On a mother’s group I recently joined, someone posted today asking for advice on how to entertain 12 under-fivers during a Super-bowl party. I figured I’d share my edited response here:
This is going to sound uber anal of me, but I write up a list of things to do as a reference. I rarely need to look back at it during the party, but it helps get rid of those "what was I thinking???" jitters. Even worse! For my kids’ birthday parties, I make up a time-line of what will (ideally) happen when.
Babies will be taken care of by their parents, so no need to have anything ready for them other than a quiet place for naps & nursing, and some whole milk.
For the olders:
*** Don’t bring everything out at once, but bring them out slowly, as needed ***
Ask each parent to bring their child’s favorite CD to share with the other kids. It’s also a nice way for parents to discover tunes they haven’t heard a zillion times. I’m in a Very Small Apartment, so I designate bedrooms as play areas. My kids always like to have dance parties in their room (it also helps keep the noise away from the game).
You can recruit the four and five year olds to help "care" for the littler ones — they love the responsibility and take it very seriously.
- Set up a table with printables. Pre-school aged kids really like doing "homework."
- Coloring pages (also from the web) are also a good thing to have for kids (who don’t eat crayons anymore). I’ll usually print ’em up following a theme like Jungle, Zoo, Elmo… whatever they’re into these days :-) You’ll need several of each design to prevent water works.
- Crayons, safety scissors, glue sticks & stickers. Only set out markers if you aren’t worried about ink getting on things. It will.
- Play D’oh is also a good thing to have handy.
For outside play you can have activities ready to go, but don’t feel you have to lead too much — kids know how to play. They’re pros at it :-)
Bouncy balls & sidewalk chalk are always a hit. Sidewalk chalk is especially fun if you add a bit of water & don’t mind a bit aof mess. Anything you have for your toddler will be just fine for the older kids (they’ll love playing "baby")
You’ll want to have kid friendly snacks like juice boxes, bottled water, mini pizzas, chicken nuggets, fruits & veggies. I bring these out a bit at a time.
Do you have any suggestions I should send this Mom’s way?