There's one way to take all the stress out of your kids' birthday party. And here it is.

AMF Bowling
Thanks to our brand partner, AMF Bowling

Public Service Announcement: Kids’ birthday parties don’t have to give you nightmares. Promise.

Last year, I decided to throw my son a birthday party.

I researched themes like a mad woman and spent way too much time on Pinterest ‘pinning’ all things pirate-related.

I created an impressive menu of pirate-themed goodies and had grand plans of a fondant-covered masterpiece that Cake Boss would have been proud of.

Jacqui had grand plans of a fondant-covered masterpiece that Cake Boss would have been proud of.

I made sure to invite all of his little friends and planned to have the party at the local park, as our small townhouse was seriously undersized for parties. Before I knew it, the party was bigger than Ben Hur and the cost made me want to shudder, but it was all going to be worth it. I was going to be crowned Super Mum.

On the day before the event I saw the weather report. Rain, rain, and a few thunderstorms thrown in for good measure. I tried to remain positive. I even went to a Zen place when I found that the dog had broken into the lolly bags I had stayed up prepping the night before.

Related: Mackenzie Moretter just turned 10. But nobody wants to come to her party.

By midnight that night I wanted to throw in the towel. I was now on my fourth attempt at a fondant-covered pirate ship which now in no way resembled a vessel and was more ‘unidentified sea creature’. My kids ate popcorn for dinner because I got lost in party prep and forgot that I actually had to feed them each and every day and my husband had to remove them from the room after I let fly a few too many adult words in response to my many baking fails.

The next morning I woke to pouring rain and my dreams of a sun-drenched park party faded. I advised all attendees that the venue had been moved to our house and all of a sudden I was faced with the ‘mass clean up’ as well as all the party stuff.


I spent the day stressed out of my mind. People were crammed in like sardines and my son cried because he didn’t buy into the “shipwrecked” version of the pirate ship cake I’d been promising for weeks.

“I was faced with the ‘mass clean up’ as well as all the party stuff.”


That was May last year and while I am still traumatised, I know that my kids will still want to do something for their birthdays again.  So this year, I’m looking after their interests as well as mine and outsourcing the stress to someone else.

I have two boys, which means a party venue needs to be high-impact with lots of opportunities for physical activity. I had memories of great parties at the local bowling centre when I was younger so I was thrilled to find out that AMF Bowling centres offer birthday packages for overwhelmed parents just like me.

Related: So, this might be the most demanding 1st birthday invite ever.

Included in their birthday party deal is either a one or two game package which can be either bowling or laser skirmish. All the kids get fed which always wins the smiles, and in addition they score five arcade tokens. There’s also prizes and activities throughout the day and some magical fairy called a party host runs the whole shebang for you. Ah, where do I sign up?

The best thing is that even if it’s raining, the party can continue. The kids will have a blast with all their friends and are guaranteed to go home exhausted and happy.

And the clincher? You don’t even have to LOOK at a piece of overpriced fondant (unless you want to).

What birthday activities have you organised? Did it go to plan?