Thursday, August 7, 2014

Stress-free, Mess-free Birthday Fun at Gymboree Play and Music

{FREE class offer at the end of the blog} I've always had birthday parties at home for my kids. Now that I'm five years deep into that experience I decided that I was due a break from another year of stressful "ice cream and frosting covered chaos." We are blessed to have many wonderful friends, so our guest list was for 16 cake-loving kids and their parents. Kids at parties want to run, and play and scatter every toy you own on the floor. That's just how they roll. This year I decided I'd party smarter, stress-free and mess-free by celebrating my little guy's 2nd birthday at Gymboree Play & Music in Ballantyne.

Gymboree had all the elements that I was looking for in a 2 year old birthday party. It was air-conditioned, a must for summer parties in Charlotte. We had the whole place to ourselves so we knew random big kids wouldn't be knocking the little ones over. The entire pre-cleaned play floor with age-appropriate climbing and exploration activities plus the large party room were at our disposal for the hour and a half of festivities. The party hosts engaged the children in several shriek and laugh worthy activities, and even included the parents for parachute time. They handled the set up, created the fun, broke it down and cleaned it up. WIN for Mom & Dad. They were reasonably priced at $195 for up to 12 kids for the hour and 1/2 of play and fun time. This was the perfect amount of time for little kid's attentions spans. 

I can't lie - I felt giddy as I prepared for this party. Gymboree was handling all the set up (plates, napkins, utensils, cups, party hats), all the entertainment and all the break down - all I had to do was make cupcakes, pick up ice cream, ice and drinks and sit back and enjoy the day. So that's just what I did. The party leaders met me at the door, full of energy and ready to show the kids a great time. They set up the room and helped me unload my things.

Once the guests started to arrive the music began and the kids got to head to the floor to try out some of the equipment. Our guests ranged in age from 11 months to 6 years. The 6 year olds weren't able to play on the equipment, however the party leaders did a great job of including them as helpers for the younger kids. The leaders began the party with a happy birthday welcome song for E, accompanied by moroccas. The kids were really dialed in, dancing and wiggling to the music with big smiles on their faces. In between host-led activities the kids were able to check out the equipment and roam around at their own pace.

The party hosts did a wonderful job of making E feel so special on his 2nd birthday. They included his names in their songs and his ear-to-ear smile showed how much he was enjoying the music, play and fun at Gymboree. He got to experience the birthday candle jump, the sprinkle popping ball, the kid conga line and the much adored parachute time. Oh the giggles we heard were infectious!

Gymboree Play & Music offers a variety of weekly classes for kids ages 0-5 in addition to hosting birthday parties. Dana the manager recommended that we bring E in for a complimentary class before his party so he could familiarize himself with the space and would be even more excited when it was his birthday party, what a great idea. He felt so comfortable and was able to enjoy the experience even more.

This was the most fun, stress-free, mess-free party I've experienced to date. The kids, the parents and my husband and I all commented about what a fun experience it was and how happy all the kids were. Gymboree is definitely going to be my go-to birthday party place for next year.

You know I'm always trying to hook my readers up with fun FREE experiences. Now you can bring your kiddo to check out a complimentary class at Gymboree Play & Music. Signing up for your free class is super simple just follow the links here. You can also check out everything that Gymboree Play & Music offers, including class schedules by visiting Ballantyne Gymboree Play & Music here. They are located at 3419 Toringdon Way Suite 112 Charlotte, North Carolina 28277 (near Earthfare and Red Robin). You can keep up with all the excitement by liking them on facebook here. Disclaimer: I was given a discount (after I had already decided on having our party at Gymboree) for writing up a blog about our experience, but as always my opinions are my own - I only share what I love with my readers.


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