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- on the coast

- in the city

kids

* MARCH 2015 *


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Published by Mother Goose Media www.mothergoosemedia.com.au - on the coast

- in the city

Looking for some inspiration for your child’s next birthday party? To mark the occasion of our 11th birthday this month, we are celebrating with a party guide just for you! There’s loads of party fun to be had with fabulous ideas for party themes, venues, decorations, costumes, food and the all-important birthday cake! We’re excited to share some of our own parties and ideas, as well as those from the experts. We also focus on the gift of giving with ideas for a birthday party or gift with a difference. There are plenty of other reasons to party aside from birthdays, so why not consider throwing a party for your child to celebrate the start or end of the school year, to mark their first broken bone, to get to know their sports teammates…or just because! If you’re after even more cool party ideas, head to our Pinterest page www.pinterest.com/kidsonthecoast Happy party planning! KIDS on the Coast/in the City

SUNSHINE COAST

Kids on the Coast Magazine @kidsonthecoast kidsonthecoastmagazine

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GOLD COAST

Kids on the Coast Magazine @kidsonthecoast kidsonthecoastmagazine

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BRISBANE

Kids in the City Magazine @kidsinthecityBR kidsinthecitymagazine

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CONTENTS

08

CREATE, LOVE, SHARE ON PINTEREST

12

THE ULTIMATE KIDS’ PARTY PLANNER

16

THE SOCIAL GATHERING

18

GIFT GUIDE

4

22

PARTYING AT HOME OR AWAY

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PARTY ETIQUETTE

2

CHOO PARTY


28

OSING A THEME

32 TIME TO PARTY

42

MAKE YOUR OWN…

50 FUN & GAMES

54

FOOD FOR THE PARTY TABLE

58

PLANNING A SHOW-STOPPING CAKE

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60

PARENTS TALK

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FLASH BACK

Natasha, aged 8

thday 1st bir Eva’s

lle, Miche

aged

Toni’s 1st birthday

8

Natasha, aged 9

ged lyn, a

Caro

6

back when we were small

Eva, ag ed 3

Childhood party pics from the KOTC/KITC team

how we used to party 6

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Create, love, share

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pinterest.com/ kidsonthecoast For instructions and MORE ideas visit our Pinterest Boards www.kidsonthecoast.com.au .‌ www.kidsinthecitymagazine.com.au

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DREAMWORLD’S NEW CUSTOMISED BIRTHDAY PARTY PACKAGES THE ULTIMATE GIFT OF HAPPINESS As Australia’s biggest theme park, the mere mention of Dreamworld induces squeals of joy from kids around the nation. It’s one of those rare places where grandparents, parents, teenagers and toddlers can all come together and find a happy place and remember how fun life can be. Additional to the plethora of entertainment options to choose from in the park including thrill rides, family rides, animals, water slides and live shows, Dreamworld have recently launched a food revolution with brand new restaurants and coffee shops that wouldn’t be out of place in an upmarket suburb. And they’re hinting to two major new attractions launching this year, plus major plans to celebrate Tiger Island’s 20th Anniversary. It’s hard to believe this amazing world is about to get even bigger. There’s only one thing bigger and better than a day at Dreamworld, and that’s a BIRTHday at Dreamworld as their CEO Craig Davidson explains, “We’ve just introduced new customised birthday party packages that offer so many solutions to hosts and guaranteed happiness to their guests. We have a group booking team to customise the day according to individual needs, and so many indoor and outdoor themed areas to choose from. The idea is that for one day we make Dreamworld your special playground,” Mr Davidson says. But what about those ever-hard-to-please shoulder-shrugging teens? “We can confidently say we have the best (and safest) playground for teenagers at Dreamworld with the Big9 Thrill Rides, a massive games arcade and Zombie Evilution laser combat challenge. Plus our own water park in WhiteWater World which is a massive hit with teens.” So it’s hard to think of anything that Dreamworld doesn’t have. There’s the popular DreamWorks Experience which is sectioned into animation movie themed worlds including Madagascar, Shrek, Puss In Boots and Kung Fu Panda. There are Wiggles, tigers, snakes, fairies, zombies, roller coasters, surfing simulators… really, you’d be hard pressed to find something there that doesn’t float your Big Red Boat. And talking about boats, over at WhiteWater World there’s a whole lot more watery fun to be had with a huge wave pool, toddler playground Wiggle Bay, the famous Pipeline Plunge for kids and some of the nation’s best thrill slides, all surrounded by tropical catered cabana huts. Dreamworld birthday party packages are created with nothing but happiness in mind. They can include anything from a host, lunch, lolly bags, invitations, special character visits and photos, even VIP ride queue jumping. They are even committed to making sure adults are well looked after with special options to suit their needs too. It’s such a relief to be able to just enjoy your special one’s big day and not worry about anything – that’s what happiness really is. There’s nothing wrong with dreaming big, especially when your happiness is guaranteed. It’s worth contacting the Dreamworld birthday party team on 07 5605 8237 to see how they can make your special day the best ever. 10

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THE ULTIMATE KIDS’ PARTY PLANNER by Christine Humphreys

PARTY DAY IS GREAT FUN FOR THE PARTY KIDS…BUT PARTY PLANNING CAN BE A WHOLE LOT OF FUN DAYS FOR YOU. WHETHER YOU ARE AN EVENT PLANNING GODDESS OR WOULD PREFER TO RUN A MARATHON THAN A PARTY, OUR COMPLETE PARTY COUNTDOWN TIMELINE AND CHECKLIST IS FOR YOU.

Let the countdown begin 4 TO 8 WEEKS OUT PICK A DATE AND TIME Younger kids often handle a morning party better and this tires them out for an afternoon nap! School-age children can power through afternoon parties, which leaves the morning free for last-minute party planning or regular weekend sporting events. Consider a midweek party if you don’t want to impede on family time. DECIDE ON THE VENUE If you choose a dedicated children’s party venue select and reserve this now as they do book up fast. If you are hosting an outdoor party, have a back-up plan in case of bad weather. CREATE THE GUEST LIST Deciding who to invite can be fraught with difficulties. Will you invite both family and friends or just school/ daycare friends? To keep it simple, a great idea is to invite one friend per year of age, e.g. 6 kids to a 6th birthday party. CHOOSE A THEME If you are partying at home your theme options are endless so let your child’s imagination do the work for you. If you are partying at a venue, most will have a range of themes for you to consider. 12

BOOK THE ENTERTAINMENT Face painters, clowns, party planners, photographer; the choices are endless – book early to avoid disappointment. If you have a talented friend, enlist their help now! DECIDE ON INVITATIONS Decide whether to make your own invitations, buy printed invitations or order personalised invitations. See www.etsy.com for great digital options.

2 TO 3 WEEKS OUT SEND INVITATIONS Whether you e-invite guests or send out handwritten invitations do this now. Ensure you have a RSVP date on there around four days prior to the party. This gives you enough time to chase up any guests who haven’t RSVP’d. Keep a guest list near the phone to track the RSVPs as they come in. SELECT ACTIVITIES/GAMES AND ASSEMBLE PRIZES This can be so much fun! Enlist your child’s help and do practice runs of the games. Decide on the order of activities and make a timeline for the day. Enlist the assistance of a reliable adult to help run the games.

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1 DAY AHEAD

DECIDE ON PARTY FAVOURS AND DECORATIONS Party bags, a specific gift to suit the theme or a lolly bag to fill under the piñata? Decide and start preparing these now. Decorations can be as simple as a string of balloons or you can go all out to match in with the theme. PLAN THE CAKE It is time to place your order or if you are baking the birthday cake yourself start planning the ingredients and decorations you will need. You may want to follow your party theme here or just bake your child’s favourite flavour. PLAN THE FOOD The type of party food will depend on the guest numbers and time of day your party is held. For an after school party, a selection or fruit, popcorn and small cakes is all you need. For a lunchtime party, you will need something more substantial. Also consider some options for common food intolerances and an adult’s only platter.

PARTY PREP Tidy and prepare the party area. If you are outside, ensure you have a shaded area and chairs set up. You might want to ask parents to BYO chairs. GET COOKING Collect your cake if you have ordered it or start baking! Start preparing your party food or order takeaway (such as pizza or sushi) if necessary. MANNERS Discuss party expectations with your child and practice saying ‘thank you’ with younger kids.

DAY OF THE PARTY 4–5 HOURS BEFORE GUESTS ARRIVE Set the table, lay out activities/crafts and put out the decorations. Tie balloons to your mailbox so your home is easy to find. Have the candle and lighter ready to go. Don’t forget to have a large garbage bag on hand for the wrapping paper. 1 HOUR TO GO If you have a pet take them to a quiet, safe place until the party is over so your furry friend doesn’t become overwhelmed.

1 WEEK OUT

Get your party gear on!

WRITE YOUR SHOPPING LIST Make a list and check it twice! Include food, party favours, cutlery, decorations, candles for the cake and something to light it with! Of course, in all this planning, don’t forget a present for your child if it is a birthday party. ASSEMBLE PARTY BAGS/FAVOURS This can be done at any time but you can finalise the number once you have your RSVPs. Always make a couple extra for those who just turn up on the day!

Put the food out and candles on the cake. TIME TO PARTY Greet each guest with your child. If parents are dropping off, confirm pick-up time and ensure you have emergency contact numbers. Enlist another adult to take photos and remember to get a family photo with the party child and their special cake. Enjoy this fun day! Even if things don’t go to plan, the important thing is that you and your children have a good day. THE Tidy up! Help your child write AFTER MATH thank you notes to party guests.

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t

ou t n i Pr

- on the coast

- in the city

PARTY CHECKLIST WHEN TASK

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4 – 8 weeks out 2 – 3 weeks out 1 week out 1 day out The day of! During the party

o o o o o o o

Pick a date and time Decide on the venue Wet weather alternative Guest list Theme Book entertainment Order or make Invitations

o o o o o o

Send invitations Decide on party games/activities Assemble prizes and prepare the games Decide on party favours and decorations Order or start planning the cake Prepare food menu

Afterwards

o Help your child write thank you notes to party guests

o Write shopping list o Assemble party bags/favours/decorations o Collate RSVPs o Tidy house and set up party area o Get cooking and finish or collect the cake o Prepare your child o o o o

Decorate and set up activities Lay out the food and put candles on the cake Take your pet to a safe place Get your party clothes on

o o o o o o

Be the ‘Hostess with the Mostess’! Tick off your checklist Get emergency contact numbers for parents if they are dropping off Take photos Enjoy! Hand out party bags

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The social gathering by Eva Lewis

Daily conversation, inspiration and information

facebook.com/kidsonthecoast

plus.google.com/+KidsonthecoastAuKidsinthecity

We want to meet you so let's get social

kidsonthecoastmagazine

We asked our Facebook fans ‘How much do you spend on your child’s birthday party?’

13%

Here are the results:

PARTY BAG

7%

IDEAS FROM MUMS AROUND THE WEB...

$500+

40%

$400 - $500

issuu.com/kidsonthecoastmagazine

LOLLY-FREE

$100 - $200

13%

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pinterest.com/kidsonthecoast

$200 - $300

27% $300 - $400

• pencils • mini notepads • matchbox cars • mini puzzles • stickers • colouring book • playdough • toothbrush • hair clips & bands • paint set

We recently shared an article on Facebook which touched on the question ‘How much do you spend on presents for your child’s friends?’ These are the responses:

79% 16

45%

32%

12%

11%

said they spend $10 to $20

said they spend $20 to $30

said they spend $30 or more

said they make their own handmade gifts

of parents host a birthday party every year for their children, according to our recent Facebook survey. www.kidsonthecoast.com.au .… www.kidsinthecitymagazine.com.au


With kids at school, in kindergarten or playgroup, it’s often difficult to decide who to invite to a child’s birthday party. We asked our Facebook fans how they decide... Tracy said: One of my girls had a dress up pirate party for her 5th birthday. The friend guest list was up to her so she invited her WHOLE prep class! I had around 20 girl and boy pirates plus lots of family, all in full costumes! Best party ever! Christine said: Family only and close friends for as long as you can get away with (i.e. until the birthday child starts making their own list)! Last year our 6-year-old invited two whole classes, but I’m thinking this year we might do a set limit and go out to a venue. As long as their cousins are there, they really don’t mind!

MANY PARENTS LOVE TO TRY THEIR HAND AT A HOMEMADE BIRTHDAY CAKE BUT SOMETIMES THEY JUST DON’T WORK OUT LIKE THEY HAD IMAGINED, JUST LIKE THESE ONES WE FOUND ON INSTAGRAM #cakefail Going on with the ‘cake fail’ theme, check out this cake proudly baked by our fearless leader and publisher, Toni.

r ightyea Buzz L

Thomas the Tank Engine

it is? what guess u o y n Ca

FOR HEAPS MORE PARTY INSPIRATION, CHECK OUT OUR KIDS PARTIES BOARD AND SUPER COOL BIRTHDAY CAKES BOARD ON PINTEREST!

SUBSCRIBE

to receive our weekly 'What's On' and bi-monthly eNews!

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n a magazine!

Join with us online – we are more tha

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great prizes on our website. Visit to enter.

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gift GUIDE

18

QUUT BALLO

JUNO EASY RIDER

MY FIRST TOOL BENCH

We know – it doesn’t even look like a bucket. But your kids will use it like one, and that’s what makes the Ballo so unique. Carrying water from the sea to a sandcastle has never been this much fun. www.tigertribe.com.au

The Spherovelo helps young children make the connection between their senses (vision, pressure, equilibrium...) and their motor system by being a ride on that’s unstable on the one hand (so that the child is required to effect some control - like with a bike) but safe on the other; a combination never before achieved. www.wooden.net.au

A fun first wooden tool bench with pretend power tools. This comprehensive set includes a clamp, saw, hammer, screwdriver, right-angle ruler, spanner and chalkboard. Also included is a handy storage shelf and two planks with pre-drilled holes. www.woodenwonderland.com.au

SUPERHERO SOCKS

RICKY DEES FORT

Holy fancy feet, Batman! These cotton batman-themed black socks will make you feel like a superhero. Plenty of animal magic can be found in other Neat Feet sock designs including flamingo, llama, owl, racoon and squirrel – perfect for little animal lovers! Find them online at www.squirrelpop.com

Ricky Dee’s Toys from Camphor Trees are unique, hand carved, enchanting toys hand crafted at Eumundi on the Sunshine Coast. Designs include timber tree-houses, castles, farms, horse yards, fairy houses, eco log cabins, fairy doors, wishing wells & detailed miniature furniture for pixies and peg people. www.rickydees.com.au

TESSI CREATIVE MAGNETS

LITTLE IMPOSTERS

PERSONALISED CHILD CUSHIONS

Tessi creative magnets allow your child to create whatever comes to mind, from a crazy shape to a cute creature or anything else their imagination can dream up! Each 60-piece pack contains enough magnets to create a multitude of patterns, characters and designs. www.tessicreative.com

Super cute, fun, easy to wear costumes. One size fits 2 yrs to slim adult! Adjustable braces and velcro opening at side. www.littleimposters.com.au

Gorgeous family or child's cushion designed to your description. A unique birthday gift. Available in white or cream 50x50cm or 35x50cm cushion. Up to 6 people/pets. www.goodthings.com.au

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PLAY TENT

ROAD TAPE

LOOK AND EXPLORE

Indoors and outdoors, park up this VW Combi Campervan play tent and create the perfect backdrop for an imaginative road trip to remember! www.entropy.com.au

Now your car-obsessed child can turn every surface into a roadway or highway. This amazing tape will stick to everything: chairs, tables, shelves and floors. Donkey My First Autobahn Car Track Tape builds 33m of roadways and comes with a tiny toy car. Train tape also available. Available online.

This 400x magnification Duo-Scope is simple enough for younger scientists to use, while being powerful enough for high-school Einsteins. www.entropy.com.au

PIRATE ROCKING SHIP

SWIMFIN

Ahoy m’hearties! Sailing the seas has never been more fun. Let your little pirate indulge their imagination in this pirate rocking ship. www.hipinteriorsforkids.com.au

Learn to swim like a fish! SwimFin is a unique swimming aid for anyone aged 2 and above. SwimFin is endorsed by Libby Trickett and supported by The Wiggles! Available in a range of 7 colours from www.swimfin.com.au

FINGER TATTOOS A variety of themed finger tattoos to create little finger puppets or “toys”. From a farm theme to a fairytale theme, you can to create your own adventure with your fingers. www.australiangiftsonline.com.au

SNURK ASTRONAUT SINGLE DOONA SET Let your child’s imagination run free at night with this stunning photographic printed single doona set with a real Astronaut suit from the Space Expo Museum in Holland. www.hardtofind.com.au

TEEPEE Designed with windows to catch the breeze and tie down doors for easy entry, your children will love imagining and discovering new worlds inside their teepee. Nine wonderful styles to choose from – from cowboys to floral girly girl to the new black stripe and black cross designs. www.mocka.com.au

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gift GUIDE KANDY SKATES

CRAZY LACES

Available in 5 fun colours with outdoor wheels https://epicskate.shop033.com

Are your old Converse crying out for a makeover? Or are your Nikes not as glamorous as you’d like? Customise your feet by changing your shoelaces and putting in a fresh colourful pair. Dress up your feet to look like rainbows or American flags. We’re crazy for them and we know you will be too! Available online from http://shop.until.com.au

ELASTICS The classic playground jumping game is back with a modern twist. This elastics set contains some jumping elastics along with a comprehensive instruction guide for playing. The guide includes five song variations and guidelines on advancing the game from standard through to advanced levels. www.daju.com.au

CREATIVE FUN! Make it up, then shake it up with the Glitzi Globes™ Starter Kit! The Starter Kit includes a range of adorable jewellery for girls to pop, swap, share and wear! From leading retailers. www.glitziglobes.com

THE GIFT OF FAIRY GARDENING Nurture children’s hearts and create precious memories. Choose the perfect gift from our range of designer fairy garden kits, fairy houses and accessories. The fairies in your garden will love our Gypsy Garden Camper! www.gardensparkle.com

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SEW SISTA SEWING CASE & ACCESSORIES Keep their tools and materials organised. A lift-out compartment tray, pocket for patterns, built-in pin-cushion. Includes: scissors, pins, needles, thread, retractable tape, pencil, craft and button pieces, name tag, small stuffing pack and project sheet. www.sewsista.com.au

MERMAID TAILS Everything mermaid, tails and fins available in lots of colours and sizes. Made from glittering lycra for mermaid shine and comfort. Visit Facebook Mermaids at Coopers or phone 5520 2250.

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by Natasha Higgins

The gift of adventure IF YOUR CHILD ALREADY HAS TOYS AND GADGETS GALORE AND YOU WOULD LIKE YOUR SPECIAL GIFT FOR YOUR CHILD TO BE REMEMBERED LONG AFTER PACKAGED GIFTS ARE FORGOTTEN, FOCUS ON SPECIAL FAMILY TIME AND AMAZING EXPERIENCES TO CREATE MEANINGFUL MEMORIES. Here are a few ways to replace material gifts with experiences, some shared as a family and some for your child on their own.

WITH THE FAMILY MINI-BREAK Take a trip to a place you’ve never been. Whether it’s close to home or further afield, just having a new experience together in a new place will create wonderful memories. TICKETS TO A LIVE PERFORMANCE Being in a large theatre or stadium is an exciting experience for most children, especially if they have never seen a live production before. Seeing a live show such as Disney on Ice, a favourite television character performing live or an acrobatic show will be something they’ll talk about long after the show ends. TAKE A FIELD TRIP Visit one of the many childfriendly museums and animal parks close to home – top picks include the Queensland Museum, Sciencentre, Sir Thomas Brisbane Planetarium, Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA), The Workshops Rail Museum, Ipswich Art Gallery, Australia Zoo, Underwater

World SEA LIFE Mooloolaba, Queensland Maritime Museum and Queensland Police Museum. ANIMAL EXPERIENCES Board a boat for a whale watching cruise or a day trip to feed dolphins at Moreton Island. TACKLE A NEW ADVENTURE Try a new activity as a family by signing up for canoeing or rockclimbing lessons – the key here is to choose something that all family members are able to participate in and are keen to learn. EXPERIENCE THE ARTS For a quieter alternative, attend an arts class together. Many local art supply stores offer classes such as sewing, scrapbooking or learn to draw. Or attend a mummy and me dance class! HOT AIR BALLOON RIDE Head off at dawn and experience the wonder of a hot air balloon ride over the beautiful Scenic Rim south of Brisbane. Top the experience off with a tasty cooked breakfast at a child-friendly venue.

ON THEIR OWN ANIMAL KEEPER/TRAINER PROGRAM Most animal and nature parks offer a special children’s program

where you can go behind the scenes with a real life keeper or trainer to see the work they do as well as meet the animals up close. Australia Zoo, Queensland Zoo, Underwater World, Seaworld, Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, David Fleay Wildlife Park and Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary all offer fantastic children’s experiences ranging from a couple of hours to a full day. Most programs have an age requirement and often book up in advance so remember to secure your spot early if you would like your child to have their experience on a certain date. COOKING CLASSES Do you have a master chef in the making? Find a cooking school that specialises in classes for children to help them gain confidence in the kitchen and learn a recipe or two. At Cutie Pies Baking School in Greenbank, Brisbane, children aged 2–10 years can learn how to make mini apple pies, mini quiches, cupcakes and much more. LEARN A NEW SKILL Horse mad children will be beside themselves with excitement when gifted with some horse riding lessons. If they are not in love with horses, consider guitar, surfing or skateboarding lessons – whatever activity your child has been pestering to learn!

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Partying at home or away WE’VE ALL BEEN THERE...WANTING TO CREATE THE PERFECT PARTY FOR OUR LITTLE PRECIOUS ONE/S. CREATING AN EXCITING PARTY FOR YOUR CHILD CAN BE VERY CHALLENGING AND IS GUARANTEED TO BE EXHAUSTING!! THE ORGANISATION CAN BE SIMILAR TO THAT OF A SMALL WEDDING…WITH THE GUEST LIST EQUALLY AS CHALLENGING! SO, WILL IT BE A DO IT YOURSELF (DIY) JOB OR WILL YOU NEED A LITTLE (OR A LOT!) OF HELP? Here are some points to keep in mind: Firstly, and most importantly, we need to remember that this is a celebration for the child, a celebration of them as the little person they are and of whom they are becoming. It can be easy to get caught up in the latest ‘craze’ of what you should have at a party but we, as parents, need to encourage our children to ask for what they would actually enjoy. So, when you start to plan your child’s party, spend some time asking for their suggestions and ideas of things they would like to happen at the party. This involves them and gives you a good starting point for the party’s theme. From there you can look at invitations, decorating, entertainment and food. This is where the time issue rears itself and the real stress can surface. Orchestrating an entire party can be done and can be hugely satisfying once achieved (but may require a few large drinks and lots of rest afterward!). If you are endeavouring to DIY, then enlist the help of some close friends or family, ones that can read you very well or take orders well! Keep in mind that sometimes the concentration required to make things run smoothly can cause some tension at the party and children certainly pick up on this. Those two or so hours of the celebration should be as positive and relaxing as possible, so that happy memories are all that the child remembers. Mum or Dad ‘losing it’ isn’t quite the same! So, being organised is a must for a DIY party, and it can be done if you have the time. If you don’t have the time, there are a number of options available to help you create a unique children’s party. If you do choose to employ the services of an organiser, entertainer, caterer or go to a dedicated party venue you are certainly allowing yourself more time to cherish the day. However, there will be an obvious financial cost. You may consider making every second year or even a joint party something extra special, in which case the cost may balance out the enjoyment you can share with your child, taking photos and chatting to other parents or family. A child’s birthday is something special, and reminds us that they are young for such a short time. Every moment counts. Happy celebrating! 22

Can we help? by Christine Humphreys Still undecided whether to hold your child’s next party at home or out at a party venue? We’ve compiled a list of benefits of each option that may help you make the final decision. At home you can: - be budget friendly - have unrestricted guest numbers - allow your creativity to flow with your theme and decorations - show your style in the kitchen and cater for different food requirements - care for younger siblings more easily at home (nap times, own toys) - organise your own games and activities - hire specific entertainment and equipment - party on for as long as you like! Out at a party venue you can: - choose from a variety of different packages and costs - reduce the potential anxiety of being chief caterer and entertainer - arrive ready to party (no set-up required) - go home to a party-free zone (no clean up necessary) - RELAX, enjoy the fun your child is having and chat to other parents! Just remember, wherever you decide to host your next party the kids are bound to have a blast!

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HOME LASER TAG PARTIES

AUSTRALIA’S

No.1

NATIONWIDE LASER TAG HIRE

www.LaserTag.com.au

1800 266 587

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by Michelle Eckles from Ezy Kids Parties and Childrens Party Supplies

HOW MANY KIDS TO INVITE? WHAT FOOD TO SERVE? ARE PARTY BAGS NECESSARY? FOR SOME PEOPLE, ORGANISING A KID’S PARTY CAN BE STRESSFUL, CONFUSING AND A MINEFIELD OF DOS AND DON’TS. The same applies to parents of children who have been invited to their first party. What kind of present to buy? Stay or go? What to do with siblings? Below are some tips and hints for both the organiser and attendee to help navigate the party scene. Remember, above all, it’s just supposed to be fun!!!

EXPECTATIONS Whether to have a party or not is up to the parents and what makes them feel comfortable. However, it’s best to be realistic when it comes to expectations. Throwing a party for a two-year-old with pony rides, a magician, jumping castle, decadent food and a three tier cake is a waste of money if the expectation is for that child to remember any of it. Chances are they won’t even stay awake or they may have a meltdown as it’s just all too much for them. It’s only natural to want to celebrate these milestones but for kids under five, keeping it low key with family and close friends is recommended, until the kids and parents are ready for the responsibility, cost and exhaustion that comes with throwing a party – as well as the fun, excitement and joy!! 24

GUEST LIST Who to invite seems to cause the most angst when it comes to kids’ parties. Again, it’s up to the parents and child as to what feels acceptable. Beware of inviting the whole class, unless looking after 20–30 kids is not daunting (and you have a whip and chair handy)! For school-age children, their preferences should be respected. Inviting kids they don’t know or may not necessarily like may lead to social issues on the day. Humility and resilience are also important – kids shouldn’t gloat about having a party or being invited to one but also need to learn they aren’t always going to be invited either. More kids = more cost, more time and preparation and more chance for accidents and incidents. However, the age plus one rule is not necessarily practical either – six kids won’t necessarily create a party atmosphere or make playing party games workable. A good number is 12 to 15.

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RSVP Should you RSVP? YES!!!! Most people go to a lot of effort, time and preparation when it comes to organising a kid’s party. There can be a lot of per head costs like party bags, entertainment and food. Respect that the organiser has gone to this effort and cost and their child is looking forward to being surrounded by their friends. Also, no one should be put in a position where they don’t have a party bag, cupcake or prize for a child because they weren’t expecting them. Having only one or two kids show up would be even worse. Don’t rely on kids to RSVP to the birthday child or their parent – communicate directly with the organiser to prevent misunderstandings. This also ensures they then have contact details for all parents if something happens on the day or they are not staying. There was a post recently about the controversial decision of a mother in the UK to send an invoice for £15.95 to the parent of a boy that didn’t show up to her child’s party as a no show fee (to cover the ski slope fee). Okay, maybe that’s a bit extreme and yes, plans change and kids get sick but if a child does RSVP yes and they can no longer make it, then it’s courtesy to let the organiser know, even if it’s just a text message. Sometimes taking siblings is unavoidable and organisers appreciate this. Again, it’s courtesy to let them know if siblings are coming and, if the party is at somewhere like a roller skating rink or the movies, it is their parent’s responsibility to pay for and supervise those siblings. For the organiser – hand out the invitations at least two weeks before the party; the more notice the greater chance of people being able to make it. Be aware of things like Saturday morning sports that can prevent a lot of kids from being able to make it. A great tip to prevent invitations getting lost is to pop a magnet on the back so it goes on the fridge. Also, make sure all communication options are listed, e.g. mobile phone and email and the date the RSVP is required by. That way there is no excuse for someone not being able to contact the organiser.

DROP OFF OR STAY This depends on the party venue, e.g. secure play centre vs a park or the family home, the age and personality of the child, and the relationship with the birthday child’s family. The best thing to do is assess the situation when arriving, e.g. how many kids there are, the level or supervision, etc. but it wouldn’t normally be considered appropriate to leave a preschool age child at a party without a parent nor a child who may be clingy or insecure. GIFT OPENING Giving a kid a pile of presents and saying they can’t open them would be like putting a block of Cadbury’s finest in front of a chocoholic and telling them they can’t have it. However, it can cause chaos and delay things like games or entertainment. The best option is to discuss with the birthday child beforehand when the present opening will be. The end of the party is good after the entertainment and cake are done but before everyone leaves so that the giver gets to see the child open their present. Thank you cards may not be practical if a parent is not sitting there opening the presents like you would do with a toddler as you may not even be able to match the presents to the givers. Parents should not be too hard on themselves when it comes to this practice but do ensure the birthday child thanks their friends for their gift and for coming and vice versa. PROVISIONS What should the party host provide? The MerriamWebster online dictionary describes a party as “a social event in which entertainment, food, and drinks are provided”. How to entertain the kids is probably the second biggest issue behind who to invite and is the one aspect of a kid’s party that parents are mostly likely to outsource. It depends on the age of the kids, number of kids, whether the party host is comfortable entertaining a group of kids and if not what their budget is. As a guide – toddlers are happy to play with what is in the home (i.e. what the birthday child plays with

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On a recent survey conducted (of my own two children), when asked what their favourite part of having a party is, their response was “the cake & the party bags”, whereas I would spend far more time on decorations and entertainment. It just goes to show that parents probably stress unnecessarily over aspects that the birthday child and their guests may not even notice. It doesn’t mean I’m going to stop doing those things as I enjoy it and it’s my contribution to them. However, I do outsource things I don’t like to do, e.g. the cake, food, taking photos, etc. so they are things I don’t have to stress about and I’m left to enjoy the day with the kids, which is what it’s all about in the end…

at home) or the local play centre or playground. Jumping castles, face painters and balloonists are great for preschoolers and party games are good to introduce from age five and upwards, as are magicians, animal shows, etc. Movies, roller skating rinks, etc. are better left for when they are a bit more mature and able to self regulate their behaviour (and coordination!). It’s important to be consistent. Don’t raise a child’s expectations with a trip to Dreamworld one year and takeaway dinner from Maccas the next. The type of food to provide depends on the time of day the party is being held. If the party is from say 11am to 1pm then there is an expectation of substantial lunchtime food. Lighter refreshments are fine for late afternoon. Also, if there is an expectation for the parents to stay then they should be provided for, especially as it’s quite likely they have been running around doing errands beforehand and have probably forgotten to eat. Make sure there is plenty of water and not just cordial and soft drinks, especially in summer. PARTY BAGS The kids are worn out from running around, bellies are full, the cake has been done and it’s time to go home and the first child that leaves is looking expectantly at the party host and whispers in anticipation, “Are there party bags?” Or maybe it’s just my child that does this!! 26

Despite extensive research, it is difficult to locate the origin of ‘party bags’. They began as lolly bags but with the health revolution and high rate of childhood obesity these have become frowned upon. But let’s face it, kids are materialistic! Who wouldn’t want to receive a little gift? But they also like giving – they take pleasure in handing out goody bags, especially if they have made or decorated them. It’s up to the party host to decide what to give – it’s a bit pointless to hand out something that is going to get thrown in the trash within an hour of getting home just for the sake of distributing something, but it’s also not necessary to send them home with a mini Van Gogh or iPod. Something practical they can use or an art/ craft activity they can do quietly when they get home is sure to be appreciated. Whatever the decision, the intention should be obvious – if party bags are going to be handed out, it’s good to have them in plain view and task the birthday child or a relative with making sure the kids get one when they leave so no one misses out! If there are no party bags, make it light and polite, along the lines of “Sweetheart, the prize you got in the pass the parcel was our thank you gift.” Michelle is the founder of Ezy Kids Parties and Childrens Party Supplies, which offer online party supplies as well as hosted party packages, entertainers, cakes and catering in over 20 themes across the Sunshine Coast, Brisbane and the Gold Coast. Michelle loves to keep kids entertained and parents stress free, making every child’s birthday full of good old fashion fun and wonderful memories. For more information, visit the websites www.childrenspartysupplies.com.au and www.ezykidsparties.com.au. You can also email Michelle at michelle@ezykidsparties.com.au or phone on 1300 118 840

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CHOOSING A PARTY THEME

THERE ARE SO MANY THEMES TO CONSIDER FOR CHILDREN’S PARTIES. START BY ASKING YOUR CHILD WHAT SORT OF PARTY THEY WOULD LIKE AND THEY ARE SURE TO REQUEST SOMETHING THEY PARTICULARLY LOVE. IF YOUR CHILD DOESN’T HAVE ANY FIRM IDEAS OR YOU DON’T THINK YOU CAN DELIVER THE PARTY THEY WOULD LIKE, THEN IT’S A GOOD IDEA TO COME UP WITH A FEW OTHER IDEAS TO SUGGEST. If you would like to make your themed party extra special, have a look around your region for party entertainers who specialise in your chosen theme so they can keep the children entertained and you can take some time to sit back and watch the fun. Here are some ideas for inspiration. GO GREEN, GO PARTY! Being aware of the environment is important these days so an eco-birthday is a great educational option…but one that can still be exciting, colourful and memorable. Start with sending an e-invite to save paper; you may even get a more timely RSVP! Fresh produce for the party food table is a must. Recycled or reusable plates, cups and cutlery also convey an important message. 28

For a ‘green’ party game, sorting the recycling might be taking it too far, but playing identify the object by putting natural objects in a box with a hole cut in it so kids can only touch but not see will give an opportunity to play at discovery. Slip in an unusual item or two as well as some easy guesses. Instead of a party bag, set up a sustainable craft activity with each child taking home their own masterpiece. Be sure to check out your regional council website for information on nature education centres – there are often art & craft sessions especially during school holidays as well as handy party hosting areas that will allow outdoor play in a natural setting.

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TIME TO

PARTY! by Natasha Higgins

GET CRAFTY Have a mini Michelangelo at home? Painting parties are great and let the partygoers create and take home a memento. Be prepared for messy fun and embrace it with squeezy bottles of paint, glitter and other craft bits and pieces. Clay is a great addition to a crafty party and can calm a party buzz down while kids focus on their creation – make sure you have ideas or something to copy so kids can make something other than a mountain! PIRATES Challenge the parents to speak like a pirate during the entire party and you’ll be onto a winner. Walking the plank (just lie a plank on the grass) and pirate raids on box castles are going to be great fun for all. And of course a pirate search for hidden treasure is going to keep the kids busy for a while. If you’re passing the parcel, have a think about themed items in the wrapping, or make each layer a clue so each party guest gets the next clue in a pirate treasure hunt.

ANIMALS All kids love animals in one way or another. Maybe it’s the snapping of crocodiles with giant paper lily pads, frog lollies and chocolate logs, or perhaps it’s a horse themed party with hobby horse making (see a tutorial in the make your own section) followed by a horse race to the finish line. Remember that if you have an African animal themed party you may have both fierce lions and timid gazelles so plan games to cater to them both! If you have a friend with an exotic pet or horse, a visit from them will be a treat for all. Otherwise, consider booking an animal experience such as pony rides or a farm animal petting zoo. If your child prefers wild animals, then consider a birthday party wildlife experience with Geckoes Wildlife (www. geckoeswildlife.com.au) where the party guests get to meet a host of animals such as a possum, snake, baby crocodile and other reptiles and birds.

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PARTY! SPORT For active kids, a sports themed party is a must. With a few plastic cones and a few inflatable balls many games can be had based on throwing, carrying and passing. This can make a great team games-based party and suitable for older kids who perhaps don’t want to spend time crafting and playing chase. MOVIES In the rainy season, you may like to play it safe and plan a party indoors. A favourite movie character themed party can be great fun with prizes for best dressed and most imaginative dress up. Have the birthday child’s favourite movie playing in the background before kids arrive and it won’t become the focus while you and the guests continue with the party fun. If you’re a dab hand with YouTube, a game of guess the movie with sound and video clips is a great tie in to this theme. FAIRIES & PRINCESSES If you have daughters then you’ve been to one of these. Easy to suggest; harder to make special. Put fairy dust (glitter) in the balloons, pin the wand on the fairy and fairy statues are takes on the normal that the party guests will love. And if you have a few wizards attending, we’re sure that the fairies won’t mind. If you can, pre-organising for everyone to come dressed as a different fairy with their own fairy masks will add to the magical event for all. Tip! Make the invitation a fairy mask to colour in and bring along! BIKING PARTY If the party group is able, a biking party in a safe park can be fun. While harder to organise, with bikes and safety essential, giving kids the sense of adventure with either a ride around local parkland or just fun on wheels in a smaller paved park can be great for older kids. Adventuring to a location where a picnic has been set up will add to the adventure of the party too and give everyone a chance to have a rest after a fun ride. 30

OTHER THEMES TO CONSIDER… Things that move (planes, trains, cars) A favourite character or toy (Thomas the Tank Engine, Dora the Explorer, Buzz Lightyear) Space

Tea party

Magic

Superhero

Science

Lego

Teddy bears’ picnic

Rainbow

Construction

Jungle party

Disco

Dinosaur

Under the sea

Monster

Circus

Slip and Slide

Beach

Robot

Mermaid COLOUR It might sound odd, but theming a party on colour can work really well. Your birthday child can really go to town with this one with simple direction from you to pick things that are based on a single colour. Be warned… picking blue results in some interesting food choices! Face paint is a must for this party, whether you DIY or hire a face painter. Providing some lengths of fabric in the party theme colour will allow party guests to create wraps and capes in general play. KEEPING IT SIMPLE If you (and your child) just want a simple but fun birthday party without a set theme and too much fuss, there is still plenty of fun to be had. Plan the kind of party that you may have enjoyed as a child with a cake, pin the tail on the donkey, pass the parcel, musical chairs and plenty of general fun.

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A THEME WITH A DIFFERENCE - HOST A CHARITABLE BIRTHDAY PARTY AND DEMONSTRATE THE GIFT OF GIVING To avoid the overwhelm that often comes with receiving so many gifts at once – not to mention having to find space to put them all – consider hosting a charitable birthday party for your child’s next birthday. Speak with your child about how they can help others who may not be as fortunate as they are. Discuss some different charities or community organisations in your area that could benefit from donations so that your child can decide what matters to them the most. You can still hold a birthday party with all the excitement that goes with it, but ask the guests to bring a donation to the charity of your child’s choice rather than a gift. That way gift giving can be limited to just family, and your child and their friends will gain an appreciation of how they are able to help others by giving gifts to charity instead of receiving them. Choosing something to support that your child is passionate about should help to lessen any disappointment they may feel at not getting lots of gifts themselves. Here are some great ideas to discuss with your child. SPORTS MAD Whether it’s a sports themed party or not, your sports mad child could ask their guests to bring along old or new sporting equipment to donate to a charity such as Boots For All (www.bootsforall.org.au), Fair Game (www.fairgamewa.org) or Cricket4Kids (www.cricket4kids.org) who distribute secondhand and new sporting equipment to less fortunate people across Australia.

ANIMAL LOVER Ask your guests to bring items to donate to a local animal shelter or wildlife hospital. Before sending the invitations, see if you can organise a visit there with your child to find out more about the work they do and what donations they would most appreciate, whether it be food, bedding or first aid items. Another option is to ask the party guests to donate to the World Wildlife fund so that your child can choose to ‘adopt’ an animal they would like to help. HELPING OTHER KIDS Your child might like to brighten up the day for a sick child by donating some books or craft kits to the children’s ward of their local hospital or to Ronald McDonald House in Brisbane. Or they may like to collect donations for a local organisation that helps provide children in need in the local area with clothes or school supplies. Once your child has decided on the recipient of the party ‘gifts’, let the party guests know on the invitation. For example: Amy would love to use her birthday to help the XYZ animal shelter. Instead of a gift for Amy, please bring along a gift of cat/dog food or a blanket for bedding to donate to the shelter after her party. Once the party is over, take your child along to donate the items personally if possible, as this will make their gift extra special and meaningful to them.

For her 6th birthday party, animal lover Clancy asked her friends to bring items she could donate to the Animal Welfare League of Queensland rather than a gift for her. She gathered an impressive number of items which were gratefully received by the animal shelter.

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A Rainbow Party by Christine Humphreys When you just can’t decide on a theme, you can’t go past colour! A rainbow theme suits every birthday boy or girl, and you can turn the cheeriness of colour into a fun and amazing party! My daughter’s 4th birthday party revolved around my desire to have a go at baking a six-layer rainbow cake. At the end of the day, the long anticipated rainbow cake nearly reduced me to tears and ended the life of my mixmaster. Thankfully, although the cake was a bit of a flop, the rest of the party turned out great! INVITATIONS Have your birthday boy or girl draw their own version of a rainbow on one side of a postcard-size white card. On the other side, glue a basic invitation with all the details. I chose to get a bit snazzy and make each word a different colour – see how you go for time! COSTUMES A fun (and easy) costume idea is to ask each guest to come dressed in his or her favourite colour. DECORATIONS A rainbow theme makes for easy party decorating! We picked up a rainbow piñata from Spotlight and some tissue paper pom poms. I also made a simple backdrop for the food table out of bright fabric hung from a curtain rod. We have reused this backdrop for a few parties since. We bought a set of inexpensive reusable plates and cutlery from a discount store, and they’ve since been used for other parties and picnics, as well as in the play kitchen. 32

FOOD Rainbow-coloured food is such fun! • Rainbow jelly cups. Just set and layer one colour at a time. You need a day to finish these but they look wonderful and are a big hit! • A fruit platter in the shape of a rainbow • Fairy bread…the original rainbow party food! • Rainbow cookies. Check out this tutorial – the trick to the bright colours is to use professional icing colours such as Wilton www.youtube.com/watch?v=yTXETy8BhnU • Rainbow marshmallows. Courtesy of my sister…it’s a great idea to outsource some catering. GAMES AND ACTIVITIES We are fortunate enough to have a very talented face painter in our family but you can easily DIY or outsource this. We also had the dreaded traditional pass the parcel (never again!), piñata fun and a treasure hunt where each child had to find six different coloured balloons…once found they earned a bubble wand! PARTY FAVOURS Each guest was given a kaleidoscope from the party girl at the end of the party and went home with a party bag filled with goodies from the piñata.

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Photos by From the Heart Photography www.ftheartphotography.com

A RAINBOW THEME SUITS EVERY BIRTHDAY

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Photos by Joshua Morton Photography

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A Teddy Bears’ Picnic by Eva Lewis THE CAKE This was the first cake I’d made from my vintage Women’s Weekly Children’s Birthday Cake Book. I have very fond memories of the birthday cakes my mum used to make me from this book and just had to make one from it for my son’s first birthday. It was a super hot summer day and the teddy bear cake looked like he’d been for a swim with his melted icing, but it was still delicious and I’m pretty happy with the end result. INVITATIONS I cheated a little with the invitations and found a free printable online with the teddy bears’ picnic theme. I printed them in colour and pasted them onto some coloured card stock. DECORATIONS The party was a picnic in the park and so we used very few decorations. I had a personalised banner made up in the theme of a teddy bears’ picnic and hung that on the gazebo along with some coloured balloons and teddy bears scattered around the place. FOOD It was all about having food that was easy to transport, easy to prepare and suitable to serve in a park where we didn’t have access to appliances. Some of the food included:

GAMES AND ACTIVITIES I decided to outsource a face painter and am glad I did because not only did she do a fabulous job, the kids loved it and so did I! I think I had more fun with it than the kids and was the only adult to get my face painted! Being in a park the kids spent most of the time on the playground but I did have a soccer ball piñata purchased from Spotlight; it went down a treat (pardon the pun)! PARTY FAVOURS I purchased plain blue party bags from Spotlight and stuck personalised teddy bears’ picnic labels on the front. Each bag contained: • A squinkie (a little squishy figurine) • A bouncy soccer ball • A small packet of ovaltines • Whistle • A fridge magnet • Lollipop • Goodies from the piñata

• Bowls of fruit salad • Sandwiches in the shape of ‘The Very Hungry Caterpillar’ • Cupcakes • Cheerios • Teddy bears driving cars (check out how to make them here: www.pinterest.com/ pin/225883737533202428) • Pop Tops & bottles of water relabelled with teddy bears’ picnic themed labels. www.kidsonthecoast.com.au .… www.kidsinthecitymagazine.com.au

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A ‘Backwards’ Party THE IDEA OF A ‘BACKWARDS’ OR ‘MIXED UP’ PARTY IS THAT EVERYTHING IS THE REVERSE OF WHAT IT NORMALLY WOULD BE. HERE ARE SOME IDEAS FOR A ‘BACKWARDS’ PARTY – BUT PART OF THE FUN IS ALSO COMING UP WITH WACKY NEW IDEAS OF YOUR OWN! IDEAS? • Write invitations backwards so they have to be read in a mirror (do it on a computer and choose ‘print mirror image’). • Ask guests to dress appropriately, for example clothes on backwards, ponytails over the forehead and shoes on the wrong feet. • Say ‘goodbye’ to guests when they arrive and ‘hello’ when they leave. • Print backwards name tags and make everyone call each other by their backwards names BACKWARDS FUN AND GAMES As guests arrive, get them to guess how many lollies are in a jar. The guest who guesses furthest from the correct answer wins! Non-musical Statues. The kids have to stop still during the music and dance when it’s silent. Backwards Musical Chairs. When the music stops, every person sits down...even if you have to sit on someone’s lap. No one is ever eliminated, but another chair is taken away every round. In the end, everyone is sitting on one chair! CRAZY UPSIDE-DOWN FACES Have each child lie on a couch with their head hanging down. Cover their nose and mouth with a 36

bandana, and draw a mouth on their forehead (it looks like a strange man with a weird beard!). Take photos and print them up for thank you cards. You can also take a photo of all the kids lined up in their backwards clothes – ask them to turn their backs to you and look over their shoulder! BACKWARDS FOOD To be eaten sitting under the table or at an upsidedown table, of course! Start with the cake! You could serve individual cupcakes for each guest, upside down on a plate so the icing is on the bottom, with a candle stuck through the paper case. Everyone can sing ‘Happy Birthday from you’, or ‘You to Birthday Happy’. Other cake options are a cake with YADHTRIB YPPAH written on it, or a cake that you turn upside down in front of the guests so the icing is on the bottom. You can even cut and serve the cake, then put a candle in each piece for everyone to blow out…then sing the song! You can also serve upside-down pizza and nachos (with the cheese on the bottom) and extra large hot dogs, cut down the centre, with bread placed in the middle. NUF EVAH! (Have fun!)

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Party with a Fire Truck! By Karen Ghidella

I’VE NEVER MET A YOUNG CHILD (BOY OR GIRL) WHO DOESN’T LOVE FIRE ENGINES. OUR CHILDREN ARE ABSOLUTELY OBSESSED WITH THEM AND FOR THEIR THIRD BIRTHDAY PARTY WE FINALLY DECIDED TO CALL ‘THE HIRE ENGINE’ AND THROW THEM A PARTY TO REMEMBER. They turned up with a REAL fire truck...the truck has been retired so they won’t leave mid-party to put out any fires! Watching our kids faces as the fire engine arrived was the most beautiful thing. I had told our children that a fireman in a fire truck was coming to visit them for their birthday, but I’m not sure they actually believed me. We opened up the gates and the kids just stared. They were absolutely in awe of what was happening. Fireman Michael and Firewoman Kimberly got the kids all excited about going for a ride. They put on their fire helmets...

The big birthday boys sat in the front with plenty of rooms for guests in the back. Off we went for a big drive around the block with the sirens going and lots of waving at people. Out we hopped, but it wasn’t over yet! They also ran the games and provided the entertainment for the whole party. THEN... Everyone had a go at trying to wet Firewoman Kimberly with the fire hose. They ABSOLUTELY LOVED IT! We were very sad to see them leave. Then our little firemen blew out the candles on their fire engine cake.

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Oh Boy! Throw a late-over party for your son By Pam Molnar When my son turned 10, it seemed like all of his friends had sleepover parties to celebrate their birthday. My son prefers to sleep in his own bed, so I always picked him up from the parties at 10:30pm. The next day I would hear horror stories about a house full of preteen boys on a sugar high. The hosting mom would tell me, ‘“You picked your son up at the right time.” When his birthday rolled around, my son asked to have a late-over party instead. He wanted to invite a dozen boys over for food, fun and four long hours. After choosing the menu, my son left the entertainment up to me. Having two older daughters, my birthday party arsenal was filled with spa treatments, karaoke and chick flicks. Thankfully, I came up with some different things for the boys: Video games: My son’s favourite pastime is playing video games and it was easy to incorporate them into a birthday party. Set up a couple of video game stations (borrowing if necessary). As the boys arrive, let them play at the video game stations and then rotate them around to whatever other activities you may have set up. It gives the boys something to do until everyone arrives and keeps them occupied without supervision while you greet at the door. Dodgeball: Time to go outside! Gather six cheap balls. Line them up in the centre of your yard and split the boys into two teams. On go, the boys charge the line and try to get a ball. The object of the game is to throw the balls at each other and try to tag someone out. If the other team catches the ball that you throw, you are out and one of their tagged players may come back in. Play a couple of rounds and get some of that energy out. Target practice: Save empty plastic water or soft drink bottles and line them up on the deck railing or table edge. Fill water guns and let the boys try 38

to knock them down. If it is a windy day, add a little water to each bottle to keep them from tipping over. Filling the bottle with a little water also makes them more of a challenge to knock down. Carnival game balloon darts: Head to the local hardware store and pick up a pre-cut piece of wood or plasterboard. Inflate 24 balloons and stick them on using pins or tacks. Determine points for each colour and let the boys try to pop the balloons with darts. Note: For safety reasons, I used the rounded darts for this game. Another variation is to fill the balloons with a paper number that the boys turn in for a prize. Sling shot water balloon bowling: Purchase a slingshot and fill dozens of water balloons. Set up 10 empty plastic two-litre bottles like bowling pins. Again, fill with a little water to keep them from tipping over in the wind. Have two boys hold the slingshot while one boy pulls back and releases the balloon. Try to knock over the pins and score like you would for bowling. Survivor games: The boys will love to prove how brave they are so this is a fun time for all. Try challenges like finding a coin in a deep bowl of mayonnaise or tomato sauce. If there are no food allergies in your group, challenge the boys to taste ‘yucky’ food like a kale smoothie, smelly cheese, liver pâté or spinach puree. Paint war: This is a good way to end the night. Purchase goggles, non-toxic paint and white t-shirts for everyone. Fill cups with paint and send the boys to the middle of the yard. Set rules like no paint on the face and set boundaries to protect your yard. Then shout “Go” and stand back. It is a good idea to warn the parents before the party so they can send the kids in clothes that can be ruined. Ask the parents to provide a change of clothes for the ride home. Pam Molnar is a freelance writer and mother of two teens and a tween. She enjoys party planning as much as the kids enjoy the party.

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TIME TO

PARTY!

Girls Rock! A late-over party for your tween-age daughter By Pam Molnar Your daughter asked to have a sleepover for her birthday party, but you just don’t think you can make it until morning with a group of excited tweens. No need to worry – have a late-over party instead. A late-over party has all the benefits of a sleepover, but with a good night’s sleep. It is great for girls who may not be ready for a full-blown first sleepover and it works well for parents who would like a party with less of a time commitment. Late-over parties usually run from around 6pm until 10pm, giving you plenty of time for food, activities and fun with BFFs. Get it started: Ask all the girls to come over in pyjamas. Serve up some pizza, drinks and snacks like nachos or popcorn. During dinner you can play “How well do you know the birthday girl?” Ask your daughter 20 questions ahead of time. Some examples are, “What soccer team does Delaney play for” or “On a scale of 1-10, how much does the birthday girl like One Direction?” Have a small prize for the girl who got the most answers correct or hand out a piece of chocolate for each correct answer. Activity – Lip-sync videos: Split the girls up in teams of two or four. Let them choose a song and ask them to make a video to go along with it. Supply a box of props for the girls to use with things like hats, sunglasses, feather boas, and of course, microphones. Give the girls time to work on their choreography and then let them perform for everyone. Be sure to get it all on video and then give a copy of it to the girls to take home. Activity – Fashion show: Provide girls with rolls of masking tape and plenty of newspaper. Break the girls up into teams of three or more. One girl will be the model and the other girls are the designers. See what outfits, hats and accessories the girls can make from the tape and newspaper. Have the girls model 40

their creations and vote for the winner. This is a great photo opportunity! Activity – My friend, the mirror: This is a fun makeover game for tween girls. Have everyone choose a partner. One girl sits in a chair with makeup (lipstick, eye shadow and blush) in front of her. She will attempt to put on the makeup using only her partner’s guidance for a mirror. Another variation of this game is to have the makeover girl keep her arms at her side. Her partner sits behind her on the chair and uses her own arms to put makeup on the model without the benefit of a mirror. Birthday cake – or not: Tired of the same old packet cake? Mix it up a little. Why not have birthday cookie and ice cream sandwiches, chocolate fondue or an easy trifle made with cake, whipped cream and fruit? You can’t go wrong with an ice cream sundae bar with whipped cream, candy sprinkles and crushed cookies. Or, if you are looking for another activity, let the girls decorate their own cupcakes. Let’s play musical gifts: Everyone wants their gift opened first so to avoid hurt feelings, make a game of it. Have the girls sit in a circle holding their gift. Turn on some music and start passing the gifts around. When the music stops, the birthday girl opens the gift she has in her hand. Keep playing until all the gifts are opened. Party bags: Avoid the lollies or plastic trinkets. Personal gifts have more meaning. Make a CD of the birthday girl’s favourite songs – I am sure they are the guests’ favourite songs, too. Take photos during the party of all the girls eating and doing the activities. Print out the photos and put them in mini photo albums that you find at the discount store. The girls will have a great keepsake to take home from the party. Pam Molnar is a freelance writer and mother of two teens and a tween. She enjoys party planning as much as the kids enjoy the party.

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Creative learning holiday program for kids. Workshops are designed to develop creative and imaginative thinking for children aged 3-12 years. Kidspace will be running a range of creative visual arts and performing arts workshops.

Workshops Movement & Music Build & Play

Magic & Illusion Wearable Art / Fashion

Acting / Film & TV (ages 12-17)

Art & Craft

Qualified and experienced creative facilitators Small classes $15 (max 10) per workshop

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MAKE YOUR OWN…

Set up a low table with lots of different craft materials to suit your planned activity such as: • crayons & felt pens • glue • sticky tape • glitter • gems & sequins • stars, hearts & flowers • feathers • scissors • stapler

PARTY HATS

Cut coloured cardboard strips of a suitable width and the right length to go around a child’s head. Stencil shapes related to the party theme on the cardboard strips or let the kids cut their own. For younger kids, pre-cut them and leave the scissors out of reach! Once the party hat is finished, you may need to give the younger kids a hand to staple the cardboard together to fit their head correctly.

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DIY

AFRICAN ANIMAL MASKS Will there be elephants, tigers, giraffes or zebras at the party?

There are plenty of animal mask templates available for download on the Internet. Decide on those you would like and print out enough for all the party guests on white card. Make a small hole at either side of the mask and tie some thin elastic through the holes. Let each child choose their preferred animal and let them go wild! You may need to adjust the length of the elastic for each child once they’ve finished decorating.

HOBBY HORSES

If your child is desperate to have a horse themed party and you can’t organise for a real horse to come along, why not make some hobby horses instead. Kids can decorate their very own horse and then take part in a game of steeplechase or some other horsey activity. Best of all, each child can take their horse home as a party favour! There are heaps of tutorials online for making a hobby horse, but to keep it quick and easy, simply print a line drawing of a horse head on white card and cut it out – again, one for each child. Once the horse head has been decorated, simply staple the head onto some dowel that has been pre-cut to just the right length for little legs.

the fun h c t a w d n a it back

S

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You will need:

• card stock in your preferred colour, cut to sta ndard envelope size • plain paper cut about ¼ inc h smaller than the card stock (to leave a small border) • felt pens or crayons in the 7 colours of the rainbow • glue • a printed or handwritten invitation (I did this one in Word and printed it off, 4 per A4 page)

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DIY

DIY Rainbow Invitations by Christine Humphreys

CREATING YOUR OWN SIMPLE PARTY INVITATIONS LIKE THESE IS A FUN WAY TO INVOLVE THE BIRTHDAY CHILD IN THE PREPARATION OF THEIR UPCOMING PARTY. PLUS IT IS A MESS-FREE PROJECT MANAGEABLE BY ANY LEVEL OF CRAFTER.

STEP 1 Gather your supplies. If you have younger children, you can pre-mark the rainbow with dots to get a uniform result.

STEP 2 Ask the birthday child to draw the rainbow! You will need one rainbow drawn for each invitation.

STEP 3 Once the rainbow is finished, glue it on one side of the card stock.

STEP 4 Glue the typed or handwritten invitation to the other side of the card stock. Repeat the process until you have all your invitations done.

Fill in the party details (if not already printed). The finished product is then ready to hand out to the party guests. www.kidsonthecoast.com.au .‌ www.kidsinthecitymagazine.com.au

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DIY

Make your own party bags by Lauren Matheson – Create Make Bake

IT’S SO EASY TO MAKE YOUR OWN PERSONALISED PARTY BAGS BY PICKING UP A FEW SUPPLIES FROM YOUR LOCAL DISCOUNT STORE.

You will neerednt :coloured)

• 4 sheets (diffe board of textured card in white paper • 2 sheets of pla rchased from • paper bags (pu at Kmart, on the craft secti count stores) dis st mo or W Big r • black marke • scissors

To make the bright name labels, cut the white paper into similar sized rectangles and write the name of each guest in the centre. Then cut larger rectangles from the coloured cardboard. Glue the white guest name label in the middle of the coloured cardboard.

Stick the name label onto the paper bag and allow the glue to dry. It’s now time for the fun part! You can pick up some great party bag goodies from discount stores and for around $20, you will have enough goodies for 16 party bags.

• glue stick

Lauren hails from sunny Queensland and is mum to two little boys. When she isn’t breaking up arguments over toy trucks, you will find her in the kitchen baking up a storm and sharing recipes on her blog Create Bake Make. She has a super sweet tooth and enjoying a slice of cake is one of her guilty indulgences. In her rare quiet moments, you will find her curled up with a book or the latest magazine enjoying a coffee or indulging in her slight online shopping addiction.

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DIY

t e k c Ro Power k c a p t e J

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Materials you will need: • 2 plastic bottles • thick elastic • red, orange and black felt • spray paint (colour of your choice) • scissors and strong glue

STEP 3: Cut a piece of elastic to fit around both bottles and join at the back with strong glue.

STEP 4: Measure around your child’s arm and shoulder with the elastic to make the straps that attach to the jetpack. Cut two pieces the same size.

STEP 7: Cut two flame shapes out of red felt and two smaller flames out of orange felt, then layer them on top of each other.

and e the bottle lids STEP 1: Remov int. pa y ra sp th wi spray the bottles use t bu se ca is th in Black was used e. m stu atch your co any colour to m STEP 2: Glue black felt onto a piece of cardboard. Cut this into a square that will fit across the middle width of the two bottles.

STEP 5: Cut four slits in the black felt cardboard square and feed the ends of each of the elastic bands through the slits. Glue the elastic to the back.

STEP 8: Glue each flame into the top hole of each bottle (which will become the base of the jetpack).

STEP 6: Attach the cardboard tic square with elas ck ba e th to s ap str th of the jetpack wi . ue gl strong

STEP 9: Give the jetp ack some try to dry and set, then you r Rocket Power Jetpack is ready to use!

Jetpack created by Ligre Ward from Stork’s Nest Designs www.facebook.com/STORKSNESTDESIGNS www.kidsonthecoast.com.au .… www.kidsinthecitymagazine.com.au

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FUN & GAMES IF YOU’RE TOTALLY NEW TO THE WORLD OF BIRTHDAY PARTIES, THE MOST IMPORTANT THING IS NOT TO PANIC – IT’S ONLY A BIRTHDAY PARTY! ALTHOUGH IT’S NATURAL TO WANT EVERYTHING TO GO WITHOUT A HITCH, IT’S ALMOST INEVITABLE THAT SOMETHING WILL GO SLIGHTLY AWRY ON THE DAY. THE KEY IS TO NOT MAKE A FUSS AND SIMPLY MOVE ON TO THE NEXT ACTIVITY. It can help to have the rules of a few games memorised so you can quickly get the guests involved in a game while you sort out any problems. Here are a few good ones for little kids, and the bonus is they are pretty ‘low energy’, so are quite useful if everyone’s getting a little flustered or out of control! There’s no need to have a prize for every activity – explain to the kids upfront that they’re playing just for fun and you may find they’ll enjoy it more. There are also less tears and tantrums when someone gets ‘out’ if they know there’s nothing riding on the outcome of the game. DOG AND BONE The great thing about this game is that it can easily be adapted to different themes – for example instead of a ‘dog’ and ‘bone’ it can be a ‘pirate’ and a ‘treasure’ or a ‘princess’ and a ‘crown’. The children sit in a circle. One child sits in the middle with his eyes shut and a ‘bone’ (cardboard is fine) behind him or her. The adult points to one of the children in the circle, who then has to sneak in, grab the ‘bone’ and put it behind his back. All the kids now put their hands behind their backs and say “Doggie, doggie, who’s got the bone?” The child in the middle (who is the ‘dog’) opens his eyes and gets two guesses to try to and choose who has the ‘bone’. If the ‘dog’ guesses correctly, he or she gets another turn. But (as will more than likely be the case) if he doesn’t, the child with the bone becomes the new ‘dog’.

WHO AM I? The children all sit in a circle. One child is chosen to put his head down and close his eyes. The adult in charge then points to one of the children in the circle who says “Who am I?” The child with his eyes closed can open them and try to guess who it was. If he guesses correctly, he has another turn. SLEEPING LIONS (OR TIGERS, RABBITS, ELEPHANTS, ETC) One child (or the adult in charge) calls out the name of an animal and everyone has to move around like that animal would move When the leader calls out “Sleeping [name of animal]” everyone has to drop to the floor and lie still with eyes shut. Anyone that moves is out – they can then become one of the judges. STICKY MONEY Sit the kids down and tell them you will stick a 5-cent piece to a child’s forehead using only plain water, and the child won’t be able to shake it off. The only rule is the child has to sit on their hands and must not use them, but they can shake their head at any angle they like. Wet the money lightly (you don’t really need to do this but it adds to the illusion) and then press it quite firmly onto the child’s forehead, saying it takes a little while to stick. You need to press it there for about a minute...then without the child realising, remove the coin as you slide your hand upward towards the top of his head.

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Stand behind the child and motion the other children to not give the game away. Then start encouraging the child to try to shake off the coin, and get the other kids to do the same. When the ‘victim’ gives up and uses their hands, they’ll find out what really happened! BALLOON ROCKETS If you’re not able to make balloon animals out of those long, thin balloons, here’s another fun use for them. Tip! Buy one of those little hand–balloon–pumps unless you want to be there all day. Blow up a balloon for each child and then on the count of three, tell them to point them skyward and let them go! The kids have a ball seeing whose balloon goes the highest and trying to catch them. ROUND THE BROOMSTICK Set up a table with an upturned plastic cup on one end, and a small (wrapped) chocolate or lolly placed on top. Take the kids to the other end of the room or yard (about 3 metres away) and give the first one a broomstick. Tell them to hold the broomstick with both hands and put their head up against it so they’re staring at the ground. Then they have to quickly turn around four or five times, keeping the broomstick touching the ground in the middle, until you say “now”. You then grab the broomstick and the child has to walk quickly to the table and try to pick up the chocolate without knocking it over. There may be a few spills and tumbles so if you play this game indoors, make it on a soft floor and allow plenty of space!

‘MAGIC’ PHOTOGRAPH A good one for indoors. You need a group of around 5 to 8 kids. One child gets to be the ‘Master’ and one the ‘Photographer’ (you need to explain their parts to them beforehand, out of hearing of the other kids). Either Master or Photographer gives a little speech about how they’re going to demonstrate a new type of photography which has just been invented. The Master leaves the room and the Photographer invites one of the children to pose. The Photographer makes a big deal out of rubbing a piece of paper in order to ‘sensitise’ it, perhaps sprinkling it with some ‘special chemical’ (e.g. salt or sugar in a different container). Then he holds it up in front of the ‘subject’, telling them to keep still, smile, etc, and then be seated when the ‘photo’ is finished. The Photographer then ‘develops’ the picture by waving it around, putting it in the sunlight, or whatever. When the Master returns, he or she is given the ‘photo’ to study, while the Photographer takes a seat – secretly assuming the same pose as the child who was ‘photographed’ (e.g. legs crossed, head tilted to one side, fiddling with ear). The Master will eventually look at the photo and pretend it is such an obvious picture that he or she knows exactly who it is, and names the child.

Of course, you can make life easier for yourself by hiring a professional to take care of all the entertainment. That way you can just relax and enjoy the party – in between taking photographs of course!

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ARTS THEATRE BIRTHDAY PARTIES Spend your child’s birthday in a magical land filled with princesses and heroes. Hear your favourite songs and see your favourite books come to life on the stage. The cast sing Happy Birthday for your child on their special day and get photos with them. Fully stocked Kiosk available or bring your own food. www.artstheatre.com.au or (07) 3369 2344

UPCOMING CHILDREN’S PRODUCTIONS - 50 YEARS OF CHILDREN’S THEATRE -

BIRTHDAY PARTIES $16 per person, $13 per person if 10+ people

Easter “ Things to do, places to go! “

DOWNLOAD AVAILABLE APRIL

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Holiday Guide

April 2015

- on the coast

- in the city

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Food for the party table By Lauren Matheson – Create Bake Make

PLANNING YOUR CHILD’S BIRTHDAY PARTY DOESN’T HAVE TO BE HARD. ONCE YOU HAVE DECIDED ON THE ALL-IMPORTANT GUEST LIST AND VENUE FOR YOUR PARTY, IT’S TIME TO THINK ABOUT WHAT PARTY FOOD YOU WILL SUPPLY. When choosing party food to make for your child’s special day, it’s important to offer a variety of foods to suit all tastebuds and ages. Here are some of our top tips when planning your party menu: • For little kids, you can’t go wrong with fruit platters, yoghurt, veggie sticks and dips. • Instead of making regular size muffins, use a mini muffin tin to make bite-sized cakes perfect for little tummies. • To encourage the kids to eat fruit, pop it into a colourful noodle box or plastic cup. • Rice paper rolls filled with salad are a great alternative to sandwiches and the kids will love them. Still stuck for ideas when it comes to choosing food to provide for your guests? We’ve put together a list of classic party food favourites as well as some healthier (but still yummy!) options that the kids and adults will love.

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PARTY

FOOD

TEDDY BEAR RACE CARS

MARS BAR SLICE

All you need is 12 fun size Milky Way bars, 12 Tiny Teddy biscuits (cut in half) and a large bag of Smarties.

Line a slice tray with baking paper and set aside.

Using a little melted milk chocolate, attach the Tiny Teddies to the middle of the Milky Way bar and attach 4 Smarties to the sides to create the wheels. Cut a Smartie in half and attach in front of the Tiny Teddy to create the steering wheel.

Roughly chop 4 Mars Bars into small pieces and place them into a medium-sized saucepan along with 125g of butter. Cook over a low heat and stir until melted and combined. Place 4 cups of Rice Bubbles into a large bowl and add the melted ingredients. Stir until all the Rice Bubbles are coated. Pour the mixture into the slice tray and use the back of a metal spoon to spread and press into the tray. Melt 200g of milk chocolate and pour over the top of the slice. Cut a Mars Bar into pieces and place over the slice to decorate. Place the slice into the fridge for 2 hours or until set before cutting into bite sized pieces.

THREE INGREDIENT MUESLI BALLS Place 2 cups of toasted muesli, 1 cup of pitted dates and 1/4 cup of rice malt syrup into a food processor and blitz until a smooth paste forms. Place another 1/2 cup of muesli into a small bowl and roll tablespoon amounts of the mixture in the muesli to coat. Place in the fridge to set.

PITA BREAD CHIPS To make your own pita bread chips, simply cut a piece of pita bread into small pieces and place them onto a baking tray covered with greaseproof paper. Brush with a little olive oil and sprinkle with salt (optional) before placing into a 200 degree oven. Cook for 5 minutes until they begin to turn golden. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes before serving with your favourite dip.

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PARTY

CLASSIC PARTY FOOD IDEAS

FOOD

THEMING YOUR PARTY FOOD TABLE If you decide to hold a themed birthday party, coming up with ideas for party food and a cake that tie in with the theme is easier than you think. You can place labels on the items on your party food table and give them fun names which link in with your theme – for example, if you are throwing a firefighter birthday party, you can simply cut up pieces of watermelon, rockmelon and pineapple to create ‘Fiery Fruit’ and a plate of hot dogs can turn into ‘Firefighter Hoses’. Alternatively, a plate of chicken and salad rice paper rolls can easily be turned into ‘Fairy Fingers’ and juice poppers can be transformed into ‘Princess Punch’ by adding a cute label. If the thought of creating a 3D cake or using fondant makes you cringe with fear, you can easily make a simple round or square cake (or even use a store bought one) and then decorate it with your child’s favourite figurines or toys. Don’t forget you can use some of your child’s toys or books to decorate your table and tie in with the party theme.

Lauren hails from sunny Queensland and is mum to two little boys. When she isn’t breaking up arguments over toy trucks, you will find her in the kitchen baking up a storm and sharing recipes on her blog Create Bake Make. She has a super sweet tooth and enjoying a slice of cake is one of her guilty indulgences. In her rare quiet moments, you will find her curled up with a book or the latest magazine enjoying a coffee or indulging in her slight online shopping addiction.

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Fairy bread Sausage rolls Vanilla cupcakes Mini hot dogs Rumballs Caramel fudge Chocolate crackles Pizza scrolls Chocolate freckles Chicken drumsticks Mini pizzas Banana pikelets Honey joys Tic Toc teacups Chocolate mousse cups Mars Bar slice Frog in a pond Cake pops Coconut ice Teddy bear race cars Scones with jam & cream

HEALTHY PARTY FOOD IDEAS Bliss balls Veggie sticks with dip Vegemite and cheese scrolls Chicken, zucchini and quinoa nuggets Pita bread chips Brown rice sushi rolls Corn, tomato and spinach muffins Fruit kebabs with yoghurt dip Zucchini slice Chicken salad rice paper rolls Fruit salad with passionfruit syrup Homemade pita chips Beetroot dip Carrot and quinoa cake Three ingredient muesli balls Wholemeal egg and lettuce sandwiches Apple cars Yoghurt cups Celery sticks with peanut butter dip Chicken and vegetable sausage rolls Pita bread pizzas

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PARTY

FOOD

Create your very own fire engine birthday cake by Lauren Matheson – Create Bake Make

CREATING A FIRE ENGINE BIRTHDAY CAKE IS MUCH EASIER THAN YOU THINK. ONCE YOU TAKE AWAY ALL OF THE LADDERS, BELLS AND DECORATIONS, A FIRE ENGINE BIRTHDAY CAKE CAN BE CREATED BY JUST USING TWO RECTANGLE CAKES.

Place one cake onto a large cake board and secure it with a little chocolate ganache. Next, cut two sections off the second cake to create the driver’s cab and the back of the truck as shown. Use a little more of the ganache to securely attach the second cake on top of the first. Once the ganache has set and you are happy with the shape of your fire engine, cover the entire fire truck with chocolate ganache. It’s important to have a smooth and even coverage of ganache all over the cake. Place the cake in a cool spot to allow the ganache to set. Once the ganache has set, make an easy sugar syrup using 1 tablespoon of apricot jam and 2 tablespoons of boiling water, stirring until combined. Brush a thin layer of the sugar syrup all over the cake.

It’s then time to roll out your red fondant into a large rectangle long enough to completely cover your cake. To help stop the fondant sticking to your bench, sprinkle a little cornflour over it first. Carefully cover your cake with the fondant, then working quickly, smooth the surface of the fondant gently with your hands – making sure it’s attached to the cake. Trim away any extra fondant using either a sharp knife or a pizza cutter. Now it’s time for the fun part – decorating your cake! It’s a good idea to use a picture of a fire engine to help you here! Chocolate biscuits make for great wheels. Use fondant icing in appropriate colours to shape the different features of the fire engine. Brush a little cold water on the fondant decorations before attaching them to the cake.

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Photo by www.brisbanebabyphotography.com.au

PLANNING A SHOW-STOPPING PARTY CAKE

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KEEPING IT SIMPLE IS THE TRICK TO CREATING A SHOWSTOPPING CAKE FOR KID’S PARTIES WRITES CARLA BURNS FROM VANILLA POD SPECIALTY CAKE KITCHEN Creating the perfect masterpiece for your child’s birthday can be a stressful, time-consuming and ultimately costly exercise. While there is so much pressure as a parent to get it right when it comes to the cake on offer at these occasions, there really needn’t be. It’s a kid’s party after all, not a wedding, but some parents will find themselves spending as much on their child’s birthday party cake as they would on their wedding cake. The internet has opened the door for cake creations, with kids themselves often finding their sought-after cake on Mum or Dad’s iPad or smart device. What is most important to consider when thinking about a cake for their special day is what they actually want from their cake, be it flavour, shape, design – you name it! Popular choices for party cakes continue to be the tried-and-tested novelty cakes. Frozen and Minecraft cakes have been in high demand recently, reflecting a new generation that has grown up with these franchises. While novelty cakes are common, they are sure to impress. Piñata and rainbow layer cakes are also popular and offer a more reasonable alternative to sometimes costly novelty cakes, while still achieving the effect of being bright and fun – just what a kid’s party requires. Cake pops and cupcakes are another alternative and a great hands-on experience for kids. Look is just one aspect of the cake, and it is important that parents are choosing flavours that are not too rich for their young partygoers. It is important that they are balancing out grand ideas with meeting the needs of an audience with a pretty basic palette.

Flavours like vanilla and chocolate still look stunning and are a sure-fire hit with the youngsters. A cake may look amazing, but crumbs on a plate are a true sign of its success. Planning of the perfect masterpiece for your child’s party should not be left to the last minute. Organising the cake when sending out invitations is the best method of ensuring that you are not rushing to organise a cake a few days before the event. Most cake stores will require a good deal of notice for orders, especially anything that is overly complex. Vanilla Pod requires at least a week to create your masterpiece. Ordering is just one of the hurdles faced when dealing with cakes, but getting them home can be the most important. Taking the finished cake straight home from the store is vital – not deviating to the shops to pick up a last minute something – and get it straight into the fridge until about 15 minutes before it is ready to be served. Securing it on a flat surface in the car is also a must to ensure any potential mishaps are avoided. Another reality of modern kid’s parties is food intolerances. It’s likely that at least one child will have a unique intolerance. While some cake businesses will provide gluten or nut free cakes (as Vanilla Pod does), check with guests to ensure that the cake on offer will be able to be enjoyed be everyone, or at least offer any alternative for those who can’t.

Have fun, plan ahead, and remember to enjoy the occasion!

Vanilla Pod Cake and Deli Café & Specialty Cake Kitchen pride themselves on producing the finest quality cake creations. Whether it’s a novelty cake for a children’s party, or a one-of-a-kind masterpiece for a wedding, Carla Burns and the Vanilla Pod team are dedicated to ensuring that their client’s ideas are taken from the page and into the kitchen. With over ten years’ experience in the industry, Vanilla Pod is well suited to meet all of your cake and decorating needs. See their full menu at www.vanillapod.com.au, or stay up to date with their latest cake creations on Facebook and Instagram. Vanilla Pod Specialty Cake Kitchen. 344 Sandgate Road (cnr Birkbeck St), Albion 4010. 07 3268 7285 www.kidsonthecoast.com.au .… www.kidsinthecitymagazine.com.au

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TALK Parents

Do yo healthy

LARA CAIN GRAY This Charming Mum Children’s birthday party food ain’t what it used to be. Where once stood a proud chocolate crackle, one now finds a fancy fruit platter, but I think this is more a case of moving with the times than being bullied by the fun police. Parents and kids alike are so much more aware now of the negative impact of artificial colours and excessive sugar intake, it’s only natural that this interest in healthy eating might spill over into the party zone. When I tell my kids I used to eat jelly ponds, honey jumbles and fairy bread, it sounds like something from an Enid Blyton novel! But this is not to say that healthy food can’t be fun food. In fact, I’m more intimidated by the kind of ‘fun police’ who might arrest you for not turning your grapes into rocket kebabs or cutting teddy bear shapes out of a watermelon or recreating Elsa out of salad vegetables and cheese. A plate of chocolate crackles is but a minor misdemeanour in a world where Pinterest makes children’s party planning a competitive sport! And the funniest thing of all? The kids rarely even notice what’s on offer. If they have friends, a few games, a playground or a princess room, they’re golden. So go forth and make your quinoa crackles! There’s still plenty of fun to be had.

SARAH AND ROBYNA The Mummy and the Minx Did you have a Kate in your childhood? Kate was brought up to believe the epitome of a treat was a dried apricot every other Sunday. Bless Kate’s parents. Remember watching Kate at a birthday party? She would methodically inhale all of the lollies into her pie hole. It always ended in a sick tummy and tears for poor Kate. These days, it’s not just Kate parents have to worry about. Tom has a potentially fatal nut allergy. Richard has a gluten intolerance and Harry can’t eat eggs. It’s no issue to cater for Tom, Richard and Harry (and their parents) but do we have to throw the jelly babies out with the red cordial? A party spread with a good variety of healthy and not-so healthy options still seems sensible. Have you ever tried to fill a piñata with healthy options? We both like to think that we have a very healthy approach to food. Food isn’t bad or good, it’s just food. Everything in moderation, for example, cake. Cake is oh so delicious right? And cake in moderation is fine. Cake on your birthday is a must! But cake everyday, perhaps not so great. You picking up what we’re putting down? Birthdays don’t happen everyday so it makes sense that it is one of those days in the year where party food can be celebrated and enjoyed. We agree that no matter the setting, be it birthdays, Easter, Christmas etc, healthy options should be available. Nothing goes down faster than a plate of watermelon at a kid’s birthday party – children will choose a balance when given a choice. When choice is taken away, they do a Kate. We think birthdays happen once a year and no one should be made to feel bad for eating yummy cake on their birthday.

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ou think children's party food should be kept to y options, or is that the fun police going too far? GILLIAN MOODY Champagne Cartel Not sure if it's just me, but GOD I get SO fed up with everyone banging on about what we should or shouldn't be eating. Whaddyareckon? Do you think we obsess waaaayy too much about our nosh? "Today for dessert we're having a gluten free, sugar free, wheat free, meat free, vegan torte of quinoa, filled with a raw super-food mousse using Guadeloupean coconut water blended with dehydrated kumera and a powder made from the petrified poo of an organic lemur reared on incan corn-free cactus hearts. I threw it together in the Thermomix. So easy." But (and I'm about to hugely contradict myself now) I do believe we need to consider the topic of kids party food. We need to remember there's a bunch of kids parties every year and if we all served up loads of junk food then you've got a heap of kids having weekly sugar comas. Less than ideal. Sure, it is little Tallulah-Honey-Lark-Song's special day and everyone wants her to have a good time, but a bit of community mindedness wouldn't hurt. One thing I'd like to throw out there is: why do we seem to associate having a fun time with craptacular food? Perhaps it's not the best message to send to kids that parties must involve hardcore overindulgence and a whole lot of stuffing of faces with processed rubbish. I dunno. In my experience most kids just want to play games and run around at a party, and generally the food plays second fiddle anyway. We're the ones who are pushing the whole party food issue. What's awesome about kids is that when they are taught about moderation and 'sometimes food' and when they are allowed to make their own food choices sometimes (within reason), most of them make great choices. I've seen them at parties, grabbing a cracker and cheese or some watermelon off the table as they hoon past at great pace with their mates. So I say yeah, go for it, include a bit of fairy bread or chocolate biscuits or iced cupcakes. And maybe a popper (YES I do know juice in a tetra pack is the devil incarnate). But maybe just a bit more homemade food with identifiable ingredients. And plenty of healthy options. There's lots of great ways to make exciting kids party food that is relatively wholesome. Last year I did a parfait bar that included big tubs of yoghurt and whipped cream that people could layer up with a berry coulis, fresh fruit and sprinkle with nuts and choc bits. Not diet food, but not that bad. It was very popular. I threw it together in my Thermomix. So easy.

ADAM CLEMENTS Cook and Kid A lot of kids get to a lot of these parties over the years at school. Particularly primary school. They are young and impressionable. What message are you trying to send your child in regards to food? If celebrating means over-eating on a bunch of sugar and salt and additives from a packet, then we need to re-assess how and what we are celebrating. I want to vomit when I see those party rooms at fast food joints and the like. Plenty of fun and tasty food comes from simple fresh ingredients garnished with a little fun. The best ones I did were at my daughters 4th birthday. Watermelon, strawberry and marshmallow skewers. Tasty and fun. I'm far more concerned about the numbers on the chip packet than the sugar in the fruit, and the marshmallows were there for a touch of fun, without being the star of the show. It's probably a good idea to list the style of food on the invite also so people know what to expect. You can also get the kids involved and make food an activity (for example, DIY pizza or tacos). If you're game. Or focus less on food and more on activities and togetherness. What's it, 2-3 hours at these things? No-one's going to starve! Make it unique in your own family style and be proud of it. If you're from a different culture, show off some of that. I don't want to be the fun police, but I don't want to clean up after the kid who overloaded on corn chips and cordial and threw up on the carpet either. There is food and there is nonfood. A little non-food is fine as long as it's not replacing a meal of actual food. Keep it fresh and home-made as much as possible and leave a the surprises for the cake and the goody bags.

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