Editor’s Note: The I.D.E.A. Store is a sponsor of chambanamoms.com, however this birthday party review was unsolicited and the opinions represented are solely the author’s. Want to write a birthday party review? Contact us!
By Melissa Cronin
My 8-year-old daughter, Julia, could not have been more thrilled with her birthday this year. The I.D.E.A. Store provided an enriching, educational, resourceful, and stimulating environment for kids and parents alike. Julia was familiar with the I.D.E.A. Storebecause we donate items as well as purchasing materials for our girls to make their own projects. The I.D.E.A Store is part of the Champaign-Urbana School Foundation, a nonprofit supporting excellence in local K-12 education.
Shauna Carey, a retired art teacher (she worked 30+ years for Champaign Unit 4 Schools), helped Julia plan her party. Julia enjoyed the one-on-one time with Shauna and that she was able to express her ideas. In planning her party, and learning more about recycling, Julia decided to have a “green” party — the decorations were all recyclable materials and reused, including her plates and utensils.
Finally it was party day! Some of the activities included learning about ways to reduce, reuse and recycle. It was explained and emphasized throughout the party that all of these options were better than throwing things away. Shauna also had Julia share the box of recently donated items that Julia brought in with her friends. There was thought-provoking conversation and many insightful comments made by the kids (ages 5 – 12) as they created their own art and expressions with the materials. The projects included making books, pins, and 3D figures. The I.D.E.A. Store had wonderful volunteers that assisted with the party and provide one-on-one assistance with gluing, cutting, etc.
In keeping with the theme of creating, we provided a sheet cake and let the kids decorate it with icing. They all appeared proud to see (and eat) the one-of-a-kind cake that they helped make for their friend. The kids also had a tour of the I.D.E.A. Store and were able to fill their “goody” bags with items that were donated to continue creating artwork at home. Some of the parents found a few great treasures to purchase too!
Boys and girls seemed to equally enjoy the party. It’s definitely one birthday Julia will never forget and being able to help her community and environment will have an everlasting effect.
To learn more about birthday parties at the I.D.E.A Store visit its website. The I.D.E.A. Store is located at 25 E. Springfield Ave. in Champaign.
Melissa Cronin lives in Champaign with her husband, Tim, and daughters Julia (8) and Hannah (11). Melissa is the founder and senior care manager at Age Wise Care Management, which offers professional geriatric care management for families struggling to care for an aging loved one.