Yesterday was the last day of school for my two oldest boys. It has become a tradition that we host a party to mark the occasion, inviting all of the children from each class as one last get together as a group. While it may sound daunting to host 22 children and their families with enough planning and preparation it can be a breeze. Here are some tips on hosting an event that can come together easily and is enjoyable for both grown-ups and children.
- Plan an appropriate menu for the age groups – For us this means having choices that are approachable to children while also having something fancier for the grown-ups. I always follow the rule of making at least one home-made dish and fill in the rest with open and serve items. I’ve been looking for an excuse to make this Chicken Alfredo Ring so that was my home-made dish. We also had a cheese tray, pretzels, chips, a fruit tray, veggies and hummus and home-made cookies for dessert.
- Have a special beverage station – Keeping the drinks separate from the food makes people move to different rooms in the house. Having a special drink makes the party more fun for kids and grown-ups. At this age, the kids get pretty excited about juice boxes or lemonade. We have wine and beer for the grown-ups because they deserve to relax a little as well!
- Plan a menu that can be made ahead – Everything we served could be prepared ahead of time and set out on the buffet for all to enjoy. This meant that during the party I didn’t have to be working in the kitchen to heat something up and could chat with the other grown-ups or keep the kids out of trouble.
- Have an activity to engage the children so they don’t destroy your home – We had a cookie decorating station set up where the children could frost and decorate their own cookie to take home or enjoy on the spot. This kept their attention just long enough that the selection of toys that were out were interesting and kept my home relatively clean.
- Prepare your toy selection – I highly recommend putting away toys your kids don’t want to share to prevent any arguments. We also put away noisy toys(think musical instruments) and toys with lots of pieces(legos!). This keeps the noise level down and makes clean-up a little bit easier.
I have always enjoyed entertaining and while it has changed since having kids in the mix, there is a way to still make it enjoyable. The next time you find yourself overwhelmed by a big event look at my tips and you’ll surely be able to sit back and enjoy at least a glass of wine!