Dora Party -2yr- Swiper no Swiping!
Christine in Kensington, CT USA
Dora Birthday Party - 2 year old girl Because this party was for such a young child, we tried to keep things simple so she wouldn't be overwhelmed, but also special enough to be worthy of such an important occasion! We kept the guest list fairly small, and planned one major activity (a Dora adventure) and otherwise just free play during the times that we were not eating dinner, opening presents, or having cake. This worked wonderfully - I can't recommend this approach enough for this age. Guests: 5 children from age 2 - 5.5, one 9-year-old helper, and 12 adults Invitations: Dora "Fiesta" invitations. (Also used matching thank you notes.)
Partyware/Decorations: Dora "Catch the Stars" basic partyware (large plates, small plates, napkins). Solid neon orange and pink tablecloths and cutlery. Pink and orange paper chains made by 4-year- old big sister. Brightly colored shiny stars hung throughout indoor party area. We used the cake and a Dora doll as the table centerpiece.
Arrival: Dora printable coloring sheets and crayons were available for the children as guests were arriving. We had corn chips and salsa and guacamole, baby carrots, and Dora "animal"-style crackers out for munching. Dora adventure activity: Once everyone had arrived, we gathered the children on the deck to begin Dora's adventure. We talked about birthdays and all of the things we usually have for birthdays. When someone said "balloons," I explained that the birthday girl's birthday balloon was missing! We could not have a party without the birthday balloon!
At this point I pulled out backpacks (with map in map pocket) that we had made from craft foam (lots of work! Instructions available on Nick Jr. web site). We had made a version of Map with images of flowers, stars, and a slide. These represented the three activities we needed to do in order to find the birthday balloons. We sang the Map song and everyone pulled out their maps. We discussed the route we would follow in the style of the Dora show.
Then we all set out on our first adventure! First stop: The flower fairy's garden. We recruited a special auntie to be the flower fairy. She was seated in a side yard on a chair decorated with paper chains. Poor flower fairy was sad because it was very windy last night and all of her favorite flowers had blown away! In front of her were five flower pots filled with moss (florist supply) but no flowers! Each pot was painted a different color. Each child was given a little colored card and asked to find the missing flower of that color. ("Silk" flowers were all hidden in shrubbery - one for each child, varying levels of difficulty by child's age.) Once children found the flower, they returned to flower fairy and "planted" their flower in the matching color pot.
Then, for extra fun, they could find more flowers - brightly colored pinwheels that were hidden throughout the area. Flower Fairy was happy and so were the children! As a thank you gift, Flower Fairy gave each of the children a bracelet like Dora's - yellow beads with blue flower bead. (We had made these ahead as well.)
For our next stop, we went to the back yard to catch some stars! Using the same color theme, we had strung shiny, brightly-colored stars on ribbons, and used clothespins to pin them to a long, straight clothesline. Children took star-shaped glasses out of their backpacks and wore them while they jumped up to catch "their" color stars. When they had caught (pulled down) all of their stars, they received little fairy wands with star tops as a prize. (The one boy received a star-shaped sheriff's badge.)
It was time for the next activity - but we were interrupted by Swiper music! We brought an easel out from its hiding place, and there was a large poster of Swiper (we used a school opaque projector to blow up an image from the Nick Jr. site, then colored in all of it except the mask area). We explained that Swiper wasn't here to swipe anything today - instead he needed our help to find his missing mask! We had placed Swiper masks inside each backpack, and the children took them out and we played "pin the mask on Swiper."
For our last activity, the slide, we went up a hill to our playscape and climbed up to the "fort" area at the top of the slide. But this was no ordinary slide, because underneath it lived the Grumpy Old Troll! We had a very enthusiastic, animated friend portray the grumpy old troll. He came up with two different riddles/tasks - one for the two youngest children and another for the older ones. For the youngest he asked, "If under your clothes you wear a diaper, tell me what you say to Swiper!" (Answer: "Swiper no swiping!") When they answered they could slide down the slide. For the older ones, he said, "If you want to pass the Grumpy Old Troll, you must be able to slide under this pole!" He held a broomstick over the slide and the children had to stay low while sliding in order to pass under the pole. (He varied the difficulty based on the age.)
Afterward everyone received a Dora bouncy ball from the Grumpy Old Troll. Once the tasks had been completed, a Birthday Fairy came out and announced that she was so pleased that they had been brave and clever enough to complete the tasks, that she could lead them to the birthday balloons. She took a circuitous route around the yard until the children could spy a big box under the deck. They worked together to open the box, and there were the birthday balloons. Adults made a big fuss and blew bubbles and congratulated everyone. It was so much fun! Dinner: We had a break to prepare food, and the children played with all their new things.
For dinner we served tacos (hard and soft) with all the fixings, plus rice, cut pineapple, and a gelatin salad.
Cake: After dinner the birthday girl opened presents, and then we had cake. The cake was a simple yellow cake with white cream cheese frosting, decorated from bright neon pink and orange stars that I cut from rolled fondant. EASY and very pretty.
Favors: Since the children already had so many goodies - backpacks, bracelets, star wands/pins, pinwheels, flowers in colored pots, and balls - the goody bags were very small. They had Dora cookies and fruit snacks, some Dora bubbles and temporary tattoos. Everything but the flower pot fit inside the backpack for taking home.
This was a wonderful party!! It took a lot of time to put together but the projects were all fun to prepare and the children's enthusiasm made it all worth it! In hindsight, this would have been better as a 3-year-old party (our 2-year-old birthday girl had loads of fun but did need help with some activities), and we should have made the box with the balloon in it more exciting with a balloon for each child, confetti and streamers, bubbles, etc. Otherwise everything was fantastic!
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