Idea No.


Little Mermaid Party -5yr- Sand Picture Craft



June 2002


Dariti in Austin, TX, USA


Ariel Little Mermaid Party

Little Mermaid Party: For my daughter?s 5th birthday we had a Little Mermaid (LM) themed party, and that was so much fun, we also had a LM backyard pool party that summer as well.   

INVITATIONS: I had bought the Little Mermaid Print Studio, but didn?t like the restrictions it put on making invitations, so I scanned some images and made my own invitations.  On the front I had an image of Ariel, Flounder, and Sebastain surrounded by bubbles, with a purple swirly background, and the text read; ?Feelin? Kinda Bubbly?? Inside I used the same purple background, and images of Sebastain, Flounder, Ariel, and Melody (Ariel?s daughter - LM II had just come out at that time). Inside left text read ?Swim on Over! Please dress in beach, ocean, mermaid, or fishy attire for our Under-the-Sea Adventure! We hope you will dive in and join in the fun, we may just find treasure!? Inside right read; ?___?s Under-the-Sea Birthday Party, When?- day, time, Where?- ___?s Grotto, address, It?ll be a SPLASH!? We had also been able to go to Disney World a few months prior to the party, and of course the highlight had been meeting and getting a photo with Ariel, the Little Mermaid herself - so we also included a wallet sized photo of my daughter and Ariel in each invitation.  

DECORATIONS: We hung string in an "X" formation high above the room, close to ceiling (but below the ceiling fan) - and draped streamers of blue, light blue, and teal (and threw in some green for seaweed, and purple just because) EVERYWHERE. They dangled down low enough so people could feel like they were walking under the water. And after the crepe paper streamers were draped on we turned the ceiling fan on LOW, to simulate the "waves" in the water!  You could also attach some construction paper fish, or Little Mermaid cut-outs to a few of the streamers to look like they are swimming! I used the Little Mermaid Print Studio to make print outs of LM characters, using the Banner mode to print large (letter size) characters I just deleted the text on the Banner, and printed the graphics, cut them out and laminated them- which I taped on walls and hung from streamers. (Since I laminated them, we saved them and hung them all in my daughter's room after the party.)  You could also get LM images on the internet, or use coloring pages. I also used one of my daughter?s Little Mermaid sheets wich had a large image of Ariel on it, and tacked it to a wall as a nice background to take photos in front of. Balloons: We got latex balloons in seafoam green (teal), purple, and blue.  Those colors went great with the Little Mermaid party supplies.  Another fun idea is to just blow up a bunch of balloons (with regular air) and have them on the floor, so it's like you're walking through bubbles.  Have a bubble machine going throughout the party.  What  fun (but messy if inside)!  

TABLES: I used a blue fishing net (bought at a party store) on the table over a purple table cloth on one table, and found a brightly colored fish themed vinyl shower curtain which I also used as a table cloth at the pool party.    Cool Centerpiece: I found this idea somewhere on the web, and we used it at the summer pool party; Get a Little Mermaid plastic figurine, place grapes on the bottom of a clear glass fishbowl, fill with blue jello and place mermaid at the bottom, add gummy fish, put in refrigerator-- after it sets, chop up the top a little so it looks like waves!  The kids LOVED this, and ate lots of jello!  

FOOD: tuna salad, gold fish crackers (in several flavors), chips, dip, veggies, etc. all served in plastic sand pails, sand castle molds, fish, and shell shaped dishes. 

GOODIE BAGS/Party Favors:  For one party we used plastic sand pails, and decorated them with Little Mermaid Stickers, and the other we used plastic beach baskets that came with a sand mold and shovel. Each were filled with some of the following: bottles of blowing bubbles, snack bags of "Goldfish," "Whales," or "Dolphins" crackers, snack bags of "Shark Bites",  Swedish Fish, or other fish shaped fruit snacks or gummy candies, strings of beads/necklaces (marti-gra style, or stretchy type), kids plastic sunglasses, LM Plastic Figures or Happy Meal toys, and fish or LM stickers. 

CRAFTS: We made Sand Castles that you can keep at our summer pool party ~ Sand Dough: 4 Cups Sand, 2 Cups Cornstarch, 1 tblsp + 1 tsp Cream of Tartar, 3 Cups Hot Water. Mix sand, cornstarch and cream of tarter into large saucepan.  Stir in the hot water and cook over medium heat until stiff and water is absorbed. (Needs a strong arm!)  Cool and place inside a sealed container until ready to use. Kids can form castles with their hands- but we used plastic sand castle molds.  It is best coat molds with a vegetable spray first for easy removal.  >>It is a lot of work to make enough sand dough for eight sandcastle molds - so I suggest finding small molds to use!<<  The best part was sticking "jewels", buttons, and other items on to decorate them.  I bought several packages of those glass marbles used for flower vases, and packages of plastic "jewels", at the dollar store.  I also gathered up all the broken barrettes, beads, and buttons that were laying around - and the kids just loved having all these things to choose from. Some items didn't stick well however, so we ended up gluing some items on. Sand pictures: Have a bottle of glue, and sheet of construction paper available for each child.  Let them ?draw? A beach or underwater scene using the glue, and then sprinkle colored sand (found at most craft stores) over it - allow to set for a few minutes, then shake off excess sand (can be saved to use on another picture!).  Have some plastic beads, buttons, jewels and such available for them to embellish their artwork.  

GAMES: Swimming of course! Have items such as large fake coins available to throw in and have them dive for.  We also made ?treasure glaciers,? Using regular balloons, I had filled with water - I squeezed a small plastic toy (ring, beaded bracelet, fish, etc.) inside, tied the balloons, and froze them.  When it was time to swim - I brought the balls of ice out, (after having peeled off the balloon), and threw them all in the kiddie pool.  The kids had to each pick one to melt and reveal their treasure.  It was around 100 degrees that day, so this cooled down the pool and the kids thought it was great fun. For her birthday party, it was raining and cold, so we had to have an indoor activity - I set up an inflatable kiddie pool filled with plastic ballpit balls in my daughter?s bedroom for them to ?swim? In.  I also found a magnetic fishing game at a dollar store, filled a plastic container 1/4 with water, and let the kids go "fishing."  I let them choose from inflatable beach balls, fish shaped bath scrubbies, and sheets of fish stickers for prizes (everyone got a prize). 

NAME TAGS: I cut out shell shapes from paper (metallic wrapping paper - but you could use any kind), wrote the name on with a gold paint pen, then laminated, punched two holes in the top, and strung a ribbon through to hang around the child's neck.  These were made to resemble Melody's locket from the Little Mermaid II.  You could also write the names on top of the laminate, if you have unexpected guests (those who did not R.S.V.P., or siblings that tagged along). Or - if you have time, paint some sea shells, and drill holes in them to make more "realistic" necklaces.  CAKE: For the birthday party, I made both the Wilton "Little Mermaid" (Ariel), and "Merry Mermaid," (I decorated to look like Melody - Ariel's daughter). For the pool party I made individual "gold fish bowl" cakes, using small shell shaped pans (bought at the dollar store), frosted blue with candy sprinkles along the curved side as the gravel, and added a few red, green, and orange sea plants (piped icing squiggles), put three cheddar goldfish crackers "swimming" in the blue frosting with white piped dots (bubbles) coming up from them, and added a few thin lines of white piped frosting at the top of the cake for the rim of the bowl.  You really have to see it to know what I mean, but the kids thought these were "So Cool!"  And I had fun making them.  

TIME: My daughter's birthday party began at 2:00 p.m. and each guest was greeted with shell name tag necklaces, and led into our "Under-the-Sea Grotto." Then we gave everyone time to visit and snack for a while (my mother made cotton candy), the kids had fun just running around under the streamers, and jumping in the ballpit for about 30 minutes or so. Then we did the fishing game, and busted open a Mermaid pinata that was filled with plastic gold coins, candy, beaded necklaces, stickers, and a few LM plastic toys. Next was the birthday cake (she chose to have the candles put on the Ariel cake), and then opened her presents.  After thanking everyone for the presents, we handed out the goodie pails, and some guests stuck around for another ?swim? In the ball pit, or to play in the LM tent that Granny gave her, but most went home.   

The pool party we had in the summer started around 11:30 a.m., (most parents just dropped off their kids, or we picked them up) we ate tuna pasta salad and other munchies for lunch, and then went swimming with the ice glaciers, and had diving contests.  After swimming in our inflatable pools (we set up two, one shallow smaller pool for the 2 toddlers) for about 30 minutes, they were ready for another activity so we went inside and made the sand castles - and had a judging on the best ones (but everyone won some sort of prize), and had a snack of blue jello from the centerpiece.  Then they were ready to swim again, and after all were tired or water logged, we went inside and watched the Little Mermaid, and the Little Mermaid II movies back to back as they ate their individual fish bowl cakes.  By the time the second movie was over everyone had gone home with their beach baskets, and sand castles.  Both parties were so much fun, and I expect we?ll be doing another pool party this summer!  For both parties we used all the LM theme party supplies, which have now been discontinued - but I think with all the LM decorations, they were minor to the party.  Just about any color of cups, plates, and napkins would do - and you can also find lots of fishy themed party goods just about anywhere - including dollar stores.  

This was the most fun theme that I had done up to that point, inexpensive (though it was a lot of work!), and is still the theme I get the most comments about from friends and family.

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