Acacia’s 4th birthday was last month but this blog post on what you don’t need for a children’s birthday party, inspired me to share this. When Heath (now 23) was little, I pulled off what must have been one of my most stupid parenting blunders. I decided for his 4th or 5th birthday to give him a surprise party. When the guests arrived he was utterly bewildered and hardly enjoyed the party at all. It was then that I learned that children most often get more pleasure out of preparing for their party than the party itself. Now with my laat lammetjies (literal translation, late lambs) I ensure that they are part of the party preparations.
Months before her birthday Acacia told me that she wanted a butterfly cake for her party. The day before the party she helped me to bake the cake. From age 2 children can help with baking by tipping the measured ingredients into the bowl, sifting and stirring. Later we decorated the cake, I piped on the icing and she added the sprinkles and smarties. The cake looked a little over-decorated and less neat than I may have done, but it was her cake for her party and she had so much fun doing it. The value of this was greater than material gifts (don’t worry we did give her gifts too).