kids were just dry enough to come in and open presents. At last it was time for the activities!
I had cooked 3 pounds of spaghetti and put it in a bit of ice water to keep it really slippery, which was meant to be spaghetti mustaches and hairdos, but turned into a huge spaghetti fight. So hilarious! Then we brought out 2 sheet trays with extra firm jell-o which started as a game of jell-o catch, but soon turned into (surprise) a huge jell-o fight. Mostly the kids enjoyed rubbing the jell-o on Cody's head and putting it down his shirt. I had 4 bottles of Shasta diet soda that we dropped Mentos in and made fountains, which I thought the kids would enjoy watching but they really just enjoyed playing under... again, SO funny! At last, the best of all: pulling out 3 bottles of shaving cream, giving them to the adults, and smearing shaving cream all over the kids, the water slide, Cody, everyone; then turning on the sprinkler and hose and getting rinsed off. The kids had so much fun with the shaving cream that they didn't even notice they were getting cleaned off! When the last of the shaving cream was gone and everyone was rinsed off, we played in the sprinkler and jumped on the trampoline until it was time to go home. The kids were all exhausted... I know because they were getting a bit grouchy and needy. Once everyone had gone home, we gave our kids a full bath and then had them lie down. All three fell asleep and slept until 5:00! Cody and I both got a nap too, which felt great.
We still have a bit of spaghetti in the grass, but by playing outside, most of the mess was well contained. A lot of the parents mentioned to me that it was a super fun party and were glad I was willing to do it at our house. I figure that once a year for a birthday party is perfectly acceptable to throw out all the rules of decorum and cleanliness and just be silly kids. We spend so much time as parents telling our kids not to make messes, making them clean up messes, that sometimes we overlook their need to just explore and, well, get messy! At first some of the kids struggled with the idea of letting loose. One little boy said, "I don't want to participate in this activity," but after he saw how much fun everyone was having putting spaghetti on their heads, he figured it was ok. By the end, everyone had tried out the different activities and was laughing and having a great time. I'd highly recommend this type of party for any kid. Of course, you, as a parent, are going to have to be willing to let go of the rules and have an imagination for a little while... but if you can, you're in for the funnest party ever!