This week, I thought I would continue the trend of ‘Lil Smarty birthday ideas. My son, Jacob just turned 5 this month and it was almost as big a milestone for me as it was for him. This year we decided to do a “big” birthday party for him … we hadn’t really done that in the past. His first birthday was more a party for Matt and I – in fact the invitation we sent out was to all OUR friends (I mean, what 1-year old really has friends yet anyway??) and it was from Jake saying “Woo Hoo, My Mom and Dad Made It Through the First Year!” His second birthday, we were lucky to celebrate with family up in Ohio. Third birthday was a fun, yet small backyard bash with a few friends (his friends this time) and his fourth birthday entailed a trip to Florida to visit my grandparents. So – this takes us up to the big number FIVE.
It was really important to me to do something special for Jake. Don’t get me wrong, we love the Monkey Joe’s, Chucky Cheese parties – what kid doesn’t?? And they make for a GREAT night of sleep! But I was looking for something a little more unique. So I searched high and low and came up with a couple good ideas.
— The YMCA offers a fun selection of parties such as Princess or Tea parties, Cowboy or Pirate parties, Football, Gymnastics or Soccer parties, and Swimming parties. Parties vary by location so check out their website (http://www.ymcacharlotte.org/) for more details.
— The Panther’s offer a birthday party package which would be super cool for older kids! It’s a little pricey (around $400 just for the party – 20 kids, not including food)… but probably worth it just for the experience. We just wanted to make sure if we spent that much money, it was something Jake would remember forever. I think it will be a much bigger hit in a couple years. The party includes a behind-the-scenes tour of the stadium, 30-minute appearance by Sir Purr and remaining time spent in Sir Purr’s Play Den where kids can play like the pros by practicing their kicking and passing skills, suit up like a player and compare their weight to popular Panthers players along with many other fun activities. Call 704-358-7450 or send an e-mail for more information. Don’t forget to ask about having a TopCats cheerleader join your party (makes it more fun for the dads!)
But the one we settled on was some good old-school bowling! And let me tell you – it was a BLAST. I think all the kids had a really good time and Jake is still talking about it. We went to Park Lanes on Montford Dr, off Park Road. We ended up with 12 kids which was just the right number at this age … varying degrees of interest faded faster for some than others. The package included 2 games and shoes for each child for only $13 per person plus a “private room” for cake, etc. I use the term private room loosely, as it was more like an oversized 12×12 closet clad in vintage 1970’s wallpaper … amazingly transformed into a superhero wonderland with some cheap plastic Spiderman and Batman table cloths taped to the walls and superhero confetti scattered along the tables.
For those of you that haven’t been bowling in a while (real bowling, not the Wii), everything is computerized now. Scores are kept automatically (so you can focus on watching/helping the kids) and you can even program in who gets bumpers and who doesn’t. Depending on the age of the kids, 2 full games might be a little long … we made it though one and half before heading in for some cake and ice cream.
And to share a Smarty favor idea … I made individual superhero capes donning each child’s initial on the back (my inner “Martha” sneaking out – ended up being a slightly larger endeavor than I thought it would be, but so worth it to see how much the kids loved their own capes!)
Does anyone have a super smarty party idea of their own? Share your favorite birthday parties you’ve hosted or been to. And let us know of any creative themes, favors, etc. We love hearing from our readers!
Don’t forget to register for the Smarty Giveaways this week:
–Rolly Pollies in Mooresville is giving away 2 weeks of Rolly Pollies summer camps for 4-8 year olds ($300 value) and 9 weeks of Rolly Pollies summer class (6 months-6 year olds) and 1 month of summer session Open Gym ($195 value) to two CSP readers! Click here to enter this fun giveaway before it tumbles away on Wednesday 4/15 at 11pm. Check out Rolly Pollies in Mooresville and experience all the Smarty things they have to offer and make sure to tell them CSP sent ya!
-Our friends at Children’s Theatre present “Alice in Concert”. Enter to win your chance at a Family 4-Pack to “Alice in Concert”, along with a $25 Brixx Pizza gift certificate (conveniently located across the street from McColl Family Theatre at ImaginOn). This is a win/win… a dinner and show your family is sure to love! Click here to enter to win, giveaway ends Sunday, April 12 at 11pm.