Whose Birthday is it?

Kids Parties.  One of the final frontiers of parenting!  It seems these days that some parents try & outdo each other when it comes to grand birthday parties for children.  Kids parties are just that – parties for KIDS!  They don’t have to be over the top, meticulously planned or include structured games and big expensive prizes.  Trust Us!!!  We have both been there before and little ones don’t care about much more than “Are my friends coming?” and “Is there a cake?”.  That being said however, it’s definitely no excuse not to make a little effort!  Both of our girls have birthdays’ coming up soon and we’ve decided to show you just how easy it can be to make a simple party special.  We are sharing our ideas for Miss E’s 3rd Birthday Party in this post…Nursery Rhyme Theme!

Now, I love a good party as much as the next person and I (D) am the type of mum to go all out sometimes and tend to forget said party IS actually for a small child!  (I did used to be an Event Manager in a former life so you have to give me a little bit of leeway!!)   I think deciding on a theme for the party can help a lot as it gives you some direction and loads of ideas to jazz up a simple backyard bash…

Decorations & Theming

For invitations, I’m looking at putting something together myself and printing it out. I really like these digital clip art images from the Etsy store Spring Hill Graphics as the basis for the invite. They have lots of image collections for download from their store. For under AUD$5 with the current exchange rate, it’s much nicer than a lot of the dodgy clip art out there, so I am willing to pay a few dollars for something a little cute. I think the Hey Diddle Diddle set is my favourite…

SHG Cow jumped over the moon

What I like to do is find a few statement pieces and fill in the rest with cheap & reliable things available from your local $2 Shop.  Check out this cute “festival” bunting available from Pink Frosting.  At $9.95 for 5m its very affordable!

It would look fabulous strung up in the garden along with some little paper lanterns like these available from Chinatown Online.

Or if you prefer a bit more of a do-it-yourself approach, check out Etsy Store Hedgehog Studio. They provide pdf file downloads and have lots of nursery rhyme themed items, such as gift boxes, cupcake toppers, or my favourite – the Mother Goose Story Book Banner which you can edit and personalise. Currently under AUD$5.00, it’s a bargain – all you need is string, printer and scissors…

Having CD’s of Nursery Rhymes (songs and/or stories) playing in the background can add to the atmosphere.  Check out your local library as they will have plenty of choices!!!

As your guests arrive – set up a craft activity befitting your theme to keep the little ones occupied.  Printing and cutting out masks beforehand and having them available to colour is a good idea.  You could have Humpty Dumpty, Little Bo Peep or even a selection of different farmyard animals.  Once everyone has arrived, a little sing-a-long of “Old McDonald” can be arranged with each child donning their mask and doing the sounds for their particular animal.

GAMES

Games for little ones are always a bit hit-and-miss, but a simple idea would be to have a little treasure hunt so to speak. Fill some mittens (you could make paper/cardboard/felt cutouts or maybe find cheap pairs in a discount store your guests can keep – might be a great idea in Tassie!) with a few treats and hide around the garden beforehand.  Then sing or play on a CD the “3 little kittens” rhyme and have everyone try & find the kittens’ mittens.

A simple game of Ring-a-Rosie is always a favourite for Miss E – in fact within two minutes of meeting a new child, she is normally grabbing their hands and trying to get them to play it!

You could also print out or draw a large picture of the moon and have a cow cutout which you could use as a version of pin the tail on the donkey…it could be “pin the cow jumping over the moon”  You can show everyone the point on the paper (maybe a star, or the moon itself?) where the cow needs to land, and the closest to the point gets a treat?

What about a game of “Knock Humpty Off the Wall?”  Make a little Humpty Dumpty (or use a toy Humpty if you happen to have one) and sit him on a wall, and have each child take turns to hurl a sandbag and try to knock him down.   You would probably get all the Dad’s trying to outdo each other with this game!

What about a Piñata?  You could buy one online or have a go at making your own.  Humpty is shaped just like a balloon and would not be that difficult to organise.  Fill with a stack of lollies, find a big stick, move everyone to a safe distance and Go!

Miss E loves drawing and stickers, so a little picture/craft activity table is great fun. Have some black sheets of paper. One end of the table have a twinkle star theme, with plenty of gold star stickers, glitter and colours for drawing on black paper. You could even buy some glow in the dark stars so that the kids can pop the picture on the bedroom wall and look at the stars at night… At the other end of the table lots of cotton balls and glue sticks for making Mary had a little lamb pictures. Draw an outline on the paper for the kids to follow. Write the children’s name on each and collect up once they are finished to hand to their parents when they leave as a memento.

At this age, musical chairs might be a bit difficult, but cushions on the floor can suffice, with nursery rhymes as the dancing music, then sitting on the cushion when the music stops.

If you have a musical friend with a guitar, entertainment can be just as simple as a sing-a-along with actions to some favourite nursery rhymes. hand out shakers or bells to shake along to the music, or for the more active – scarves to wave around and dance with.

FOOD (The most important part!!!)

Find some pails around your place or at a $2 shop and fill with bottles of water (Jack & Jill)

Make star-shaped sandwiches – just cut out the sandwich with a large cookie cutter. You can have the bottom piece as normal, then actually cut out a star shape from the top piece so the ingredients show through.  (Twinkle Twinkle)

Make some big flower-shaped/decorated cookies (Mary, Mary) – you could even have decorating the cookies as an activity…

Make mini Roast Beef Rolls using those tiny bake at home dinner rolls which are a perfect size for little people (This little piggy)

Cat, Fiddle, Cow & Moon Shaped Fairy bread (from the cut out pieces of sandwiches) – as no party is complete without it!! (Hey Diddle, Diddle)

Party Pies with a bird cutout shape on top (Four & Twenty Black Birds)

Chocolate meringues – piped into sheep shapes (Baa Baa Black sheep)

And of course the cake… No party is complete without it. I have such wonderful memories (as I imagine many Australian’s do) of Mum pulling out the Women’s Weekly cake book (the one with the train on the cover) every year and asking me which cake I wanted. It was such a treat, and was the start of the exciting lead up to my birthday… I sat Miss E down with  it a few weeks ago (yes, the very same one that I used to look through, Mum gave it to me), but she was more interested in trying to chase our cat. will try her again closer to the date. But at this point, I’d say it will either be the Humpty Dumpty cake, or the Farm Cake. or I would love to make a star cake for her…

For her first birthday I made her a fruit cake… A real fruit cake… She and her friends loved it. In fact, everyone loved it. If you have a child who has gluten, dairy or egg intolerances, it’s an awesome option. Here it is…

Real fruit cake

I probably wont make a whole fruit cake this time, but will do the fruit skewers with the watermelon stars… Ella goes feral on junk food (give her some chocolate and ten minutes later she is bouncing off the walls – apparently DH was the same), so I do prefer to have lots of healthy options that are attractive to the kids (things they will actually eat, not just there to make me feel better!) So some healthy dips with veggie sticks will be on the table too.

Goodie Bags

It’s always nice to have something to thank your guests but you don’t have to go overboard.  A simple bag of treats works well or you could have a look round the stores and find something like a small nursery rhyme book/colouring set to give to each child instead. These star crayons from The House of Baby Piranha are really cute, and only $3 for 8…

Our favourite idea is to make a CD with Miss E’s favourite nursery rhymes and make a copy for each guest. Scan in a drawing that she has done for the album cover – or a photo of her – holding up a ‘Thank you’ sign. The kids will love getting their very own CD.

Don’t forget their Twinkle, Twinkle or Mary Had a Little Lamb picture too!

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Comments

  1. Ali Bridger says:

    Instead of musical chairs, we played “musical squares”. Cut out large 20 cm squares of corrugated card (from an old box) and covered with shiny paper, with a big number on one side. One for each guest. Place the squares face down around the dance area. When the music stops, everyone chooses a square to stand on. Draw a number from a hat and then everyone turns over their square to see if they have that number (or animal, shape, etc if numbers are too hard). The winner gets a prize (we had tattoos, or a sticker) and everyone helps to shuffle the squares for the next round. We played about 8 rounds, then gave a sticker to anyone who missed out. No losers, no tears.

    • I love it Ali – that is going on the list! Musical chairs is the game that is always guaranteed to have tears shed from my memory…

    • Funnily enough, Miss E actually came into me in the kitchen yesterday. She brought in her toy xylophone, a cushion and her Jemima & Marco lamb toys. Handed me the xylophone popped the toys and cushion on the floor and asked me to play the alphabet song.
      Then she danced around the cushion, as I was playing I stopped as I hit a wrong note and she stopped dancing and laid down on the cushion.
      She kept doing this, so they must have been playing musical chairs/cushions at child care! Very timely…

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