Slightly hazardous play makes a birthday party great.

I loved my daughter’s recent birthday party.

Held at My Gym, which Clara believes is not the name of the place but a reference to the gym being her own (and I dare you to try to convince her otherwise), I couldn’t have been more pleased with the organized games that they offered.

Normally Clara is not one for the organized games, preferring free play, and she can become annoyed when told that it’s circle time or the moment to learn a new skill. Normally I would agree with her, but on Saturday, the activities offered just enough danger and old school to make me happy.

First, punching bag-shaped bolsters were hung from the ceiling and swung back and forth and random arcs, and the kids were asked to run through them without getting hit and knocked down. It was actually a challenging and slightly frightening task for many of the children (some were legitimately knocked on their ass), but they loved it, running through several times each.

Next, the staff dumped an enormous pail of plush balls on the floor and encouraged the kids to think of them as snowballs. “Snowball fight!” a staff member shouted, and the kids were invited to throw the balls at one another.

I have often said that one of the best things to do with a ball is throw it at someone else’s, and these kids agreed wholeheartedly. 

Lastly, kids were sent down a zip line. Though they were spotted for the entire ride, it was challenging and frightening for many of the kids. Even Clara, who had never agreed to ride the zip line before, loved it.

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Three activities that generated some old fashioned fear and excitement in the kids, which almost always makes the event more fun and memorable.

Add a little kickboxing, an arm wrestling match and maybe some Rock’em Sock’m Robots and we could’ve a legitimately idyllic afternoon.


Still, it wasn’t bad at all. Kudos to my wife for pulling the whole thing off on her own.