The Big Birthday Bash – Ponderosa Farm and Park

Sharing is caring!

This past weekend, we celebrated the kids’ birthdays with a fun-filled party at our local park. There’s nothing more frugal than having a birthday party for kids at your local park.

The space is free, there are lots of things for the kids to do (and tire themselves out) and the grown-ups always enjoy just being able to sit somewhere in the shade, chat, eat and have a good time on their own.

We had their birthday party at another park last year, but this year we decided to cool down at the splash park.

birthday party for kids at a splash park

The Ponderosa Farm and Park in Scotch Plains, NJ is a newer park in our area. It draws in families daily, especially in the summer, because it has wide-open spaces, state-of-the-art play areas, and of course the splash area.

The kids and I will show you a more detailed view of the park in the coming weeks as part of our playground tour. Since the park doesn’t allow grilling yet (it’s not zoned for it), we decided to make this more of a picnic-style party.

birthday goody bags filled with books, crafts and pouches of applesauce

The goody bags were filled with books, fun projects and crafts, and even some of our favorite applesauce, GoGo Squeeze. It’s a great goody bag option for a healthier birthday party for kids

The kids actually enjoyed not getting a small bag of candy. Go figure. We ordered chicken from a local place (only 40 dollars for 50 pieces) and I created a Hot Dog bar.

I cooked beef and turkey dogs in the slow cooker overnight, then we kept them on a Sterno at the park to keep them hot.

An even better idea? Ordering pizza and having it delivered to the park. I saw lots of parents doing it for their parties that day.

I extended the vittles by making macaroni salad, turkey subs, Italian pasta salad, and a fruit and cheese platter. Everyone left stuffed.

create custom drinks for a picnic party and put in mason jars

I also created a few signature drinks for the adults: strawberry muddled daiquiri, pina colada, tart cherry sangria, and rum punch (the secret to that one is a fruit cocktail).

Also, since I have a sweet tooth, I had to make some extra treats. Guests enjoyed white chocolate hazelnut and “chocolate-covered banana” brownies (recipe coming soon). I also made funfetti cookies and yellow-colored sugar cookies.

use pudding, instead of ice cream, as a cold treat for a birthday party for kids

Since ice cream was out, I decided to get creative and use pudding snacks. Keep the pudding and bottle of whip cream on ice, get sprinkles from the dollar store, and you are in business.

personalized faces on the kids's favorite characters. Great cake toppers!

But the real star of the food was my mother’s cake. Last year she rocked it with the rainbow cake for the kids, and this year, she turned both of them into their favorite characters this year. Look at the faces!

nephew and auntie in a water gun battle

little boy and his water gun

little girl shooting daddy with her water gun

Brother-In-Law sets Sister-In-Law in his water gun sights

We also had epic water gunfights. Water guns turn everyone into kids again. As you can see, my husband had a blast torturing his Sister-In-Law.

the little girl is 3 now!

the little boy is eight now

I still can’t believe that my little girl will be 3 in a few days and that my little boy is now 8.

Time is flying by too fast, so I always appreciate the parties that we throw for them. It gives us a second to catch our breath and just celebrate them at their current age.

My July babies make my heart sing. I think I may be getting into the groove of planning these kinds of birthday parties for kids.

About Amiyrah

My name is Amiyrah and I'm an an African American fashion & lifestyle blogger based in Ohio.

Plan Your Year Now!


Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


  1. 7.22.13
    Chrysa said:

    What a great party!! Those drinks look fabulous! Is it wrong that I want one at 9:30 am?

    • 7.22.13
      Somers Martin said:

      No, it’s not, Chrysa. After all, it’s 5:30 and Happy Hour somewhere! LOL!

  2. 7.22.13

    Looks like a great day!

  3. 7.22.13

    Looks like a fun party! We had a party for our 5 year old this weekend too. I love parties 🙂

  4. 7.22.13
    Stacie said:

    Looks like a fun day! I love all the delicious food you served. I would have never thought to use a local park for a bday party. What a great idea!

    • 7.22.13
      Amiyrah said:

      Thanks Stacie!

  5. 7.22.13

    Looks like you guys had lots of fun, I love the cake!

    • 7.22.13
      Amiyrah said:

      Thanks Jennifer!

  6. 7.22.13
    Mitch said:

    What a great job! And looks like a lot of fun for everyone!
    See you soon!

    • 7.22.13
      Amiyrah said:

      Thanks Mitch! See you in a few days :D.

  7. 7.22.13

    It looks like it was a full blast party! The pudding snacks looked delish!

    • 7.22.13
      Amiyrah said:

      Thanks Myrah!

  8. 7.22.13

    This is so cool! Such great ideas. My daughter’s birthday is in the fall, but for summer birthdays and gatherings this is a great idea! Love the adult drinks too!

    • 7.22.13
      Amiyrah said:

      Aida, Fall is still a great time for a party in the park. Just have it midday when it’s the warmest and maybe do a fall fun theme with pumpkins, apple bobbing, and such. Sounds like it would be a great party!

  9. 7.22.13
    Stacy L. said:

    Wow! Great party! I got some wonderful ideas & you rock as a frugal mom! Well done! 🙂

    • 7.22.13
      Amiyrah said:

      Thanks Stacy!

  10. 7.22.13

    Sounds like a wonderful time for everyone involved. I am going to have to get on your good side so I can get an invite to next year’s park party!

    • 7.22.13
      Amiyrah said:

      You’re invited! 😀

  11. 7.22.13

    We did this for my daughter’s 2nd birthday and ghe highlight was when the ice cream truck came around. While this was a spontaneous bonus for us, you can call and order an ice cream truck to come to your party 🙂 I really like your drink ideas!! Great thinking 🙂

    • 7.22.13
      Amiyrah said:

      Kelly, there was an ice cream truck right behind our party. But at 2 dollars a pop for an ice pop, the pudding sundaes were much cheaper…and more fun!

  12. 7.22.13

    Looks like a really fun party!

  13. 7.22.13
    Kristin S said:

    Cute Cake!

  14. 7.22.13
    Carrie said:

    I have a July baby too, it’s the perfect time of year! Looks like so much fun, and I love the idea of doing it at the park. Hooray for July babies!

  15. 7.23.13
    Sherry said:

    Looks like a great time love the pudding idea

  16. 7.25.13

    The pudding “sundae” is inspired! The cake is really wonderful – Looks like an event to remember.

  17. 6.11.14
    Melissa said:

    Hi, im planning my 2 and 3 year old’s party there in august. Was it really crowded in July? What time did you have your party?

    • 6.11.14
      Amiyrah said:

      Hi Melissa! I believe we had guests come at 2pm, but we arrived around 11 to get a good spot. We should have come even earlier though. We ended up by the bathrooms, and another party took the best area near the playground and splash pad. We overheard that hey had been there since 9am!

  18. 7.7.16
    geetha said:

    whether we have to reserve or pay any fee for conducting the party there?

    • 7.8.16
      Amiyrah said:

      Nope. You just have to get there early enough to get a good spot :).