Refreshing Nemo 1yr - Storybook Invite
Tatiana in Orlando, Florida
My daughter Isabella first birthday party had the Finding Nemo theme. I had a graphic designer friend make a story book with Nemo characters talking about the upcoming party and how much fun they were going to have. The last page showed them all, along with a picture of my daughter inviting to the party. I mailed them as invitations. We invited about 10 kids and 30 adults. I bought a couple of plastic fish decorations, and used them as a template to make more. I traced them on cardboard, and cover them with gold, red, silver and blue metallic tissue paper. I stapled each one of them to a wooden stake and hung blue streamers from them. I placed them above the bushes at the front of the house and in the back so that it seemed as if the fish were swimming. I used the same plastic fish, and traced them on the concrete tiles in the garden that lead to the front door. Both sets of grandparents along with my sister got down in their knees, and drew and colored the fish with chalk the night before the party.
The morning of the party each child seemed fascinated by the images as they walked to the front door. I had a big sign made of Styrofoam letters that read "Isabella's First Birthday Party" and placed it in the front yard with balloons. We bought a 12'x20'tent and entertained the kids there. We rented a helium tank, and inflated blue and orange balloons to make two columns on both sides of the cake table. I had Styrofoam Nemo characters made, and placed them on colored tul that served as a backdrop for the table. The tul hung from the horizontal tubes of the tent, and gave an illusion of water. There was also a sign that read "Happy Birthday Isabella" that hung behind the table. The table was decorated with the Finding Nemo tablecloth, cupcakes with the Nemo rings topping each one, bags of goldfish displayed on a fishbowl, peanut butter and jelly fish shaped sandwiches, ham and cheese sandwiches and fish shape cookies in assorted colors.
The cake was a simple, rectangular shaped, marble flavor cake with chocolate filling. The icing was blue and white and made to look like the ocean. I bought plastic seaweed and other bottom of the ocean plant material at a local craft store, and decorated the corners of the cake to make it more 3-dimensional. I placed a Nemo image that I had printed from the internet on cardboard, and attached it to a toothpick. I then sank it on the cake, so that Nemo looked like he was floating above the water. To the side of the cardboard Nemo image, I placed a #1 birthday candle. I built a box "platform" for the cake and a smaller one for the cupcakes. I wrapped them with blue streamer paper and glued to it seaweed shapes made out of colorful foam. I had small coolers throughout the yard with boxed fruit juices for the little ones.
The porch was decorated with accordion fish hanging from the ceiling and more balloons. That's where I set up the food for the adults. I made blue punch with pineapple juice, blue Hawaiian punch and ginger ale. I bought fish shaped plastic ice cubes in different colors that brought delight to everyone as they floated on the punch. The food table was decorated with a fish net. I served wild rice and spinach salad, chicken kabobs, cucumber-tomato salad, cheese and fresh fruit.
Her birthday was at the end of the summer, so I wanted everything to be refreshing. There were no organized games since most of the kids were little, but for the toddlers I rented a Finding Nemo bouncy house, and they had a lot of fun there. I also rented two industrial size fans that cooled the porch and tent area so that everyone could enjoy it. I had small inflatable beach balls, and sea creatures throughout the tent for the babies to play.
For party favors, I bought plastic beach buckets in a variety of colors. I attached a Finding Nemo sticker and spelled each child's name with stickers. I customized the buckets according the child's age. I printed Finding Nemo coloring pages from the internet, and made a cover for it with Nemo's image asking the kids to color with him. For the 3-5year old I filled the bucket with homemade glazed fish shaped cookies, an inflatable beach ball, Nemo themed gummies, and the coloring book. The 1-3year old got a cardboard book, purse size waterless hand soap, a small box of cheerios and a bag of the Nemo themed gummies too. The babies got a bib, a swim diaper, and a miniature tube of sunscreen. I then wrapped each bucket on iridescent cellophane paper, and tied orange and blue ribbon around the top. I gave the buckets to each child as they were leaving the party.
I decorated a large box with blue streamer paper, fishing net, and foam fish with glitter. Here is where all the gifts where placed as the guest arrived. A folded thank you card was sent to each child with a picture of themselves during the party. We started planning for the party at least 2 months in advance, and some of the decorations were started that early. My husband works for a printing company so all the printing was done for free. My sister lives in Panama, Central America, and she brought with her all the Styrofoam decorations that were made especially for the party at a very affordable price. All and all, it took a lot of team work, but it turned out to be a wonderful party. My daughter is very sociable, so she was very happy with all the attention, and all the kids around her.
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