A few weeks ago, we celebrated my son’s 9th birthday. It’s so cliché, but its crazy how time flies!
Even at 9, Jagger is still super into having birthday parties. This year I gave him the option of choosing a party or a weekend family getaway but he still wanted to celebrate with his friends in the traditional manner. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree because he has always been super into planning his parties. (he literally has already asked me what we’re going to do for next year).
When it comes to party planning I’ve always been that Pinterest type mom who does all the custom themed food and décor. I love the creativity of it, and it’s always been something I love to do for my kids. The first few years when I worked on a party, I hid it from my kids so it would be a surprise. When I took on way more than I could handle for my son’s 5th birthday I had no choice but to let them see me work, and it turned out for the best. The kids took on my love for party planning and offered their help. They began to really see and appreciate all the hard work I put into their parties. I’ll never forget when Jagger came up to me at 5 years old and said, “wow mom, you’re really working hard, thank you so much for doing this for me, you are amazing!” (cue the tears). The joy it brings and the fact that they are so appreciative makes it even more worthwhile.
I have however, tried to pare down the parties over the last few years, because while I love to do it, it is still a lot of work and can be super stressful, not to mention pricey, so I’ve made an effort to shorten the invite lists and not go too crazy with all the fun ideas (some years I got carried away lol) but still keep it themed and creative.
This year I kept it simple. Jagger loves playing video games, so I decided to host the party at Gamerz Café . It’s a fun board and video game café, that we have frequented as a family. It is a great place for a family game night out because they have a great selection of board games, delicious food and coffee and a private video gaming room – perfect to host a party, so it was a natural selection.
Gamerz offers great party packages, easy online booking and great customer service. Their gaming room also accommodates up to 18 players which was fantastic because we always have a long guest list and its often hard to find a great place that offers affordable packages for larger groups of children. They also serve food, so I just had to bring the snacks and anything that makes my life easier is a win in my books!
I also kept the theme simple this year, my son is super into gaming but we had already done Super Mario and Fortnite the last two years, so I just went with a generic “Gamer” theme for this one.
Here’s what I did for décor:
I ordered these Balloons from Party Expert, but also found a great balloon bundle here – for about the same price you get a ton more balloons and can bring it into the store to fill up or pickup a helium tank and do it yourself.
I created one center piece. I usually do about three or four but only needed one for this party, since we only had one big table. I print out the graphics on card stock (or regular paper and then glue on card stock for firmness) and then hot glue wooden skewers to the back. I keep a few pots with green floral foam blocks inside and re-use them every year for the kids parties. I also top with tissue paper (not pictured here – but if you continue scrolling you’ll see the final result)
You can download the centerpiece images I used here.
I also ordered this 2 pack of Gamer table cloths. I was so happy to have 2 because the table at Gamerz was very large, so I layered the bottom with a regular green table cloth from dollarama and laid these two out vertically instead of horizontally and it worked perfectly. You can purchase them here.
Additionally, I designed these gamer water bottle labels. I find the labels are a really fun and easy themed addition for any party. The kids also love to help me with them – they remove all the original labels, cut out the new ones and tape them on. It’s an easy project the kids can get involved in, and they are always so proud of their work.
I customized one label with a photo of my son, but have created a generic version for download here.
For the loot bags, I try to find items the kids will like and are on theme, but won’t just end up in the trash at the end of the day, so I included the following:
- Pack of playing cards
- Gamer bracelet
- Controller Eraser
- $5 coupon for Gamerz
- Green Cello Bag
- Thank you Tag (Click to download – I had the kids cut these tags out as well)
Finally, I decided to nix the birthday cake this time around. My son doesn’t like cake and it seemed silly to keep buying this big birthday cake when the birthday boy won’t even eat it. Last year I tried ice cream cake and he didn’t eat that either so this year we decided to just do a little ice cream bar. We served plain chocolate and vanilla ice cream with a bunch of different toppings. I cut up Coffee Crisps, Kit Kats and Oreos (regular & vanilla). I also included Smarties, mini gummy bears, sprinkles, and chocolate sauce. The kids LOVED it! At the last minute, I did buy one small cake just to have something to put a candle in and sing happy birthday with, and it was offered to the kids, but not one of them even wanted cake. I would probably just do a cupcake next time, because I’m the one who ended up eating all the leftovers. The ice cream was such an easy, super affordable alternative to cake that every kid ate and enjoyed including my birthday boy! I was really happy with that decision.
Overall, even with 15 boys this was one of my most stress-free parties. It was a great group of kids, the staff at Gamerz were very helpful and everything looked great without having to do too much. I felt like I was able to really enjoy it and the kids had a blast.
Until the next one!