We had a gathering here last weekend, and I think it might become an annual event, because it was super fun. I sent out an invitation to oodles of people, asking them to come over for a “Fire and Water Play Day.”
It was inspired by my friend’s kids, who are 11 and 13. Every time they come over, they want to build a fire and go to the river. Our house is just about perfect for playing with water and fire. It also was prompted by the fact that there are a lot of people I know, folks I’ve met through work or parenting groups or just being around town, and I’m always thinking, “I really want to have them over!” but never get around to it. So this was a chance to do a really open invite and see who would show up.
Lots of people, it turned out. We kept it pretty low-key. I asked people to bring food to share, so we mostly just took care of some basics–drinks, veggie tray, burgers, hot dogs, and some veg/tofu kabobs (which were, unfortunately, not that great. Need to come up with a better vegetarian choice next time). Other people brought salads, desserts, melons, and side dishes. The board was groaning, no one went hungry.
People kept commenting on how laid back the whole thing was, and I guess that’s true. I was channeling the parties that my parents’ friends threw when I was a kid, which basically consisted of “people showed up with food and lit stuff on fire.” Laid back doesn’t begin to cover it.
I took care of most of the cleaning and food prep beforehand, and JC manned the grill during the party. It ended up being a good division, I think. I also learned the absolute key to having a great party when you’ve got preschoolers, which is to invite plenty of kids in the 9-12 age range. Do I want to fill up 500 water balloons? Well, no. But my friend’s nine-year-old literally wants nothing else. Do I want to take a two-year-old on a walk to the river? Nope. But here comes a helpful middle schooler who would love to.
Even the “fire and water” theme ish bit was not super heavy. We lit a camp fire, and had the grill, and I bought sparklers, because the internet makes things accessible to scofflaws like me. For water, I had the sprinkler, the kiddie pool, water balloons, and squirt guns. The bigger kids walked down to the river and splashed and played as well. It’s surprising to still have water in the river–usually it’s dry by this point in the summer. Maybe next year, I’ll get ambitious and build a bike-through sprinkler, or finally get around to buying a Slip’n’Slide.
I was going to have bubbles, too, but Silas broke my bubble machine. :-\ So maybe that will be an improvement for next year, too.
The chickens, ducklings, and goats were also a big hit. They were all quite excited about all of the people around.
I keep saying “for next year,” which I guess means I’ve decided I’ll repeat it. We really did have a great time, and it’s nice to have an excuse to see people who don’t get out here much.
One other improvement for next year–I’ll actually remember to get some pictures, which I totally failed at this time!