Under the Sea -5- Ocean Wave Bottles
Janice in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
My daughter loves sea animals, and so it was no surprise when she requested an "Under the Sea" theme for her fifth birthday.
For invitations, I used snack size Ziploc bags and cut a piece of blue tag board that would just fit inside each. I had previously duplicated the party details on them which began: "Come dive under the sea, at a birthday party for __________". (Our last name rhymes with 'sea'.) Next, I placed a small amount of sand and some sea-life confetti in each bag, sealed them up and placed them in envelopes.
The decorations for the party were fairly simple. From brown bulletin board paper, I cut out the shape of the underneath of a boat and hung it on the ceiling. I also made an anchor from poster board and added a rope to it which I hung from the boat.
Then, I hung teal, royal blue, seafoam green, and light blue crepe paper streamers of varying lengths from the ceiling to simulate being under the sea. Hanging fish cut-outs completes the scene. Various stuffed sea-life creatures that my daughter had accumulated over the years graced the gift table which had a blue table covering on it. A balloon bouquet which matched the crepe paper, and contained Mylar sea animals, was also used to add additional color to the room.
The food table was also draped with a blue table cover and topped with a fishnet and sea-life confetti. Fish shaped dished held the various foods. A cake that had blue icing and fish candles for the adults, and cupcake cones that had blue icing and fish-shaped sprinkles for the kids were served. Blue Jell-O with Dole Pineapple Sea Creatures Fun Shapes was served in clear cups. Blue Kool-Aid and Pepperidge Goldfish crackers rounded out the snacks.
When the kids first arrived, we made wave bottles. To make them, fill a small plastic bottle half full of water. Add a drop of blue or green food coloring, some glitter, and sea-life confetti. Fill remainder of bottle with cooking oil and hot glue lid. The kids loved them.
The treat bags were plain blue bags on which I had printed their names and placed sea-life stickers. Then, I folded down the edge, punched two holes in the top, and had curling ribbon ready to add at the last moment. The treats for the party were the various prizes that they received in different activities through the evening, so after each activity, I collected the prizes and placed them in the treat bags so I wouldn't have to worry about misplaced treats, one child getting another one's treats, etc.
One of the activities that the kids enjoyed the most involved unwrapping prizes. I had purchased a sea-life sticker book for each of them as a treat. All the books were wrapped together, then wrapped in another layer, then another fourteen times (one layer for each child.) The kids sat in a circle and each child got to open a wrapping paper layer. They could barely wait for their turn!
Another big hit was "Diving Under the Sea." I purchased a variety of small plastic sea-life creatures and placed them under a blue sheet that was spread out on the floor. I All the children came and stood around the outside edges of the sheet, picked it up, and began to gently move it. We would say, "Chelsea, Chelsea dive under the sea." Then that child would go under the sheet and pick a creature and come out and try to identify it. Once identified it was placed on top of the "waves" and the next child would get a turn. Another activity that the kids enjoyed also used some of the treats that I had for their bags.
Each child's treat was wrapped in a different print of wrapping paper. The kids were given a sample of the wrapping paper his/her treat was wrapped in and they had to find their treat which had been hidden in various places around the room.
We also had a dolphin ring toss game, played "Sharks and Minnows" (tag) and did the Shamu Shimmy (to the tune of "Hokey Pokey") using the parts of a whale (fins--arms, blowhole--head, pectoral fins--back, and flukes--feet.) We ended up running out of time for all of the things
I had planned but one activity that I intended to do that we didn't get around to was a seashell treasure hunt. I had a small kiddy wading pool that had sand in it, and seashells were buried in it for each child to find.
The thank you notes were whale shaped notes that I purchased at a teacher's store. Included with the thank you note was a picture of my daughter with each individual guest and the gift they had given her. I had a lot of fun planning this party and got numerous compliments about it. (Note: The dolphin ring toss game was from Oriental Trading Company where I also got some sea-life creature stamps that I had for their treat bags. The sea-life sticker books were from Dover Publications.)
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