The Barnyard -3yr- Buckets, Bandanas & Hay Bales
Karen in Snohomish, WA, USA
Barnyard Birthday Party - Sept 2000 For my daughter's 3rd birthday party, we wanted to have an animal theme since she loves animals so much. I was having a hard time thinking of what to do, when I came across this site. This was a tremendous help in planning and coming up with ideas. I have bookmarked this site and am now using it to plan my son's 5th birthday party this next month. Rachel choose farm animals, so we went with it. I looked for a petting farm at which to have the party, but because her birthday is at the end of Sept, the farms were all closed in our area for the season. This meant we had to come up with some really creative ideas as now it had to be at our home. With hindsight, I would recommend checking into pumpkin patch places. I saw several the next month that had covered areas in which you could host a party - and the atmosphere is certainly farm-like.
Anyway, I sent out the invitations, which were store bought farm theme ones. And, I purchased some coordinating plates, napkins and cups. I also found some white balloons with cows on them at a local party store and had to have them, along with red, yellow and green balloons. We attached them in bunches, with the centerpiece grouping attached to a toy farm set that belonged to the kids. I had an extra table, with the food set up on and left the dining table for the kids to eat at. At the opposite end, I had a large galvanized bucket (borrowed from a friend), sitting atop a bandana, filled with ice and liter pop, and the cups handy. It helped to have two separate serving areas so things didn't get congested.
At the food table, I also used blue and red bandanas as table decorations. I used them in those wooden CD holder 'crates' to hold food, as well as to line a small metal bucket. My friend had a real lariat that I hung on the wall above the food table. Another friend had a small old piece of barn wood that I wiped clean and propped on the table behind the food. I ended up creating a sort of still life of farm articles (i.e. barbed wire) by borrowing from people. Saved money and looked great. Another friend loaned me some bales of hay. We set up a couple by the front door with a scarecrow sitting on it, holding a sign. We set up corn stalks and a few squash/small pumpkins for a nice farm/fall display. Above the drink area, I had attached some fall leaves and raffia and made a little swag. My husband printed out pictures of farm animals and added cartoon balloons coming out of their 'mouths' with silly sayings, like "cock a doodle doo, it's Rachel's birthday!" The kids got a kick out of that.
For food I tried to keep to the farm theme as much as possible. We had 'pigs in a blanket '- hot dogs with cheese wrapped in crescent rolls, 'hay feed' - which was a mixture of potato strings and pretzel sticks, and baked beans. Since Halloween was around the corner, it was easy for me to find some candy corn and little candy pumpkins, which I set out in a small basket.
I made a red barn cake using the directions that I got from Celebrate Express. It was very easy to do only I couldn't find farm animal cookies, so I placed some of the plastic toy animals from the kids' farm set instead. And, of course ice cream with that. We dressed in overalls and plaid or checked shirts. Rachel and I had two braids and 'freckles' painted on our cheeks. We wore straw and/or cowboy hats and boots. I had told other parents that they could come in overalls, etc as well and many did. It made it more fun.
Games. They had to be suitable for indoors or out since we had no way of knowing what the weather would be like. And, they had to be ones that kids within a wide range of ages could do. We played a musical chairs sort of game using a couple of bales of hay and playing a tape of Old McDonald. 'Pin the Tail on the Pig' was a big hit. We had so many kids that a premade kit wouldn't work, so we printed out a large picture of a pig, minus tail (this had to be tiled over about 4 8.5 x 11 sheets of paper). I took short strips of wide pink curling ribbon and curled each one and put a piece of tape on them. I wrote each child's name on them so we could keep track. Then put a bandana covering their eyes and turned them around. This was so simple and such a hit.( We played it for weeks after the party!)
Lastly, we had a cow piñata. I had made prebunched packages of candy with the proper amount in the piñata for the number of children to be there before filling the piñata. The reason I did that was to prevent the pushing and shoving that I had seen in the past and to make sure that the younger kids got some candy too, even though they weren't as fast. This caused some disappointment among the older kids, but I still think it was the most fair way to do it. They added their candy loot to a bag with their name on it that had a foam farm animal mask and some bubble bottles inside already. We also gave everyone a Polaroid snapshot of each kid doing something at the party. Instant fun and a great keepsake.
I think this about covers all that we did. Using this site for ideas, planning ahead to avoid stress, borrowing items you need from friends and/or family to save time and money - these are the best tips to have a successful, fun and memorable party that even the hosts can enjoy.
BirthdayPartyIdeas.com - Birthday party ideas to help you plan your kids birthday party celebration.
NutcrackerBallet.net - Nutcracker information, performance directory and ballet reviews.
FreeParkConcerts.com - Find the best summer concert in the park near you!