2 articles Tag tween

Tween Party Ideas

Sausage will be 8 in August and has decided that she doesn’t want to have a party this year, which is fine by us as we’d rather plan a nice family day out for her (and we have a big surprise planned!). However, I’m sure this won’t be the end of parties for her forever and I was thinking the other day about fun tween birthday party ideas of her age. Here’s a few things I came up with:

Garden Tea Party

If we had been having a party this year I think we would have opted for something along these lies as we have such a lovely big garden now and her August birthday usually means it’s nice weather. Setting up a few tables with cake stands and teapots (bought from charity shops and bootsales) would be fairly simple and decorating the garden with bunting would really finish the look well.

Photo Booth

OMG Photo Booth Hire is really popular these days and you can completely see why. I reckon Sausage and her friends could have HOURS of fun with a box of dressing up gear and sole use of a photo booth. It’s a really unique idea for a party which I absolutely love and could be complimented by a buffet and music for dancing to.

Sleepover

Sausage is getting to the point where she’ll be old enough for sleepovers soon (god help us all!) and I think they can be a lovely way to celebrate a birthday. Go old-school with films, popcorn, face-masks and pyjamas and the party more or less makes itself! If you’ve got kids who aren’t keen on sleeping away from their Mum and Dad, you can always offer the option to take them home later on in the evening.

Lido Party

A few weeks ago, we went to my mother-in-law’s house for the afternoon and she’d set the garden up with a huge paddling pool for the girls, water toys, a buffet lunch for us and loungers/umbrellas set up for us to use. I remember thinking at the time that this could actually be a really fun party for youngsters – we might not be rich enough for a full swimming pool in the garden but we can do a good job of faking it!

Sushi Party

Sausage has actually had two different versions of a cooking party, one in a test kitchen making cakes and another in a pizza restaurant but a way to drag it into the tween era could be to have a sushi making party! If they don’t like fish, they could use cucumber, peppers or strips of omelette, and I even saw FRUIT sushi in the supermarket recently!

Star Stable Review

Star-Stable-5Sometimes, having two kids with a large-ish age gap can mean that it’s tricky to find ways to spend one-on-one time with your eldest. Burrito Baby gets me to herself all day while Sausage is at school and although we’ve tried to maintain certain activities, like swimming, that Sausage and I do together, sometimes fitting things in around naps and bedtimes can be hard. That’s why, when I was asked if we’d like a free membership to Star Stable for Sausage and I to play together, I jumped at the chance.

Sausage is pony mad, having done some casual lessons for the past few summers, and loves anything to do with them, so the chance to design and name her own personalised pony within the game was definitely right up her alley. We downloaded the game and it loaded up with ease, even on my slightly decrepit laptop. Within the game, you use the directional keys to move around, along with the mouse for clicking on menu items, which made it a doddle for Sausage to get the hang of.

The actual environment within the game is really attractive – galloping through meadows in various weathers makes it feel really authentic, and although I’ve never actually been on a horse in real life, there’s something about the way the horses move that looks really lifelike – no mean feat for a game which doesn’t require a top-end graphics card to run.

One thing that Sausage really liked was the requirement to actually care for your horse within the game. Trusty steeds must be fed, watered and groomed, otherwise they simply won’t perform properly, giving a really ‘all-round’ feel for what it is to own a real horse, which require a lot of upkeep.

There’s a chat window which can be opened within the game, allowing you to interact with other users while you trot around, and although this is something I’d be slightly wary of if Sausage were to play the game by herself, playing it together means that I can keep an eye on any chatting that goes on, and to be completely fair, there seemed to be entirely innocent chat about school and the game going on, leading me to think that the boards are closely monitored.

If I’m being completely honest, I haven’t only played the game whilst Sausage has been around. More than once over the last couple of weeks, I’ve found myself with half an hour to spare and have been drawn in by the game, which I find oddly relaxing! There’s something about the slightly soft focus and gentle background music which I find really soothing and I could easily wander around for hours if Burrito Baby let me!

Having played other online games of this type before, I have to say that I wasn’t expecting Star Stable to be as good as it is, but the graphics, game play and character options were all really impressive. If I could add one MINOR criticism, it would be that it’s only possible to play as a female character, and while I get that the game is mostly aimed at tween girls, it would be nice for there to be a couple of male character options in case boys wanted to get involved too.

All in all, Sausage and I are really enjoying Star Stable and would definitely recommend it to other girls, aged 6 and upwards, as well as to Mums who want a nice game that they can enjoy with their little ones, to give them some quality time together without costing a fortune or even needing to leave the house!