Fiesta Party -3yr- Decorate Your Maracas
Diane in Coventry, CT 06238
My 3 year old was inspired by the Barney video where they travel to different countries and sign songs -- she loves the Let's Have A Fiesta" song! So when we started planning her 3rd birthday it was natural to have a birthday fiesta! Here is what we did by category:
INVITATIONS - I had invitations printed out on shiny paper that had a border of dancing chilli peppers. The invites read "Look at me me me I'm 33 3. I'm as happy as can be be be. Can you tell can you see? I'm a very very very happy me! - Baby Bop" Then we put the details (where when etc) on the invite.
DECORATIONS - we had been planning her fiesta for quite some time so we had many project days together (along with her 1.5 year old sister!!). We made God's Eyes (2 popsicle sticks glued together in a cross and then yarn wrapped around; instructions can be found on google) and hung them around the house we made large colorful tissue paper flowers (20 pk at the dollar store leave the paper the size layer about 10 sheets on top of each other accordian-fold the short end fold it in half so it looks like a fan tie a pipe cleaner around the "handle" of the fan and then open each indiviudal sheet to form the flower) tiny cacti centerpieces (tiny buckets $.49 Walmart filled with easter grass a round styrofoam circle painted green and then stuck with toothpicks and then a small paper flower in the top - same directions as above but cut about 1/4 of the sheet) beaded chilli peppers (found the pattern on makingfriends.com) printed out a Happy Birthday Banner (one letter per paper with a fiesta clip art).
I bought both my daughters white eyelet dresses that had the layers of ruffles (almost like a Mexican dance dress). I tied long ribbons of red and green around their waists and bought silk flowers for their hair (3 for $1 at the dollar store!). At the house we put the large tissue flowers on doors windows walls everywhere that needed a splash of color. We hung the banner up in the dining room behind the bday girl's seat (great photo op!). I also found some cute Mexican dressed dolls from the dollar store and they decorated the tables and shelves along with a Cinco de mayo Barbie doll (Walmart clearance rack $15). I made the cake myslef as my youngest daughter has many food allergies and we wanted her to be involved but I made a variation of white royal icing and then printed out a professional photo of the bday girl onto edible paper (yes I used a special printer that only prints in food coloring.
I borrowed the printer from my local high school baking class and I only paid for the ink $28 with rush shipping). The photo had my daughter in her fiesta dress a huge silk flower in her hair playing with her cinco de mayo Barbie and sombreros pinatas and tons of flowers behind her. I typed in Jokerman font "Happy Fiesta Alexandra" and the number 3. I placed that in the center of the cake and sprinkled ranbow sprinkles on either side of the photo and around the platter to look like confetti. I had everthing in the house labeled and I looked up the translations on google -- I know some of them were literal and quite silly but nbody spoke Spanish!
Everything (all food rooms birthday girl drinks etc) had a little bi-lingual sign next to it -- I had people joking that all of our parties are preschool learning time! We also placed a large sombrero that I bought in Mexico on the fireplace (I tried to get my husband to wear it...). The gift bags were lined up on a credenza and my daughter handed them out right after dinner (see below for details). We also hung the pinata in the kitchen as a festive splash and to get the kids a little excited (but too polite to ask!).
FOOD: because of my youngest's allergies and the amount of people we had to keep it limited. I found a great taco recipe and made my own corn tortilla shells. We also had hamburgers hot dogs pasta salad and the norm. Dessert was the cake (chocolate) blondies and red & green jello (I layered them in small plastic cups -- each cup had red on the bottom and green on the top. That was the best idea because people could take their own and still admire the colors and there was no mess with the kids!). Every plate of food had a little Mexican flag on a tooth pick! The centerpiece was the cake platter rasied up (I put an upside down bowl underneath the tablecloth to make a platform) and surrounded by cacti flowers and dolls. I blew up a bag of multi colored balloons and hung them around the house made strings of them for the front steps and around the shade umbrella in the back yard.
GOODIE BAGS AND PINATAS: The goodie bags were brightly colored cellophane bags with flowers (30 for $1 at the dollar store) stuffed with 1 instrument (maraca kazoo tamborine etc) a punch balloon a box of raisins (surprisingly were a bit hit with the kids!) a bouncy ball a squeeze ball (fill with water and squeeze) 2 pieces of sidewalk chalk sunglasses and a small travel game (everything was purchased in bulk from the dollar store). I tied a God's eye (that we made) around the bag and printed out everyone's name in Jokerman font on a bright red paper and made a sticker out of the chilli pepper from the invitation (xyron machine).
The kids had a blast as my daughter handed them out after dinner then they organized their own punch balloon game! It was too cute! Then they all played instruments and danced with each other! The pinata was a bull with the pull ribbons (in lieu of hitting the pinata each child takes turns pulling a colored ribbon until a trap door opens). I stuffed more dollar store goodies in it: race cars candy bracelets plastic necklaces bracelets bouncy balls erasers pencils bubbles and other little toys.
DAY'S EVENTS: As the guests arrived we greated them with either margaritas for the adults or kids' sangria (I took cranberry/raspberry juice watered it down and added sliced oranges and lemons to float). I had little stations for the kids to do some crafts: I left sidewalk chalk on the front steps (our street is very slow) and a note reminding the kids that fiesta colors are red green & white then I had small tables across the back yard.
One had bubbles with different ways to blow them (yarn straws different wands and an Ariel automatic blower) another had "Decorate your own maracas" where we made maracas out of empty crystal light containers or individual apple sauce containers glued a popsicle stick across one to make a handle filled with dried beans and then glued another container on the top. I put out markers and stickers for the kids to decorate (this was a HUGE hit because they loved making noises after!) another table had a "Make your own God's eye" where we glued the popsicle sticks together and measured the yarn and placed them in plastic baggies for the guests to make (I also printed out directions).
This was popular with the moms (I think it was great down time!). Then I printed out some coloring pages and word searches and put them out with crayons. I also found some paper dolls and Mexican clothing and left those for the kids to do with safety scissors (which someone lost!! I recomend putting them on a string!). The kids enjoys going from station to station getting to know each other (we had some new friends) and the parents had a chance to chat as well.
It was a very hot day so my husband took out the hose and the kids had a blast playing in the "rain storm" -- my daughter even got an umbrella and they thought it was the funniest thing to be under the umbrella when it was "raining"! We had lunch then my daugher passed out the gift bags and it was nice to see the kids organizing their own activities (the 5 year olds took charge of this!) with the punch balloons and instruments and I have some wonderful pictures from this time too!
Then we brought everyone back inside to cut the cake and while my mother cut the cake and served dessert we took the kids outside to do the pinata. THis actually went over better than I thought it would! I hung it off a tree and explained to the kids what was to happen. They waited in line and we tried to have fun with the colored strings. When the trap door opened (with my help it was a little stuck!) the toys fell to the ground and the kids dove and grabbed. I asked them to wait and help me pick everything up and put it in a basket. Thankfully they're still at the age where they want to help out! I then asked them to get their goodie bags and I gave each child at least one of each item to be fair. The most popular item was the American Flag erasers -- don't ask me why I don't even know!
THANK YOU NOTES: I had another professional pic of my daughter where she's sitting (still in her fiesta outfit) and hugging her knees giggling. I wrote in Jokerman font "muchas gracias" on top of her picture and left the inside blank. I just now started getting thank you emails for the thank you notes because they're so cute! The day ended with everyone taking a trip to the beach (we're 1/2 a block away) to either walk around dig in the sand or just relax. It was a perfect party!"