Dora & Diego 2 & 4yr - Swiper no Swiping
Audrey in Cranston, RI USA
July 2007 Winner
Dora and Diego Animal Adventure Fiesta 2 year old boy and 4 year old girl We had our kids birthday party last weekend and it was so perfect that I am still in shock. I have a 2 year old boy and a 4 year old girl and their birthdays are just a couple of weeks apart. Since they are still young enough that they don't really have their own friends, we invite the kids and their whole families which are mostly family friends and have a double party. I try really hard to make sure that the theme is something both of my kids love and that there are activities that appeal to both of them, as well as to the broad age range of guests. It's also great because I can put a lot into the planning and even be a little bit more generous with the budget since the party is for both of them. Dora and Diego was the ideal theme for this year.
Invitations. I ended up doing a really cute invitation in PowerPoint which I turned into a jpg and emailed to everyone. I took the logo for Dora the Explorer, cut out the word Dora and replaced it with my daughter's name. I'm a horrible artist but somehow I managed to get the lettering just right. I also took the Go Diego Go logo, cut out the word Diego and replaced it with my son's name somehow that came out great too (if I do say so myself. Really I'm a terrible artist). I scanned them back into the computer and put them in each corner of the page. Then I just took some really colorful blocks and fonts and put the information geometrically around the page with some Dora/Diego themed pictures. I typed Come on Vamanos It's an Animal Adventure Fiesta across the top. I put a little picture of map with where are you going in one of the blocks with our address. I put a little picture of the Field Journal in one and put make a note in your field journal to be there with the date and time. And then I put a little picture of backpack and wrote that our pool will be open during and after the party so feel free to put a bathing suit and towel in your backpack. It wasn't swimming party but I wanted people to know they had the option, especially for the older kids.
DECORATIONS I kept the decorations pretty simple, but festive. I had three children's tables set up two had plain tablecloths and one had a dora birthday one. I put a big plush backpack and the rescue pack in the center (from our personal collection). I got brightly colored napkins and cups and plasticware and ended up finding very inexpensive bowls and plates which were great. They had both Dora and Diego on them which was great to stay in theme. They were in the regular paper goods section at the store party supplies are so expensive but these were sturdy Dixie brand and came in huge quantities for a reasonable price. The most fun part of the decorations though I found at Party City in the clearance section from Cinco de Mayo for 50 cents I bought these huge plastic wall hangings (larger than lifesize - really) which we put on the side of our house one had a mariachi band on it and the other had two flamenco dancers in full gear. Their expressions were so serious that it cracked me up. I also found a door frame that said fiesta with some chili peppers around it. Simple but great. I had written myself a schedule of events and I couldn't believe it but we ended up right on time for everything. Of course all of this depended on the weather being good, because my house isn't big enough for this kind of party. The prediction was for clouds but no rain. I was disappointed but told myself as long as there was no rain we'd be OK.
Meanwhile, we woke up to perfectly sunny skies, just the right temperature with breeze enough to keep us comfortable but so gentle that the napkins didn't even blow away. I really couldn't have asked for anything better. My kids looked so adorable and were so excited to be in theme. I dressed them as Dora and Diego my daughter had on a bright pink shirt, orange shorts and yellow socks with the dora star bracelet (bought at a party store in a 4-pack which was supposed to be a favor). And she wore Backpack (again from our personal collection). My little two year old wore a turquoise shirt, blue shorts, and a safari vest (from Gymboree).
The party started at 11 am. For the first half an hour, I figured people would just be arriving so I had a few activities, very mellow. On one of the children's tables I put two simple, neat crafts that I bought from Oriental trading. One was a scratch off sombrero which was nice for the older kids. And the other was a sticky board craft. There were donkeys, maracas, and sombreros made out of thick board and you peel one side of it off which reveals a whole sticky side you then stick tissue paper squares and little pom-poms on it to decorate. It's nice because you don't need glue and it doesn't get messy. I also had set up a Diego zip cord which was a baby swing on a pulley which was on a cord tied to two trees. I put out chips, salsa, guacamole, and little chili con queso bowls (Sam's club).
By 11:30 everyone was there and we had a man come with a variety of animals. He was great it was about ½ hour of him talking and teaching about the animals and then ½ hour where the kids could hold them all. They were so engaged and the guy really had a pleasant way about him just the right amount of education with stories and facts geared for kids. He brought turtles, snakes, a hedgehog, a chinchilla and a few others, so it fit right in with the Diego theme. The kids just loved it and we got great pictures my little Diego looked so cute with his safari vest and a huge snake on his shoulders. This part of the party I really had hoped would appeal especially to my son (the two year old) - I knew my daughter would love it, but I wanted to make sure there was something for him since I wasn't sure if the latter part would be as interesting for him. He ended up front and center all excited and happy, so I was thrilled. And my daughter and all of the other kids were also really into it so it was a win-win.
At 12:30 we had lunch. I had prepared everything that morning so I wouldn't miss the party at around 12 my husband did go inside to heat everything up but it wasn't that bad. We had cheese quesadillas and chicken quesadillas (homemade, couldn't have been simpler let me know if you want to know how we made them) and then an assortment of mexican rollup chicken things from Sam's Club frozen section. Juice boxes, water, coronas, diet coke, coke. I made a huge container of Mexican Rice (again, from bags not hard) and a very easy mexican salad (basically lettuce in a bag, black beans, corn, some crushed tortilla chips, ranch dressing). So it was a nice spread but simple enough to be prepped that morning so I could enjoy the party and be there for my kids.
The most exciting part was after lunch. I brought out the cakes which were beautifully decorated. We gathered everyone around for cake and ice cream and then I asked where the candles were. My 11 year old niece dressed in all orange with a blue bandana backwards on her head, blue gloves, and a blue mardi gras type eye mask (actually it was silver and I painted it blue) came out. She was so great and dramatically showed up from behind and said I have your candles and I hid them on a far away island where you'll NEVER find them and then laughed and ran away.
I then passed out little backpacks (actually little drawstring bags from Oriental trading). There was a map I had printed sticking out of each one. I asked the kids how we would know how to get to the island and they all yelled map and took out their maps. The first stop was Puzzle point (I had a graphic from clip art of four people holding puzzle pieces for the kids who don't read). I told them to help find the first place and to look in their backpacks for something to use. They all found their mini binoculars (Oriental Trading) and they put them around their necks and were looking through them. I sort of led the way and we got to the first stop. I had printed out a large poster that I made (again powerpoint) of dora and diego in a tree and printed Happy Birthday across the top and included the logos that I used on the invitations with my kids names. I had glued it to a huge foam board and my husband cut it into about 10 pieces. I told the kids they had to work together to put it together and they should help the littler ones. They all did it together beautifully.
The next stop was lollipop forest I had read on this site about people putting the lollipops sticking out of the grass but we had the little dum-dum lollipops which were shorter than the grass. Not to mention I couldn't imagine sticking 1000 lollipops in the grass. Instead I made a path with them, which really showed up nicely because the wrappers were white against the green grass. I told the kids they had to pick up all the lollipops and follow the trail. When they got to the end they were all looking in their binoculars to see what was next. The last stop was treasure island on the map it was next to a palm tree we have a small peach tree on the opposite side of the house and under it was a large wooden treasure chest with sleeping bear on top of it (aka my step-father with a huge fake fur blanket over him). Some of the kids looked again in their backpacks where they found a maraca and figured out they would it to wake him up I was so amazed at how quickly they got the hang of the process and they were all participating so fully including the adults. And they were so good about doing it as a group they waited for each other (almost 20 kids) and all shook the maracas together. Sleeping bear rolled off to reveal the treasure chest. This part of the party (the adventure) was really geared more towards my daughter and I was so happy that she was 100% into it.
I then pretended I couldn't open it and my daughter caught on right away and said everyone yell the magic word ABRE and they were all screaming it together it was so loud and again I was just simply amazed at how everyone loved it. I had been nervous that people might not participate but this was just beyond anything I expected. At that point I opened up the chest and everyone was clapping and the candles were inside and I said Ok, now we can go have cake. My niece showed up again (unbeknownst to me) and all of a sudden the kids are screaming SWIPER and they all put their hands up and did Swiper no Swiping and she said Oh man and walked away. I didn't even know she knew that part! Then we went back to the tables for cake and ice cream and the official party was over. We thought that a few people would stay to swim but every single person stayed for another 2 - 3 hours to swim.
The weather was perfect for it. At one point I looked down at the pool from upstairs and I couldn't believe what it looked like we never have more than a few people over and there were about 40 people in the pool. My husband I were loving that there was an actual line for the diving board as if it was a public pool. We enjoyed it and most importantly the kids did too. I know this was really long but it was a combination of all the details and a lot of luck (weather) that made this so great. I would be happy to share any more details with anyone who wishes just let me know!
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