Simple parenting – does such a thing exist? Where a toddler can spend many a happy hour with a bag of walnuts, some wooden spoons and a plastic bowl? Have you seen a grubby kid recently – with mud on their jeans and holes in their pockets?
It’s bloody hard to bring your child up simply in 21st century England. To shield them from the vast array of plastic tat covered comics and endless rows of chocolate and sweets all teasing them with their garish colours and perfectly angled at nose-peering height.
My twins Fealte and Rosebud turned six this year – April fools they are born in the wee hours of April first.
For the first time we looked at alternative venues to (to our current too-small rented home) hold their party – an idea I had always poo-pooed thinking it a cop-out not to throw a personal gathering.
However, we found this amazing venue on the heart of Bath, a beautiful Georgian pile with the most stunning huge garden, filled with blossoming trees, climbing frames, swings, tricycles, boats, sandpits and every conceivable toy a small child would adore to play on while the sun shines in their childhood.
Arriving with our marmite sarnies, pass-the-parcel, pink and blue number six cakes and a whole heap of games, toys, stickers and plans we set the children free and barely saw them again.
I kicked myself when I enjoyed the simplicity of that party. As the sun shone, the children screeched in delight and the adults sat back and watched with pleasure enjoying a cold glass of beer to boot – what could be more perfect?
I decided on just a few simple party games and party foods – to keep things simple and to avoid throwing too much out. Here are my tips for a top simple party:
Find a large safe space to accommodate your short guests.
Pass-the-parcel – a classic and a favourite. Wrap your toy in multiple layers of newspaper – placing a small sweet in each wrapper.
Musical Statues – the kids love this, get the tunes on and get them grooving. I chose animals as a theme to their dancing and the best worms/monkeys/tigers/fish etc won a medal.
Hide & Seek – I placed one small wrapped chocolate in simple spots and se the children loose finding one each and helpign their siblings or smaller friends find each one.
Stickers were awarded to helpful, kind and good children.
The less choice the more food eaten. This year we decided to give each child a small bag with some small marmite sandwiches – no crusts naturellement – a small bag of crisps, a tangerine and a beaker full of squash. The children, all 23 of them, were very chuffed to get their own bag of goodies – they ate all the food including the fruit! After that we passed round crispy cakes and biscuits and finally we brought out the pièce de résistance – the cakes!!