How to host an epic Festival themed kids party

Having two children who were both born outside of the summer time was clearly quite bad planning on our part. It also means that birthdays forever more will involve either an uncomfortably overpopulated kitchen-diner or an overpriced rent-a-hall. It is with some envy I have sat back and watched other parents throw some beautifully simple summer garden parties and wished our child friendly garden was seeing some socialising action.

And so, I decided, you don’t need a birthday to throw a party. I chose the excuse ‘starting school’ and got planning an epic FESTIVAL themed party for Tigs and all her baby group friends who will all be heading off to separate schools this September. Not only to mark the end of a pretty awesome era, but as a little thank you to the Mum tribe who have seen me through the highs and lows – the sleepless nights, the desperation of weaning and told me what they were cooking for dinner.

Of course, whilst it always rains at Glasto (apart from the year I got sun stroke) I was secretly hoping the British summer wouldn’t let me down. I picked the last Tuesday of the summer holidays, a weekday the Supermums often hang out at some local park, soft play or take over the children’s centre and got planning.

Where to start?

Every festival needs a catchy name right? Have a laugh with your nearest and dearest and brainstorm a Festival name that will stick, roll off the tongue and be hashtag worthy. We went with Super G Fest…a spin on V Fest with our surname and of course the #Mumtribe Supermums. You could think up a twist on your venue name, surname or a community you all have in common – mix in with a well known festival name and you are winning. Isle of Wright festival? BEN-icassim? Worst-ival? Dan-load? Jesstonbury?

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Invites

Save yourself a few quid and design them yourself using a photo editor app lick Piccolage or LiPix and send them out free via Whatsapp, eMail or even text. Include obvs your festival name and the key info, and some funky designs! Paper invites are not only pricey, but they end up in the bin. Save the planet, and save your cash.

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Dress code

Make it clear the dress code is Festival chic! That includes parents too to really get the vibe right. If you aren’t sure what the briefing entails, think straw hats, shades, floaty dresses, fairy wings, flower hair garlands and wellies. Ask your guests to bring a kids pop up tent if they have one – that’s a key part of the festival party look, and the kids will have great fun playing in them. Dot them around the garden along with a few hoops, toy instruments and garden toys.

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Decorations

With a festival theme, forget less is more. Go all out – More is definitely more. Bunting, flags, balloons – the garden should look as colourful as possible. You can quite honestly never have enough bunting.

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I used my washing line as a central base to tie bunting to which created an almost big-top look. Hang balloons and Create a few fun areas if you like – A sign up in the ‘Mum seating area’ labelled ‘Shangri-Ma’? A poster indicating the loo : ‘{Not a chemical} Toilet’. wind catchers from trees, bells and paper lanterns…go to town!

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Pick yourself up a cheap bubble machine and a gallon of bubble mix. A constant stream of bubbles floating through the air will add a magical whimsical feel to the garden all day long.

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A fun pre-event craft activity for you and the kids is to make up some wrist bands or lanyards for the guests. We made ours using potato stamps and paint, and a bit of glitter of course. Our mini guests felt pretty spesh with their VIP passes, and they make a sweet keepsake too.

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Festival fun activities

As well as your tents, think about some outdoor friendly party games. Bobbing for apples went down a storm and is a bit of good clean old fashioned fun. If you are lucky enough for a scorcher, that’ll cool the kids down too. A pinata is a good idea to kill a bit of time – just make sure there is some decent adult supervision and space!

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I invested in a decent Snazaroo face painting kit for around £30 before the event – thinking this will be money well spent over the years of kids entertaining. The face painting went down an absolute storm with both kids and parents. It’s honestly not as hard as you think, and practice makes perfect.

Music

Thanks to spotify, hours spent trying to think up playlists are a thing of the past. I streamed a indie classic playlist via Sonos and sat the speaker on the kitchen windowsill. The parents probably enjoyed it more than the kids, but they were having way too much fun to get picky about where their fave tunes were. We switched in a Reggae mix for a bit at a request of BBQ Dad, but not for long! – it’s your festival, so go with your Genre!

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A final switch to a chill out playlist was a good indication that the party was over, and got the kids back down to earth a little before it was time to go home.

Food

The beauty of summer entertaining is that a Barbeque will always go down a storm. Forsaking the standard ‘party spread’, we opted for 40 sausages on the barbie – and were quick to volunteer the one Dad to take that job on. A few crudites and breadsticks to bulk out and crisps to pick out during the afternoon were more than enough. The parents got stuck in with the hot dogs too. Chuck a blanket on the floor for a simple outdoor festival feel (and of course no mess indoors, result).

For a fun festival twist on an old classic, I made this Watermelon Jelly and served with ice cream. It’s a bit of a showstopper and got some great feedback! What’s even better is it’s so easy, even the lamest in the kitchen could knock this up. Check out the recipe and method on my pinterest board : Favourite recipes.

Top tip: I’ve tried this recipe a few times now, and the key to it’s success is making the jelly per the packet instructions – leave out the juice as it can make the jelly too runny.

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Every party needs cake! One of our guests volunteered to make an incredible chocolate cake, and the festival bunting topped it off perfectly.

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Drinks

Keep it cheap and simple with some plastic jugs filled with water and squash for your guests to help themselves. Pre packaged kids drinks are not only packed with ‘stuff’ that’ll get your kids high as a kite but they cost an arm and a leg too.

One of my guests brought a treat for the Mums to enjoy – Prosecco pops! Strictly not for the kiddies, these went down a storm and are an easy addition to any summer party.

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The grand finale

What is a festival without a live music set? Now this is the piece that will bring your party into legendary status. For the last 45 minutes of your party, bring in the epic finale of some live entertainment. It doesn’t have to be as pricey as you might think… Ask around to find a local singer, band or musician who is looking to perform. Schools may have bands wanting the practice, family members may know of some new musicians, friends may have contacts.

We were lucky enough to recruit my younger brother, an incredible talented guitarist and solo artist. He brought the house down, and watching the tiny crowd go wild to him playing ELO Mr Blue Sky as the sun went down was just priceless. The neighbours loved it too. Best Uncle ever. Fact.

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And so, there you have it. Get inspired, go crazy and have fun. And earn yourself lifetime entry to the #coolmumclub.

x MMT

 

 

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