CK & GK Podcast

Making Kids' Birthday Parties Suck Less

March 07, 2023 Jenny GK and Caitlin Kindred Season 2 Episode 59
CK & GK Podcast
Making Kids' Birthday Parties Suck Less
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Truth time: kids' birthday parties suck. But they don't have to! When we're looking to make our kids' birthday parties less sucky, we start by finding a fun and unique location for the party.

You'll learn:

  1. Some creative, unexpected places to have a kid’s birthday party
  2. Pros and cons of having a kid’s party at a trampoline park, virtual reality arcade, or petting zoo
  3. Why an explicit ask on an invitation is far more kind than an ambiguous one

Caitlin and Jenny GK are parents with years of experience in parenting and hosting children's birthday parties. They just want to help parents make their children's birthday parties enjoyable for everyone!

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Thanks, y'all!

Jenny GK 00:00:00
It's Tuesday.

Caitlin Kindred, Jenny GK 00:00:02

Yay. We're so glad you're here. Today we are talking about kids party locations, like where to have a party for children. Because kids birthday parties suck, right?

Jenny GK 00:00:20

So, welcome to CK and GK. We are the show that tells you all of the things that we've had to learn the hard way. And we all know how much kids birthday parties suck. So today we're here to make them suck less. And we are me and my fabulous co host Caitlin, who we could also call 30 Degrees because she's a cute little angle.

Caitlin Kindred, Jenny GK 00:00:44

I love that one. Math nerds everywhere are rejoicing, aren't they? Love it. So I have to say, I know how much my co host Jennyny loves disco music and she keeps up with the fashions of the late 70s. She's a fan of Abba and the Carpenters and she listens to Peter Frampton and Han Rungren just like Jackie Burkhart from that Seventy S show.

Jenny GK 00:01:12

Or me in real life.

Caitlin Kindred, Jenny GK 00:01:14

Exactly. I can't believe I hadn't hit that one up sooner.

Jenny GK 00:01:19

I wish that I was like, as trendy as she was in the 70s. I'm just 50 years behind the times. But my good night song for Kit when he was a baby, I was rocking asleep was Close to you by the Carpenter.

Caitlin Kindred, Jenny GK 00:01:33

Nice. I like that one. Mine was from either a Huggies commercial or a Pampers commercial and it was just a cute little song about mommy's hugging their babies. Yours is better. Oh, that's good. Hopefully he doesn't find out that I stole it from a commercial. Does it matter? Probably not.

Jenny GK 00:01:51

No, but it's fine because Abby's was somewhere out there from FIFA, which also like awkward foreshadowing to when we don't live in the same house 50% of the time. And it's like, that song is too sad for divorced mom. I didn't choose it then.

Caitlin Kindred, Jenny GK 00:02:12

Right. Yeah, that wasn't the intent. I wasn't intending to predict my own future, but thank you.

Jenny GK 00:02:18


Caitlin Kindred, Jenny GK 00:02:19

Anyway, mine was the one I heard this morning was wouldn't it be good? Wouldn't it be good if remember that song anyway?

Jenny GK 00:02:28

Yes, but of course, like, the old me is like, oh, that's a Beach Boys head. And wouldn't it be nice yeah, no.

Caitlin Kindred, Jenny GK 00:02:33

It'S the wouldn't it be good version if we were on oh, my gosh.

Jenny GK 00:02:37

We wouldn't have to wait. So, yeah, it's been a while since I've sang. Yeah, I'm telling you're.

Caitlin Kindred, Jenny GK 00:02:44

Just catching up on all the singing that you missed.

Jenny GK 00:02:46

I am today, y'all, I liked 100 Instagram posts from the same account. It's like the same account. I was like, deep diving. I'm starting to find some balance in my life. Also today, the day that we're recording is March 1, which means that February is over. And for those of you who are not the training and education chair of the Junior League of Austin, you don't understand what February training month means. But I just hosted, put together or oversaw 40 different events in the shortest month of the year.

Caitlin Kindred, Jenny GK 00:03:25

28 days, 40 events, like yeah, no.

Jenny GK 00:03:31

Happy March 1.

Caitlin Kindred, Jenny GK 00:03:32


Jenny GK 00:03:33

Or as I told my committee today, happy New Year. February felt like it was a year long.

Caitlin Kindred, Jenny GK 00:03:37

For real.

Jenny GK 00:03:38

All right, so here's what I'm obsessed with right now.

Caitlin Kindred, Jenny GK 00:03:40


Jenny GK 00:03:41

Shiritaki noodles. Right?

Caitlin Kindred, Jenny GK 00:03:43

I do not know what those are.

Jenny GK 00:03:45

Okay, so it's like from some Japanese, like, sweet potato underground plant, some kind of tuber of something, and they make these noodles that you can eat and then you don't digest.

Caitlin Kindred, Jenny GK 00:03:58


Jenny GK 00:03:58

Yeah, they're like zero calorie noodles. Or they slice it into pieces that are rice sized, a la cauliflower rice. But it's kind of like eating rice noodles or pasta, but it just passes.

Caitlin Kindred, Jenny GK 00:04:17

Through you, like whole like a flaxseed.

Jenny GK 00:04:21

If you don't chew it. So you might feel like you have bum worms, but if you can move past that, it's pretty amazing. Like, we're eating pasta get at my house.

Caitlin Kindred, Jenny GK 00:04:34

So my first thought was like, oh, it's like negative calories, like celery. Right? Because it takes more work to digest the celery than it does to take it in. Right.

Jenny GK 00:04:44

But also my mom calls celery the toothbrush of the intestine, so it still gets like intestinal name brand.

Caitlin Kindred, Jenny GK 00:04:55

Oh, it's super gross.

Jenny GK 00:04:56

It's super grody. But it is game changer because we had Vietnamese FA soup with noodles, not just broth.

Caitlin Kindred, Jenny GK 00:05:05


Jenny GK 00:05:06

And tonight I had fried rice, and it was just fried whatever these little pellets are that are going to move through my body.

Caitlin Kindred, Jenny GK 00:05:14

All right, well, gross match that. I got nothing. I got nothing. Okay, well, first of all, I realize I'm very late to the party on this, but there's a body oil called bio oil. Bioil. Okay.

Jenny GK 00:05:36

So let me tell you this. In our little run down, our little show notes, like guiding documents, I saw that you had put that your current obsession was bio oil.

Caitlin Kindred, Jenny GK 00:05:46


Jenny GK 00:05:46

And I thought that you had, like, bought a car that runs off French fried grease.

Caitlin Kindred, Jenny GK 00:05:52

That's our million dollar idea. That's it.

Jenny GK 00:05:55

I mean, those exist.

Caitlin Kindred, Jenny GK 00:05:57

Well, then all right, then it's someone else's. No, this is like we've talked about biodiesel. Yeah, this is different, by the way. There it is. You're right. That's what it is. You're know, we've talked about face oils before. Like, you put your moisturizer on and then you put a little tiny bit of oil on your hands and you dab it on your face to trap that moisture in. Right? This is that, but it's for your whole body. And it smells so good. And my skin is finally not dry for the first time in a while. So bio oil, you can find it in the grocery store, and you can also find it like CVS and Amazon and all the places. But there's two kinds. There's one that's like the regular, I guess kind, and it's like pink, kind of coraly pink. And then the other one is yellow and it's like fragrance free or something. I personally like the fragrance one, but people rave about both.

Jenny GK 00:06:59

Oh, sure.

Caitlin Kindred, Jenny GK 00:06:59

It's awesome. Highly recommend.

Jenny GK 00:07:02

So we are fragrance free laundry detergent family. And let me tell you why. John is really allergic.

Caitlin Kindred, Jenny GK 00:07:09


Jenny GK 00:07:10

Okay, yes. But when we were first married, I did not believe him. I thought it was one of those things, like when people say they're gluten free and it's like, oh, well, do you have celiac or do you just not like gluten? Well, I'm gluten free, but I also drink a lot of beer.

Caitlin Kindred, Jenny GK 00:07:25

Okay, no, you're not.

Jenny GK 00:07:28

So I started washing our clothes in my normal detergent that was heavily, like, scented and fabric softener, blah, blah, blah, blah. And then he broke out in this rash, and he's like, I have this rash. I don't know why, but I'm so itchy. Look at my skin. And he's like, showing me. Meanwhile, I know the whole time it's because I switched detergents.

Caitlin Kindred, Jenny GK 00:07:53

That's awful.

Jenny GK 00:07:55

Is that terrible? Like I'm bad.

Caitlin Kindred, Jenny GK 00:07:57

Well, at least now you know it's real.

Jenny GK 00:08:00

Oh, yeah, it's super real. We are fragrance free now. And that doesn't mean that I don't wear perfume or whatever. Still, there's plenty of fragrances in our home, but we don't use scented laundry detergent. We have to use that, like, free whatever it is. Yeah, that has no colors and no sense and no fabric softener, blah, blah. But yeah. So how did I find out? Because I didn't think he was telling the truth, but then found out that I gave a rash.

Caitlin Kindred, Jenny GK 00:08:28

Oh, man. I mean, there are people who say things like that, so I get why, but please.

Jenny GK 00:08:34

Yeah, I'm one really like oh, well, I don't really eat carbs. I mean, unless they're like pizza crust.

Caitlin Kindred, Jenny GK 00:08:41

Or like a big chip pretzel, like a soft pretzel or cheese pretzel. Right. Why is that?

Jenny GK 00:08:47

I eat carbs. I just try not to eat them when I'm not going to give them up. The other day I went to brunch and I asked for my salad with no coupons, but I ordered a beer to go with it. My carbs come in a cup today, right?

Caitlin Kindred, Jenny GK 00:09:07

Exactly. It's fine. It's fine. No judgment. But I'm glad that you found out that he was actually lived to come, then stopped using it because that needed to happen. Poor guy.

Jenny GK 00:09:17


Caitlin Kindred, Jenny GK 00:09:18

All right, well, speaking of ridiculousness, what's going on? Anything funny this week?

Jenny GK 00:09:25

Okay, so Friday night we had an overnight sitter because we had some plans. Those plans got canceled, but we did not cancel the center.

Caitlin Kindred, Jenny GK 00:09:34

Never canceled this.

Jenny GK 00:09:35

Never canceled the sitter.

Caitlin Kindred, Jenny GK 00:09:37

Oh, my gosh. Never cancel the sitter. No way.

Jenny GK 00:09:41

Good. So I said to John and I had to work on Saturday, so I'm working, doing my thing. Yes, teachers do work on the weekends. It's a real thing. But our school was right next to a frat house and they were having a crawfish boil and I was listening to crawfish boil, like Texas country kind of music the whole time I was working. And I said to him, I really want to go dancing after listening to all that music, I want to do something totally wacky. Let's either go to Dons or go to A Broken Spoke or whatever, go dancing. And we're kind of like having it hawing. Like, is this really what we want to do? Let's see what else is out there. So we start scrolling on one of those calendar websites that kind of post all kinds of things going around town. Yeah, and if your city doesn't have one of those, it's because you haven't found it yet.

Caitlin Kindred, Jenny GK 00:10:38

Every city has them.

Jenny GK 00:10:42

I'm scrolling and one of the things that comes up I'm not even kidding, this is like for real. For real was a Daft punk Fish tribute band. And I looked at John and said, we have to do this. I cannot continue to scroll. We cannot go dancing at a place we already go to. We cannot do anything else tonight. We must go see this Daft Punk Fish tribute band. Not a huge daft punk fan. Not against them. Just don't not very familiar with the catalog. I cannot name a single Fish song.

Caitlin Kindred, Jenny GK 00:11:17

Do they have song titles or is it just like jam band?

Jenny GK 00:11:21

Now we're playing this other tune.

Caitlin Kindred, Jenny GK 00:11:23

No one's going to be mad at me for saying that, but I couldn't either find I can't tell you one either.

Jenny GK 00:11:28

There's plenty of jamband people out there. I'm not against it, I just don't follow it.

Caitlin Kindred, Jenny GK 00:11:33

Probably the closest one I would say I'm into is maybe Wilco. But I don't even consider them necessarily a jam band. They kind of have in them, but.

Jenny GK 00:11:41

They do it sometimes. But that's not why you go see them.

Caitlin Kindred, Jenny GK 00:11:44

Yeah, right.

Jenny GK 00:11:45

Anyway, so it's at a small venue. There's like all little pop up vintage dealers all over the venue. So we're like walking around shopping, looking at old clothes and housewares and blah, blah, blah. There was a Tarot card reader, which we did not go to, but I have had my tail card.

Caitlin Kindred, Jenny GK 00:12:04

I would have that done. That's cool.

Jenny GK 00:12:06

Yeah, it's funny. Anyhow, we're just having a blast. The band was amazing. Okay, while we are waiting, John and I are saying, do they do Daft Punk songs in the style of Fish? Do they do Fish songs in the style of Daft Punk? Do they do their own stuff? That's kind of a tribute to both. The answer was all of it.

Caitlin Kindred, Jenny GK 00:12:28

Oh wow, that's impressive.

Jenny GK 00:12:30

They did all of it. They had a live light show going and like we stood right by the sound booth because, you know, the sound is always fast right by the booth. And we're watching the guy do the light show. He's got this giant keypad and pressing all the buttons and making the lights go and he's dancing, and the band is on stage, and they're just, like, looking at each other, following each other, doing their thing. It was phenomenal. And we went because we were just intrigued, like, can this even be a thing?

Caitlin Kindred, Jenny GK 00:12:59

Right? Wow. So you had a good time.

Jenny GK 00:13:02

I almost put it as my obsession. And John was like, you cannot say you're obsessed with a jam band tribute band.

Caitlin Kindred, Jenny GK 00:13:10

No, he's right. You can't you can't say that. But that's really, like, hysterical. That that's where you were going with this, right? So do they have, like, a catalog I need to understand? Is there a song I can go listen to somewhere? What's up?

Jenny GK 00:13:30

So they're not, like, on Spotify or anything?

Caitlin Kindred, Jenny GK 00:13:33


Jenny GK 00:13:34

The name of the band, I'm not even kidding you, is Daft Fish.

Caitlin Kindred, Jenny GK 00:13:38


Jenny GK 00:13:43

What is the name of our band? The bands that we like but they're on Insta. YouTube?

Caitlin Kindred, Jenny GK 00:13:51

Yeah. I'll go find I just need to understand at least understand the sound. Maybe not understand the obsession. I don't know if I ever will, but I can at least go understand the sound. Right. It was funny.

Jenny GK 00:14:03

It was a great night.

Caitlin Kindred, Jenny GK 00:14:03

I'm glad you had fun. That's awesome. Once again, my child coming in hot with the funnies.

Jenny GK 00:14:10

So you know, this mom is funny.

Caitlin Kindred, Jenny GK 00:14:14

Yes, it is.

Jenny GK 00:14:16

It's genetic.

Caitlin Kindred, Jenny GK 00:14:17

Apple didn't fall far from that tree, did it? In so many ways. And it's kind of bad, actually. Anyway, so we've talked about this before. My son has been a struggling reader in the past, and we've worked really hard this year, and so has he. And he's really made some amazing progress. He's finally feeling confident enough to read out loud to us sometimes.

Jenny GK 00:14:47

That's huge.

Caitlin Kindred, Jenny GK 00:14:48

And when I tell you that I pretty much well up with tears every time it happens, I'm not exaggerating. Like, it's just really, really awesome. So he's good about picking out the books that are clearly, like his reading level, and one of the books that he got from his great grandmother and grandfather a long time ago is a children's version of the Bible, and last night he chose to read that. Now, I should preface this by saying that we are not a particularly faith focused family. I was raised Catholic, but if you are like me, you know that we're cafeteria esque, so we got to pick it up.

Jenny GK 00:15:29

Also, if you say the sentence, I was raised Catholic, that implies Semicolon is I'm not so much now.

Caitlin Kindred, Jenny GK 00:15:39

Right? Exactly. That implies yes. And religion is sort of in my mind, it's like, if you decide that that helps you and gives you a focus, I think that's great. It's just not something that I necessarily connect with at this point in my life. So that said, sure. When my son is reading the Bible, it was kind of like, okay, yeah, sure. You're reading, so who cares, right? I don't care. And he's reading a very, very he.

Jenny GK 00:16:11

Could read the TV Guide.

Caitlin Kindred, Jenny GK 00:16:12

Right? I don't care. Right?

Jenny GK 00:16:14

I don't care. He's reading.

Caitlin Kindred, Jenny GK 00:16:15

Yeah, it's like that scene in The League of Their Own when that girl's reading like Smut is reading. Smud?

Jenny GK 00:16:21


Caitlin Kindred, Jenny GK 00:16:22

What does it matter? She's reading. Okay, so he's reading a very abbreviated version of the story of Noah's ark, and he gets to the part where Noah sends the dove, and the dove comes back with a sprig, and then in the book, the picture somehow shows that the ark lands on a mountain.

Jenny GK 00:16:48

We're right.

Caitlin Kindred, Jenny GK 00:16:48

Right. Like, it's supposed to be that the water starts to recede, and he realizes that he's, like, over.

Jenny GK 00:16:53


Caitlin Kindred, Jenny GK 00:16:53

Okay, so the picture is there, and Sam's reading, and he's like and then landed on is this made up?

Jenny GK 00:17:11

What a great question.

Caitlin Kindred, Jenny GK 00:17:14

We laughed for a long time because he's like, how do you land on a mountain? That doesn't make any sense. And he's got a point, right? Like, there's a lot about it that's like wait, what?

Jenny GK 00:17:27

Okay, so this week's, Friday night movie night has to be Day After Tomorrow. Do you remember that movie?

Caitlin Kindred, Jenny GK 00:17:39

Like, only parts of it. What part am I missing?

Jenny GK 00:17:41

What do I do? Because in Day After Tomorrow, they build the art to get around the storm, and everyone thinks they're spaceships, but they're actually real boats.

Caitlin Kindred, Jenny GK 00:17:52

Yeah. Oh, my gosh, you're right.

Jenny GK 00:17:53

Because the sea levels rise and the boats float.

Caitlin Kindred, Jenny GK 00:17:57

I mean, I guess that's better than what's that movie with Kevin Costner where they're all on water all the time?

Jenny GK 00:18:04

Water World.

Caitlin Kindred, Jenny GK 00:18:04

Thank you.

Jenny GK 00:18:06

Okay. To quote Dana Harvey, you can't pee into a Mr. Coffee and get out. Soldiers.

Caitlin Kindred, Jenny GK 00:18:15

That's so gross. I'm just thinking of the part where he sees paper and he's like, smell it all. Excited about it. Anyway, so my son is asking that question. I feel like we answered it pretty well. We were like, you know what? Listen, a lot of people believe that what happened in the Bible is word for word what actually happened in history, and then there's a lot of people who believe that everything in the Bible is made up, and then there's people in the middle. Right? And I will tell you that, just historically speaking, there is evidence of a large flood that lasted for a long time. Now, whether or not it happened exactly like it did in the Bible is up to someone else to decide. Right. That could be you. When you get older, a lot of these stories probably have some basis in truth, and people can interpret them how they want. And he was like, oh, and just kind of let it go. But then he started asking more questions. We were like, I think it's time for bed. But yeah, I mean, it was just so great. Like, how many how many kids think, is this made up? Like, it was a great question to go on top of the reading. It was awesome. It was awesome.

Jenny GK 00:19:27

It's so good. That is hilarious.

Caitlin Kindred, Jenny GK 00:19:29

Here we go. Ready? Kids birthday parties. Kids parties in general. Not a fan.

Jenny GK 00:19:36

Oh, they're terrible. Kids birthday parties. If you love kids birthday parties, then you must be in the business that makes money off of them. Because even when it's your own kid, nobody loves a kid's birthday party. When it's your own kid, nobody does.

Caitlin Kindred, Jenny GK 00:19:53

It's extra stressful because you're trying to make sure that everyone else is like, at least okay. It's really hard to do that. So we're talking about places to make them not suck and ways to make them not suck. Yes.

Jenny GK 00:20:10

Right? Yeah. So Caitlin went through and brainstormed a bajillion places to have children's parties.

Caitlin Kindred, Jenny GK 00:20:17


Jenny GK 00:20:18

And because you did not tune into a show to just listen to a list, of course we will have access to the list and everyone can Google a list. We're also going to break down some of the pluses and minuses about these places. And I have some tips from my own years of parenting of how to make the party suck less.

Caitlin Kindred, Jenny GK 00:20:41

Yes, for sure. Okay, so I'm going to start with some indoor stuff. A local children's museum or discovery center or science center.

Jenny GK 00:20:51

Learn while you play.

Caitlin Kindred, Jenny GK 00:20:52

Learn while you play. And a lot of time. Bonus benefit. They have like, activities geared to kids and you often don't have to, like, be the person running the activity. Right?

Jenny GK 00:21:03

Dude, any time that you can hand the party to someone else love, it.

Caitlin Kindred, Jenny GK 00:21:08

A trampoline park or an indoor play center. This is also good for when siblings.

Jenny GK 00:21:12

Are invited, which is something I'll cover in my how to make it suckless.

Caitlin Kindred, Jenny GK 00:21:16

Yes. Negative there, though, is that you might have to sign a waiver, which we should have had Jennyny do at our party first Am a couple of years ago.

Jenny GK 00:21:26

Oh my gosh. When I was brainstorming this with my husband, he was like, Jenny, maybe you should put on there, sign a waiver. Ha ha.

Caitlin Kindred, Jenny GK 00:21:32

Yeah. No laser tag or bowling. I just like old retro fun. Right? There's something to be said for you're interacting with people, but you're also doing some kind of competitive activity. Always a good time. Take the kids to a movie or a virtual reality arcade. Kind of a cool idea, right? Everyone loves VR. It's fun.

Jenny GK 00:21:55

And there's options now where you can rent out the theater and put on whatever movie you want.

Caitlin Kindred, Jenny GK 00:22:00

Yes, that's a good thing. Also, there are some theaters that are in like, four X or something or it's not 4K because that's a quality of screen, but it's like four X.

Jenny GK 00:22:12

Where, like, shake the chairs or get the smiles or whatever.

Caitlin Kindred, Jenny GK 00:22:14

Yeah. And hit your feet and stuff. That's how we saw the movie. Sam hated it. Oh my gosh.

Jenny GK 00:22:21

We did that on one of the Lord of the Rings movies.

Caitlin Kindred, Jenny GK 00:22:24


Jenny GK 00:22:24

And I had to close my eyes and try not to throw up.

Caitlin Kindred, Jenny GK 00:22:27

Yeah, Sam hated it. He would get off the chair whenever.

Jenny GK 00:22:30

These moving chairs, I'm not in it. Which is so funny because I love rides.

Caitlin Kindred, Jenny GK 00:22:36

I love IMAX theater, love rides. I expected to really like it. I thought Sam would really like it and he hated it. So just put that out. There an art studio, if your kid is particularly artsy, or a pottery place, those are always really fun. And the kids get to do an activity and take something home. And that can be their goodie bag. So you don't have to make goodie bags, which is a big deal because.

Jenny GK 00:23:02

You know, I'm about to talk about.

Caitlin Kindred, Jenny GK 00:23:03

I got stuff to say about those. Something with cooking or baking, if your little one likes to do those things. And also bonus, that's a life skill. So I really like that idea. There's always the classic game center or an arcade. A nice tip there would be to supply if it's a quarters based place, supply some quarters for the kids while they're playing. And you can tell parents ahead of time, like, hey, it's twenty five cents a game or whatever, bring $5. But also then you supply another five for each kid. It's one way to do that. Gymnastics or dance studios. And those are really good for littles too, because a lot of them will have little like tiny gymnastics games and stuff like that that you can do for little ones. Yeah, it's a good one. Does your kid like to sing as much as you do, Jenny? Because karaoke and music studios are also a really rad idea for a party.

Jenny GK 00:24:06

Okay. Especially if you do the Korean karaoke where you rent your own room and you're only singing to your party.

Caitlin Kindred, Jenny GK 00:24:11

Yes, that's the way to do it. Those are my favorite. My favorite.

Jenny GK 00:24:16

There are also a lot of times you can bring in food and drink.

Caitlin Kindred, Jenny GK 00:24:19

We used to do Korean karaoke all the time at this place by my parents house in Aurora. We used to go a lot in high school. It was really fun.

Jenny GK 00:24:27

It is fun. It is fun.

Caitlin Kindred, Jenny GK 00:24:29

A children's library or bookstore. Now I'm going to preface this. This is a good idea if and only if this library offers that feature. Because if they don't offer it, that means that you have to get sworn and a cake. Right? Like it just won't work. So just putting that out there. This one is that's very the call is coming from inside the house. Like you can't it's not going to work. This one is not my favorite because I think it's creepy. However, it did keep coming up on things that I was researching. So children's theater, yes, I'm into. Or puppet show place. No, not so much. Because again.

Jenny GK 00:25:16

Oh, my God.

Caitlin Kindred, Jenny GK 00:25:17

The other one was that I really liked is an indoor pool. And if you're not sure if there is one nearby, think like a place that offers swim lessons. That's where you need to be going. Right. We just had one of Sam's friend's birthday parties at an indoor pool, and I was like, this is brilliant because her daughter wanted a pool party, but it's January, not the same.

Jenny GK 00:25:42

And also it's contained right.

Caitlin Kindred, Jenny GK 00:25:44

And it was completely like there were no other kids. It was totally rented out. So we knew that all the kids that were there were just for this party, which was really, really nice.

Jenny GK 00:25:53

That's fun.

Caitlin Kindred, Jenny GK 00:25:53

Yeah. So those are some indoor ideas. We're ready to move on to outdoors. I tried to get, like a little bit of everything, but again, outdoorsy ideas primarily for outdoorsy kids. So know your kid before you choose these. A hiking trail or nature reserve. Sometimes there's like little picnic areas that's a really good way to go. A theme park or make sure that.

Jenny GK 00:26:17

You go ahead, check with them.

Caitlin Kindred, Jenny GK 00:26:20


Jenny GK 00:26:21

This is another one like the library. Don't just show up to have a party and then find out like, oh.

Caitlin Kindred, Jenny GK 00:26:26

This park actually doesn't offer us to do that. Right. Beard speaking of parks, a local park or a playground is also a great idea. Last year, for our son's birthday party, there's a kind of fresh, like, water Springs pool that's nearby, and there's a little park right off the side. And I booked with the city and reserve the park for an hour. And then we all took everybody into the Cold Springs pool. And that was just a local park.

Jenny GK 00:26:58

That was like an amazing party. I'm going to highlight it in my how to make it not suck.

Caitlin Kindred, Jenny GK 00:27:02

Oh, thank you. It was a great though. I feel like we had to do it that way.

Jenny GK 00:27:07

Swimming party. Yeah, it's a swimming party. It's hot and it's fine.

Caitlin Kindred, Jenny GK 00:27:10

And it was June, so there's that. Speaking of other parks, a theme park or an amusement park, this is more of an experience kind of party. And this is not a party where you can invite the whole class. Right. Unless you're just made of all the dollars. This would be like, choose three friends and I'll take you to the amusement park kind of party, right?

Jenny GK 00:27:32

Right. Kind of like, hey, yes, we'll go to the NFL game and you can bring one friend.

Caitlin Kindred, Jenny GK 00:27:38

Right, exactly.

Jenny GK 00:27:39

Saying it better be that rich one.

Caitlin Kindred, Jenny GK 00:27:41

Right. The one who's going to bring lots of cash for his own hot dogs. Right? Yeah. Also, there are paintball parks for outside. There's also laser tags that does outside venues. So laser tag is a little harder outside. It'd have to be like a nighttime kind of one. But pink ball would be a fun one. And tree climbing or ropes courses are also really fun for outdoor parties and again, experience sort of thing. And you probably are not going to be on the hook for entertaining the kids in any of those so far.

Jenny GK 00:28:17

Absolutely not.

Caitlin Kindred, Jenny GK 00:28:20

Mini golf is fun for parties. Also, go cart tracks are a great way to go. If your kids are old enough to drive the go carts, putting that out there if they're not a farmer petting zoo is also an option. Some kids are afraid of the animals, so you do have to be mindful of that part. If there are kids who are nervous about animals, you're going to need to preface by saying this is what will happen. And if your child will feel uncomfortable, please note XYZ. And again, another good thing to do there would be if there's like a way to feed the animals, you again provide a little bit of cash so that people can feed the animals. It's a nice little thing to do for the families.

Jenny GK 00:29:09

We went to one that was a mobile petting zoo that came to the person's house.

Caitlin Kindred, Jenny GK 00:29:14

That's a great idea.

Jenny GK 00:29:17

They set up their little enclosure where the kids could sit and hold animals and pet them. DA DA DA. But at the same time, the family had another activity going. They were playing basketball. So kids could rotate in and out of the petting zoo while they're also playing basketball.

Caitlin Kindred, Jenny GK 00:29:34


Jenny GK 00:29:34

So that was kind of fun. Like if cuddling a rabbit isn't for you, you can go shoot hoops.

Caitlin Kindred, Jenny GK 00:29:39

That's a great idea. Love that. If you are someone who is fortunate enough to live near a large body of water, some sort of beach or lake party would be a great idea as well. Because as with swimming parties, you are not responsible for much of the entertainment. Right. A community pool or water park. I know lots of people who like splash pads. Here's the problem in my mind with a splash pad, and I'm going to grow some people out here. I read an article about splash pads and how there's one particular splash pad, like in Kansas or something. I apologize to people who listen in Kansas, I don't know where it was. It was one of the central Flat states there. Flat State? Yes. Where they found traces of lemur waste in the splash pad. Water lemur.

Jenny GK 00:30:39

How do you even know that?

Caitlin Kindred, Jenny GK 00:30:40

Because what kind of testing are you.

Jenny GK 00:30:43

Doing to get that specific?

Caitlin Kindred, Jenny GK 00:30:45

Yeah, that's a great question. I know this because the article that I found was posted by a fellow podcast friend and I forget which one it was, but I was like, this is disgusting. I will never again want to be at a splash pad. I can't speak for every splash pad in America. Some of them are probably very clean. However, I have watched kids and diapers sit on.

Jenny GK 00:31:12

The spouse or lemurs.

Caitlin Kindred, Jenny GK 00:31:13

I've never seen a lemur do it, but I have no doubt that the water probably came from like a zoo and then got mixed in and I just can't with that. So I'm going to say a community pool or community water park where you know the. Water is treated would be better than just, like, a local splash pad and put that out there. Yeah, exactly. Also, children's gardens, botanical gardens. Botanical gardens that are really nice without a kid area. I'm going to say no, don't do that. But ones that have a place for kids to run around and play. Absolutely. Always a fun place. But all of those are options for kids parties. And that way you don't have to have it at your house unless you really want to.

Jenny GK 00:32:02


Caitlin Kindred, Jenny GK 00:32:03

Which is fine. Yeah, we've done those, too.

Jenny GK 00:32:07

We have to. All right. So this is GK's patented ways to make your child's birthday party suck less. I first said ways to make it not suck, and then I realized that's not possible. It's still a child's birthday party. Okay, so first off, the teacher suck less. The first part is the teacher in me says do not work around the whole class. Invitation rule.

Caitlin Kindred, Jenny GK 00:32:38

Yeah, it's a big deal.

Jenny GK 00:32:40

Don't ask teachers for emails or contact information. We legally can't give it to you.

Caitlin Kindred, Jenny GK 00:32:45


Jenny GK 00:32:46

Don't ask teachers to hand out invitations or forward it to the whole class. We can't do that. Either invite the whole class or have a school party at school and an outside of school friends party outside of school. And this is my little hack asterisk invite the whole class. But have the party on a holiday weekend when a lot of people are traveling and no one can come anyhow.

Caitlin Kindred, Jenny GK 00:33:11

There you go. Okay. Yeah. All right. I also have to say if you're going to do it the school party and then outside party, please run the school party idea by your teacher first.

Jenny GK 00:33:25

Oh, absolutely.

Caitlin Kindred, Jenny GK 00:33:26

Follow that. Ask, hey, little Bobby's birthday is on Friday. Can we do something in class to celebrate? Something like that.

Jenny GK 00:33:36

And that teacher is going to say yes. Please bring individually wrapped snacks, prepackaged specific time. They will tell you exactly what to do. All right, tip number two, hire some helpers. Now, you are not made of money. No, I am not made of money. High school kids, particularly those who cannot drive yet, so they probably don't have jobs or they are looking to start babysitting and need some real experience.

Caitlin Kindred, Jenny GK 00:34:09

Yes, that's a great idea.

Jenny GK 00:34:12

Pay them not by the hour, offer them one chunk of money for the entire party and say $425 or $440 or whatever you're going to pay. Will you come and be my helper at the birthday party?

Caitlin Kindred, Jenny GK 00:34:26

Genius. Love it.

Jenny GK 00:34:28

It works every time.

Caitlin Kindred, Jenny GK 00:34:29

Love it.

Jenny GK 00:34:29

Okay. Are you having a slumber party? Don't have it at your house. We did Abby's at a hotel this year. I will never go back. It was amazing. Everyone is in a confined space. I can see every single girl and exactly everything that they're doing. And when I said it is time to be quiet and the rooms on either side of us will complain, they were quiet. Nice it was awesome.

Caitlin Kindred, Jenny GK 00:34:52

That does sound great.

Jenny GK 00:34:54

Okay. Glamping has become a very popular party.

Caitlin Kindred, Jenny GK 00:34:59


Jenny GK 00:34:59

Do asleep under. Asleep under is this party that ends at 09:00 or 10:00. Nobody sleeps over. They come in their PJs, they bring their sleeping bags. You do all the slumber party activities, and then when mom's ready to go to bed, all the other moms are picking up their kids.

Caitlin Kindred, Jenny GK 00:35:20

Love that idea. That might be like star asterisk all the things. I love that idea.

Jenny GK 00:35:28

To quote Lily from How I Met Your Mother, nothing good ever happens after 03:00. A.m. Truth. Or maybe. Right? Thank you. I was going to say maybe it was the mom.

Caitlin Kindred, Jenny GK 00:35:42

No, I think it's Lily.

Jenny GK 00:35:43

It might have been the mom.

Caitlin Kindred, Jenny GK 00:35:44


Jenny GK 00:35:45

But I think Lily was one who said, nothing good ever happens after 03:00. A.m. There's no reason to do a sleepover if you're not ready. No, sleep under this just as fun. And everyone goes home, right? Okay. So choose a venue that is fun for the whole family, including adults. Think about places that everybody wants to go to. Maybe it's not a brewery. Maybe it's not the jump jump place. What locations would everyone enjoy? But maybe it's you want parents to stay, right? Maybe it's the science museum.

Caitlin Kindred, Jenny GK 00:36:17


Jenny GK 00:36:17

Maybe that might be fun for them.

Caitlin Kindred, Jenny GK 00:36:19

It's a brewery that has a playground.

Jenny GK 00:36:21

Oh, absolutely.

Caitlin Kindred, Jenny GK 00:36:22

Because those exist, and I would highly recommend looking for them in your city.

Jenny GK 00:36:27

Yes. Okay. For older kids, I'm talking like seven and up. Don't do presents. Collect a donation instead. Ask your child, what are you passionate about? What do you want to support and have their friends donate to that cause you got enough plastic crap at your house. You don't need more of that. And how fun is it for that kid to run their own project?

Caitlin Kindred, Jenny GK 00:36:53

I love that idea. The other one, I've heard that's kind of similar. Now, this is less about charity and more about the kid, right? But if I've heard of things like they're called five or parties, your kid is five years old, the gift is $5.

Jenny GK 00:37:09

Love it.

Caitlin Kindred, Jenny GK 00:37:10

Kid is eight years old, the gift is $8. You just give them $8. You put it in a card and you say, this is your $8. You can, as the parent then decide, okay, we are going to take some of it and donate it to that cause that you're mentioning. Right. Giving unto others is a good thing.

Jenny GK 00:37:27

Or you put it all together and.

Caitlin Kindred, Jenny GK 00:37:29

You buy one fabulous and you buy one fabulous thing. Yes. I love it.

Jenny GK 00:37:33

I love it.

Caitlin Kindred, Jenny GK 00:37:34

Thought that was genius, and I'm very tempted to do it for my child's 7th birthday.

Jenny GK 00:37:40

When Abigail turned six, it was right on the heels of Hurricane Harvey. She had everyone donate to Harvey.

Caitlin Kindred, Jenny GK 00:37:48

I love that.

Jenny GK 00:37:48

And I'm telling you, we still had families bring presents. Yes, because they said, I'm not coming to a birthday party without a present. Okay. But they also made a donation, right. Which I thought was really cool.

Caitlin Kindred, Jenny GK 00:38:00

I also like the no presents idea because I personally don't again, I don't need more stuff. So I will put on the invitation, please don't bring a present. People still do. But honestly, if someone says no presents at their party, I will try to honor that as much as I can because I know why they're doing it. I also don't want presents. And you know this. I'm fanatical about sending thank you notes when we get stuff. So, like, I will end up spending like a lot of the afternoon making my child take pictures of each gift so that I can send out thank you right away. So I don't you know, it's just if they say no presents, don't do presents. But if you want to do something nice, something like this is a good idea.

Jenny GK 00:38:42

Also on the no list, no goodie pens.

Caitlin Kindred, Jenny GK 00:38:46

Oh, my gosh.

Jenny GK 00:38:46

Guys, they're just not necessarily that many unsharpened pencils.

Caitlin Kindred, Jenny GK 00:38:51


Jenny GK 00:38:52

But I will tell you, Kay, Caitlin kind of previewed this. Sam, her son had a fabulous pool party in the summer. Last summer. Yeah, it was last summer before I don't even remember.

Caitlin Kindred, Jenny GK 00:39:04

He was 26. Yeah.

Jenny GK 00:39:06

She rented out some space at a park. We all hung out into the park for a little bit and then she passed out. Goody bags in the goody bag. I'm not even kidding you. Sunscreen, sunglasses, pool toys. Perfect. It was all stuff that we could use as we walked to the pool together. So if you're going to hand out a goodie bag, why not do it at the beginning and have it be things that will help with the party?

Caitlin Kindred, Jenny GK 00:39:32


Jenny GK 00:39:32

There's no reason for us to have that many unsharped pencils or single stickers tattoos or tattoos or bags of freedoms.

Caitlin Kindred, Jenny GK 00:39:43

The snack thing I don't even mind, as long as it's a snack, my child. That part I don't mind. It's the toys that make noise or they come from like Oriental trading in there in a bag of 50. If it's going to be like a ball that the kid will play with, that's totally different. But it's just the stuff that's like, filler that I am like.

Jenny GK 00:40:03

Right. Nobody because you feel obligated to give. You don't have to give.

Caitlin Kindred, Jenny GK 00:40:07

No, you don't have to give. Especially not if you're paying for giving a party. Right, exactly.

Jenny GK 00:40:11

You're giving a party. Right. Okay. So Dr. Brene Brown says that Clear is kind state on the invitation what your guests family should expect. State it on there. Do you need an adult to stay with every child? When we did Abby's birthday party on a boat, we said one child and one adult. And we expect your adult to stay and monitor the kid because we are going to go out into the middle of Lake Travis and we are going to swim, and you are in charge of your own child. In fact, we were so serious about that, we didn't have any boobs on the boat.

Caitlin Kindred, Jenny GK 00:40:49


Jenny GK 00:40:51

We said no.

Caitlin Kindred, Jenny GK 00:40:52


Jenny GK 00:40:53

We want the parents to be watching their kids. Because we aren't.

Caitlin Kindred, Jenny GK 00:40:57


Jenny GK 00:40:59

Is this a drop off party? If it's a drop off party, say it so that if you're not ready to drop your kid off at someone's house, you can decline the invitation. Or it's not that weird thing like, should I stay? Should I go? I don't know. It's weird. Just say this is a drop off party. Go have a night out on the town. We'll see you back at 09:00 p.m.. And our siblings invited. That's not necessary. No, you don't have to invite the whole family.

Caitlin Kindred, Jenny GK 00:41:30


Jenny GK 00:41:30

If you are opening the party to everyone, express that. If not, there's polite ways to say that, such as, Toby, you're invited to the party, drop off as this time, pick up as this time.

Caitlin Kindred, Jenny GK 00:41:42

Right. Can also make it explicit. Like, due to venue restrictions, I can only have the child and no siblings. Apologies.

Jenny GK 00:41:52

Short is sweet. Two to 3 hours is more than enough time.

Caitlin Kindred, Jenny GK 00:41:57

3 hours is a long time for the family who's throwing that party. So 2 hours is right on the money.

Jenny GK 00:42:04

Okay. Winner, winner, chicken dinner. If your party occurs at a meal time, guests expect a meal. Yeah, that's between eleven and one and five and seven. So this is either awesome or awful. Here are the reasons why it's awesome. You can fill some of the time with eating.

Caitlin Kindred, Jenny GK 00:42:25


Jenny GK 00:42:25

You can offer something fun or interesting to eat, bring in a food truck, make your own pizza, a waffle bar, et cetera, et cetera. And you can include others in the meal prep and provisions. So, for example, if Grandma really wants to be a part of this party, let her be the person who brings the pizza.

Caitlin Kindred, Jenny GK 00:42:44


Jenny GK 00:42:46

Okay, why is it awful? First off, money, money, money, money. Food ain't free, people. The other thing is, dietary concerns are real and food can feel exclusive. So at Abigail's most recent party, we did again, the slumber party at a hotel, which again, I cannot doubt enough. It was so great. We did make your own Sunday bar. And I made sure to put on the invitation. Do you have dietary restrictions? If so, what are you not eating? Because we wanted everyone to be able to participate in that. And we knew that even if you're lactose intolerant, there is a way for you to still make a fun Sunday. That's maybe not ice cream based.

Caitlin Kindred, Jenny GK 00:43:29


Jenny GK 00:43:30

But food can really feel exclusive if you are someone with a dietary restriction and the person who's serving didn't consider that.

Caitlin Kindred, Jenny GK 00:43:37

I like how you are saying this after you tested your husband's allergy by.

Jenny GK 00:43:44

Saying by actually exposing him to his.

Caitlin Kindred, Jenny GK 00:43:46

Allergy by saying some people just say they're gluten free and they're not actually gluten free.

Jenny GK 00:43:52


Caitlin Kindred, Jenny GK 00:43:52

But I like that that's a really.

Jenny GK 00:43:54

Important you should believe them when they say it. Yeah, you should.

Caitlin Kindred, Jenny GK 00:43:56

And it doesn't matter what their reasoning is.

Jenny GK 00:43:59

Just honor it's their restriction. Right. Okay. And then it's also awful because many adults don't want to eat birthday cake and many corn dogs. So you end up with way too much leftover food.

Caitlin Kindred, Jenny GK 00:44:13

Put some bagel bites out there. Welcome.

Jenny GK 00:44:15

Right? Yeah. Have you ever been to a pizza party where all the pizza was actually eaten?

Caitlin Kindred, Jenny GK 00:44:22


Jenny GK 00:44:23

No. I have been to plenty of pizza parties and hosted plenty. In fact, just recently at the end of Abigail's flag football season, it was who wants to take them a whole pizza?

Caitlin Kindred, Jenny GK 00:44:38


Jenny GK 00:44:39

We've all done it.

Caitlin Kindred, Jenny GK 00:44:39


Jenny GK 00:44:40

So food, it's really up to you. But if you want to avoid it, avoid meal times. And if you want to include it because it eats up time or that's part of the theme of your party, plan it around a meal time so people are ready to eat.

Caitlin Kindred, Jenny GK 00:44:56

Yeah. I will say if you're going to avoid it and not do it at a meal time, it would be a good idea to have at least like snacky snacks. Snacks and water, maybe something like that. Snacks and drinks.

Jenny GK 00:45:05

Something like that. You might not have a meal, right.

Caitlin Kindred, Jenny GK 00:45:08

But just go to costco.

Jenny GK 00:45:09

Serve some kind of food right before.

Caitlin Kindred, Jenny GK 00:45:11

I just go to costco. That's what I do.

Jenny GK 00:45:13

And my last tip is to be creative and novel. Caitlin gave you a great list of both indoor and outdoor places. You're kid is going to feel special if their party is different. You are going to feel good knowing that you hit it out of the park. And everybody loves a good theme day, right?

Caitlin Kindred, Jenny GK 00:45:34


Jenny GK 00:45:34

Now, my husband did chime in and said don't have your kid do yoga, archery, just because you're trying to be the cool mom.

Caitlin Kindred, Jenny GK 00:45:42

Wow. Can we do don't? Yogurt right.

Jenny GK 00:45:46

Make sure that whatever you're offering is reflective of what your kid will enjoy.

Caitlin Kindred, Jenny GK 00:45:51


Jenny GK 00:45:51

Fair. Just because you want to be a hipster, it doesn't mean you have to choose the most random activities.

Caitlin Kindred, Jenny GK 00:45:56

Okay. I think that was a pretty good list. So we got places and you got ways to make it suck less. I think that works. Yeah. Okay.

Jenny GK 00:46:05

As you're listening to us, you should go ahead and choose all five stars. So please rate, review, share, tell your friends. And as you are planning your child's birthday party or planning to go to one, make good choices.

Caitlin Kindred, Jenny GK 00:46:20

Find us on social. Tell us your favorite party ideas. Okay, thanks. Bye.

Real Talk: Kids' Party Locations