Best Kids Parties: Garden "Block Party"

My Party

Name: Elsa Joy (1)
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio

We wanted to celebrate Elsa's first birthday with our neighbors and friends in the neighborhood where our children are growing up but, because we live in an urban area, a backyard was not an option. Rather than choosing a large, public park, we opted to hold Elsa's Garden Party in a small pocket park around the corner that was rescued from blight a few years back by some other local residents. Today, the park is a wonderful little refuge in the city and perfect for an early evening party.

We designed the party to feel more like a "block party" than a kid's birthday party. We invited mostly neighbors, a few friends from church, co-workers, and some friends from other parts of the city. We steered clear of the usual gift-opening and cake-eating rituals. The adults spent most of the time getting to know the other guests and stepping in every once and a while to teach the kids how to play croquet or use the park's see-saw. I had sidewalk chalk, paper airplanes, and tic-tac-toe on hand, if necessary, but the kids kept themselves busy.

Because the urban garden landscape provides a great setting, I didn't need much in the way of decorations. I made a few large paper pinwheels, a few small ones for the dessert table, and then decorated the cupcakes with Elsa's name.

The Garden Party was in the early evening, after dinnertime, so we provided desserts only. Guests enjoyed fresh watermelon, strawberry krispy treats, cupcakes, 'Nilla Wafers, champagne punch, natural fruity sodas, and iced tea. I also had some organic babyfood available for Elsa's younger friends to enjoy.

For the "main event," I took orders and then sent a friend around the corner to the local gourmet popsicle shop (Streetpops--www.streetpops.com) to bring back chilly popsicles for everyone. People chose between Salted Caramel, Plum Basil, Choco-Mint, and Raspberry Lemonade. With popsicles in-hand, we sang "Happy Birthday" to my little girl and I gave her her first taste of frosting. As our guests left, our family milled around until bedtime, offering leftover drinks and treats to other neighbors as they wandered by.

It was the perfect little neighborhood Garden Party for my little girl.

Fun - thanks Liz! Readers, catch up with Liz at The Walking Green.

(Images: Adam C Nelson)

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As Apartment Therapy's Family Editor, Carrie covers design and modern homelife with children. A lapsed librarian, she lives in Brooklyn with her husband and two kids and is in contention to break the record for most hours spent at the playground.