Not sure where the last couple months have gone and truly, my only excuse is that life has gotten in the way. My kids have eaten, of course, and they’ve even had creative lunches, but I just haven’t had a chance to take many pics. Our mornings have gotten so rushed.
One of the more exciting things that happened in the last couple of months is that my baby turned five. Yes, five. It turns out that my baby is also a party planner, and he had all sorts of ideas about how we were going to celebrate. His party ideas moved from Mario Brothers to Chuck E. Cheese to Star Wars to gymnastics to Toy Story. There may have been a few more ideas in there, but needless to say, there were a lot of ideas. With just a couple of weeks to go, he finally settled on Toy Story, much to my chagrin. Nothing about Toy Story was inspiring me. And if you know the way I operate, a couple of weeks is not near enough for me to throw the kind of party my little guy was expecting. Stressed? Just a little.
In the end, it turned out to be a pretty fantastic little party if I do say so myself. 8 kids, all wonderful. Read on for details. Many of the ideas are adaptable.
Little Man’s birthday fell on a Sunday, but we partied for three days, starting on Friday at preschool.
All together now, “oooh!” These cupcakes were inspired from the Family Fun site. Little Man and Betty Crocker helped me make rainbow chip cupcakes. The faces were decorated with white York Pieces and a black gel pen. We used Air Heads for the ears and Sour Apple Straws for the antennae. Pretty darn easy and best of all, Little Man was able to be pretty involved.
On Saturday, Little Man had 7 of his best buddies over to celebrate.
One of the reasons I loved this party is that he really got into decorating the house. Here’s the block and army men structure he put together.
Another simple idea. I also made a “Happy Birthday” banner with a Toy Story font that I found online. Turned out cute, but of course, no pics.
I was a little nervous heading into this party as I wasn’t sure that I had enough planned. The thing that cracks me up about kid parties, is you never know what’s going to be a total hit and what’s going to be a complete bust. As we were waiting for all of the kids to arrive, a few of them found a few stray balloons left over from our New Year’s Eve shindig. Pretty soon, we had blown up enough balloons for each of the children and that unplanned activity kept them busy for a good 20+ minutes. Knowing we needed to move on, the first “structured” game we decided to play was a version of “Jail.”
You know the line in the movie, “There’s a snake in my boot?” Yeah, I didn’t either. But its amazing what a little ‘net research can teach you. The kids lined up and took turns throwing a stuffed snake into a “boot.” Didn’t my hubby do a great job of drawing a cowboy boot for me to tape onto a bucket? If the child missed the boot, he had to go to “jail.” A friend of mine was the “jailkeeper,” which meant she sat on the couch and tickled and threatened to kiss them. They thought it was hilarious. The next person to get the snake into the boot released all of the kids from jail. We’ve played many versions of this game and the best thing about it is that it promotes teamwork, and for some reason, its always the kid who’d you least expect that ends up freeing a big group of kids. After about 20 rounds of this game (really), we switched gears.
Our second game:
This how “Pin the Parts of Mr. Potato Head” was supposed to turn out.
This is what really happened. Poor Mr. Potato Head. I know how it feels when nothing seems to be right.
Our next game was a Search and Rescue. This game had many components. We scattered 100 little army men all over my living and dining room floors. We also scattered chocolate gold coins on the same floors. And finally, each child received their “Mission.” I’d found a Toy Story Memory game on clearance – each child received three cards and they had to find the match. We flipped the cards upside down to add to the challenge – some of the kids got really into it, others just stuffed their bags with as many army men and chocolate coins as they could. No one cried, which is always the risk of a “scramble” type game.
After that, the kids said they were hungry and asked for a snack. You gotta love kids that are comfortable enough at your house to just outright ask when its snack time. Not cake time, but snack time. I was actually surprised at how hungry they were – we had a simple snack of cheese booty and carrots. And Buzz Soda. And more Buzz Soda. Which is really just lime Hawaiian punch and 7-Up, but apparently, when you’re five, its really, really good. Especially when you drink it from fancy glass juice cups and blue bendy straws.
After our snack, the kids had one last game. They’d been itching to play this game…”The Claw.” I filled a tall laundry bucket with green balloons and enough inexpensive stuffed animals. We used our robot claw and each of the kids got to pull out an animal. This game was actually much harder for them than I anticipated, but they stuck with it and were excited when they finally got their stuffie.
I wish I had a better picture. It was my first attempt at fondant, so I went easy on myself. I made marshmallow fondant, which was pretty simple and the kids all thought it tasted good. I didn’t think it was bad, much better than the store bought stuff, but I still don’t know that I’d want to eat a ton of it. Anyhow, to make it easier on myself, I used buttercream icing to cover the cake, and just cut fondant pieces to decorate. And I bought the characters from the Disney Store. Little Man loves playing with stuff like that, so that actually seemed like the best route.
The kids ate the top two layers and then I was able to serve the bottom layer to our family on Sunday. I just reset the characters and it looked like a brand new cake!
Our last structured activity was gift opening. We played “hot potato” with a balloon, and the child left holding the balloon when the music stopped got to give his or her gift to the birthday boy. This worked out okay – not great – but not bad. I think it’d work better for older kids.
Before each of the kids left, they stopped to pick up their bag.
We found these adorable laptop style Toy Story bags on clearance at Target the week before. The kids were able to put their army men and stuffed animals into their bags throughout the party which kept us organized and avoided tears over lost toys. The bags actually came with a little coloring set and we added a bag of Toy Story fruit snacks to complete the package.
The birthday boy claimed this to be a perfect party, which made for a happy mama!