We hired the village hall because I did not fancy trying to entertain 30+ children at my house. The Eldest invited all the girls in her class (she wanted the boys too, but I figured I had to find some way of controlling the numbers) and The Boy invited some children from his preschool. By the time we had added in younger siblings, there were more than 30 children. I also called in as much help as I possibly could. The Mother In Law came down from Norfolk a few days before which meant that I could do party prep on Friday. The Father In Law, StepFather, Mother, Sister, Niece and Nephew all arrived on Saturday morning and were a tremendous help putting together party bags, party food and wrapping pass the parcel and prizes. The Boy's godfather turned up at lunchtime and helped decorate the hall.
I made a castle cake by baking 2 large chocolate madeira cakes, then sandwiching them together and using the cut off bits to make towers on the corners. I rolled out fondant icing and used a bit of black to colour it and make it grey, then cut it into "bricks" which I then used to decorate it with. My wonderful sister made dragon and princess cupcakes which I used as the cakes to go in the party bags to go home.
|The half made cake, showing it's innards!|
|Finished cake with the cupcakes.|
For decoration I ordered the Princess for a day Ultimate Party Kit from Party pieces and also The Brave Knights Ultimate Party Kit. As well as that, I ordered come foil balloons, some helium, some Crowns to decorate and a Dragon Piñata. I've used Party Pieces lots of times before (they are local to me, so I can just drive to collect) and I've always been very happy, but this time I'm afraid I wasn't! The paper crowns were bent in the middle and the table cloths were no way big enough to sit as many children as they said they were, leading to a last minute dash to the supermarket by The Husband to buy more to cover the other tables. Anyway, the decoration was fairly simple - we tied all the bunting into one long line and strung it across the hall (for some reason I had thought that the bunting would be longer than it was) and put helium balloons at each place setting (which also doubled up as party favours).
I had various ideas which didn't end up coming off properly. I wanted the children to make place mats for themselves by sticking shapes on paper to make castles - these would then be laminated and they would be able to take them home afterwards. As a back up, I also had the paper crowns to decorate. However, having these large pieces of paper to go in the party bags meant that most party bags were not big enough to take them, so I decided that we would make bags and the making of the bags (although they turned out beautifully) meant that we then didn't have time to cut out shapes to make the place mats! So we needn't have made the party bags after all and that would then have left time for more party prep and would have made the whole thing less stressful. Oh well, you live and learn! Fortunately, the children enjoyed decorating the crowns anyway and it neatly took up the required amount of time - some of them went on to make pictures with the card meant for the mats, so it wasn't a complete waste of time buying it! I also meant to make pin the horn on the unicorn and pin the flame on the dragon, but I ran out of time due to those pesky party bags! I didn't even have time to brush my hair as we were still setting up as the guests came in.
So I split the party into two groups, one group of older girls and one group of mixed younger ones (and one older boy who I thought would be happier in the group with boys!). The older girls started with crown making and I also did face painting (sticking with butterflies for the boys and Trusty Knights/Pirates for the boys). My sister, who was going to help me paint faces, was unfortunately called away with an emergency but a very helpful friend thankfully leapt into the breach! The younger group started with some party games - just very simple ones, pass the parcel, musical bumps and musical statues. When the younger ones finished the games, we switched them over and they did craft whilst the older ones did the games. It was almost like running two parties simultaneously and it worked well with two such disparate age groups.
|The younger ones played pass the parcel.|
|Whilst the older girls made crowns...|
|And had their faces painted.|
|Dad Dancing? A helpful Dad stayed to entertain the children.|
|Blowing out the candles on their cake.|
|The Mother In Law did a great job of entertaining The Baby.|
|The Eldest eats tea - you can just see the edge of the party bag too.|
|The Feral One concentrates hard on Piñata|