Where to plan your child’s next birthday party

Looking for an original birthday party location or event? Want to know where to get that special cake or make your own? What about special party favors? How about thinking green?

Planning your child’s birthday party depends on their interests, their age, the number of kids they want to invite, and also the time of the year. There are plenty of choices for everyone in the area around La Chât. However, be forewarned, many of these venues are booked 2-3 months ahead of time, so planning ahead is key.

Hall rentals: If you are simply looking for a place to hold your child’s birthday event, every commune has at least one “salle communale” available for renting. These halls can usually be rented for between CHF50-200 and require a security deposit and proof of civil insurance (assurance civile). Check your commune’s website.

Accrobranche: For younger kids starting from 3 years, you can go to Forestland in Divonne. They also have more advanced trails for older kids. Two other options are Parc Aventure Geneve in Onex which also has packages for kids as young as 3 and Parc Aventure in Signal de Bougy for kids starting at age 4. Note that most of these accrobranche centres are either closed or operate on a shortened schedule during the winter months.

Archery: World Archery Excellence Centre in Lausanne can organize a birthday party. ArcheryGames is a tag like archery game that can be played in Geneva or Etoy.

Bouncing around: A great solution for those energetic kids that just need to bounce around, Yatouland in Geneve offers 9 different birthday packages including a disco party. Jayland in Gland offers 3 different birthday packages. This is a good option for large groups.

Bowling: The Bowling Hotel in Signy or BowlingGland are two great options to organize a bowling tournament. The Bowling Hotel also has arcade machines and pool tables.

Chocolate class: Chocolatier David Banchet in Coppet will organize a chocolate class for up to 12 children in their atelier. Parents are welcome to join for a glass of champagne at the end of the class.

Circus school: The circus school in Nyon L’elastiquecitrique can organize an introductory class on circus acrobatics for children from ages 7 and up for groups of 10 to 20 children. There is also the circus school Kids Up Geneva that will organize parties for 6 to 24 children ages 5 and up.

Cooking class: Les Papilles à la fête in Nyon hosts cooking classes for up to 12 children from ages 8. They offer several packages but all include baking a birthday cake.

Dog sledding: For a small group of older kids, Team Nature in St. Cergues can organize a dog sledding outing. These tours book very quickly and are for only very small groups.

Escape room for children: Several of the escape room centres are reserved for teens and aldults, however a few offer packages for younger children. These include Yatouland Yatou Escape (for up to 8 children ages 4 to 10), Escape Etoy has a pirate escape room (for 2 to 7 children 8 years or older), UltimEscape in Meyrin offers several packages for kids 8 to 12, Secret Chamber in Geneva will customize the adventure for the age of your children starting at age 8.

Farm party: Le Monde de Rachel offers farm themed birthday parties in Gland for children ages 4 and up. The children will make a floral arrangement.

Laser Tag: Forestland in Divonne offers outdoor laser games from ages 7 and up, Lasergame Yatouland and Jayland both offers indoor laser games from ages 6. Lasered offers more complex laser games starting at ages 8 and up in Geneva, Nyon and Etoy.

Horseback riding: In Gex, Belleferme will organize horseback riding for your child’s birthday and have ponies and horses to accommodate children of many ages. The Pony Club in Chavannes des Bois also offers pony riding birthday parties.

Magic: The Centre de Magie de la Cote in Nyon can organize a magic themed birthday party with either a magic workshop or a magic show. There are options for kids of all ages.

Mountain climbing: Totem Escalade in Gland and in Versoix offer a birthday party package on Saturdays and Sundays that will include a quick mountain climbing course.

Movies: A practical place to have a movie themed birthday party is the Pathé Balexert movie theatre with 13 screens and sitting area outside the cinema with a food court for snacks.

Museum visits: The Musée Romain Nyon offers birthday workshops in French for children ages 6 to 12. The Geneva Museum of Natural History has birthday workshops including exploring dinosaurs for children ages 6 and up. The Exploracentre in Geneva also offers birthday workshops. The Musée du Léman in Nyon can host your child’s birthday party with several different themes for children ages 5 to 12.

Paint ball: Paintball in Geneva is one of the only places with paintball adapted for children as young as 6 with equipment especially adapted to their size. If you don’t mind a longer drive, Paintball Paradis in Etrembiere offers birthday packages from children ages 8 and up.

Picnics by the lake: The key is selecting a location with a public toilet. The beach in Coppet has a public toilet right on the beach, BBQs and easy entry into the water. Another option is the beach in Tannay where the water is shallow. There is also the beach in Celigny with BBQs and easy access to the water. Please have the age appropriate ratio of parents to children to supervise the kids in the water.

Skating: The skating rink in Nyon has a table area that can be reserved for birthday parties. The patinoires des Vermets has disco themed skating evenings Saturday evenings during the winter months, a nice option for older kids.

STEAM: Addictlab Academy offers STEAM themed birthday parties in their Birthday Labs in either Geneva or Ferney-Voltaire. Another take on birthday parties and events by mixing robotics, design, photography, drawing & much more.

Virtual reality: Virtual Room Geneva is a team based virtual reality game where you wear a virtual reality helmet to simulate a 3D cinematic experience. This is meant for children ages 10 and up and not recommended for people with epilepsy.

Let someone else do the work! Kidevents will organize your child’s birthday party from A to Z. Another option for a hands off birthday organization is The Kids Club in Coppet, mainly geared towards younger children. My Sparkly Party can organize your event in your home or at a venue of your choice.

Getting the perfect cake!

There are many options for getting that custom dream cake your child is asking for. You can either order a cake or if you have time order online everything you need to make your own. It is worth checking out your local bakery or grocery store. Some other options include:

If you are up for the challenge of making your own cake, you can order online all your cake decorating supplies from any of these Swiss based online shops, they usually mail the items the same day:

What about those party favours? THINK GREEN!

The team at En Bref would like to strongly encourage parents to think twice about party favours. Please avoid using plastic bags or placing any single use plastic items in the party favours bags. There are recyclable paper options and items that will be much less harmful to the environment.

Recyclable brown paper bags are available at every grocery store and can easily be decorated into any party theme. You can also buy paper bags and boxes from any of the cake decorating shops listed above. If you are crafty, consider making your own bags with some colourful recycled paper, there are plenty of online videos that show you how. You can get your child to help you.

Think out of the box for party favours and avoid anything that is plastic or individually wrapped. There are plenty of great ideas online for environmentally friendly party favours. Here are some that you could consider:

  • small plant
  • a small tree they can plant in the forest
  • seeds or seed carpet
  • sidewalk chalk
  • hand painted T shirts or cloth bags
  • soap bars in fun shapes
  • origami sheets with instruction
  • cardboard puzzle
  • marbles
  • cloth finger puppets
  • playing cards
  • small wooden toys
  • book mark

Please avoid using balloons even if they are biodegradable as they take a long time to degrade. Instead consider cutting out ballon shapes using colourful tissue paper and tape them to windows or walls for a lovely festive effect.

Lastly, reconsider the birthday gift concept, especially for older children and teenagers. Most of our children do not need another 10 lego sets despite thinking they do and think of how much wrapping and packaging ends up as waste. Perhaps your older children and teenagers could choose a charity of their choice and ask their friends to donate to that charity in lieu of a birthday gift. There are plenty of worthwhile charities to chose from. Even if your child disagrees, just having the conversation with them will help them realize how much waste can result from a birthday party.

Happy birthday party planning and remember to think green! Reduce, reuse and recycle!

By: Karen Eugeni

Pictures courtesy of Pixabay.com

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