This past weekend we hosted a kids 5th birthday party at Planet Gymnastics in Natick, Massachusetts.
The party organizers told us not to arrive until 15 minutes before the event to setup. This doesn't leave much time to get the room organized and greet people as they arrived.
First half hour was open Gym in the area by the entrance. This gave the kids a chance to run around and try various stations. It was also an opportunity for those that came late to join in the fun.
Then they split the birthday group into two groups and played "Messy Backyard." This group game is where you had to throw soft bricks over a short wall on the other teams. You have 2 minutes to clean your area. Whichever team had the fewest blocks won. It was fun seeing different kids playing together.
After the group game the kids sat around the foam block pit to watch Juliana zip line into a foam block pit. The kids had fun yelling her name as she rode down to the foam pit.
After the zip line game, they open up the second half of the gym for more fun exercises. This part of the gym had a tumble track area, uneven bars, balance beams at various heights and a wall climb area.
After about 15 minutes of play, it was time to leave the gym and go into the party room for snacks and cupcakes. They left the gym singing a Happy Birthday song and clapping.
The Party Room
This is where Planet Gymnastics didn't meet expectations. We told them that we were having at least 33 kids. The table setup was very cramped. We ended up having 38 kids show up, many more people show up than expected.
The staff at Planet Gymnastics had to bring in some extra chairs, however, some of the kids had to sit on the floor.
The Planet Gymnastics in Natick has two party rooms, and despite knowing that we had a large party, they stuck us in the smaller party room.
We actually brought hoodsie-cups ice cream, but it was never served. In fact, we didn't even think about it until we got home. Next time we should put together a "At the Party" checklist, so that we won't forget this.
We were happy that the staff at Planet Gymnastics helped out with the setup and tear down of the party. They were able to get everything done before the first guest arrived.
We were supposed to get a call a week before the event to confirm everything, that call never happened. We called a couple of days before to let them know how many people we expected to show up.
Planet Gymnastics was a fun place to have a party, all the kids enjoyed running around and trying the new equipment. We wished we had a better party room experience but it didn't ruin the day for anyone as there was plenty of snacks and cupcakes to go around.
Tip for Parents Attending Parties
Parents should always RSVP to a party invite. You should ask if siblings can attend. You can use the opportunity to ask for gift ideas.
When you do bring your gift to the party, make sure to secure the card to the gift. This way people will know who brought what. You don't need to be fancy with a card, you can simply cut a piece of wrapping paper and attach it to the gift. Many gift bags have little labels on the handles where you can write your name. We ended up with several gifts that we have no idea who they were from.
If you have a gift receipt, make sure to tape it on the back of the card, so it doesn't get lost when the children open up the present.