Planning for 5- The Big Birthday

by farrah on January 7, 2014 · 13 comments

Next month my first-born turns five. FIVE. That’s a big deal. I’m sure it is for most parents because 5 is like- you’re baby is REALLY gone and you have this kid in front of you. If you were still coasting on any kind of free admission for 4 and under, it is most certainly over by 5. Brody had a hemangioma/birthmark on his temple as an infant and I can remember my pediatrician telling me it should be gone by the time he was five. I was like What?! That’s a lifetime away. FIVE is like a full-grown kid! Not this little peanut I was nursing at the time. *Cue tears*. Thus, with the onset of this milestone (and missing hemangioma), I have to start thinking about the 5th birthday party next month.

1st birthday partyI went a little overboard for his 1st birthday party.

If I was back in the states I would be scanning Pinterest for birthday party ideas. I am not crafty- or a Pinterest-y mom by any stretch of the imagination, but it really would help me get a plan together. Invitations, theme, etc. Well- I’ll be honest and say that if I went and planned a ‘typical American’ birthday party over here people would think I was nuts. You don’t rent out a bounce house here. There is no field trip to a movie theatre. Invitations (simple postcards) are informally handed out at school. Truth is, it seems that a birthday party for a young kid isn’t as big a deal as we’re used to. Simpler. Less stressful. In other words: sign me up.

I’ve mentioned before how fantastic it is for B to have a birthday party to attend after school. On Wednesdays and Fridays the kids are dismissed at noon. The birthday party parent picks all of the children up at school (remember, most walk here or bike) and they walk back to their house. The party then goes on from lunch to just before dinner. My husband usually picks him up and that’s it. He brings a small goodie bag back with him and will chatter on about the games they played, the DVD they watched or the food item that they made at the party. From what I gather there are usually 10 kids or less in attendance.

This all said- I am looking forward to hosting Brody’s party next month, but a little unsure about it. The kids at this age do not speak any English. They think it’s funny at school when I go to help out- but I’m in a bit of a pickle when they’re visiting my house. I have to rely upon B to translate- and, well, sometimes I worry that he’s not exactly giving them (or me) the whole story. So the idea of having a bunch of kids who don’t understand me over to my house is a little bit overwhelming- and rightfully so.

So now to figure out what a bunch of 4, 5 & 6 year olds will eat at my house for lunch, what will we make, and what will we play? I’d kind of like to introduce them to some silly American games. Also, taking any suggestions for what to have in their goodie bag. Small toys- think Target dollar bin type stuff. What’s something so American that they’d think it was fun?


{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Ellen Heetveld January 7, 2014 at 10:58 am

Hello, couldn’t you ask your babysitter to help with the party? I helped my best friend with her first 5 year old party and it’s nive to have a extra pair of hands.
Groetjes, Ellen


2 farrah January 7, 2014 at 3:38 pm

That’s a great idea Ellen! She’s a college student but also works- I’ll ask her now and see if she’s free or can work it out.


3 Jessica January 7, 2014 at 12:18 pm

Pin the tail on the donkey? 🙂

Do you have anyone near you that could help with Dutch-language crowd control? Maybe just one more parent from the school?


4 farrah January 7, 2014 at 3:39 pm

That is one game I am thinking about. I’m leaning towards a Lego themed party too- since one of my FB readers gave me the idea of a Lego piñata 🙂


5 Mrs. Chasing the Donkey January 7, 2014 at 1:01 pm

I’d be roping in one of the Mums at School to help with the language barrier – talk about stress.
As for what is American, how about Hot Dogs? I loooooove hot dogs, surely they would too huh?


6 farrah January 7, 2014 at 3:40 pm

Yay! Yes. That’s actually pretty darned perfect. And simple.


7 Elizabeth January 7, 2014 at 1:29 pm

Duck, Duck Goose for the games!


8 farrah January 7, 2014 at 3:39 pm

Another good one! Brody loves that game!


9 Leighann January 7, 2014 at 1:38 pm

Sounds like it’s going to be a great, stress free, party… except for the language. Maybe someone could come and help out.


10 farrah January 7, 2014 at 3:40 pm

Yep- asking the babysitter if she’s free that day. Otherwise I might have to recruit a mom.


11 Chamisa January 8, 2014 at 11:03 am

We have a similar birthday thing here without the picking up from school. They’re usually 3-6pm and no parents are present (starting from the ripe old age of 3). I had the same language issue, so we had the kids’ parties at the local indoor pool and I specified on the invitation that a parent had to stay with the kids (you know, for “safety” reasons). I can bake a mean cupcake, but I am terrible at games. At the pool, I didn’t have to entertain for one single minute 🙂 For goodie bags, I’ve always just done candy, small stickers, plastic whistles, erasers. When I did American candy one year (Butterfingers), the kids didn’t know what to do with it and most didn’t eat it. Stick with Haribo!


12 Ilja DeYoung January 8, 2014 at 3:13 pm

Kids of 5 will enjoy almost any game. If your theme is lego, they will also enjoy just playing with lego. (It is hard for 5 year olds to concentrate and participate from 1 o clock till 5 o clock). Watching a video is also a good idea, for part of the game.
A favourite of mine with kids is musical chairs.
For goody bags take the example from what your son brought home from other parties. Then you know you are culturally ok.
(lots of good ideas already given)
BTW it is very acceptable to have only five or six children at the party. (we always told the children: invite a guest for every year of your age).
If the weather is nice do a sort of treasure hunt (someone goes out before the party startsand chalks arrows the children will have to follow. Put an arrow at every corner. Make one or two groups of children that have to follow the arrows (with two groups leave about five minutes between them) At the end hide a ‘treasure’ they have to look for (bag of sweets wrapped in golden (or silver) paper?) If two groups give each group a colour and make them look for the blue treasure or the red treasure (use blue or red wrapping paper obviously). On the way keep them motivated: “do you see the next arrow yet? Now suchandsuch can look if he sees the next arrow. YES, you found the arrow etc etc”.


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