Safari Party -1yr- Giraffe Sandwich Bar
Luz in Lino Lakes MN, USA
For my son's First B-day party my requirements were: I wanted to have a fun & colorful theme so that he could enjoy all the colors, I didn't want to spend time cooking!, and I wanted to make sure that the kids, ages 4 to 12 had enough entertainment so that my son could enjoy a fun but "not so loud" party. The party started at 3PM, after my son's nap. The theme was "Safari".
We purchased the invitations napkins and plates at a party store, they had 4 squares with: a giraffe, a tiger, an elephant and a zebra. I also purchased additonal plates/napkins/cups and flatware in assorted matching colors for the adults. I also bought mini centerpieces of the same theme and some other stuff to decorate the cake table. I ordered 3 dozen hellium balloons in assorted bright colors to match the theme. For the invite I printed small pictues of my son's face and I glued them to the invitation, it looked as if the picture was part of the original invite!.
The food was: for appetizers, different kinds of frozen "ready for the oven" finger foods from Costco, potato chips and Chicago mix popcorn, crackers and some spreads. For the main meal, a sandwich bar with all the fillings and toppings and a pasta salad. I followed the advice of some websites for suggested quantities per person. I just had to prepare a tray with cold cuts, another with cheeses, one with lettuce& tomatoes, one w/red onions, roasted peppers and pepperocino peppers, and filled small dishes with the spreads. I only cooked the pasta for the salad, which really took no time to prepare. We also had hot dogs, but kids ate the sandwiches anyway.
To make it fun, I covered the area where the food buffet was arranged with a red tablecloth tied at the ends and had a red flower base holding some balloons. I made labels for the food using the packages from the theme supplies, i.e, the centerpieces came in a package that had the pictures of the centerpieces which of course were the animals, so, I cut the pictures and used them to decorate the food labels. The sandwich bar was named "The Giraffe Sandiwich Bar" and I used the pic of the giraffe centerpiece, after the list of all the cold cuts and cheeses, I had a pic of my son and a note saying "Enjoy it", with his name and the title, "Owner and GM". I used a fork to hold the labels. I bought some plastic cups that said "1 year" that I filled with the flatware, I used the same cups where I had the flatware to insert the fork with the food labels and arranged them on the table to identify the food. I made a fruit punch and had regular party drinks, sodas etc.
For decorations around the house I used cardboard to create the same animals as in the invitations which I used as background for the cake table, and for the "Cinema" boards. I made a long sign starting with a tiger's head, followed by a welcome message and then listing all of the day's activities, i.e, telling the kids to check out what was showing on the cinemas, and listing the other activities, bingo, scrapbook workshop & bithday book. The sign was in the house's foyer. I had a group of balloons on each corner of the dinning room which was the "center stage" for the cake, gifts etc. The hats, blow outs etc where over the table, with the Safari animals cake which I ordered at a local grocery store. I wanted to create a "conversation piece" so, I made a "clothes hanging rope" which I called the "Watch me grow" balance, I used clothes pins to hang one of his sleepers from each stage, premie, newborn (0-3) etc, until 12 months, I selected the ones with animals.
I also hanged a diaper from each stage (yes! I had some unused diapers). I used colorful clothes pins and a white rope. From the center of the "balance" we attached a mylar "First Year Baby boy" balloon. My husband hang it as a window balance in the dinning room. People really liked the idea and gave us a lot to talk about how much he has grown etc!. Some of my friends said they can't wait to do the same thing for their kids or grandkids! As part of the entertainment we had 2 "cinemas", one in the family room where my son spent most of the time, the Cinema I was showing baby einstein videos- world animals & neighboorhood animals , we had another cinema in the basement with Shark Tales and Shrek for the older ones. I made big labels with cardboard, the cinemas were named after my son, I used streamers in assorted colors to decorate the labels (hanging from the bottom). I had caramel/cheese/butter popcorn for the cinemas.
Movies were on request, they were listed on the cinema signs. For other activities we had a Jungle Bingo with a prize. For the older girls I prepared bags with a small scrapbook and materials for each (all from the $1 area of a major department store), I had their pictures taken when they arrived, printed them and gave each girl 3 pics and a picture of my son which they used to start their scrapbook at the party, the materials included b-day and animal stickers, glue, paper, etc. I had a basket with additional supplies that they could use, but not take home.
I was also prepared to have everyone create a page for a birthday book, including some "finger paint" for the little ones, but we decided not to do it this time, maybe for a future b-day. I will make the book using all the cards that my son received, I'll put a picture of the guests and part of the decoration used during the party so that it is all in one place for him to enjoy someday. I also thought about having the kids make their own animal custome using streamers of different colors (i.e. black & white for the zebra), but again, I kept the idea for the future as the kids were having enough fun playing around.
I prepared bags for the kids to take home, one bag had small bags of animal crackers, M&M's and a chocolate bar that I relabeled, the bag had a tag with my son's picture, his name the date and "My first Birthday". I also gave them each a small bag of the chicago mix popcorn, a small toy for the boys(average $2 each)_(the girls got the scrapbook) and a bag with typical b-day party favors, sounds like a lot but it really wasn't. I bought a large bag of popcorn and then repacked it in smaller bags, and the other candies/crackers are not that expensive.
For the "not so little" I had chocolate bars that I just covered with my own label. The label had a "My first Birthday" watermark, it also had my son's picture dressed as a tiger, his name, date and a note saying "I am ONE year old". On the back of the label I wrote "and the fun is just beginning. Thanks for coming to my First Birthday party." signed with his name. I tied two bars with a "It's a boy" ribbon. We gave these items as people left the party.
Overall, everyone had fun, the kids played but also gave the adults a break once in a while watching a movie - or part of it!. Everyone took home something nice to remember the party, and the best of all, my son had a wonderful time, played with everyone, never acted as if it was all too much for him, enjoyed looking at all the colors and decorations around the house and during the party we had good food without having to work too hard!.
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