Solar System Party -3yr- Jupiter Pizzas
Andrea in Arlington, VA, USA
Solar System Party (3 year old) My son was fascinated with the solar system, especially the various planets.
We decorated the house in a space theme - we pasted glow-in-the dark stars, comets, etc. on the walls and ceiling and hung the same from the ceiling with crepe paper. We hung blue crepe paper between the dining room and kitchen/family room to create two areas. In the dining room, we put the "planet cakes" - I made 9 round cakes of varying sizes. Mercury was small (just larger than a cupcake) and decorated orange. Venus was medium sized and decorated with green frosting and green sprinkles (the cloud cover).
Earth was about the same size as Venus, and I frosted it light blue and then frosted one hemisphere of continents in green (some green sprinkles for texture). Mars was a bit smaller and red with red sprinkles (it took a lot of red food coloring to make it red enough). For Jupiter, I made the biggest round cake I was able to and frosted it with its tell-tale stripes of color, not forgetting the big red spot. I made saturn big too (not quite as big) and frosted it purple and put red vines around it as the rings. Uranus had a few rings too, but I put them around the outside of the cake (which was bluish green). Neptune has the blue spot and is blue. And pluto was the smallest (cupcake size) and I frosted it chocolate since it is so dark & cold. We put up star balloons and a space ship balloon.
When the kids came, I had a friend paint their faces (planets or stars - whatever they wanted) and then they used star stickers and crayons to decorate gift bags (which we later filled with the party favors: a glow-in-the-dark bracelet, a star-filled bouncy ball, rock candy, bubbles, "mars mud").
The kids helped make "Jupiter Pizzas" (english muffins with pizza sauce, shredded mozzarella cheese and one pepperoni as the red spot) which we then cooked & served. We had cheese doodles and some other "space-looking" food as snacks for children & adults, as well as juice boxes and sodas & lemonade in cups (cups, plates & napkins were all space-themed, purchased from an online party site).
Once everyone had showed up and had decorated their bag, made and eaten their pizza, we played a couple organized games (with kids this young, group games need to be short!). First, we had paper plates which my son and I had painted, each one had a different planet on it, and we had punched holes in the top and put yarn through the holes so they could be hung over a child's head like a necklace. Each person chose a planet to "be" and hung the corresponding plate over their head. My mother had found online the words to the Smithsonian's Air & Space Museum's "Family of the Sun" song (which names & sings about each planet in turn). She had printed out the words along with clip art showing the planets into little booklets for each family . We sung the song (adults using the booklets) and each kid got up and showed of the planet that he was when we sung about it.
Then we all made a circle and played "ring around the sun" (ring around the rosie). We also played hokey pokey, which everyone enjoyed. I told the kids that the planets loved to go in circles around the sun and to rotate as they went. Some got the concept, but all had fun.
After this, we had cake & presents. Then the kids played with all the balloons we had on the floor (the non-helium) ones for awhile. When some kids had left, the remaining ones played "space trip" with us - we put on home made helmets and took off for the moon, in a couch-converted space ship. While in space we ate spaceman food (which was a ziplock bag filled with chocolate pudding - we snipped off the end to suck out the pudding for our food). Then we landed on the "moon" (we put cushions & pillows on the floor). We let the kids put on moon boots (actually, boots in about 3-4 sizes too big) and walk on the moon.
They had lots of fun, the party was educational, and really corresponded to the interest of my child (who is a bit precocious in his fascination with space). He's been talking about his party for the past 2 months since we had it - especially then 9 cakes (which we were busy eating for the next week!).
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