Idea No.

20333

Sea Creatures Party -3yr- Octopus Photo Thank You

Award

Date

August 2009

From

Lucinda in Mount Joy, Pennsylvania, USA

Runner Up

Under The Sea Party

My daughter chose 'Sea Creatures' for her 3rd birthday party.  It was a blast!  The party was held outside at my house, but most of the ideas could be used at a park.  I started planning about 4 months in advance and tried to include her in all aspects of the party. 

We started off making the INVITATIONS together.  I bought a pack of white, blank cards/envelopes and printed the information on the front: 'It's O 'Fish' al Lila is Turning 3!, Come party with us Under The Sea!' over an underwater scene.  Using an ink pad, we made thumb prints on the front and then later with a marker made them look like sea creatures (an octopus, fish, jellyfish, crab) by just adding fins, legs, etc to the thumb body.  Everyone loved that!

Then, on the inside we added the important information: Bait(crossed out and then put Date), Maritime (time), Set Course For (address), Galley Will Serve: Lots of food, Come hungry as a whale, R.S.V.P - Don't clam up by (then the date they should confirm by).  We also added, There will be water sand and fun games for the kiddos bring a bathing suit and towel! Don't be crabby! SEA you there!  I had Lila add fish stickers and the fish postage stamps I found online too!.

DECORATIONS included crepe paper billowing from the front trees and lining our walkway (It really started off the feeling of being under water) a fish saying "Happy to Sea you. Clam on in" on the front door to greet people a shiny streamer/curtain to walk through cut-out sea creatures placed here and there lots of pop-up fish and sea creature confetti spotted around the table (which was inside and held all the food) a poster to be used later for a "Pin the sticker on the Ocean Scene" crepe paper fish hanging all around the porch roof an under the sea themed Happy Birthday sign and balloons (two shades of blue) all around the front and back yard with even more billowing crepe paper.  To add to the ocean feel we had CDs of ocean music Beach Boys etc. playing outside too.  We had tons of

ACTIVITIES/GAMES for kids and adults.  My husband laid out a huge blue tarp (the sea) and place a large kiddy pool in the middle a sandbox to the side and lots of inflatable sea creatures laying around.  My daughter was 'in charge' of placing small plastic sea creatures in the pool and shells in the sandbox.  We already had a beanbag toss game but I just bought fish shaped beanbags online at Oriental Trading Company for the kids to use.

We had a blow up octopus ring toss game too.  I took a large roll of paper and drew big very simple sea creatures (I even asked my daughter to name some sea creatures and then I drew the ones she named) just the outline and dots for eyes along the roll and we stapled  it to our fence (could easily be laid out on a table grass etc.) and placed kid friendly paint brushes sponges all kinds of painting utensils near it so the kids could come over at anytime and paint sea creatures.  It became a really cool mural!  We also have a small hot tub so we used that as well.  We did not turn the heat on as the party was in the middle of August but we did add bubbles so when the kids turned on the jets - Watch Out... bubbles Galore! 

For the adults we had Sea-Horse Shoes and a larger adult-size beanbag game and they painted on the mural too.  The game that the kids got the most excitement over was the ping-pong ball fish toss just like the one at many fairs.  We had bowls of goldfish and the kids tossed the ping-pong balls into the jars. With parents permission (gotten before the game so as to not upset anyone) each child was allowed to take home a goldfish. They also received a snack-size zip lock bag filled with fish food in their gift bags along with the fish bowl. 

COSTUMES - I found a dress with embroidered fish on it and a mermaid-like bathing suit for the birthday girl and the kids had these plastic nose pieces shaped like different sea creatures that had a string for around their head Hysterical! (I found them a Party City).  The food was a huge hit. 

The PARTY SNACKS and food included clam cookies made from Nilla Wafers.  To make them you take one wafer and smear pink frosting on it place a (white) yogurt covered raisin in the middle- which I let Lila do- and then take another wafer put white dots of icing for the eyes (I used a small black gel packet to place dots for the pupils) and place that wafer on top. I had lots of candy left over from the cake decorations (explained later) so I used that to further decorate.  I took a round pie pan covered it in foil placed the rest of the small blue and green string licorice (the sour kind with the sugar on the outside) all over the pan and scattered the rest of the chocolate rocks on top then I placed the clam cookies on top.  It looked like the bottom of the sea! 

My husband carved a sea turtle out of a watermelon. To do this first cut the top of the watermelon length-wise for the shell then cut the shell design on the outside of that piece.  Unless you have a kitchen tool designed for this it is time consuming and can be done ahead of time even a couple of days.  Then we cut another slightly larger length-wise section to cut the feet head and tail placing them on with wooden skewers.  We balled the rest of the watermelon and mixed with other fruit filled the hollowed out watermelon with the mixed fruit and topped it with the turtle. 

We had 'eel on a stick' which was chicken sliced thin skewered and grilled. 

The kids loved the octopus hot dogs!  These were super easy! Just cut the hot dog length-wise in half and half again (making four legs) about 3/4 of the way up.  Then carefully cut each of the four legs in half - 8 legs!  Place in boiling water and the legs curl up place on a bed of lettuce and they are adorable!

We had homemade mac'n'cheese using shell pasta of course Goldfish crackers in a fishbowl and blue Jell-O with gummy fish inside in a fish bowl too. 

Our punch was blue Hawaiian Punch with green sherbet and lime soda - looks like a foamy ocean and tastes yummy!  We also had brisket beans artichoke/crab dip and a veggie tray.  Lots to choose from for everyone.  We bought simple blue plastic cups sturdy plates and ocean themed napkins.  

I always make my daughter's birthday cake and I am no expert. I just baked two cakes chocolate and vanilla and placed them next to each other on top of a large flat pan covered in foil. I then frosted them starting at the top with a lighter blue and added more blue food coloring to frost the bottom.  I crushed graham crackers for the sand at the bottom placed chocolate candy that looked like rocks around the bottom used thin string licorice (blue & green) and fruit roll ups cut up to look like seaweed and placed gummy fish and some Goldfish crackers all around.  I also used some green sugar (the kind mostly used to decorate cookies) to add some sparkle on the bottom added Happy 3rd Birthday Lila and sea creature candles we found at Party City and it turned out great! 

We planned and announced to everyone that before they left they had to get their picture taken with the cut-out octopus board- which was a hoot when the adults got into it!  I made this out of an old solid door my husband cut out a hole for the face and I painted the door blue painted an octopus body around the hole with fish over head and seaweed at the bottom.  (This can be easily done with large poster board). 

We took pictures of kids and adults (one adult even used the picture as her Facebook profile pic.!) printed out copies and sent them with the 'thank you' cards which again I involved my daughter by having her color a whale on the front of the card saying "I had a whale of a time" on the outside and a poem I wrote thanking everyone for their gifts; "Thanks for playing with me under the sea so glad you were there to celebrate with me!  Your gift was thought out with the greatest of care but the best gift of all was you being there!"  What a great way to remember the day!  We also announced that the children were to pick up their favor 'bags' before they left.

The FAVORS were plastic sand buckets with shovels attached (cheap at a dollar store) filled with goodies from the Oriental Trading Company - pop-up fish a plastic fish/water game sea creature stickers fish clappers the fish food in a zip lock mentioned earlier plastic sunglasses with sea creatures on them little bubble containers with fish toppers and blue tissue paper to top it off!  I definitely had help - plenty of adult supervision with the hot tub paints kiddy pool etc. I searched dollar stores Oriental Trading Company and any place I could find to get the best deals. 

Everyone had a great time especially the birthday girl!!"

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