As a parent, I know that my kids are not going to be happy hanging around adults all day and waiting for a two-minute horse race. Family-friendly parties are a great way to introduce your kids to Louisville's most-notable event, the Kentucky Derby. However, in order to enjoy yourself and the company of other adults, don't forget to provide some entertainment for the kids. A Derby Day party can be a long time for a kid that doesn't yet understand why so much fuss is made over a horse race, so here are a few things you can do to make the kids just as excited about the day as you.
Jackpots: Everyone loves to win and everyone holding a slip of paper with a horse’s name will be watching the race. If you're having jackpots for the adults, why not have special jackpots for the kids? Instead of creating the jackpot by having each child put in a dollar to draw a name, I like to buy little prizes (Target's or Michael's dollar bin is a great place for cheap trinkets) to award to the child with the winning horse. It's only going to cost me a few dollars to cover all the races and the parents are not constantly bombarded by their child asking for money.
Goodie bags: You may decide to prepare goodie bags filled with different horse novelties and candy for each child that will be attending. Kids today almost expect to receive a goodie bag when they go to their own kid parties, so having something they recognize might be nice. Bribing the kids and making them happy at the beginning of the party may save you some grief later on.
Other activities: Designated activities for the kids are a good way to keep them entertained as the time between races grows longer. You may choose to rent an inflatable bouncy or maybe you have one of the smaller Little Tikes brand bouncies. Other entertainment options may include a designated game center using your Playstation, XBox or Wii system; a craft table; horse-themed movies like Secretariat or Seabiscuit; or simple coloring books and crayons. Ask your kids what they might enjoy and see if it will work with your party.
In all, a Derby party can be a lot of fun for all involved with a little planning.
Photo: Courtesy Kentucky Derby