Dora Party -3yr- Candy Cave & Rainbow Bridge
Melissa in Rotterdam, NY United States
We had an all-out Dora-themed party for my daughter's 3rd birthday. I spent a lot of time prepping for this party but it was well worth it to see the joy on all the kids faces. We had 16 children attend, mostly toddlers with a few younger and older ones. The weather was not ideal, so the majority of the party was inside.
I used a few decorations from the Dora Star Catcher collection and then supplemented the rest to coordinate. The kitchen was the food/buffet room. I covered my large table with a lime green tablecloth and hung lime green, orange, yellow and hot pick steamers from each corner of the room to the center light. I sprinkled little stars on the tablecloth and put out Mexican-themed snacks such as a taco dip, tortilla chips with cheese, salsa or guacamole to dip in, etc. In our family room I set up another lime green and star covered table for adults to sit at, with more Dora decoration above. In the living room I used two old closet doors, laid them over small child-height tables and covered it with a Dora star-catcher tablecloth, and put little plastic kid-sized chairs around it, so the kids had their own fun table.
As the kids arrived I sent them to a separate table I had set up to get them Dora-ready. I had a collection of temporary Dora, Diego and Boots tattoos with wet sponges so that the kids could pick out a tattoo to wear for the day. I also had at this table, tons of yellow bead bracelets I had made, each with one colored flower just like Dora's. I made a few with soccer balls instead of flowers for the boys. After each child got their tattoo and bracelet we sat them around the kid's table for craft time. I had purchased plenty of foam door-hangers and a bucket of Dora and Diego foam stickers, as well as alphabet stickers and glitter glue. Each child got to decorate a door hanger to take home with them.
After this activity it was time to eat. I used a long counter in my kitchen for a buffet, a Mexican fiesta of course! I made beef and chicken filling, hard and soft shells, cooked peppers & onions, Spanish rice and then tons of fixings (lettuce, tomato, etc.) I also made some chicken nuggets and Taquitos (quesadilla roll-ups) for the pickier kids. At the beginning of the buffet line I had Dora and lime green plates and sets of silverware my daughter helped me make. We took a fork, spoon and knife, rolled them up in a Dora napkin and ties each with a bit of curling ribbon.
After the meal, I announced that it was time to go on a Dora adventure. I called all the kids outside and gave them all a Dora backpack. I used lavender glossy gift bags with handles and made Backpack's face on each one using colored sticky-backed foam. I then cut a slit in the side of each one and inserted a rolled-up Map that I had made, showing them the 3 places we would go, just like on the show. Map's face was on the outside of the map when rolled up. They looked GREAT and everyone loved them. On the back of each backpack I put a yellow star with the child's name so they were personalized. For the few boys we had I made the same backpack but with an orange glossy bag, same color as Diego's. In each bag I put a few small goodies like 4 large Dora stickers (a roll of 100 large stickers from Oriental Trading was only $5!), Dora hair ties, plastic rings and stick-on earrings, and a Dora fruit snack. For the boys I had rubber snakes and bug stickers. Also in each bag was a mini-flashlight with a Dora sticker on it and a home-made telescope made from 2 overlapping cardboard tubes (a smaller longer one and a larger short one, like an extended telescope), which I painted green with blue foam at each end. They took a long time to make so many but looked cute and added to the adventure.
When the kids were all gathered and received their backpacks I told them that Dora had wanted each child to be a star-catcher just like her, but that all the stars had been lost in the jungle. And then did the whole Dora thing, Who do we ask for help when we don't know which way to go? and they all yelled Map! Map! I had my own backpack and pulled out my map, which I had drawn and copied for everyone, that had a picture of Map in the top left corner, a 3-D drawing of all 3 places connected by a path, and then 3 squares along the bottom, each with a blow-up of a destination, which we red out-load together,
First we go to Candy Cave, then over Rainbow Bridge and then to the JUNGLE! Candy Cave, Rainbow Bridge, JUNGLE!So where do we go first? CANDY CAVE! Candy Cave was my large shed, which I had lined with 4x8 sheets of cardboard and stuck candy into drilled holes or with double-stick tape squares. Lollipops, M&M's, Smarties, etc. I even stuck in the cardboard some bug and spider rings which added to the cave effect. When we got to the cave opening I said, It looks pretty dark in there. What can we use to help us see in the dark? to which the kids yelled Flashlight! and Who might have a flashlight? and the yelled Backpack! and they each reached in and pulled out their Dora flashlight, turned them on and ran in the cave. They went crazy picking candy off the walls!
When they came out I pointed to the ground where I had sprinkled a trail of white and yellow foam stars. I asked them, Where do we go next? And some pulled out their maps while others remembered and yelled Rainbow Bridge so we followed the trail of stars to Rainbow Bridge. My husband is a craftsman and had helped me make a bridge. We used a couple of 2x4's for the underside rails and spaced 18 planks across to make the bridge. I painted 3 planks each of red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple and had my husband screw in only the first and last ones of each color, leaving a space for the middle of each color to be inserted. I scattered the missing planks around the surrounding grass. The bridge was placed over an old pool liner I had cut to look like a river. It was everyone's favorite destination.
When we arrived there I said Uh Oh, Rainbow Bridge is broken, we'll have to fix it before was can cross! And the kids immediately got the idea and dove to pick up a colored plank and put it in it's proper place and then they all ran across and started to follow the trail of stars again, some yelling Now we're going to the JUNGLE! As we followed the trail, I had my brother (with a blue cloth mask over his eyes) hide behind a tree. He popped out and some of the kids immediately knew who he was and began yelling (hand out in the air) Swiper, no Swiping!. I added to the effect and said don't let Swiper get your candy from candy cave! He snapped his fingers, said Oh, Maaaan and left.
The Jungle was a cluster of trees in the corner of our yard. I had pre-made vines using paper bag strips or green streamers and twisting them. I attached each end to a tree branch and had them swag down and up again, wrap around tree trunks, etc. To each vine I attached tons of different shaped jungle leaves I had cut from green poster board. It really looked like a jungle. Because they were going to the jungle to be a star catcher I had to have stars for each child. So I took 3 wooden shaped stars form the craft store, painted them yellow and drilled a small hole in the top of each one. I pulled green curling ribbon through each hole and curled it so the star would stay on but when pulled would slide off. I tied the other end of the curling ribbon to tree branches high above, at different heights so all the kids cold jump up and reach for one up high and pull it down. When we got to the jungle I reminded the kids they might need a telescope to find stars and that they should look in their backpack, they all pulled out their telescope and then ran to find a star and they each got one to take home.
After the adventure we went inside and had cake, cupcakes and ice cream. I had made several star-shaped cupcakes (Star-shaped cups sold in grocery stores) frosted with bright yellow frosting and glittery sprinkles. I also made a large sheet cake I decorated with bright green frosting (grass), a trail (graham cracker crumbs), a bridge (pretzel squares) and put a small Dora and Boots figurine on top, and in each of their hands raised up, I glued a small yellow star. While we ate, the kids began a discussion and asked if Swiper was coming to eat cake with them. (My gullible brother of course, obliged them with his presence)
After cake and ice cream we just opened presents. Many of the kids ended up playing outside on rainbow bridge which can be used over and over again. Everyone LOVED the party and commented on how creatively the theme was pulled together with both Dora and the whole star-catcher thing. Rainbow Bridge has been loaned out, kids still ask play on it every time they're over and my brother is still refferd to as Swiper. The kids all loved their backpacks and parents tell me they're still being carried around their houses, map included.
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