We celebrated Heidi's birthday quietly on the actual day, the usual breakfast of choc chip pancakes and strawberries, and then later that day we went to the lake with friends and painted for a few hours.
The following Saturday we had the most wonderful day celebrating Swallows and Amazon's style. That book has captured everyone's imagination, and so I tried to create a celebration where the adventure was all the children's without 'natives' getting in the way. The lake close to our home is perfect. It's a lake for a start, kind of important to go with the theme, but also you can see almost all the paths from any given spot so although the kids we on their own we could keep an eye. I hid clues in the morning and then gave the party goers a couple of back packs with instructions and supplies for the challenge. Every clue lead to the next clue and a challenge connected with that location.
They had to creek jump and measure the longest jump, rename the map locations to something meaningful to them, catch a minnow, eat their ships rations (homemade iced buns, caramels and cucumbers) and identify and sketch two birds, then back to the pavilion to unscramble the word problem and find their treasure (the take home gifts).
Then we had lashings of tea, and cake.
I haven't enjoyed a party more, lots of prep and no actual stress on the day. In fact I spent the party sitting in the pavilion drinking tea with another Mum. I had planned for an hour perhaps an hour and half, but two and a half hours later they were finally done having had a wonderful time. (We did check in with them that they wanted to keep going and were told in no uncertain terms that what was started was going to be finish!)
Swallows and Amazons forever.