Barnyard Party -1yr- Petting Zoo Entertainment
Amy in Tomball, TX, USA
For my son, Trevor's 1st Birthday we had a Barnyard Party. Since he is such an animal lover and began walking at 10 months, I thought that having a petting zoo at an outside party would be a great idea, b/c there would be plenty of room to run and play, (especially since their would be older children there too).
FOR INVITATIONS: I bought stationary at Hobby Lobby that had a red handkerchief border and inserted a picture of Trevor in his overalls and red bandana (that I scanned in an inserted). I also put farm animal stickers in random places on the invitations. It read: Yee Haw! Trevor is turning one and we want you to join in on the fun! There will be farm animals to play with, and a miniature donkey to ride, so please join Trevor for this fun, fun time! And then the rhyme continued with the other info (date, time, place, etc) and also a little phrase about dressing in thier overalls. Trevor and my husband and I all wore blue jean overalls and red shirts. Every child received a bandana when they arrived, and they all wore their overalls! (I had a HUGE selection of colors for them to choose from.)
FOR DECORATIONS: I bought some cutouts to hang and a birthday banner, and a few matching cups and plates and other matching items from www.birthdayinabox.com for the cake table. They had farm anmials on them and the number one. To save on expenses and bring in red and white colors, I bought red and white tablecloths (from the dollar store) along with red and white napkins and cups and had lots of red and white balloons. I even had some artificial bluebonnet flowers on the tables for added color.
The red and white blended nicely with all of the colors in the "themed" paper goods and I was able to save quite a bit of money by going with the solid colored items on the guest tables and stuff. I had a local bakery make the cake like the cake plates/napkins. Trevor's was a small round version of the big sheet cake. I set some hay bales around for people to sit on if they wanted along with plenty of chairs. Signs at the end of the street and the driveway said, "Trevor's Barnyard Party" with arrows and "Old MacTrevor's Farm". The party was outside, so we had everything set up in the garage. This made it easy for the parents to watch their children, while they played with the animals. His birthday is in January, so we were worried about the weather, but we could not have asked for a more beautiful day.
FOR FOOD: We had hot dogs and homemade chili, Frito pies and other dips and snacks. For drinks we made tea for the adults and also had sodas, and for the kids we had a big tub (oversized galvanized bucket) of Koolaid Koolers, Capri Suns, and other children's drinks. They really liked getting to pick their drink out of the tub.
FOR FUN: The mobile petting zoo brought baby rabbits, baby chicks, baby goats, a baby llama and a minature donkey. The lady who brought them dressed up as a "Cowgirl Clown" and had her face painted and wore overalls. She even did balloon animals if we wanted, but the kids were too interested in the farm animals to worry about balloons. The kids got to ride the donkey and lead each other while doing so, which the bigger kids LOVED. The small animals were in cages where they could reach in and touch them or even get them out and hold them. The llama and some goats were in a small temporary fence the mobile petting zoo set up, but the kids could still go in and out and play with them. Some goats got to wander around as they pleased, we just had to keep them from eating the flowers, but the kids liked "rounding them up" too. All of the children there were ages 1-8, so there was something for everyone to enjoy.
The donkey got tired and laid down, so the children pulled on him for a while then laid on top of him. We had a hayride- we put bales of hay on a trailer and pulled it behind the tractor and the signs on the trailer read "Old MacTrevor's Farm". I thought we may need games, but realized that we didn't have time for them, b/c the party only lasted 3 hours. Everyone got to eat and drink at their leisure and play with the farm animals (the animals were there for 2 hours). Then we opened presents and cut the cake. Trevor's gift from us was the Fisher Price Bubble Tractor, which went right along with the theme of the party.
After the presents were opened we did the pinata. It was a cow stuffed with candy (suckers, soft chewy stuff). The birthday boy got to hit it first with the pinata stick and then it went in age order…the smaller ones first. This meant that every child got to hit it before it fell apart. When we got to the older children, we let them really get it good, but not where it completely feel apart. We let the oldest guest really hit it and he feel "cool" because he was the oldest and did what the little ones couldn't do. They all got to go after the candy and grab whatever the could.
After that I gave them their goodie bags (which I purchased from www.birthdayinabox.com to match the "themed" decorations and the cake). I knew about how many children of each age would be there so I planned the bags accordingly. Everyone got an "Old MacTrevor's Farm coloring book, which I made from downloading coloring pages from the internet and printing them out. Then I put a picture of Trevor on the front with the title and each page had a picture of a farm animal with the E-I-E-I-O saying that went with it (ie: For the Cow, with a "Moo Moo here", etc.).
The last page was a Thank you from Trevor for sharing his special day and hoping that everyone had a great time because he did. It was bound together with red yarn. Also in the bag were animal cookies, whistles and other things for smaller children, with chips, hard candy, and other things for the bigger children. The parents liked the coloring books the best and some adult guests who didn't have children asked for goodie bags, just so they could get the coloring book, so I was glad I made extra. Each child got their picture taken riding the donkey and it got sent with their thank you card. For those relatives and friends that came, but didn't have children, they got a picture of Trevor on the donkey in their thank you card.
As everyone left a few Moms stopped and asked what I was planning for next year. I told them they would just have to wait and see!