Idea No.


Outer Space -4yr- Design Your Own Planet



February 2002


Karen in San DIego, CA, USA

Special Mention

Solar System Party

My daughter wanted an Outer Space theme for her 4th birthday. We sent out rocketship invitations and decorated the envelopes with glittery silver stars. (We did the same for the Thank you notes later.) 

Decorations included a large poster of the Solar system, dark blue helium-filled balloons covering the ceiling of the party room, and then stars and planets hung from the ceiling on iridescent silver ribbons. From the ceiling light fixture in the center of the ceiling was a cutout of the sun, with the planets of the solar system hung around it. I also hung a little toy space shuttle from a ribbon as well, which made it look like it was flying through space. Outside the front door we put 2 large Mylar balloons, a sun and a moon. 

For background music we made a CD  of mixed songs all with some type of space reference, mostly for the parents' amusement: Age of Aquarius, Blue Moon, I'm Your Venus, Stardust, etc. 

Activities were fairly unstructured: For the younger kids I set up a little table and chairs with coloring pages printed off the Internet of various space-themed pictures and a big bucket of crayons, so they could sit and color.

There was also a "Design Your Own Planet" arts and crafts station, which had styrofoam balls, each with a silver elastic loop attached with a paper fastener, one for each child. I put out glue, various little dishes of glitter, confetti, etc, and markers. I set this up at our patio table outside to keep the mess contained, and then when each "planet" was done it was hung with a clothespin from the patio umbrella to dry. I made labels with the kids' names for each planet so they wouldn't get mixed up, e.g. "Planet Bobby," etc.

We also got a backyard Jumpy in the shape of a rocketship, which helped keep the indoor areas of the party from getting too crowded. We also had a "Moon Rock" Hunt: I had sprayed a bunch of rocks, one for each child, with silver glitter. Then before the party stared I hid them around the backyard. When it was time to play, I brought out a tray of prizes, each wrapped in moon and star tissue paper, and let the kids hunt for the rocks. Very simple rules: find one rock, bring it to me, and get a prize. The prizes were mostly bought at the local Science Museum, and included things like a tiny globe bank, a pencil sharpener shaped like a space shuttle, magnets, glow stars, etc. Snacks were put out in star-shaped serving trays which I got on sale at my local Party store.

Food was NOT part of the theme, except for the cake: My daughter was very specific about what she wanted the cake to look like--she wanted astronauts on the moon, with the dark sky above, with stars and the earth in the distance. SO, I used a Wilton 12" round pan and made a 2-layer round cake. I frosted the sides white, as well as the bottom third or so of the cake's top. The rest of the top I frosted in deep blue. On the white part (the moon's surface)I used a small spoon to make "craters" in the icing, and set tiny astronaut figures from the local toy store on it. I stuck a toothpick with an American flag on top too.

As for the sky, I just sprinkled small white nonpareils around to look like stars, and to make to distant Earth, I used a Mother's frosted oatmeal cookie, decorated with a little blue and green icing, and stuck it up near the top of the cake. It came out great, and the kids just loved it. I also put out sugar cookies which I made in two different shapes, stars and crescent moons, decorated with blue, yellow, and white Royal Icing.

Goody bags which we gave out when the kids left contained Starburst and Milky Way candies, glow in the dark green aliens, space stickers, glow in the dark chalks shaped like moons and stars (from Target), and stampers in various cosmic shapes (from Michael's.)I also gave out Solar System placemats, which were just little posters (about 9x12) which I laminated at a local craft place. (I had planned to use the placemats on the party table but then ended up using a rocketship patterned tablecloth from Party City, so I just gave the placemats out at the end along with the goody bags.) 

This was a great party. Many of the parents  have told me that since the party their kids now want to learn more about the planets, space, etc. So the party was fun and as a bonus, educational too!

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