Clifford & Sesame St. (2-3yr) Doggie Bags
Alecia in Bryan, Ohio, USA
October 2011 Winner
I chose Clifford goes to Sesame Street as the theme for this party, because it combined two things that my daughter and my niece love the most! My daughter LOVES Clifford, and my niece LOVES Sesame Street, especially Big Bird.
INVITATION: The invitations were postcard style. On the front was a backdrop of Big Bird’s nest. It had Big Bird, Oscar the Grouch, Elmo, Cookie Monster and Clifford the Big Red Dog standing around the nest. It had the beginning lyrics of the Sesame Street theme song, written across the top and bottom in red font. Sunny days sweepin’ in clouds away you can get the lyrics online, I’m sure. Then on the back it said, Clifford has a place to be, a party for our daughter as she turns 3! He meets up with Big Bird and Elmo too, so they can celebrate my niece as she turns 2! Please join us for food, games and more, as both girls’ celebrate their birthdays’ galore! Then it had the date, time, and place listed below. Then at the very bottom it said, Brought to you by the letters, R and H, and the numbers 2 and 3. (ha, R and H are the first letters of my daughter and niece’s names, and 2 and 3, are the ages they are turning). The invitations turned out REALLY cute!
DECORATIONS/TABLEWARE: I went with a red/yellow theme, because Clifford is red, and Big bird(my niece’s favorite) is yellow. So, I got plates, napkins, cups, and silverware in yellow and red. The big decoration was the corrugated characters that I cut out and painted up. These were used for games and also decoration and REALLY added to the party. I found images online of Clifford, Cookie Monster, Big Bird, Oscar the Grouch and Elmo. I printed these off onto transparencies(found at some office supply stores), and then put them on a projector and blew them up on big sheets of corrugated. Then I just traced the images, and painted them up and cut them out. I even let my oldest daughter help paint because most of them, like Clifford, and Cookie Monster had huge areas of one solid color so she was able to paint quite a bit for me, and she had a lot of fun doing this! This was about all I did in terms of decorating. However, I could have easily gotten some helium balloon bouquets of red and yellow balloons, or put some red and yellow confetti down the tables or something.
FOOD: I usually do a meal for the girls’ birthday. The menu went as such: Elmo’s Worldly Pie(Shephard’s pie), Clifford’s Corndogs, Big Bird’s Bird Seed Salad(an oriental salad that has ramen noodles and sunflower seeds in it), Oscar the Grouch’s Tossed Salad, Bert’s Pigeon Chips(Potato Chips), and Clifford’s Big Red Punch(Hawaiian Punch in the Big Gallon Jugs). This menu really turned out GREAT! I made cards up that had an image of each character the food was named after and the name of the food. I made the cards by finding pictures of each character, and then putting the name of the food next to that character. I printed these out on white cardstock, and then I cut each one out. Then using scrapbook adhesive attached each tag to a rectangle of colored cardstock, so that it had a border around it. Then I folded the colored cardstock in half, so that it stood up. They were really easy to make, and the adults especially always like to see what each food is going to be named! The food went down REALLY good! My sister and I served the salads up in those clear smallish cups so that people could just grab a cup of salad, and didn’t have to worry about the dressing making a mess on the plates and stuff. The salads both went down really good, and we had a lot of compliments on the food.
GAMES/GETTING STARTED: I always like to have an introductory type craft or something to keep the kids out of any games I might have partially set up. Usually this involves decorating their goody bags or something. This time, I decided to have each kid get made up to look like a dog. I bought a roll of 3/4 satin red ribbon and some Velcro dots. Each kid got measured around the neck and got fitted for a very loose dog collar. I had dog tags made out and each child got to choose what color they wanted.
For the dog tags, I just printed out some paw prints, then took my hole punch, and punched them out into 1 1/2 circles. Then I mounted the dog paws onto green purple red orange blue and yellow paper and cut around them. Each dog tag got a hole punched out of the top. Then I took a very small piece of thin yarn(it’s almost like twine) and I made a loop just big enough so the red ribbon could be threaded through it. I threaded the loop through the dog tag and tied it off. Then I taped the knotted part to the back of the dog tag so it looked a little neater. So the kids each got to pick out what color dog tag they wanted then they threaded that through the red ribbon that was fit for them. Then the ends of the red ribbon got a Velcro dot on each end so they could be put on and off easily. The dog tags were made up ahead of time and I just put my aunt in charge of getting each child fitted for a collar as they came in. This went REALLY well!
Then each kid got a black nose and some little freckles with face paint(it was nice that it’s getting closer to Halloween because this was easy for me to find!). I was going to have some dog ears made up out of felt for each child to put some dog ears on but I ran out of time so this just didn’t happen. But the kids really seemed to like the dog collars and face paint!!
The kids also received their doggie bags and put their names on these. The doggie bags were just plain brown bags that had a white bone cutout on the front that said Doggie Bag. Very simple and cheap and it went perfect with the theme. Next we went to seeClifford. The corrugated Clifford was just leaning against a wall in my garage. I started out by telling the kids that Clifford was on his way to Sesame Street for a very special birthday celebration! He lost all his bones though and he really needed their help to find them! *I chose to do a photo op here with the kids around Clifford so that my brother in law and husband could hide these dog bones everywhere. As this was not something that I could have done prior to the party because the kids would obviously see them.* After the kids got a picture with Clifford I explained the rules. Clifford has two doggie bags one pink and one blue and each bone had a pink or blue ribbon around it. The kids had to find the bones ONE at a time and bring them back and put them in to the correct doggie bag! (the reason that I emphasized ONE at a time. Was because we have some 5-7 year olds amongst the 2-3 year olds and I definitely didn’t want the younger kids to get left out). The doggie bags were just pink and blue gift bags that I put a white cutout of a bone on the front that said Doggie Bag. So we let the kids go and they had a BALL hunting for the dog bones! I think I had enough for about 2-3 bones per kid. We have a dog so I actually bought 2 bags of those white bones and I tied pink or blue ribbons around each one. I spent about $15 in bones but they won’t go to waste. If one had the time you could spend next to nothing by making these bones yourself. If you saved your cereal boxes and painted them white then you could trace bone shapes on them(a bone cookie cutter would work great) then cut out and glue these back to back. Then you could just wrap your ribbon around those. They would work just fine.
After the kids helped Clifford Clifford gave them bags of Clifford’s Puppy Chow to put in their doggie bags. I made up puppy chow(the people kind that uses chex cereal) a couple of weeks prior to the party then froze it on cookie sheets and then put it in gallon bags and stored in the freezer. I made up the bags of puppy chow by putting about 2/3 cup of puppy chow in to a sandwich size baggie. I then tied this with a red twist tie and attached a dog tag that said Puppy Chow on it. It was just a circular dog tag like before it had a paw print with the words Puppy Chow going around the paw. I cut these out and then mounted each one onto red cardstock then cut around that. The tags turned out cute. (I made enough puppy chow to be given out at the end of the party to all the guests.) Clifford said he was looking for Big Bid so we set off to find Big Bird. We ended up finding Oscar the Grouch instead! (The corrugated cutout of Oscar the Grouch was him in his garbage can).
We asked Oscar the Grouch if he’s seen Big Bird and he said NO! But he needed the kids help because he was spring ‘cleaning’ and all of his belongings were scattered all around. There was trash EVERYWHERE! He needed the kids to pick up the trash and put it back in his garbage can! I had trash that I kept back that was mostly paper stuff it was ‘clean’ trash some plastic bottles and wrapping paper and stuff like that. While the kids were ‘bone-hunting’ this trash mysteriously got dumped(by my brother in law). So the kids had to work together to pick up all of Oscar’s Trash! Of all the things you wouldn’t think the kids would like this but they really got in to it! Oscar gave them all handi-snacks for helping. (for being ‘handy’. Ha) Clifford is STILL looking for Big Bid so we set off agai and we come across COOKIE MONSTER!
The cookie monster cutout was fairly large and what we did was set him up against my kids’ small play slide. Their slide has a small platform so you go up then there is a platform and then you go down the slide. It was the perfect size for this next game. So anyways we tied Cookie Monster to this slide so the kids could reach his mouth fairly easily. The picture that I found had Cookie Monster holding a cookie jar and had a big smile on his face. I cut his mouth out so there was a hole there instead. Okay so we asked Cookie Monster if he had seen Big Bird and again we got a no. But Cookie monster asked us if we had seen his cookies because they weren’t in the cookie jar! Well sure enough there was a big pile of cookies by the kids. I made the cookies by cutting circles out of cereal boxes then glueing two circles together so they were brown on both sides. Then I took a black marker and just put black spots on both sides so they looked like chocolate chip cookies. So Cookie Monster said Me hungry! Me want cookie! So one at a time the kids took a few cookies and walked up the slide and at the top they put the cookies through his mouth(this actually wasn’t just right because the cookies were coming THROUGH his mouth instead of going in to his mouth but the kids didn’t really seem to care!). Anyways then they would go down the slide and most of the kids got back in line to do this again and again. They LOOOOVED it so much!
Anyways Cookie Monster gave each child a fruit snack(because he’s not going to give away HIS cookies!!)for helping him to find his cookies. Again Clifford asks the kid has anyone seen any sign of Big Bird? Anywhere? While this was all going on my mom made a very small pile of birdseed with some yellow feathers sticking out of it and a picture of a shoe next to it too. SO the kids started looking around until my oldest daughter spotted this right away! THIS started our journey to Big Bird scavenger hunt! I explained to the kids that they had to hold hands and that the first person was to lead us to where they thought the next clue might be. I really wanted them to hold hands and do it this way so that everyone would have a turn at leading the group around and also spotting each clue. I know I might be a little too strict on things like this but I like to avoid child meltdowns if at all possible and I could just SEE a child(my daughters included) getting upset because THEY didn’t get to find a clue. So anyways this is how I did it and then when the child at the front found the next clue they gave it to the next child in line and they went to the back. Well each clue led us to a new location and this was all done by picture because the kids were so young. So the kids went to the shoe closet then the turtle sandbox(outside) then the garden and on and on the LAST clue was a vacuum cleaner. (we directed the last child where to lead us because I’m sure not all the kids knew where the vacuum cleaner was!) Anyways when the kids opened the door..inside it was BIG BIRD!!!!
I was so proud of what I done here because I didn’t know how I was going to hide this Big Bird cutout without the kids seeing it as they went through and around the house. I don’t know how I thought of this closet but it worked out SO great! I had a roll of tablecloth leftover from another party so what I did was make a backdrop of sorts so when they opened the closet Big Bird would be standing there in front of this light blue backdrop instead of a cluttered closet! I very carefully laid Big Bird down on the tablecloth then I poked a couple holes through his belly right through the tablecloth too. I then took yellow yarn and tied Big Bird right to the table cloth itself. I did this around his neck and at the top of his head too. This pretty well secured Big Bird to this backdrop. Then I poked a hole in the upper hand corners of the tablecloth(actually I put masking tape on the front and back of the hole then put the hole through the tape too just so the string that went through the hole wouldn’t rip the table cloth). Then I put string through each corner and hung this on two nails on the outside of the door jam. Anyways I was able to shut the door and the only thing you could see from the outside was the string coming out the top. But when you opened the closet door right there was Big Bird standing front and center! I know it took a little bit to explain this but it really wasn’t hard at all and it was very impressive! Big bird then gave each child a bird feeder kit for helping to find him! I made up bird feeder kits by putting a pinecone a snack size Ziploc bag with 2 Tbsp PB a snack size Ziploc with 1/3 cup of birdseed and a piece of yarn in a sandwich size bag. I also made up a simple instruction sheet. The instruction sheet(I got four out per sheet of paper) had a small birdhouse at the top then below had a few instructions to tie the string to the pine cone. Then snip the corner of the PB bag and squeeze the PB all over the pine cone. Then roll the pine cone around in birdseed. Then hang from a tree. This was SO cheap to make really! A small bag of birdseed is only $2-3 and I had the PB string pinecones and baggies. The kids LOVED this!
CAKE: I was SO impressed with the cakes we did for this party! My sister really wanted my niece to have her own little big bird cake so she made this miniature big bird cake for her. It was a very small(maybe 8) big bird I don’t know how she does this but she just cut it out by hand then star tipped most of it in yellow for the fur then put stripes of pink around the legs and did her magic and it looked JUST like a mini-big bird! We also made up 2 round cakes that were maybe 4 in diameter. We star-tipped one in blue frosting and then made the face look just like Cookie monster. It had white eyes and a black mouth that was open and ready for a cookie! The other round cake we made we star-tipped in red and made to look like Elmo. Then we made cupcakes that we frosted a real pretty green color like the color of the sesame street sign. And each cupcake had a letter made out of a thick round tip that spelled out ‘Sesame Street’ when you lined up the cupcakes. For the Clifford side of things I decided to make a BIG bone! (Clifford’s bone). I made a 9 x 13 cake then I cut this down the middle lengthwise and put the ends together to make one long rectangle. Then I put 2 cupcakes on either end so that it had the bone ‘nubs’ on the ends of it. I frosted the whole thing white and put a white and red border where it meets the edge of the tray. It had red writing on it that said happy birthday ‘daughter’s name’ etc. It was BIG! It was impressive! I loved this so much! Then the rest of the cupcakes were frosted red and had white paw prints on them. The cakes were really awesome!
ADULT DOOR PRIZES: I always appreciate the friends and family that are a part of these birthday celebrations. I try to put together an adult door prize if I can. SO this year I put together 2 bags. One was a Clifford themed bag from my daughter and the other was a Big bird themed bag from my niece. The Clifford bag was just a red gift bag that had white bone cutouts all over it. Inside was a big package of Big Red gum a few RED apples(honeycrisp) and a bag of beef jerkey(labeled raw hide) and a 2L of Red Pop. The Big bird bag was a yellow bag with yellow feathers all over it. Inside was a big package of Juicy Fruit gum(because it’s yellow) a bag of sunflower seeds and a small bag of bird seed(to feed our feathered friends) and a 2L of Mellow Yellow. We just had each adult put their name in to a drawing earlier on then my daughter drew a name to win the Clifford bag and my niece drew a name to win the Big Bird bag. I would reinforce the gift bags by doubling them up or something. I think they were a little heavy for a normal gift bag! Anyways the adults got a kick out of these! I would say this party was a HUGE success! I loved every minute of it. The adults stayed for a long time afterward and visited and the kids spent the night feeding ‘cookies’ to Cookie Monster! Ha! "