Mermaid In The Sea -5yr- Paper Plate Jellyfish
Caryn in Bothell, Washington, USA
For our five year old's birthday party, we rented a party room and pool at a nearby town. The pool has a wading area with waterspouts and games for the littlest ones or ones who don't swim well, a deeper water pool for those that swim and a lazy river" to float in a current. The Riverview Room we rented has a water theme with blue walls with a wave design and fish painted on the walls. Inspiration struck when my husband came home with a Little Mermaid costume for her and I went from there.
I designed invitations with Microsoft Publisher in a background of blues with clip-art of tropical fish and a clam "under the sea." The invitation read "Swim on over to (our girl's) Fifth Birthday!" vertically along the side. In a cute script font it read "Bring your swimsuits and towels for a whale of a time at (our girl's) "Little Mermaid/Under the Sea" Fifth Birthday. Food and Frolicking from 1:00 to 2:30 in the Riverview Room and Swimming in the pool from 2:30 to 3:30." The names were printed on the back of each invitation and they were rolled and tied with blue curling ribbon. (Note: I also put "Please let me know if your child has any dietary restrictions" just in case. This isn't a bad idea if you have a limited menu; last year we had to run out in the middle of our pizza party to buy some food for a partygoer when we realized we didn't have anything she could eat except the cake and ice cream.)
To decorate the entry is covered with a door cover with streamers of metallic blue (orientaltrading tropical fish door cover) for guests to walk through into the "ocean" beyond. The tables are set with tablecloths in various shades of blues and purples. Tableware is in dark blue and light purple; the silverware is clear and rolled in white napkins with white seashell designs and tied with silver curling ribbon with little foam starfish attached to them. The food tables are covered with fish net (orientaltrading.com) in blue with shells and sea colored beads spread along the table . The other tables have little baskets of seashells and sea-colored glass beads decorating them.
Behind the food table along the back wall are balloon bouquets in blues (light aqua and sapphire) each with a dolphin shaped balloon "swimming" in the sea of balloons (these are held down by blue balloon weights). There is also a "present" chair in the corner for the birthday girl with a balloon bouquet of tropical fish (another orientaltrading.com find) behind a sparkly-fabric-covered seat tied with a big purple tulle bow where she sits and opens gifts. She gets to wear her mermaid costume as the "birthday mermaid princess" until it's time to swim.
She and I did some projects to decorate the room for her party including painting paper plate fish to hang on the walls and making "jellyfish" to float around the room. The jellyfish are paper plates painted on the backside which we let dry. We cut tissue paper "legs" in metallic blue and deep purple tissue and glued them to the inside of one plate. On the other plate I poked a hole and ran a length of curling ribbon through and tied it off. We glued pom-poms and "googly eyes" for eyes and glued and stapled the two plates (top with eyes and bottom with legs) together. The jellyfish float around the room by helium-filled balloons tied to the curling ribbon.
The kids goody-bags are simply colored paper treat bags filled with a swimming goggles for the kids to use in the pool and from OrientalTrading.com an inflatable beach ball (clear ball with a fish inside) glittery fish tattoos a "shell whistle" (a whistle shaped like a seashell) little pop-up fish squirt guns and (for the girls) colored sea shell necklaces. I also stuck a little cellophane package of colored goldfish crackers tied with curling ribbon in the goody bags. Goody bags are on a separate table when the kids come in along with some bowls of stickers (starfish and shell shaped plastic bowls filled with fish and mermaid stickers) so the kids can decorate their bags when they come in if they don't want to eat.
The pool provides swim rings and vests but I also purchased some fish themed swim rings and also some arm floats just in case there weren't enough to go around. Once the kids start arriving and have their goody bags decorated it's time to eat.
Food includes pizza (cut in "party size" squares instead of the regular slices) potato chips clear cups of blue jello with gummy fish floating in it (after the jello is almost set I used a knife to break the top to make it look like choppy waters and then put a little whipped cream on the tips of the waves to make "foam.") fruit kebobs (pineapple melon ball and seedless grapes on an oversized toothpick with metallic fringed ends)stuck to a fresh pineapple teriyaki beef kebobs with fresh pineapple and cheese squares(also on the fun toothpicks) and pinwheel sandwiches from Costco. We got Capri Sun for the kids to drink in the "Cooler" flavers (the ocean wave packaging even worked with the theme!) and the adults have bottled water to drink.
After eating so there's time for the food to settle and make room for cake it's present opening time. The mermaid birthday girl sits on her "throne" with the other kids gathered around. When it works right each child gets to bring up his/her gift to the birthday girl and it's nice and orderly. How it usually works though is they all clamor and try to help her open her presents and see what she got and it's absolute chaos and the most fun imaginable.
For the cake(s) there are two choices: chocolate cupcakes with homemade frosting lightly colored in sea colors (white frosting with the blue-green colors mixed in so they're piped along the edges) with fish shaped confetti sprinkles on top or a "Hawaiian" cake (yellow cake with crushed pineapple and orange jello drizzled with pineapple juice and allowed to set overnight to marinate. One of my favorites!) The Hawaiian cake is frosted with cool-whip - white along the sides of the sheet cake and decorated on the top with colored cool-whip to look like the ocean with two little plastic fish from the party store swimming along the top and some colored seaweed piped along the bottom. The party store has some great candles that spell her name and a number "5" on a tall stick with stars for each side that sits high above the cake instead of the usual candles. After cake and ice cream the kids bounce around for a little bit change into their swimsuits in the lockers splash in the pool(s) for an hour and then go home hopefully happy and exhausted."
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