party; parties; celebrate; celebrations; festivals; feelings;
Parties are about having special fun with others!
- We celebrate milestones (special events) in life like birthdays, weddings, winning a sport's competition, graduating from school, college or university with our families or friends.
- We celebrate end of term with our classmates.
- We celebrate end of season sports with our team.
- We celebrate passing exams of all kinds.
- We celebrate special days and festivals.
- We celebrate the life of someone who has died by having a funeral or wake.
- Sometimes we just celebrate being together!
Being part of a group of people who are all celebrating the same thing is a good feeling.
Going to a party
Going to a party is exciting. You feel good to be included. You look forward to yummy food, talking and playing with others and having fun.
But if you are going to a party as a guest that means that you need to be aware of a few things.
These can be great fun if there are other kids around to play with, but if there are not then maybe they can be just a little bit boring!
- Take something to play with, or a book to read, if the adults all want to sit around and talk.
- Take a ball or a haki sac and practise skills if you are outside.
- Talk to the adults, even the ones who say things like, "Wow, look how much you've grown!" As if you'd shrink!!
- Use good manners, wait for your turn, help others and keep an eye on younger brothers or sisters. Adults want to enjoy themselves too and chat with each other so don't be a "Me, me, me" kid.
- Say hello to people and don't whinge if your favourite food isn't there.
- Remember to thank whoever is giving the party when you leave.
- Don't be the kind of kid that everyone else can't wait to get away from!
- Be the kid who everyone wants to invite to the next celebration.
If you get invited to another kid's birthday party then you need to think about a couple of things.
- Don't accept the invitation until you have checked with parents or caregivers. They may have something else planned for that day.
- Think about a gift for the birthday girl or boy. Gifts don't have to be expensive, but it's good if you try to get something they would like. Maybe your friend is into stickers, cars, bikes, soccer, jewellery or sports cards, so maybe you could get something that he or she would really like. If you can't, then you could make a special birthday card rather than buy one, just to show that you have thought about what they would like.
- Try to go with another friend so that you can arrive together and not feel shy; also you can have fun working out together what you are going to wear!
- Use manners. Kids do get excited at a party, but being loud and silly could mean that you won't get invited again and you could lose friends.
- Talk to others, even if you are really shy. Try to look for another quiet person and get talking to them. If you are helping someone feel more comfortable you will forget about shyness and be able to join in.
- Play games fairly. You know about rules and how the game is spoiled when someone won't be out, or argues all the time.
- Remember to thank your friend's parents for having you there and say something nice like, "I really enjoyed myself, loved the pizza, thank you."
- Don't boast to others if they weren't invited, you could make someone feel really bad.
- If you get a party 'goody bag' to take home, be sure to say 'thank you.'
Okay, so it's your party, so you can do what you want ok?
If it's your party then you have to remember that you are the host.
Sure have a great time but…
- Introduce people to each other.
- Make sure that everyone gets a drink.
- Pass plates round.
- Play games fairly.
- Don't be a 'show off.'
If the party is at home respect the fact that although it's your home it's your parent or caregivers' house so make sure you work out with them where the other kids can and can't go.
A good idea is to have the toilet signposted for people who don't know your house.
- Another good idea is to put away any toys or special belongings in case they get broken by too many people who all wanted to play at the same time.
- Have 'No entry' signs on doors where you don't want people to go, like parents' and siblings' bedrooms.
- Have games organised where everyone can join in.
- Help parents or caregivers to prepare for the party AND help them clear up afterwards. Don't forget to thank them for letting you have a party. Then maybe you will get to have a party again.
- If the party is at another place like a restaurant, ice rink, bowling alley or whatever, then you need to be aware that not everyone is at your party so try not to be too loud.
- Parties at the beach, a reserve or park are good because you can have games which the adults can also play, eg cricket, soccer, netball, baseball, chasey....and heaps more.
- Holding a party is a great opportunity to learn how to organise, look after others and still have a great time yourself.
When you're not invited
Kids often go to the same parties because they have been to parties of the people in that group. It's a sort of 'pay back'. Often kids get invited to parties because their parents are friends.
Most kids have their own special friends, so if kids in your class are going to a party and you're not invited don't feel too bad.
So, what if you are feeling really left out? Maybe you could organise to do something with a special friend or go to somewhere special with mum, dad or the person who looks after you.
Then you have something exciting to talk about at morning talks or in the playground at recess and you won't feel so left out.
Maybe you could have a party when it's your birthday and then you can choose who you would like to invite.
Do parties cost heaps?
Parties don't have to be big and expensive. Here are a few ideas.
- Maybe you could have a joint party with another friend to cut down the cost.
- Maybe everyone could bring a plate of food to share?
- Maybe you could have a theme party where everyone dresses up?
- Maybe you could have a healthy veggies and dips party?
- Inviting a group of friends to a pizza making party is a lot of fun, everyone has a good time cooking and then eating, and making your own is nowhere near as expensive as buying things.
- Building your own beef-burger is a good idea, where you have all sorts of salad, cheese, tomatoes, beetroot, sauce, mayo ready in dishes and when the meat is cooked everyone assembles the burger they'd like.
- Pancakes are cheap to make, you can make stacks of them before the party and heat them up when you're ready. They can be rolled around minced meat, ham, cheese or sweet fruits, jams and cream or ice cream.
- In summer, wraps are a great idea and again everyone can build their own from a selection of salads, veggies, meats, cheese, eggs, sauce, mayo or whatever else you like.
- Fruit cordial is a lot less expensive than soft drinks and there are some really interesting flavours around. Some kids may not be able to drink red cordials so have a choice of flavours.
- Using cake mixes you can make lots of small cakes or a big one.
Some children have food allergies so you might have to be careful about the foods you choose to have (you might need to avoid peanuts for example) if any of your friends have food allergies. The topics 'Food allergies' and 'Food labels - what do they mean?' can help you with food choices.
Birthday cakes can be expensive to buy so get creative!
- Use cake mixes - work out shapes that can be added together to make something special.
- It's easy to make a soccer or hockey field, a tennis court, a robot, a heart shape.
- But you can easily make a guitar, cello, drum, baseball diamond or bat etc, etc!
- You can use food colouring to paint on icing to make a picture.
- You can use cocoa, butter and icing sugar to cover the cake.
- Small lollies can be used to decorate or write the name.
- Make cup cakes instead of a big cake - maybe everyone could decorate his or her own?
Parties are more fun when everyone gets into doing something rather than pretending to be adults and standing around talking!
So, get things organised with the adults who are helping and have music, play games, have small prizes for winners, play balloon games in teams, pass the parcel, pin the tail on the donkey. Play Who am I? Or any other fun games that will get everyone involved. Work out your program and have fun! You're a kid and you're allowed to!
Don't forget to say 'thank you for coming' to your guests.
Don't forget to say thank you to mum, dad or whoever helped to give you and your friends a great party.
And don't forget to help clear up when everyone has gone!
What kids said
- Parties are always fun because you share that time with friends or family.
Always enjoy yourself.
Remember to use your manners.
Thank people for the party.
You're only the guest it's not your house so don't break anything.
- "I liked my 10th birthday party because it was fun and some of my friends were there." Jordan
- "My best party was my 7th. It was at my mum's work". Tabitha
- "At my granddads funeral it was sad and a bit scary at first, but it was good to hear about his life and share stories with the family."
- "We had my party at my soccer club then we picked sides and all played a game - even the adults. It was a lot of fun."
Dr Kate says
Unfortunately some kids' birthday parties seem to be an excuse for some adults to 'show off' by spending lots of money.
Parties should be all about celebrating with friends or families. So keep it simple, then everyone is able to enjoy the celebration.
Don't expect to get a 'party bag' to take home after a friend's birthday party. It wasn't your party! Be happy that you were invited. Use your manners and maybe you will be invited again.
We've provided this information to help you to understand important things about staying healthy and happy. However, if you feel sick or unhappy, it is important to tell your mum or dad, a teacher or another grown-up.