Peter Pan -4yr- Neverland Map Cake
Leanne in Gilbert, Arizona, USA
After a week's vacation at Disneyland, in January of 2004, my Son asked if he could have a Peter Pan party for his 4th birthday in August. Although it was still seven months away, I said okay! I figured I'd have enough time to make some plans. Sharing these plans with my sister from California, She and her family went back to Disneyland that February, bought my son a Peter Pan costume and shipped it out to surprise him! When the costume arrived, we tried it on him immediately and at that moment, I decided that it would be fun to have all the kids come dressed as their favorite Peter Pan character. Hearing this my Sister and her family decided that it sounded so fun that they'd make the drive here to Arizona and join us. I started looking right away into decorations and invitations and to my surprise I had no luck finding Peter Pan party supplies of any type, so I figured I'd just come up with my own.
For the invitation, I bought light tan paper with an embossed feather-type design on it. I went to a clipart website and downloaded some pictures of Peter, Tinkerbell, Wendy, John and Michael flying. I printed them at the top of the paper, and made up my own invitation poem, starting with the heading of, \*"C'mon Everybody Here We Go".. All you need is faith and trust, We'll supply the Pixie Dust. "Birthday Boy" is turning 4, Come all dressed up, Eat cake galore. Games and prizes Pizza too, Here's hoping we'll be seeing you!\* I used scrapbooking scissors to cut a boarder around it, making it look like a map. I put a handful of colorful stars in the envelope for pixie dust. On the return address part of the envelope I glued 2 stars one representing "Neverland" being the second star on the right. I had an arrow pointing at it, and that little saying written right next to it. I sent these out to 20 children and other guests.
I officially had 16 children attend his party. I am grateful that my Sister and her family were here to help! We needed all hands on deck! I went to the dollar store for prizes, and to my surprise I found small Styrofoam ice chests that resembled treasure chests. I bought two, and I painted them brown with black embellishments of locks, hinges and the scull and crossbones on the front to look like Captain Hook's treasure chest. I then placed all the prizes we bought for the games, inside of them. It was perfect for storing the prizes, as a party decoration and so the children could dig for their winnings (buried treasure) after playing the games. I decided at age 4, it was better to let every child win something, and dig for it. This way they could have fun filling their own goodies bags.
I personalized the bags with their names, that matched the colors of Peter, Wendy and Tinkerbell's outfits. I also wanted the kids to make a craft. In advance, I glued together tongue depressors to make a square picture frames, painted them green and glued a small picture of Peter Pan in one corner. I personalized those with their name as well. I bought beach/ocean theme confetti, gems, stars and Tinkerbell stickers, for them to decorate both the frames and goodie bags. In need of some games to keep 16 children having fun and occupied indoors, (It's 110 in August in Arizona), I had my Nephew draw up a map of Neverland to play Pin The "X" On Hangman's Tree. The tree's noose was the "X"spot. I made up "X"s with each child's name on it and with that many kids it was better than them picking and me remembering a number.
We also played musical stars, like musical chairs, each child winning a prize as they left the game. We had much happier children that way. My Nephew graciously did face painting for the party too! The kids stood patiently in line for their turn, and as they did, they got to watch Peter Pan on TV. While waiting for their turn, my Niece helped each child choose their picture and readied their face, so my Nephew's creations could come to life. His art work of, rainbows, T-pee's, hooks, swords, butterflies, and Tinkerbell's wings were a huge hit. I had looked all over town for a pinata to fit the theme of the party, but once again, I found nothing. So I made my own.
I made the Tic Toc Crocodile! It was a little bit taller than my Son, and he just loved that! I used a mixture of craft and white school glues diluted with water. I secured balloons of all shapes and sizes together with blue painter's tape. There is less popping with that type of tape. I ripped strips of newspaper, dipped and pasted them over the balloons, till I got the desired shape I wanted. I cut up cardboard egg cartons for the humps on the back of the crocodile. It was just the touch it needed. I then painted him two shades of green. Dark green on his top and half and light green for his underbelly. I then painted on his face. It turned out so adorable it was almost a shame to break it. Thinking how cute the crocodile and the treasure chests were, and I just knew the kids were going to be just as adorable in their costumes, and so I decided I wanted to take a picture of each child with the Honorary Peter Pan Birthday Boy and then send it out to each child as the Thank-You. Then they could attach it on the back of the frames they made as their craft and have the memory for years to come!
With all that in mind, I now wanted to make a beach scene of Neverland, with all its characters for a backdrop. I bought a picture projector at a local craft store. I traced the pictures of Peter, Captain Hook, Smee, a Mermaid, Wendy, John, Michael, and Tinkerbell, all onto butcher paper then painted them. I set the scene up in the front window area of my formal living room. I used tempera paint Vs.acrylics when painting the characters and the crocodile, so there would be no shine when the flash of the camera went off. I used two teal and light gold plastic table coverings to simulate water and the sand. I bought a blow up palm tree and placed the treasure chests near it. I then cut out all my character paintings and strategically taped them (using two-sided tape) in their proper positions onto my white wooden blinds. The blinds ended up being the perfect backing for the backdrop. I then placed the crocodile half in and out of the "water" for more added three-D effect. I must say, it turned out better than I had ever hoped.
I also painted three Peter Pan silhouettes or his Shadow(s) and I taped those on the blinds behind the cake giving the illusion of Peter Pan's shadow flying all around the room. We put up three strands of light and dark green streamers just above the cake to tie it all in. Keeping that part simple because I wanted the cake to be the focal point in that room, although Peter's shadow(s) really popped out as if it were truly flying all around.
The cake was my favorite part to make. My goal was to create a Neverland Map cake with our favorite movie scenes. For years, I've collected all kinds of Disney PVC (Poly vinyl chloride or rubber) characters so I had quite a few figures to choose from. Even so, I did not have Peter Pan's Hangman's Tree Hide Out, The Indian T-Pee's, Mermaids in Mermaid Lagoon and Scull Rock. So I bought some Hobby Clay and made most of them. I baked them and painted them with patio paints. With the paints being water proof they'd hold up well on the cake. I had PVC figures that correlated with each clay item I made. Like the T-pee next to John and the Lost Boys all tied up; Wendy sitting with Michael on her knee singing about "Mother", and a Lost Boy listening near by. I hot glued the perfect size Peter Pan onto Scull Rock. He's calling out to Hook to try and trick him a way from Tiger Lilly.
I had Hook's ship in Pirate's Cove and had Captain Hook looking up into the sky for Peter Pan, all the while the Crocodile was in the water next to him waiting for him to make a wrong move. Smee was standing close by Hook thinking "Oh dear….my my" as if to shoo that Croc away. I copied and laminated a picture of the scene of Peter, Wendy, John and Michael, up on the cloud with the ship's cannon ball coming right for them. I had it placed in the direct line of the Captain Hook's ship, and I used a long clear floral pic to extend the picture up over the cake as if it were truly floating. Wanting the bright colors of Mermaid Lagoon, I also did the same thing, I copied and laminated a picture of them for that section of the cake.
For the mountains, that separate the Indian's Camp and Pan's Hide out, I used stacked Twinkies pierced through with thin wooden dowles. After it all was covered with whipped cream icing, I airbrushed all the areas with the island colors. I decorated the mountains with platic pine trees. I used piping gel colored blue for the ocean, coves and lagoons and placed candy rocks with palm trees in certain areas for more of a beach scene. I used finely ground graham crackers for the sand on the beach and swirled white frosting into the water to look like waves coming toward the shore. For the finishing touches I made my cake boarder wavy to look like waves and I put colorful sugar sea creatures all around the sides to tie into the beach scene.
When the time came, we dressed up the Birthday Boy in his costume. Seeing how excited he was and how festive he looked, our own anticipation mounted as the children began to arrive. Wow they were adorable! They came all dressed up, had their picture taken with Peter Pan! They decorated their frames and bags, played games, dug for buried treasure, and had their faces painted. They sang "Happy Birthday," ate pizza and cake, hit a pi±ata, dove for candy, watched as my son graciously opened all his presents, and happily went home with their loot bags! I couldn't have done it without the help of my, Husband, Sister and her Kids. But most of all my Son! For without him, there'd be no party to plan! We made great memories for a life time that day!! All of it makes you Never Never want to grow up!
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