Boat Party -4yr- Party at the Museum
Sarah in Blaine, WA USA
For Maddy's 4th Birthday Party, we decided to celebrate using the party room at the local Children's Museum, which was decorated with a boat/harbor theme. We took idea from this, but this could easily be done in a home or another party setting.
In advance of the party, we sent out hand made invitations featuring anchor stamps and boat stamps inviting people to our party. The directions were included on a separate document with a map background paper and a compass picture on each directions sheet. I used a nautical themed stamp set from Close to My Heart to create the invitations and later used them on my napkins and my scrapbook from the party.
For the party itself, we set up the room to look like a boat deck. We ordered wall backgrounds from Oriental Trading Company- in the boat and ocean background themes (originally for pirate parties, but we used without the pirate additions). We also purchased three strings of nautical flags from Oriental Trading and strung them across the room over tables.
For the table decorations, we had three tables. I covered each table with a different colored plastic tablecloth (yellow, red and white). In the center of each table, I purchased some inexpensive suit liner fabric in a navy blue color, and placed this loosely down the center of each table (to resemble water). In the center of each table, I placed some inflatable boats I purchased at the dollar store, and scattered small fish erasers around the boats that I had also purchased at the dollar store.
For each place setting, I used coordinating solid color napkins (yellow, red, white) stamped with nautical stamps above. When the guests arrived, my husband wore a captain's hat and nautical themed shirt and greeted the guests at the door, saying Welcome Aboard" We gave each child that came in a white sailor cap and a set of "binoculars" (which were two toilet paper rolls covered in navy blue paper hot glued together and strung with a red and white ribbon to fit them over the neck). The kids were welcomed into the party room and allowed free time to explore the museum.
For the party game I purchased a nautical map at the boat store and small boat shaped post it notes from the teacher supply store and wrote each childs name on a boat. We blindfolded the kids and played "pin the boat on the map" with the right spot being our current location. Prizes were an assortment of small boats I had purchased (the 'toob o boats at many craft stores). Each child one a prize since they were primarily preschooled aged.
Instead of cake we opted for a different snack as we had kids that could not eat gluten products. I cut red apples in half and placed them on a plate with blueberries sprinkled around the apple and gummy fish "swimming" in the berries. I used large toothpicks and diagonally sliced halves of cheese slices to be the sails. These were a huge hit and a healthier alternative to cake.
We served "sea water" in color coordinated cups to each child (just regular water). For the birthday girl's apple boat instead of cheese I used a 4 number candle which she was able to blow out. For the adults I brought in some more adult crackers and cheese and adult-friendly drinks such as bottled frappucinos and iced tea that wouldn't tempt the kids. I labeled these items "Captain's Drinks" and "Captain's Food".
For party favors I purchased small nautical themed canvas bags from Oriental Trading Company. Inside the bags I placed boat stencils (Oriental Trading Company) compasses (real ones that work-- purchased from an Ebay seller) goldfish crackers (for those that could eat them) small "instant boat" capsules that grow in warm water small plastic boats purchased at the dollar store boat board books purchased at the dollar store and I made laminated copies of a portion of the nautical map (used above) and wrapped them up with some other nautical educational worksheets/puzzles found on line and rolled them and tied them with twine.
The kids loved the party and their non-traditional gift bags. The party was a hit--a fun summer-themed party that could also occur at home at a park or near a body of water. We also opted to not do gifts we had kids bring baby food in for the local food bank for "babies that have no food" which was also popular and avoided the somewhat tricky gift opening situation with young kids. We just put instructions in the invite on what to bring in lieu of gifts. "
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