A 10 year old’s birthday party

2013 959A 10-year old’s birthday party can be pretty full on. Alexa was beside herself with excitement in the lead up to her birthday: she’d been talking about it for weeks. Our dilemma was how to have a good time, without going overboard. (Of course “overboard” is a relative word. It mightn’t have been overboard for a financially comfortable Australian family, but compared to the majority of the world’s 1o year olds it was way out of reach.)

We have an understanding with our girls that they only have a “party” every 2nd year – although in the other year we still celebrate with family which is still a decent party in its own right. This year she invited 14 friends, including her sister who would have to be one of her best friends. Because of the Kids’ Vegies on the Verge she invited five friends from the street who would not have been included three months ago!

??????????The party was called “The Lambton Park Challenge” as we have a beautiful park quite near us (not sure if the name was also inspired by the Transition Streets Challenge). Working in teams of five (red, green and purple) they worked through a series of challenges, after each of which they received a clue to the location of some “treasure”. The challenges included:

  1. Videoing a short skit
  2. Writing a limerick about Alexa
  3. Answering 10 questions about the park, such as ‘What’s the number on the pole at the northwest corner of the tennis court?’
  4. Solving a cryptic clue
  5. Writing Alexa as creatively as possible using things around you.

2013 974 Although it wasn’t actually a race, they still raced around trying to get them done as quickly as possible. Each team did them in a different order which meant they didn’t know if they were “winning” or not. After everyone had finished these clues we returned to our house to complete two more challenges:

  1. List 15 things growing in the Kids’ Vegies on the Verge
  2. Count the number of pieces of wood used in the construction of a garden bed in our front yard. (There were over 100.)

??????????Having collected all the clues they charged off to find one of three “treasure boxes” (with chocolate gold coins  and potato chips in them) which were hidden in a roof cavity. (And yes, it was safe!)

??????????We had chicken burgers (which had been a hit when we had a burger night for the garden) and of course a cake. While they waited for the burgers they had a go at the cup song, which Jasmine had learnt on the Ukulele that morning. Most of them had fun having a go (it was a bit hard for some of them) but they would need quite a bit of practice before posting a video of their performance. But, here is a great version from Ireland they can aim for!

Instead of lolly bags, Cathy and the girls did some baking so each person received a little bag of homemade treats. We never know what to do about presents – they receive so much stuff. A couple of people gave her a voucher for an activity (e.g., a sleepover, trip to the pool) which was great.

Overall, it worked well. Alexa gave it a 10 out of 10!

2013 971While it isn’t much, this is one way we try to resist some the commercialisation of so much of our lives. We try to show that you don’t need to go to expensive venues, it encourages creativity and problem solving, and we have fun out in a park without heaps of extra party trappings.  It took a bit of planning, but everybody seemed to have fun, we showed you don’t need to pay heaps to have a good time, and we celebrated the start of another year for our beautiful daughter.

If you liked this post please follow my blog (top right-hand corner of the blog), and you might like to look at:

  1. Parenting for a better world
  2. What is Kids’ Vegies on the Verge?
  3. Being a father
  4. A great 1 minute video of fathers and their kids
  5. Death of a chicken
  6. When is it OK for kids to walk home alone?


About Graeme Stuart

Lecturer (Family Action Centre, Newcastle Uni), blogger (Sustaining Community), Alternatives to Violence Project facilitator, environmentalist, father. Passionate about families, community development, peace, sustainability.
This entry was posted in Environmental sustainability, Families & parenting, Personal and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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