Our younger son turned 3 last Friday, and we were elated to celebrate with him on his birthday. For our family 3rd birthdays are a big deal as we think that it is the right age that they truly can appreciate a birthday party and can be active participants. For our first two children, we went all out on 3rd birthday parties, (custom cakes, personalized favors, custom invitations mailed out, large rented spaces, more stress) and it may just be a New York thing to do. Moving here to Palo Alto, we are gradually learning that low key birthday parties are welcome, and for Ronan, having his party in Los Robles Park, one of the many parks that surround Palo Alto was just right. He is king of the playground, and extremely active, so it was a no brainer that we highly endorse park parties, especially for younger active children. Read our post about birthday party ideas for kids in Palo Alto.
We initially hired someone to come and entertain the kids, but when the entertainer called to say that she was in the hospital with her daughter who had developed an ear infection, we knew that we would need to improvise. I called a friend to see if she could bring some soccer equipment, but soon realized that there would be no need for it since the kids, mostly my older children’s friends, truly just wanted to run around and create their own idea of fun with the two playgrounds, balloons, bubbles, and their creative energies.
It was an extremely hot day and we were not sure about whether parents would bring the kids to the park, especially on a Friday afternoon, but we were more than happy to celebrate with the friends who showed up. We also arranged for an ice cream truck to come to the park, so that the kids could all enjoy some refreshing cold treats while they played. For our kids, that was the highlight of the party. The birthday boy, on the other hand was oblivious to what was going on around him, he was more interested in playing with the toys that he received. Even pizza from his favorite place, Pizza My Heart, could not tear him away from his gifts. He opened every single one of them and sat on the ground and tested them all. It is funny how, as a mother of three children, these things don’t phase me anymore.
At Los Robles park there are three wooden picnic benches, enclosed by lattices decorated with hanging wisteria, so there was not much we wanted to do to disturb the natural landscape. There was no need to set up a tent, use pendants, bring tables or chairs. We opted for balloons, at every corner of the natural structures and kept the decor very simple. Our 3 year old is a curious child and he gets excited about the simple things. Sometimes it is great to incorporate the kids interests into a party, so we married his love of fire truck and candy and a fire truck piñata was born.
We do not know what is in his future for his 4th birthday party, but we are hoping that it will be just as fun and low key, low stress, as it was this time around. We are just happy that our preschooler will continue to be the wonderful, spirited and independent 3 year old that he has blossomed into.