If you were to ask me the best time of year to have a child in Texas, I would tell you the month of February, without missing a beat. I have been lucky enough to give birth to not one, but TWO fabulous, funny, February females, and I cannot speak highly enough of the experience so far. I never had to lug around a huge baby belly in the middle of a Texas summer; my pregnancy wardrobe consisted of leggings, over-sized sweaters, and Uggs; I have visions of myself buying the girls amethyst jewelry when they get older; and I will never have to make the decision about which year to start my child in Kindergarten.
There have been two undeniable downsides to the February birthday, however: the first being the fact that I was pregnant through two entire football seasons, the second being the winter birthday party. No pools, no parks, no train rides, no fun, right? Wrong. If you have a child with a winter birthday, or simply don’t want to take a chance on the weather, I have some fresh indoor ideas for you. If you do not have a child with a winter birthday party but are sick of going to Pump It Up every other weekend, send this to your friends who could use the help… I accept “thank yous” in all sorts of forms, including comments, notes, wine, and telepathic messaging.
If you want to…
1. Wear the kids out, Fort Worth offers lots of energy burning options! Places like the much-utilized Pump It Up and Flight Deck Trampoline Park let your kids bounce ’til they drop, and Little Gym and Lone Star Gymnastics offer more guided activities to get it all out. Whatever your preference, all you have to do to guarantee a good time is show up with cupcakes and your spring-loaded child… then enjoy the long nap you will all inevitably be taking later that afternoon.
2. Do the Hokey Pokey, have a roller skating party! Remember those? They still exist! And this isn’t just for the older kids, either. For younger parties, they encourage guests to bring their own “riding toy” (Plasma Cars, trikes, etc), though watching a bunch of young children try to skate for the first time is HILARIOUS. In addition to witnessing your child have a blast racing, playing limbo, and learning to skate, you will enjoy playing a fun game I like to call, “Count the number of things that have changed here in the last 20 years.” Fort Worth natives will be happy to know that Rollerland West and Silver Wheel are still around… and (spoiler alert) the only thing that has changed is the music.
3. Foster creativity, let Van Grow host an art party! Kids as young as four will spend 90 minutes painting, beading, and decorating party hats, while older kids will receive a mini art lesson and practice their new skills in a space that you do not have to clean up. All you have to do is bring cupcakes and juice boxes, and figure out how long you’re going to keep their masterpieces before they “accidentally” find their way into child artwork heaven.
4. Teach your child to cook so you no longer have to, have a party at Young Chefs Academy! Kids as young as three will have fun making pizza or pasta under adult supervision and then get to eat their creations! Not only are they entertained and fed, but they literally eat what they have made, so you don’t have to take anything home. Note to self: birthday party where kids learn to make edible artwork…
5. Provide souvenirs that kids are guaranteed to love, and let the kids create their own stuffed animal with a Build-a-Bear Workshop party! There are a ton of add-ons that you’ll likely get talked into buying, but they offer packages as low as $10 per person, if you’re less of a sucker than I am. Added bonus: your child will stop asking, “Mom, when do I get to go in there?” every single time you take them to play at Ridgmar Mall. Every. Single. Time
6. Learn about animals, try a party at the Fort Worth Zoo!!! Not only do you get a private party room for two hours to play educational animal games, but you and your guests receive all-day admission to the zoo. For some extra dinero, they’ll even bring live animals into the classroom and give a 20-minute presentation! Not gonna lie, I’m really hoping one of my children gets invited to a zoo party soon.
7. Keep the cost down and the fun up, book at party room at a low-key restaurant! You may surprised at how little entertainment you actually need to provide children when they have pizza, balloons, and each other. You can’t go wrong with a party at Mama’s Pizza to support local business, but Chick-Fil-A and MacDonald’s are always fun and inexpensive options.
8. Forget that it’s winter, have a pool party at the Downtown YMCA! Kids will swim and splash for the first hour, then they run around and eat cake for the second hour. They’re tired, you’re tired, and you get to use last year’s swimsuit one last time before shelling out the dough for a new one. Just make it clear to the dads that they will be the ones getting in the pool with the children, unless you happen to be naturally tan, immune to holiday weight gain, and shave on a regular basis in the winter. I’m assuming (hoping) that only women will be reading this post.
9. Let someone else do the work, outsource your entertainment providers! I grew up with the locally famous Story Patch Players, who would come to a party, act out a play, and give the birthday boy or girl a fabulous crown. I really wish they had brought in younger players over the years to keep the group going strong after retirements… kind of like Menudo. However, there are always face painters, clowns, and even princesses that will come and run the whole party for you, so you can just sit back, relax, and enjoy the laughter. <– I’m pretty sure that will never, ever happen, but at least you don’t have to be stressed about entertaining the children yourself.
10. Do it all yourself, then more power to you! If you love planning and hosting parties, and you consider Pinterest your friend and not your enemy, then by all means, hold a theme party at your house. Just please accept my preemptive apologies for the wake of destruction that my children will certainly leave behind.
Where have you been to an indoor party recently that was a big hit?