Western Party Guide - Kids
Okay, let’s get started with some suggestions to help relieve the stress.
There are a few important decisions to be made before you send out your invitations - Date, Time and Location.
Date - It’s a good idea to check the proposed date and time with “key” friends before committing.
Time - It is important to state starting and finishing times on invitations. Generally 2 to 3 hours is ample. A morning party may be good for littlies as you will generally find younger children tend to get tired in the afternoon/evening.
Location - You have a couple of basic choices with the most popular being “home” where you’ll have plenty of time to set-up and have all your supplies close at hand. The obvious disadvantage with this choice is, having to clean the house before and after the party, possible damage to your house and space limitations. Nearby parks are nice because they’re usually free, with plenty of space to run around and usually have a play structure to entertain the kids. The downside is, having to haul the supplies to and from the park plus lack of privacy and overcrowding. Local indoor play centres are becoming more popular for little children and the best part is there’s no cleaning up afterwards.
When sending out invitations, allow plenty of time for guest’s parents to change their plans if necessary.
The golden rule for the party host is, don’t try and do everything on your own. Many parents invite another parent or relative to help them with the food as well as supervision once the party begins.
Once the party begins you will generally find that younger children need constant supervision. Older children usually like to be left in peace at least some of the time during the party, only needing to be checked from time to time to make sure everything is all right.
Be vigilant around balloons. Young children could choke if they put the popped rubber bits in their mouth.
Party Game & Activity Ideas
Party games are a great way to teach children about winning, losing, fairness and luck. Keep each game relatively short to keep children interested and if they begin to appear irritable, move on to a new game. You should always be prepared for problems. There may be squabbles about who won or who got what prize so be sure to explain the rules before the games begin.
These days’ companies hire a wide range of amusements to suit any celebration. Depending on the age of the children at your western celebration, you have a range of activities to choose from including live ponies, horse and cart rides, merry-go-round or even a mechanical bull.
Themed games can include square dancing competitions, war paint face painting and pie eating contests.
Ask all your guests to dress to suit the occasion. There are great costumes to choose from such as Cowboy or girl, Indian, Billy the Kid, Undertaker, Rodeo Rider, Sheriff or even a Horse. Accessories that can be used are cowboy boots, hats leather vests, guns, jeans, bandanas, sheriff badges, chequered shirts, straw hats, beards and moustaches and ropes.
The best way to create a Western theme is by turning your backyard into your very own ranch. Spread some hay bales around to use for seating and you could even build a little haystack and scarecrow. A white picket fence can easily be created using small stakes and white cardboard. Using a large old white sheet you could even paint your own red barn façade to pin up on the side of the house as a feature. Other great props include wagon wheels, ropes, cactus, saddles, Indian rugs, horseshoes and even makeshift forts, tepee’s and wagons. Don’t forget the country music. In this day and age with many children growing up within a city or metropolitan surrounding, a lot of them haven’t even touched a lot of animals and therefore this activity will be a real treat for all the guests.
For small children, make sure to remove toothpicks, skewers and any other sharp objects from food before you serve it. Make sure an adult is in the room at all times in case a child chokes.
Dip the rim of each glass in lemon juice then add sugar or coconut before filling with sparkling drink however do not overfill the children with fizzy drinks, they have a nasty habit of erupting later leaving you a nasty mess to clear up.
A treat for dessert could be that each child guest makes their own sundae but then they give it away to someone else. A great way to entertain the children for a little longer.
Plan to include food and drinks for grown ups in case anxious parents stay or come to pick their child up early.
Try to serve at least a few types of healthy food. Make sure it looks colourful and appetising and you’ll probably find it will disappear in time. Try not to be over adventurous when planning the food as many children are picky eaters.
The party food shouldn’t be too hot as just-cooked food such as cheerio’s or sausage rolls can burn little mouths.
Cut the party cake into thin slices as most children will have had enough to eat by the time the cake comes around. You could wrap up the left over slices for children to take home in their loot bags.
Food - You have a lot of choices for Western themed food such as a full BBQ or snack food like nachos, guacamole, buttered corn cobs, potato wedges, hot dogs, sausage rolls and meat pies.
Cactus Juice - Peel and seed half a cucumber and slice finely. Place in a large serving jug or bowl with 2 litres of apple juice and 2 tablespoons of honey. Stir lightly to combine, cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Just before serving add 750ml chilled lemonade and 750ml soda water. Top with ice cubes. Garnish with mind leaves.
*Cake – Cowboy Boot
20 x 30cm rectangular cake, 20cm square cake, 1.5 quantities butter cream, red food colouring, small yellow and orange sweets, liquorice strap, twists & all sorts.
Join cakes together at short sides; secure with a little icing. Using baking paper to trace out a boot pattern and place over cakes. Cut around template with a small sharp flat bladed knife. Place cake on a board. Tint the icing bright red. Ice the cake as shown. Cut liquorice for decoration as show.
* Recipe as printed in Family Circle Kids Party Book
1. Pick your party date and time
2. Plan a menu and go grocery shopping so that you can make as much food as you can before the day and freeze
3. Write out a final schedule of activities and games
4. Arrange for help on the party day
5. Order the cake
6. Get exact guest numbers
7. Buy remaining party food, film, batteries, candles and matches for cake, plus other incidentals
8. Child proof the party area 9. Take plenty of pictures to commemorate the special day 10. Plan an after party nap for yourself
Please remember, if you want the children to have a good party, plan it and keep it short and simple. Mishaps may occur so keep your sense of humour, even if not every aspect of the party goes off as planned. The most important part is to enjoy the day as you celebrate the life of your child.