I'm secretly kind of happy when my kids choose some unique and/or obscure birthday party theme. Especially when it's centered around something they really love.
We only do "real" birthday parties at our house on certain birthday, because it can be a lot of work. On the off years the kids still get to have a friend over for a play date, they get to choose the dinner, and after dinner the family has cake...so we still celebrate every year. They just only get a full blown party with theme and favors and everything once in a while.
Kindergarten is one of the birthday years. Becca had a hard time narrowing down a themes, and wanted a Rainbow-Dot-to-Dot-Balloon birthday party, which actually left me a lot of leeway. (It reminded me a bit of the Fancy-Costume-Swim Party that Elephant and Piggie get invited to in I am Invited to a Party by Mo Willems...affiliate link)
Dot-to-Dot Birthday CakeOn the outside, we made a plain white cake. Then I piped her name out with colored frosting. Then I added mini M&M's (upside-down) and write numbers on them using a food-safe marker with edible ink (affiliate link).
Once cut, two layers of the cake were rainbow, and two layers of the cake had sprinkles (dot-to-dot, ya know.) Making the rainbow cake layers wasn't hard, but was a bit tedious, so you could also keep it simple by having plain cake inside.
I also tried my hand at some fondant balloons...not too bad for my 3rd time ever making fondant, but they weren't amazing.
I love finding ways to use party activities as party favors as well. The kids LOVED these dot-to-dot pillows, and I got lots of nice comments from their parents as well. You can find my full tutorial for making Dot-to-Dot Pillows on the Fairfield World Blog here.
The short version, though, is that you make simple pillows with bright fabric on one side and white fabric on the other. On the white side, you trace a simple dot-to-dot picture. You can either leave them unstuffed so the kids get to stuff them or you can stuff them ahead of time.
Then set them loose with some fabric markers and let them decorate their pillows. I used Tulip Dual Tip Fabric Markers (Affiliate link) These markers were great.
I had the kids stuff them and they loved it. If the kids stuff them, you will need some time to sew the pillows shut...so while you're sewing, have the kids work on some pony bead necklaces.
Pony Bead Necklaces
There's something about pony beads arranged in rainbow order that just makes them irresistable to little girls. I got these from JoAnns...and make sure to use your JoAnns coupon when you buy them. And besides being a fun activity...the necklaces worked as another party favor.
What would a rainbow party be without Face Painting?!? I hired Becca's favorite babysitter to come to the party to help me with Face Painting and general helping. It worked out great. She was old enough that the little girls thought she was cool and she was a big help to me...and she was young enough that the girls felt like she was just part of the party.
Rainbow Beanbag Toss
We're still obsessed with I-Spy Beanbags at our house, so we whipped up a bunch of new ones to toss. The girls tried to match the color bean bag with the color of the target. At the end of the party, each child got to choose 2 bean bags to take home...another activity/party favor combo.
Sidewalk Chalk Drawings
My original plan had been to have dot-to-dots all ready out on our sidewalk for the girls to complete with the chalk. As usual though, I ran out of time, so I set the girls loose drawing whatever they wanted. They loved it and they each got to choose 3 or 4 pieces of chalk to take home.
My husband thought it was rather funny that I had the girls doing math as one of the activities...but we're math kind of people. Each child got a bag of skittles, and I printed out pages 2 and 5 of this graphing activity for them to practice counting and graphing. They didn't even realize they were doing "school work." They were just happy to play with the candy.
Decorations were pretty sparse, but we did make some simple circle strings. Becca LOVES making these herself. You just use a 1 or 2-inch circle punch and sew the circles into long chains. In our case, we hung them from the light over the table where the girls worked.
For party favors, rather than trying to find lots of "rainbow" things, I tried to find fun things that came in lots of colors, so that the girls would get several different things, each a different color, so that all together their favors would make a rainbow, rather than each item being a rainbow. In the end, each went home with:
- The dot-to-dot pillow they colored
- Two I-Spy Bean Bags
- Their bead necklaces
- 3-4 pieces of sidewalk chalk
- 1 container of Play-do
- Their bag of skittles
- A pair of bright colored socks
- Rainbow stickers
Most of it was used during the party by them, and none of it was junky toys from the dollar store or party aisle.
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