5-Minute English: Birthday Parties

Welcome back. This is episode number 128. Today, we’re going to be talking about birthday parties.

Growing up is funny, isn’t it? As we get older, we wish we’re younger. And when we’re younger, we want to be older. I remember thinking as a kid: When I’m older, life will be better.

Now I’m older and I would do anything to be a kid again for a day. Actually, I’d love to spend a month of my life reliving the best day of each year. How cool would that be?

I’m curious to know, as a kid, did you think that being an adult was better? My daughter Julia is three years old now and won’t stop talking about how much she wants to be an adult. She wants to be a grown woman. I’ve asked her why a few times and her answers vary day to day.

Today, she said, If I were an adult, I would go shopping and buy strawberries and watermelon and crackers. When I told her that she could come with me to the store and buy fruit and crackers, she didn’t respond. She just continued, If I were an adult, I’d drop Clara off at school and say bye and give her a kiss and then come back and get her.

Clara is her little sister. She’s about a year and a half younger.

Grammatically, this is interesting because it’s the second conditional: “If I were an adult, I would do xyz.”  It’s a hypothetical situation. My daughter is not an adult, obviously. So, she would use this to express how life would be if she were an adult.

And it’s also interesting because my daughter’s logic doesn’t really make sense to me. I mean, if I were a kid, I would imagine that being an adult would allow me to eat sweets all day. I was sure that’s what she would say because she’s got such a sweet tooth. But no, she loves pretending that she’s a mom. She’d love to drop her daughter off at school – her baby sister. She’d love to feed her, put her to bed, try and change her diaper. If she were an adult, that’s what she would do. 

So Lucas and I, Lucas is my husband, we tried to convince her that being a kid is wonderful, and then we started listing off reasons why.

One of the examples Lucas gave was that kids get to go to birthday parties and get treat bags. Julia immediately said, "I want my treat bag!" and I immediately corrected both of them. That special bag of goodies that you get at a party is called a party favor. When you’re a kid, you receive party favors at birthday parties. Sometimes inside you might get a pencil, some Play-Doh, maybe a paper airplane that you can build, some candy and other knickknacks.

In any case, it’s called a party favor. And Lucas’s lack of knowledge for this term was like a light bulb going off in my head. This has to be a 5-minute English episode. There’s so many great terms about birthday parties that can be learned. So that’s the topic for today.


This episode was created with a goal in mind: to help you think about the birthday parties in your life. I hope that by the end of this lesson you feel like you can describe your special days with more detail. If you wish to get the bonus material that goes along with this audio, be sure to sign up to Premium Content below.