My first outdoor shelter blog was going to be about the den kits we sell, but something more pressing got in the way...
My daughters 7th birthday!
For adults, kids birthdays are a manic affair.
Hyper-active, excited, sugar-filled, emotional time bombs. This year we invited 10 more than usual into our home!
It's the first time we've done this; usually, Maggie expressed an interest in soft play or village halls with a bouncy castle.
All her classmates, in one place. To celebrate her.
This year was different.
By the time they reach this age, year 2, stronger friendship bonds have been made.
When you talk to her about her day in school, only a small number of kids are mentioned.
So, Rach and I decided that we'd limit the number to 7 friends, plus Maggie. That's 8 in total...
EIGHT... IN... TOTAL...
Imagine my surprise when I see a list of 10 friends names on a list.
My maths makes that ELEVEN... IN... TOTAL... not 8!
Maggie usually wants the same sort of party as the last one she's been to, which I was very excited about.
The last party she'd been to was Jack's, at the Boardroom.
The Boardroom is a local climbing wall and I saw this an ideal opportunity to dust of my rock boots and spend an hour or so, pre-party, falling onto a crash mat.
Alas, she changed her mind.
As the memory of the recent climbing wall party faded, Maggie decided she wanted a party at home. In my house. With nail painting and unicorn tattoos.
Our house isn't too small, but having 11, did I mention it's 11 now, not 8, hyperactive, excited, sugar-filled, emotional time bombs running around the place would have been a tall order.
We needed to use the garden.
Normally, weather towards the back end of April is pretty good. However, 2018 has had its fair share of cold and miserable weather systems.
So I decided to set up a shelter for them.
Or partee-pee, I'm not quite sure how you'd write it, but this is what Maggie started to call it hours before her friends arrived.
I'd built a similar structure in the woods previous, using trees.
This time I was testing out a pole system we're working on.
It went really well.
To unload the car of the parachute, poles, and pegs; set up the teepee and peg it out took around an hour.
I know this because I did whilst Maggie was in gymnastics.
She was blown away when Rach brought her home. Result!
Once I'd sorted the doorway and tied back the entrance, Rach unpacked a lot of bunting.
The teepee looked great already, but once we'd adorned it with colourful bunting, blankets, balloons, and cushions it was perfect.
Finished off with a Bluetooth speaker, Maggie was set to host her first birthday party at home.
Best party ever
That's not what Maggie said; it's what Rach and I thought.
It's so much easier to book somewhere and hand off responsibility, but we had a great time with the girls that day.
We went old school... pass the parcel, musical statues, musical bumps.
We had a piñata and pin the horn on the unicorn. It was non-stop fun.
The 2 hours flew by.
Everyone loved the teepee. They ran in and out of it, they danced in it, laughed in it, ate their party food in it.
It was brilliant.
Dare I say it... I'd do it again.
Have you ever hosted a kids birthday party? Would you do it again?
Does the idea fill you with dread?
Let me know below, I could do with some inspirationd for next year...