Space Party -5yr- Party at the Planetarium
Eileen in Blairstown, NJ, USA
We had a "space" party for our son's 5th birthday. It's pretty cold in New Jersey in February, and we needed to invite his entire class - so we had to find an indoor place. Our local community college planetarium was the perfect choice!
Each child received an invitation to "Astronaut Misha's Party", done using space clipart from Printmaster, and the NASA font from 1001fonts.com. (The "Enterprise" font is also good.) We got almost 100% yes responses, so with 28 kids and 35 adults, we had our hands full! We posted signs on the college campus leading from the parking lot to the planetarium (things like, "keep going - pretend you're in training")
When the kids arrived at the planetarium, we handed out their uniforms (these were t-shirts we had decorated with iron-on patches on each sleeve (one side was the NASA "meatball" logo, the other sleeve was the US flag), and each child's name written on the front in glow-in-the-dark paint along with some g-i-d stars. This was to help distract the kids in the dark just in case they were bored during the planetarium show (turned out to NOT be a problem.) While everyone was arriving, the kids gathered in the college cafeteria where we had covered a low wall with black poster paper & provided metallic paints, pens, stickers, chalk, etc, etc, for them to make a space mural.
We also had a cardboard space shuttle that the kids could sit in (therightstart.com), a rocket "hamper" Bed Bath & Beyond) the kids climbed in & out of, and lots of foam shooter rockets (Orientaltrading.com) - they had them flying all over! Of course, plenty of balloons & star shaped banners to make the cafeteria look fun (including lots of star-shaped glitter for the tables).
The planetarium director did a fantastic job of tailoring the show to 5 year olds, including laser light tracking and a mini movie about going to Mars. The kids came running back in to the cafeteria after their 40 minutes shouting about how 'awesome' and 'cool' it was.
They played with the rockets & mural some more while we served pizza, Tang, and freeze-dried Astronaut Ice Cream to the kids & lots of other food to the parents.
Then it was time for the space shuttle pinata (converted to pull string & filled with Milky Way & Starburst candy), and finally cake (other desserts for the parents.)
Our local bakery did a fantastic job of making a 3 1/2 foot tall "Saturn V" rocket cake - it looked fantastic and the kids were really excited about it. Finally it was time to go, with star-shaped favor boxes for everyone (orientaltrading.com), stuffed with aliens, g-i-d balls, earth punching bags, alien flashlight, more candy of course, and space stickers. Each child also took home an inflatable astronaut (oriental trading was cheaper on these than Ustoys.com) and one of many astronaut, moon, star shaped balloons.
The planetarium director was really impressed & has asked for lots of pictures. Our main learning was to get there even earlier than we did to avoid being rushed while you're decorating a large impersonal area like a cafeteria. It looked great, but boy, we worked hard! Everyone had a good time & we are already planning the 'end of school year' party.
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