I love birthdays.  I really do.  They’re so much fun and they allow you to focus on just 1 special person for the day.  My daughter’s birthday is my favorite because she’s so excited about it, and it’s just plain infectious.  Honestly, what’s so different about being 6?  I have no idea, but she’s thrilled! 

I even like throwing birthday parties.  For kids.

What I do not like is having a couple dozen small, hyper people running around my house.  It’s stressful, it’s annoying, and it’s a ton of work.  Who needs that?!  I’m really much more of a low-maintenance mom.

This year we decided to host Miss O’s 6th birthday party at the Children’s Movement Center in New Milford.  We had been there before for other parties and everyone always had a blast, so it seemed like a perfect fit.

But beyond the fun the kids have, there are definite benefits for the grown ups, too.

No cleaning.  Before or after.  Even though you know your house is going to be completely destroyed within minutes of the first party guest’s arrival, you still have to ready your house for company.  That means dusting, vacuuming, scrubbing toilets… the whole 9 yards.  Then, after everyone leaves, you’re left to clean up the carnage.  Do you know how disheartening it is to clean the same toilet twice in 1 day?

Limited options.  At first this might sound like a bad thing, but let me assure you it’s not.  The Children’s Movement Center only provides a few options to add to your party because they know what kids like!  So instead of scouring Pinterest for the perfect appetizer for a Trolls party, I just give them a headcount, and they take care of the rest.

Party professionals.  We ended up with 17 kids at Miss O’s party.  That’s 17 5- and 6-year-olds.  Quite a few more than I expected, but at Children’s Movement Center, it’s no problem.  They have people to make sure the kids all get a turn on the zip line and the rock wall and I can enjoy my kid’s party.

Keep ’em moving.  You know what I consider the hallmark of a successful kid’s party?  When my kid falls asleep on the way home, or is at least thoroughly wiped out for the rest of the day.  That’s what places like Children’s Movement Center provide.  Non-stop activity and 1 very tired child.  Perfect.

You can’t do that at home.  As much as Miss O would love it, we’re not installing a zip-line in our backyard.  Or a climbing wall, or a giant bouncy house.  And to rent all that stuff for a day (can you rent a zip line?) would be hugely expensive, not to mention impractical since it’s February.  By going someplace that has things they simply can’t do at home, it makes the day even more special.

Set your budget.  When I first looked at local party places to host Miss O’s 5th birthday party I was a little taken aback by the prices.  However, when I started to add up the cost of everything included, from food to paper goods, it started to make a lot more sense.  When you factor in the sheer amount of time saved, the value of a venue becomes clearer.  But the big thing here is that I know the cost of Miss O’s party up front, which makes it much easier to budget for.  With a traditional at-home party costs can easily skyrocket and spin your budget out of control.

The kids love it.  I really think we got so many “yes” RSVPs because we’re going to Children’s Movement Center.  The kids love it there, they always have a good time, and parents know it’s a safe, clean place for their kids to go crazy for a couple hours.  And let’s face it, it’s fun to watch your kids have fun!

And did I mention no cleaning up afterwards?  Yeah.  That’s a big deal.