Idea No.

4595

Backyard Beach Blast -2yr- Octopus Hot Dogs

Award

Date

August 2002

From

Deanna in Raleigh, NC  US

Honorable Mention

Backyard Splash Party

Backyard Beach Blast For my daughter's second birthday, we turned out backyard into our own private "beach". Reading over this, it seems like we must have a huge yard, but we did all this on a very small (.06 acre) yard. It was a two-hour blast! 

We designed the party for our two-year-old guests (eleven of them!) with beachy stations around the yard. This gave everyone something fun to do, but kept things from getting too intense for any of our toddler friends.

Our stations included:

An Octopus's Mural in the Shade--we taped a sheet of blank newsprint (donated by our local newspaper)to the side of the house and let them paint away with washable paints;

Fantasy Fans--we cut brightly colored card stock into simple fan shapes and glued them to donated wooden paint stirring sticks. The kids (and parents!) decorated their fans with markers and beachy stickers (since it was quite warm, the fans were appreciated by all ages!).

Sea Shell Sifting--we filled my daughter's old ladybug sandbox with sand and sea shells and gave the kids sifting equipment (colanders, etc) and had them search for shells;

Sea Creature Cutouts--we had blue and yellow playdough on a child-sized table with beach themed cookie cutters and little rolling pins so they could roll out their dough and cut out their own creatures;

Beachy Bubbles--a bubble station including small bubble jars and a small wading pool filled 2" with bubble solution and a hoola hoop for making REALLY big bubbles;

Sand Play--our new big sandbox with plenty of toys. Ideally, we would have like to have had a water activity, but since we are in a drought and under mandatory water restrictions we were not allowed to use sprinklers or kiddie pools filled with water.  

To give our yard a beach flair, we purchase lots of inflatable beach balls, large pool animals, and rafts that were scattered around the yard. These were a big hit! We used some of the extra newsprint to make banners ("Cowabunga", "Eleanor's Beach Pad", "Hang Ten")that we hung on the house and garage. We filled our brick patio with sand and created a beachy area near the house. We hung lots of colorful streamers and laminated sea creature cutouts that we purchased at a local party store. Surfing tunes completed our beachy environment. 

For food, we served octopus hot dogs (cut into strips and boiled--they really do look like octopus!), goldfish crackers, barbecue, tropical fruit salad, seaside slaw, and sandwiches that we cut out using our sea creature cutouts (later used for the playdough table).

I found a recipe for a fish cake that used candy wafers as the fish scales and it looked fantastic. We had chairs available, but most folks ate on beach blankets we had spread across the yard.

To get everyone calmed down for lunch, we gathered everyone together and a friend read "Beach Day" a wonderful book with beautiful illustrations. That also gave us time to get cleaned up and get lunch out. 

Each child received a plastic sand bucket with sunglasses, bubbles, sea creature cookies (sugar cookies made with the same sea creature cookie cutters), a small inflatable sea creature, and sunscreen. As a follow up thank you to her guests, we sent beach cards with photos of the children at the beach.

It was a fun party for both the children and their parents. The parents had an opportunity to play with their children in a fun environment and the kids got to get messy and have a good time. And most importantly, we met our goal of not having a single two-year-old get bit, pushed down, or burst into tears!

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