Alison in Yardley, Pennsylvania
INVITATIONS: First take a normal size (fairly thick) piece of plain paper, folded hamburger-style. Next, cut a bread shape from cream or beige construction paper, and carefully trace along the edge with brown marker. Attach this slice of bread" to the front cover of the invitation. In brown pen or crayon write "Your Invited to (your child's name) (your child's age) PBJ Birthday Party! On the left inside flap attach a blob-shaped of pink red or purple construction paper to give the appearance of jelly. I recommend you use this section of the invitation for writing the basic information about the party (date time location contact info ect.) On the other inside flap attach a construction paper cut-out which gives the appearance of peanut butter. If necessary you can use this section to attach a map or set of directions. Finally attach an identical "bread slice" to the back of the invitations.
DECORATIONS: Tie two tan balloons together end-to-end and then use a sharpie or black marker to decorate them like peanuts. Laminated coloring pages of peanuts PBJ jelly can serve as placemats just be sure to place a set of white board markers at each place. Red pink or purple streamers add a festive touch to doorways. Also for a decorative and useful centerpiece consider placing an assortment of old mason/jelly jars filled with circus peanuts/pink red or purple jelly beans on your tables. A simple brown felt border sewed to plain white pillow cases can give the appearance of bread so be sure to place one on each seat! Activities: In addition to the aforementioned coloring pages another great activity is cooking! Strawberries can be dipped in melted peanut butter chips then place on a loosely covered cookie sheet in the freezer/refrigerator to harden by meal time for a (somewhat) healthy treat. If you have a backyard attach fruits and peanuts cut out of foam poster board to the trees and encourage the children to 'pick them. If this is not an option due to weather or location foam fruits and/or peanuts hidden among your house would be just as fun. Construction paper can be attached to the tops of red plastic Easter eggs to give the appearance of leaves on a strawberry. Or purple ones could represent grapes. Fill each Easter egg with circus peanuts peanut butter cups or strawberry hard candy then hide around your house. Allow each child to make a peanut or fruit shaped nametag with a vast assortment of art supplies.
GAMES: A fun game of twister can be set up by painting an old bead sheet with images of fruit peanuts and bread and making a matching spinner out of cardboard divided into three sections: tan for peanuts red/pink/purple (jelly) and white (bread). A strawberry or peanut shaped piñata can be filled with peanut butter cups and small strawberry candies. Furthermore tubes of foam pipe insulation from your local hardware store can be spray painted the appropriate color then bent into the outline of a peanut or piece of fruit. The shapes can then be used to play the classic pass-the-hula-hoop game in which a hula hoop is passed down and back a line of children holding hands using only their heads and shoulders.
PARTY SNACKS: Decorative mason/jelly jars filled with circus peanuts and striped layers of variously flavored jelly beans make a tasty and decorative snack. The peanut butter-covered strawberries made earlier in the day can also be served. If possible have a PBJ bar featuring various flavors of bread (white wheat cinnamon raisin Italian blueberry swirl ect.) peanut butter (chunky or smooth) and jelly (strawberry raspberry grape apple apricot). Be sure to include an assortment of cookie cutters which are color-coordinated to your decorations for making fun-shaped sandwiches. If the children are not old enough to make their own sandwiches however enlist relatives or neighbors to help.
CAKE: Bake a white sheet cake either from scratch or a mix then use a cookie cutter to make several bread-shaped pieces. Combine melted chocolate and peanut butter chips until the mixture resembles the color of bread crust. Spread this over the sides of the cakes in order for them to look like slices of white bread. Give each child two slices of the cake then set up a buffet of themed toppings (strawberries crushed peanut butter cups peanut butter peanuts circus peanuts jelly beans raspberries ect.).
FAVORS: Fill a cellophane bag with alternating layers of circus peanuts and strawberry hard candies. Tie a red ribbon to close the bag reinforce with hidden tape and clip a travel-sized bottle of PBJ scented hand sanitizer (I think this is available at Bath and Body Works.) to the ribbon. Put a printed label on the bag which reads We stick together like PB and J. Additionally the kids will also get to keep any candy they got from the piñata or activities. "
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