Last year, for my older daughter’s 4th birthday, we decided to celebrate outdoors. It was a bit of a gamble because obviously March can still bring some pretty wet and cold weather in Scotland and Cubling was more than clear that she did not want to wear waterproofs to her party and there’s no way I would have forced the issue on her special day.
Sometimes though, you get lucky. The weather was fabulous, the kids loved it and her cousin kept saying how this was the best party he’s been too.
And yes, doing it outdoors meant no trashed house (though to be fair I never find the tidying up after a party as bad as it seems when the last party goers have left) and above all space for everyone. Last year, with a total of 15 kids to invite, we split the party into two – we simply don’t have the space in our small house for all her pals plus younger siblings plus parents; as much as we’d like to make the space. Having two parties isn’t fun, and it also takes away some of the magic of the special day.
Compare this to the outdoors party: I kept thinking that there were kids missing because it didn’t look busy at all, so much space for everyone, no stepping on toes or worse, babies. And who doesn’t like a picnic in the sun at the side of the river?
Plus, there was an opportunity for something different as far as party games are concerned. Pass the parcel and musical chairs were missing this time, instead we played a mix of German and British favourite outdoors games: Blinde Kuh (blind cow), What’s the time Mr Wolf? and Egg and Spoon Race (Eierlaufen). We had also prepared a treasure hunt, hide and seek and Wolf and Sheep (a chase game played on all fours) but didn’t get to play them – though the kids got a shot at climbing the massive old beech tree.
It was quite a challenge finding suitable outdoor party games that 4 year olds can play, which is why I’d like to share the ones we found.
Blinde Kuh/Blind Cow: One child is blindfolded and twirled around. The other children pick a place and don’t move and don’t speak. The blindfolded child has to find another child and then guess who it is. Once they guess correctly, the next child takes on the role of blind cow.
What’s the time Mr Wolf? One child is the wolf. The other children stand in a line and shout: What’s the time Mr Wolf? The Wolf answers, e.g. 7 o’clock, and the children move as many steps as the time, e.g. 7 (counting loud). This is repeated until the wolf decides it’s “dinner time” and turns to catch one of the other kids. The other children try and run back to their starting line (behind which they will be safe). The child who is caught is the wolf of the next turn.
Egg and Spoon Race: Children try balancing an egg (hard boiled, wooden or plastic) on a spoon and run as fast as they can from start to finish line. If the egg drops, they can pick it up again. They are not allowed to touch the egg while running. Whoever finishes first is the winner.
Wolf and Sheep: all children on all fours. One child is the wolf, all other children are sheep. Wolf catches another child who will be a wolf too. Both wolves are asleep, snoring, and the sheep tease them. Then the wolves wake up and catch the sheep. Any sheep caught by a wolf becomes a wolf too. The last sheep standing is the winner.
Treasure hunt: self explanatory, though we had thought about collecting as many sticks or pine cones as possible in a set time, with the winner being the child with the most.
And, are we having it outdoors again this year? I hope so, although having been so lucky with the weather I feel a little bit like tempting fate. But heyho, what’s the worst that can happen? Relocation to the house in case of seriously bad weather.