Since Patrick's birthday fell on a wednesday we had his birthday party that friday. I ordered pizza (easy) and made a simple 9x13 cake (also easy) and planned a silk-screening party (ridiculously difficult). I bought a slew of cheap, colorful shirts so the guests could pick what they liked, then cut out a bunch of shapes on my silhouette so they could have a lot of options to design their shirts with. As they made their choices and placed them on their shirt, I took them to the garage where we had our workspace set up to do the actual silkscreen, and I would help them blob on and squeegee the paint through the screen.
This all sounds relatively simple, but multiply it by 6 age-9 guests, add 3 even younger siblings, divide it by 2 adults, and add paint - your final sum is utter chaos! It wasn't helped by having 6 color choices because with 6 guests I figured we would overlap and two people might pick the same... But when has my figuring ever turned out? They all chose different colors, so I had to go by who wanted lighter colors of ink first, and (of course) those were the kids who finished placing their designs last. Terrible. We got all the shirts done, but all the jostling in the garage (of COURSE they wanted to play basketball in there and not just watch! Why didn't I think of that?) meant I sent everyone inside who wasn't actually doing a shirt. Because the shirts were the actual activity I didn't HAVE any extra activities for while they waited (they were SUPPOSED to be watching), so poor Joe was inside wranglings hyped-up party guests who ran around, led by one friend in particular who turned his show-off mode up to full blast, turning everyone into CRAZY people. They sat still for about 15 minutes total - 5 to do a shirt, 5 for pizza and cake, 5 for gifts... 1 hour and 45 minutes of screaming around my house.
THE LESSONS LEARNED:
Silk screening is good with a much higher ratio of adults to kids.
Silk screening should be done with fewer kids, period.
Younger siblings should make their shirts ahead of the party so as not to add to the chaos.
Silk screening should be available in ONE COLOR ONLY - this is not the time to up the creative ante.
Side activities should ALSO be in place; possibly something that requires them to pretend to be asleep or act like a dead animal so they stop running around.
Find out who the crazy kid is, and DO NOT invite them.
It was so chaotic I didn't even get a single picture during the party! In that regard it reminded me of Patrick's party 2 years ago where kids started throwing knives and blocks of ice ... I was trying to help them not die, so pictures were the last thing on my mind. (I'm pretty sure my party planning skills for kids need work!) Happily, we will now be instituting a family-party-every-other-year rule, so I have zero planning until late 2018. PHEW!