Having a mid-winter baby and a tiny house can be pretty problematic when it comes to planning a birthday party. I also have a dog that can get over excited and get up in people’s grill, a cat that likes to steal food and some questionable neighbours. So, every year, I choose to hold Zahara’s birthday parties elsewhere.
This is where things get technical. Cause it’s such a balance to find somewhere child, parent and bank balance friendly. Last year I booked out a playroom- but, if I’m honest, it was a bit stressful trying to clean up afterwards with an overtired, over-stimuated toddler- AND I’d still had to factor in entertainment for the kids. Which isn’t cheap.
Most of you will know that Zahara has been attending My First Gym since the start of the year, so when I saw that they hosted Birthday Parties I raced in and secured the date. What I loved was that it was a familiar location, every week I would go into the party room and plan how it would all work, I knew the staff AND I was able to pay off the package in installments. Which is always a treat.
Now, I’m a party planning fanatic- I’d do it for a job if it would pay the bills, so I opted for my own decorations- but the package includes basic decorations as well. Which are set up for you (and the wonderful team help heaps with clean up as well).
What I loved about using My First Gym as a venue was how easy it was. The team literally did most of the hard work- the kids were entertained the whole time with games and activities and we adults were free to catch up, eat, watch the kids play and generally be pretty stress free. They gave me a basic run down of what works best, lead the transitions between activities, helped immensely with set up and pack up and generally just made the whole experience sooooo enjoyable. They’re such naturals at connecting with kids- so (to my surprise) they all (even Zahara) stayed engaged pretty much the whole time. I got a bit misty eyed at one point- when Kowhai had them all sitting down in a circle and they all looked so cute and happy.
For food, which is pretty much the only thing not a part of the My First Gym party package (which is totally fine by me because it’s so fun to organise) I opted for a grazing table idea with fruit and bread and cheese and dips- with a few biscuits, chips and lollies as well. If I think about what was most popular with the kids- it was 100% the fruit, cheese and cheerios. The chips and popcorn hardly got touched. When I do this again (and I will) I will really limit the chocolate and chips that are put out- as wee kids like this totally gravitated towards the more colourful (healthier) options. What I also found was that most kids loaded up their wee plates, had 4 mouthfuls and wanted to go and play again (which is totally fine)- they didn’t sit and stuff themselves silly even though there was a whole table of food (unlike some of us adults)
My Nephew has Austism- and so I set him up his own wee plate of food as this is his routine- and the other kids didn’t even bat an eye about the fact he had something different. For drink, the kids just had water with edible glitter in it (magic water)- as I wanted to keep them hydrated for the games, and I prefer water for Z’s tooth health. The glitter was a hit and not one of t
hem seemed ripped off at the lack of juice and Fizzy. It was a really cost friendly option too- with abo
ut $80-90 dollars worth of food being used/eaten- which is pretty great considering there were 12 kids and 16 adults.
The cake was made by my incredible sister. We spent a while looking on Pinterest and mashing a few designs together. I had been looking at some bird decorations at The Gathered Store for a while too- and when I saw they were on sale I swooped in (Dad Joke) and grabbed them. The plates and Napkins were also part of the same sale and Zahara LOVED them.
Left and Right Designs donated the use of their GORGEOUS floral wreath, which was suuuchhh a statement piece and really pulled off the floral theme of the grazing table. The light in Z’s eyes when she saw it all was a really special moment.
The rest of my decorations came from Ali Express and Kmart. I’m a total fan of buying small bits often and just tucking them away. That way you can spread the cost a lot easier and when it all comes together it’s quite grand. Having a wee payment plan helped, too. Where I specified each pay what I needed to buy in the weeks leading up. The weekend of the actual party I only had to pay for the food- because everything else had been paid for.
I cannot recommend the My First Gym party package more. What an incredible time. Soooo easy, so fun and so stress free. I love that the kids were active during the party too- and had a huge amount of fun playing with each other. I’m such a strong advocate in making sure that not EVERYTHING is entered around the food. Whilst it’s important- and lovely- to share food with our friends- it’s also awesome that Zahara’s birthday was about playing and having fun with friends. Long term, being active is an important factor of a healthy active lifestyle….even on your birthday.
HUGEST THANK YOUS to
The My First Gym team
Sharlene, from Left and Right Designs for the gorgeous floral centerpiece
My Sisters, Jacinta and Selena and my gorgeous friend Ellie
Z’s incredible Village who made it to celebrate with her.
From one very appreciative Mum.
nb. I am unable to show photos of all of Z’s party guests as some of our wonderful friends prefer not to have photos of their children online. x