Best Kids Parties: Slot Car Racing

My Party

Name: Miles (5)
Location: Brooklyn, NY

I would have been happy to host a simple birthday party at home, but the size of my son's entourage has outgrown the size of our apartment so I was on a quest to find a fun, outside alternative. A few subway stops from our neighborhood I discovered a frozen-in-time, old school slot car racing track - the last of its kind in New York City.

I showed my son a video about Buzz-a-rama, which has been operating since the 1960s, to gauge his interest. It only took a minute before he was hooked on the idea of having his 5th birthday party there.

The party was on a Sunday afternoon and we had the whole place to ourselves. There are three different tracks and the kids rotated among them. Slot cars are miniature electric-powered cars on a track with grooves or slots. The cars themselves are easy enough for 5-year-olds to operate - there's no steering; you fluctuate the speed to go slower around curves and not "de-slot". The kids did a mix of practicing and organized races.

Knowing this space had a ton of character all on its own, I didn't do any decorating except for the table in the party room where I put "road" washi tape on a grey tablecloth and lined up some toy cars. The party room was filled with vintage video games which we were allowed to play once the food was put away, but unfortunately we ran out of time (next year!).

I kept the food pretty simple: red or white pizza, popcorn, fruit salad and a tomato/bocconcini/basil salad. Thinking mini cupcakes would be easier for kids to eat, my saintly sister and I made 96 of them (a crazy amount - what can I say, math is not my strong suit).

To my surprise my son was super interested in the "goody bags" for his friends (which I forgot to photograph). He was feeding me new ideas on an almost daily basis. One morning I woke up to him staring at me by the side of the bed: "I have another idea for the goody bags, mommy." His ideas were mostly impractical - "every kid could get their own racetrack!" - but we settled on: race car crayons, gummy race cars, race car temporary tattoos and die cast race cars.

I also brought along a race car photo prop and a few plastic racing helmets and some of the kids posed for pictures.

Everyone had a Buzztastic time!

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(Images: Simon Gerzina)

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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.

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