Princess & Prince 5yr - Slay the Dragon
Julie in St. Charles, MO USA
Princess/Prince Party 5yr My 5 year old daughter dearly wanted a princess party for her 5th birthday, but, as there are boys in her class, I was nervous about making it to frilly. We decided to have a Prince and Princess party and keep it just princess-y enough for the girls without alienating the boys. I tried to create an enjoyable experience for everyone on a limited budget and with a working mom’s schedule! Invitations: To save money, these were done with regular printer paper. They were quick and easy, yet turned out very cute. I used editing software to make a castle image semi-transparent. It filled the whole page. Over the castle picture I used a fancy old English font saying: Hear Ye, Hear Ye! A royal party is being held to celebrate the 5th birthday of Princess (name). Princess /(Prince) (invitee name), Princess (name) requests the honor of your royal presence at: Castle (our last name), followed by the address and time and date info. The invitations were then wrapped like scrolls and secured with ribbon. The children loved them!
Decorations: We planned a party that could be held outside or inside depending on the weather (we were lucky and good weather prevailed), so the decorations had to work either way. I opted not to have balloons, as they could get popped and the pieces are a choking hazard to our 18 month old. Instead I used plastic flags on strings (like a car dealership would use). Flags are more appropriate for a castle then balloons, anyway. We strung them from the trees and other outdoor structures. Inside they would have gone around and across the room. They worked really great for an outdoor party. We have a large backyard, and they flags made it look really festive without a ton of decorations. They went up in less than 5 minutes. I bought pink roll paper from a teacher supply store for banners. It was thin enough to be perfect for door decorations if the party would be held inside. Just in case, I cut them door length, so they could be used that way. As it was, I hung them off our deck. I painted designs on them. On one I had a castle and a large number 5. On another I had a shield and crown and my daughter’s name. After the party I added some pictures of the big day and they made wonderful decorations for the door to my daughter’s room. I had a lot of little helpers for the rest of the decorations. The centerpiece was a large box castle. It had a front door, and a crawl through tunnel that led into a large appliance box. The children could walk through the front, crawl through the tunnel, and come out the back door. We hot glued boxes together (including smaller tower and turret boxes) with a hot glue gun. Then my husband painted it gray with some old gray house paint. I then gave my daughter, her best friend, and her younger brother paint pots and brushes and set them free. They made shield designs, extra windows and doors, and all sorts of doodles, designs, hand prints and blobs. I had mixed white into all their paints, so they had pastels. The colors looked really nice on the gray, and the whole effect was pretty, splatters and blobs and all! We cut out construction paper flags and shield designs. We used dowel rods to mount the flags on the turrets. I told the girls about shields and how they were divided and how the symbols told about the person and their family. I gave them a set of markers and the construction paper shields and they spent hours coloring and designing them. On party day we pasted them on the castle and other places as great decorations. I’d say the party preparations were as much fun as the party for my daughter!
Actual party: When the children arrived, the first thing they did was make their crown. I sprang for foam crowns from OTC, as they looked nicer than cardboard, and they were also acting as a party favor. The children glued their plastic jewels on their crowns and then set to work on their castles. I bought little plastic castles from OTC. We bought craft sand locally and mixed glitter into it. Then the children filled their castles with layers of glittery sand. This was also a party favor. Afterwards we had some free play time in the box castle and on the swings. I gave the children some of my daughter’s puppets (a fairy tale set with a princess, prince, dragon, etc). They loved using the puppets in the castle. The top of the appliance box was open so they could us it as a puppet theater. The first game was hot potato played with a frog and poison apple. Two props kept things busier, so kids didn’t have to wait between passes. Don’t let a wicked witch turn you into a frog or put you to sleep with an apple! The game was a big hit. For prizes I had books from the dollar store. I found all sorts of books in prince/princess themes: Cinderella, Snow White, The Frog Prince, etc, plus a few plastic bubble swords (for those little princes). I had enough prizes for everybody (only $1 a guest!), because children this age aren’t good losers. We gave out some of the prizes during a few rousing rounds of hot potato. Then I gathered the children together and told them a dragon was threatening the kingdom and we needed to go slay it. I lead an expedition from the backyard to the front yard to find the dragon. We had a dragon pinata hung from a front yard tree. It was actually a dinosaur pinata, as it was available locally and cheaper than any dragons I could find. My daughter had helped me glue construction paper wings and fire out its mouth. He looked like one fierce dragon when we were done! To make sure every kid got a chance to whack the dragon, I blindfolded them their first go-round. I didn’t spin them, at this age, the blindfold was enough! I set them up in front of the dragon and let them swing away. After everyone’s first turn, we took the blindfold off to make things easier. The kids still couldn’t get it broken open, so we relied on Daddy the Dragonslayer to finish it off. There was plenty of candy for everyone. While the kids had been busy with the piñata in the front yard, I had a few parents remain in the back yard and hide magic dragon eggs. They were left over plastic Easter Eggs filled with dollar store jewels and magic stones. I spent $2 for a pack each of the pink jewels and smooth colored stones. They filled two dozen eggs. In one egg I hid a Barbie shoe. I told the children, before heading back to the backyard, that a dragon had laid magic eggs and they needed to find them. Since they had candy on their minds after the piñata, we made a safety reminder that these were real jewels, not to be eaten! I also mentioned that whoever found Cinderella’s lost slipper among their jewels could pick a prize from the treasure box. It took the kids no time to scour the yard for jewels, and since they all got to take home their finds, really, everyone won! The kids naturally sat down to check out their newfound treasures, so it was perfect timing when we brought out the cake. We sang happy birthday and blew out the candles. Rather then have the kids waiting impatiently while the cake was cut and doled out and the ice cream scooped, I started the present opening while Dad and some parents helped prepare the banquet table. For presents I set up two children’s chairs in front of the cardboard castle. I had simply draped a large scrap piece of red fabric over them (2 seconds prep time!). They made very royal looking thrones. My daughter sat in one throne, and the child whose present was being opened sat in the other. They all loved it. They felt very special in the thrones, and I got a neat picture of each kid with the birthday girl. Presents were just finishing as the banquet was ready, so the kids went and sat down at the tables for cake and ice cream. After eating, they were ready to run off some sugar. They played in the castle a bit, and then I gathered them for the last game, Cinderella’s Ball. I played music and they all danced any way they pleased. Then I yelled Midnight, stopped the music, and they all froze. Prizes were very subjective. They were given to silly statues, serious statues, one-foot statues, etc. Actually what we did was find an excuse to give out prizes to kids who had yet to win. We played this several times, until kids had at least one prize. We really got the parents involved helping to make comments about each statue’s unique merits. In the end every kid went home happy. My daughter doesn’t have a Disney Princess CD, so the music for this game and the hot potato game came from our local Disney Radio station. I just popped in a cassette and turned it on one day. I pressed record whenever a princess song was played, and it took no time! The goodie bags had been made with some plain white gift bags with handles that had been given out at my work. We printed prince and princess pictures off Disney’s web site (magic artist section--we used the greeting card fronts). Then my daughter had pasted them onto the bags. We had a wide variety of characters. I had the kids write their names on a bag when they first came. Throughout the party they had collected their crowns and sand castle art, piñata candy, dragon eggs with jewels, and prize books. Then as they left we also gave them a homemade coloring book. We printed coloring pages off the Disney website, and bound them with construction paper covers. We three-hole punched them and tied the holes with ribbon. It was another project my daughter had enjoyed helping me with.
Thank You Notes: We printed our Thank you notes off Disney’s Web Site onto cardstock. These were fun for my daughter to design. They have a wide Disney Princess selection, plus Aladdin for the boys. With each note, I included a photograph of that child on the thrones with my daughter. To make the thank you notes fun for the kids, I also used some special effects software to put each kids face onto an image. The girls were mermaids, like Ariel, and the boys were wizards. I printed a page full of these images onto sticker paper, and then cut them apart. Every kid got 2 stickers inside their thank you note that had their own face on them! Overall, the party was lots of fun and very affordable. All the kids got very into the theme, even the boys!
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