P.L. asks from Grand Rapids, MI on January 06, 2008
P.E. answers from Grand Rapids on January 07, 2008
Not sure of the time of year, but we've held birthday parties (and non-birthday parties) in a couple of venues.
Ottawa County's Hager Park has proven to be fun all year around. It's at the corner of Bauer and 28th Ave in Jenison. We've played on the playground equipment; one year my daughter invited friends to bring costumes and they made up their own play using the woods, bridges, stream and "castle" playground as their backdrop.
My son has also taken a video camera and they've created their own story, filmed it. The boys would talk about it right up through their high school years.
We've had treasure hunts at Hager, placing clues along the paths and letting the kids find a treasure box hidden (usually in a car trunk where it's safe or with an adult in one of the gazebos)...the kids have a great time.
If it's a winter party...sledding at the Soccer Bowl (Rosewood Ave in Jenison) or Johnson Park...Wilson/Butterworth.
Although we did this in St Joseph, Mich., it was a fun party idea that could be replicated in GR and that was an afternoon at the Children's Museum. You could likely eat the b'day treat there, but there's an adventure to eating it outside in one of the parks...and unless it's a blinding blizzard, having a picnic outside in the winter/spring is a novel idea that kids remember.
We've also gone to the 12th St Park in Jenison off Chicago Dr...there's a park there with a lake and trail that goes around it. Another place we've had treasure hunts...there's plenty of open space to make snow sculptures (or sand sculptures), fly kites
Rosa Parks downtown GR offers ice skating for ultra-cheap ... add a thermos of hot chocolate and rice krispie treats and it would be a memorable occasion.
Sometimes we look for activities planned at the museum or library...let them handle the activity...then we find a place that we can open gifts and eat treats...sometimes these places have rooms available.
Not sure your budget, but sometimes friends have had pool parties at hotels...or you may be able to get a decent rate at the new GR Family Y Center. I find that to be more responsibility than I want to have to supervise young children in a pool, but if you have enough attentive adults it works.
Another park that might be fun to take kids all year round would be Millennium or Blandford...there is water and woods so you need extra adults, but you can do theme parties based on outdoor adventures that the kids will remember.
Are you exhausted yet? One last idea tht we did that was fun. We had a birthday party in which everyone instead of bringing a "gift" brought something they could teach the birthday child. So kids taught the child new card games, how to make puppets, how to do a dance, how to sing a song, etc...it was a lot of fun...and everyone learned something but also got to be center of attention.
1 mom found this helpful
A.V. answers from Grand Rapids on January 07, 2008
Have you checked into Bounce Party yet? I have younger children but we've been there and a similar place in Alabama for parties for kids all ages and even a party consisting of mostly adults. Here is the link http://www.bounceparty.net/ it really is a fun place and the kids can get a lot of energy out (especially good after being cooped up inside due to weather!)
J.T. answers from Grand Rapids on January 07, 2008
Bowling birthday parties are fun. The child gets a bowling pin for her friends to sign and she gets to take it home. They usually tie balloons to it as a table decoration while the party is going on. The bowling alleys in Grand Rapids do a nice job i.e. Eastbrook lanes or Miracle Lanes.They can put bumpers up in the gutters for the younger kids, then they always get pins down.They decorate and give you the option for food and drinks.Its fun!
C.H. answers from Grand Rapids on January 07, 2008
Two of my kids have had birthday parties at Northstar gymnastics in Rockford. The kids get to run and jump and bounce all while one of the coaches supervises. They play games and then have a time to open presents and you can bring in your own cake, etc. I think they provided juice. It was so nice for the kids to be able to run and for the parents to sit back and relax. It's cheaper if you are a member so I don't know what pricing would be, but it was a ton of fun.