We made a super last-minute decision to hold MF’s second birthday party at eXplorer Kid at Ang Mo Kio Hub. We chose this place quite simply because it was the playground nearest to our place.. Hoho! They have two party rooms and 4 time slots available each day, so it was pretty easy to get a booking with less than 3 weeks before the party.
Having a party at eXplorer Kid is really easy peasy, we hardly had to do anything. Two weeks before the party, we went down to make the payment and was given invitation cards for the guests. All I had to do was fill them in and mail them out.
They do not allow outside food and we had to use their in-house catering for the party, which saved us a lot of trouble actually. We just ticked items off their menu that we wanted and indicated how many people to cater for and it was all done. We also had to email them a photo of MF for display on the TV screen and party room.. That’s it! Their party package also includes goodie bags for the kids, so you don’t even have to prepare that.. But I decided to prepare my own little personalised goodie bags on top of theirs to add a more personal touch. (Actually it’s just an excuse to do more online shopping at Oriental Trading – something I have gotten quite addicted to.) Luckily there were no overlap in items in the goodie bags provided by eXplorer Kid, which contained stuff like party poppers, whistles and clappers.
We booked the 3.30 – 5.30pm party time slot. We were told the guests were all entitled to unlimited play time at the playground for the day, so they were free to go anytime during the day to let their kids play there, but the party room will only be available during the party time slot. However, we were lucky that the party room assigned to us was not booked for the earlier time slot, and my friend arrived at 1+pm and SMSed me to say that our party room was already available! We arrived at about 2.30pm ourselves and were glad to have the room to leave our belongings. We were also pretty tickled to see MF’s photo appearing on the TV screens around the playground.
The two party rooms were side-to-side and initially, there was no signage to indicate which party room was ours. It was only after 3pm that the staff came around to put up a poster near the door and stick MF’s name on the wall.
The standard procedure for a party was that the first hour was for free play, and for the second hour, they would call the kids into the party room where a host would play games with them, conduct the cake-cutting session and give out goodie bags. However, at 2 years old, I guessed the kids were not interested in party games, so I told them to do without them and just give them more time to play at the playground.
When the guests started arriving, they would just drop off their belongings at the party room and head off to the playground. There was another party going on in the other party room at the same time slot, which meant the playground was VERY crowded. And most of our guests were about 2 years old, so the parents had to move around the playground with them – it got pretty tiring for the parents after a while! I prepared some sticker scene craft activities (once again from my Oriental Trading shopping spree) so that the kids could sit around in the party room to do some craft work and give the parents a break.
Then came the major glitch of the party. The caterer actually forgot our order for adult food! They brought in the kids’ food, but left out the adults’ ones! The manager was extremely apologetic, and offered to extend our party for an hour and gave us more craft activities to keep the kids occupied while waiting for the food. So our tea party ended up being a dinner party, with the food arriving only at 4.45pm and the party being extended to 6.30pm.
After everyone was done filling up their stomachs, the cake-cutting ceremony was held. This year, MF’s birthday cake is an Angry Bird cake from Polar – yes, the very common Angry Bird cake from Polar that you see pretty often. We were too last-minute to bother finding a nice personalised cake and just ordered from the Polar store at Ang Mo Kio Hub.
I actually don’t think having an off-the-shelf cake versus, say, a super beautiful 3D fondant cake makes much difference to 2 year olds. All the iPhone and iPad savvy kids were excited to see Angry Bird on the cake and were only too eager to rush towards the cake.
We managed to get the kids’ hands off the cake long enough for the birthday song to be sung, quite an achievement I must say.
And finally, the cake was cut and MF got to enjoy his Angry Bird cake… Bliss!
While the kids were enjoying the cake, the party host went around to give out the goodie bags. And since we did not play the party games, the game prizes were just given out to all the kids and they were absolutely thrilled to go home with so many toys and balloons. MF received a special gift from eXplorer Kid – a craft set.
And MF was one happy boy at the end of the day, almost wanting to sleep with all his presents!