My son had a bit of trouble adjusting to the end of school (he isn’t fond of change) so one year I let him host a barbecue for a few of his classmates on the second last day of school to celebrate how much fun they had in grade 5.
As the kids were sitting down to eat, I marveled at how well the party had gone, and how little work it was for me. Then I got to thinking that it would also make a great summer birthday party and what a wonderful way to celebrate a summer birthday. So here I’ve decided to share what we did.
Because this wasn’t a birthday celebration, I didn’t feel the pressure to organize a lot of activities. I left it up to the kids to determine what they wanted to do, but I did suggest they bring swim trunks and water blasters, and I purchased a pack of water balloons in case they were quickly bored. I can honestly say that they had so much fun with the unstructured playtime, and everyone was happily soaking wet by the time dinner was ready.
For the menu, I wanted to make sure it was comprised strictly of make-ahead or quick-cooking foods because I had also had a busy workweek. We chose pulled pork on a bun, hot dogs, corn on the cob, and watermelon. I made the pork the weekend before the party and froze it in ziptop bags, and the hot dogs and corn went on the barbecue 15 minutes before the kids were ready to eat. I chopped the watermelon in the morning on the day of the party when I was making breakfast and popped it into the fridge to chill.
For drinks, I served pitchers of lemonade and water, and used paper plates and cups that went immediately into the recycling bin so there was no mess to clean up when the kids were done eating. The only part of the meal that was somewhat time consuming was the cake I made, but the kids would have been just as happy with ice cream sandwiches or cones.
After 2½ hours, everyone went home and they all claimed it was the best barbecue they’ve been to that year (in all fairness, summer had just started).
Would you throw a simple summer birthday party like this for your child? Or do you think birthdays require something a little extra special?