Last updated: November 20, 2023
Josh read my book and hosted a picnic party in the park with parents and a bunch of kids.
We come to appreciate our neighborhood, but the frequent encounters with neighbors usually don’t lead to meaningful connections or friendships.
Josh aimed to foster connections not only among adults, but also between children, families, and new acquaintances.
In this article, we will highlight the strategies used, the event’s success, and lessons learned for future endeavors.
Why you should listen to me: Hi! My name is Nick Gray. When I moved to NYC, I didn’t know many people and I wasn’t good at “networking.” I learned how to host parties that people wanted to be invited to. Now I’ve hosted hundreds of events all over the world and made lots of new friends doing it. New York Magazine once called me a host of “culturally significant” parties.
Meet Josh from Indiana
Josh is a father of 2 kids and loves to travel with his wife and family or working around the world.
They moved to a great hidden gem in the Midwest.
Josh and his wife longed for the spontaneous gatherings they once enjoyed. My book rekindled that excitement for them.
Seeing how simple it was to create communities using the formula, he decided to apply it.
Picnic Party with Kids
Josh found my book’s principles easily transferable to his unique party. Instead of connecting adults, he aimed to introduce kids to one another, kids to new families, and families to new families.
Josh aimed to craft an inclusive event where everyone could mingle comfortably, especially considering the challenge of keeping little kids still.
And the perfect solution? The local park! He invited families with little kids and babies that lived within walking distance.
In total, Josh had 13 families come to the party. He ensured a diverse mix of familiar faces and new acquaintances.
Icebreakers smoothly introduced everyone, sharing details like children’s ages, locations, and favorite family activities. This led to easygoing conversations and generated plans for future family outings.
Keys to Success
These are the most important concepts that helped Josh host a successful party.
- Event Setup and Execution: Josh received numerous compliments for the meticulous planning and execution. The families appreciated the effort, and this success boosted Josh’s confidence in their community-building abilities.
- Weather Blessing: The favorable weather played a significant role in the event’s success, making a park meet-up an enjoyable experience for all.
- Name Tags and Stickers: Name tags proved to be an effective tool for the parents to enter conversations with ease. The addition of stickers for kids not only encouraged participation but also added an element of fun.
- Thoughtful Refreshments: Offering a variety of healthy snacks and drinks, along with options for more substantial fare, ensured everyone was catered to. Disposable cups for kids provided them with independence and minimized any potential mess.
- Party Reminder Messages: Sent two reminder emails with a personalized touch using kids’ names.
- Icebreakers: Josh facilitated two icebreakers. Each family got their moment to introduce themselves and their little ones. Ages, neighborhood, and the all-important favorite family meal— these were the hot topics.
Party Agenda and Timing
A well-structured party can make all the difference, and this one was no exception.
Josh thoughtfully provided a detailed party agenda, tailored to both Type A personalities and those who prefer a more relaxed approach.
This thoughtful touch gained positive feedback, as guests found it immensely helpful in navigating the event, especially with kids.
Due to the nature of being in a park with kids, parents occasionally had to step away from conversations (to catch their kids). While this interrupted some discussions, it also led to new connections and conversations.
The first 15 minutes of any event can be a bit… awkward. In this case, Josh acknowledged the initial hesitancy, especially since punctuality wasn’t a strong suit for many guests. As more guests trickled in, the atmosphere naturally shifted, and the party found its own rhythm.
Snacks and Refreshments
They provided a variety of snacks, aiming for a balance of healthiness and kid-friendliness.
Bananas, nut bars, Goldfish, fruit leathers, grapes, carrots, and a smattering of Hershey Kisses to satisfy the sweet tooth without going overboard. They offered sparkling water and regular water, which were well-received.
Josh also provided disposable bathroom cups, which was a total hit with the kids— they could snag their snacks and roam like mini-adults.
Lessons for Next Time
Your first party might not be perfect but take it as a warm up meetup and take note of what you wanted to change or improve for your second one.
Josh shared his notes and what’s up next for him and his family:
- Getting everyone on board: Some folks were a bit unsure about coming, maybe because they hadn’t met him before. For the next shindig, a more laid-back invite might do the trick.
- Snap with respect: He found out that not everyone is cool with their kiddos’ pics ending up online. Next time, during the group photo, a quick heads up on the social media sharing plan will be in order.
- Zoom In or Zoom Out: Thinking about their future events, they thought of fine-tuning their guest list. Maybe a smaller, more focused get-together, or go big and invite everyone. Different strokes for different folks, after all.
This party was a win – big time. It rekindled Josh’s confidence in being a connector in the neighborhood.
The compliments kept pouring in, and he has run into so many of the attendees since, with warm hellos all around.
With lessons learned and experiences gained, Josh is ready for the next round of community-building kid-centric gatherings!
Kudos to Josh and his family for making it happen and bringing their community together.
Hello, My name is Nick Gray. In my book, The 2-Hour Cocktail Party, I provide helpful guidance on how to host a great party for any event. I wrote this book to support anyone attempting to meet new people and develop closer bonds with their community.
When is your party? Send me an email and I will give you some bonus tips, including a pre-party checklist that you can print out. Plus I’ll answer any question you have, free of charge. I love talking about parties and I’m on a mission to help 500 people host their first party.