Idea No.


The Barnyard -3yr- Buckets, Bandanas & Hay Bales



February 2001


Karen in Snohomish, WA, USA


Barnyard Party

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.

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