There are a lot of options for kid’s birthday parties these days. In my area, most of the good ones involve indoor gyms and inflatable jump houses. Most 4 year olds love those – however, mine does not. On top of that, due to a hip condition, he is not allowed to run or jump.
So, when I sat down to plan his 4th birthday party, I was at a bit of a loss. In the past, I have always planned low-key parties at home. We have a lot of food and just let the kids run around and play. That has worked up until now, but I wanted to do a little more for Isaac’s party this year.
After a little online research, I discovered Youth Learning and Technology Center. This innovative company is located in John’s Creek, GA, and uses K’NEX and Lego Education Kits to teach kids about science, technology, engineering and math concepts. YLTC offers after school activities, summer camps and other on and offsite activities.
I was pleased to see that I could choose between scheduling a party at YLTC’s John’s Creek location, or having a YLTC representative come to my house for the party. Because I love to pull out my slow cookers (yes, I have more than one), I chose to schedule an in-home party. Maybe it’s my midwestern roots – all I know is that I love to feed people.
While the scheduling process was not difficult, I did find it to be a little less professional than I would have liked. I scheduled over the phone and was charged, but never received a confirmation e-mail or letter. When I called a few weeks later to confirm that everything was, in fact, on their calendar, they had us down for a party at a time that I had never selected. In the end, we were able to schedule the party at the time we needed, however, we still never received a receipt or any other formal communication about the party.
On the day of the party, the representative showed up right on time and got to work setting up the activities. In our first activity, the kids were blindfolded (with a fun mask that turned them into Lego kids) and took turns playing a “pin the tail on the donkey” style game.
Following Nate’s big win in the game, we moved onto the building activities. Because our party-goers were younger, our activities were done using K’NEX kits instead of Lego Education Kits. Each child was given a tray of K’NEX pieces and an instruction sheet for building a top. The instruction sheets included full-size pictures on which the kids could lay their pieces to help them build their top.
After the first top was built, the kids were given instruction on how to spin it and we had a couple of top-spinning contests. After this first top, the kids were given two additional trays of pieces and instructions for building 2 additional tops – each one was more complex than the previous top, with the last top being complex enough that it was done as a team-build. The activities were a lot of fun, for both parents and kids.
Overall, the day was a big success. The kids had fun – and maybe even learned something. The parents got involved and seemed to have a great time, too. The feedback I received was overwhelmingly positive.
The only disappointment of the day came when the goodie bags were handed out. I paid an additional $50 in fees to have YLTC provide goodie bags for 10 kids. I was told they would contain “lots of little Lego-themed goodies.” In the end, each bag contained only the following: A Lego magazine, a Lego pin, and 4-5 pieces of UNWRAPPED Lego candy.
They were so bad that I was embarrassed to hand them out to our guests. I could have spent half that amount at Party City and put together bags filled with all of the Lego-themed goodies I was expecting. It would definitely have been worth my time and effort to create my own.
Overall, I would definitely recommend a YLTC party to anyone living in the Atlanta area. However, be sure to take the time to create your own goodie bags!