Your party + rain + kids = omg it actually wasn’t that bad!
Moving your party indoors can be stressful. Especially if your house isn’t designed for 20 children to run wild through it.
Now I’m imagining a house with built-in slides and trampolines between couches. #goals
OK. Back to reality.
Here’s the thing. As a children’s entertainer, I’ve seen some crazy stuff that families have tried to pull off to keep wiggly children from tearing apart their houses.
Some were absolute disasters.
Some were just ok.
And then there the great ideas that still stand out in my mind, 2,000 parties later.
Literally. 2,000. (I’ve sung happy birthday that many times. I slay at the harmony part.)
But, before I share those great ideas with you, I get to tell you about a couple of disaster ideas because DRAMA is FUN.
Once, I went to a party as a Mermaid, and as a party activity, the family had the big idea to let all the children build fish bowls. Cue water and broken glass and rocks and sadness everywhere.
And then, as a party favor, bring a live fish home in it.
You. Should. Have. Seen. The. Parents. Faces. When. They. Came. To. Pick. Up. Their. Kids. One by one, absolute shock at the sight of their new family pet.
And the same question over and over…’how are we going to take that home…?!’. Yeah, that was a wild one.
Ok, this next one actually falls into both categories. It was AWESOME and AWFUL.
This family planned on having their party outside, but then the water dumped all week from the sky so they had to kill that idea. The problem was…their house was under construction. Like, no drywall on some of the walls. This family ran with it. They gave all the children hammers when they arrived and had them knock down one of the walls they wanted to remove.
Contrary to what you’re imagining, no, no one got hurt. Phew. But man…that poor dining room wall. It didn’t see those 20 kids coming.
Extra points for when the rain stopped and all the children took photos with me in the bulldozer that was in their front yard. I was in a very pink, very fluffy princess gown, and it was unforgettable.
So, now that you know what NOT to do with kids inside, here are my top 5 favorite things for kids to do at indoor parties:
The invitation asked all the guests to bring empty cardboard boxes. That’s it. No gifts, no food. Just empty boxes. And this was back before Amazon so I can’t imagine how rad this would be to pull off now!
Each parent was handed a giant roll of tape and a pair of scissors, and the children were handed crayons. While the parents built (it was hilarioussssss to see them get so creative!), the children colored in the windows, doors, and gorgeous scribbly wall accents. ❤️
By the end, this party had built a castle that was so elaborate that the family left it up for their children to play with for days afterward. Not only is that one rockin’ birthday gift for them, but the rain didn’t let up so they never ran out of indoor playtime ideas!
Shameless self-promotion here. Here’s the thing. Hiring a kids entertainer to keep the children busy for you is just so easy. You don’t have to do anything. They walk in. The children are stoked. The pictures are adorable. And you get to drink wine. Bam.
But here is when *not* to hire an entertainer for an indoor party…don’t do it if you have too many other activities you’re trying to pull off at the same time. Trying to compete with Frozen playing on TV, gingerbread house candy being consumed, and a rented rack of kids’ costumes being ransacked is a bad, bad idea. Ask me how I know this. I’m still trying to forget that one.
A few years ago, I knocked on the door of the party I was hired for, and when the mom answered the door, she asked me to ‘crawl through the cave of sparkles’. They had turned their entire house into an obstacle course, and that was the start of it (a few sheets draped over chairs with a disco ball/flashlight set up inside).
The children waiting for me on the other side had expressions that looked pretty much like that picture up there. Every single time a parent popped out the other side, they melted into giggles.
The hallways had pool noodles to jump over, and the kitchen had pieces of fabric (icebergs) for the children to scoot across the ‘slippery ice pond’. I bet they didn’t even spend a dime to make it all. It was absolutely brilliant.
Shameless plug number 2. If you like this idea but don’t want to lift a finger, our entertainers can bring indoor obstacle courses and lead the children through it for you. I know. I’m so good at this marketing thing. *laugh*
Cheap crafts that turn into an interactive show? 100% winner, every single time. And pro-tip, if you use paper bags as the base of each puppet, you don’t have to sit by each kid helping them cut out their designs.
Ask each guest to bring any craft item they have around their house (no buying anything new!) to get an extra fun spread of silly noses, ears, and accessories for your new theater troupe.
Freeze Dance. A.k.a. ‘The easiest way to have fun with children while doing barely anything except laughing.’
My favorite thing about freeze dance is that both younger and older children really enjoy it. The younger children like to get moving, while the older children like to show off their moves for their friends.
Well. Kidding. ACTUALLY my favorite thing is when I lead this activity at parties, the number of children who try to get ‘out’ on purpose so they can hang out with me instead. Yeah. That is my favorite.
Fun twist, have the children do specific types of dance while they are moving. Ballet, tango, leaps, twirls, and pirate dancing! I don’t know what pirate dancing is, but every time I say it the weirdest things happen, so I throw it in every time. Kids trying to dance like planks are funnier than cat memes.
‘But Fae, can you just lead Freeze Dance for me so I can just relax at the party?’