Littlest Pet Shop -5yr- Pet Adoption Center
Tracie in Fort Gay, WV, USA
My daughter Erin decided that her 5th birthday was going to be a Littlest Pet Shop (LPS) theme months before her March birthday, so we had lots of time to plan. I always try to get my children involved in the process, especially using their creativity! We used our church's fellowship hall (due to unpredictable weather) for an indoor party, but the possiblities when outside are limitless.
First the invitations were custom - using InDesign and Photoshop, I created a 3/4 view of a doghouse, the front was complete with a doggie door, bone hanging like a welcome sign that read You're Invited" the side was actually the interior view (3-D look) with a littlest pet shop dog (scanned from the brochure that comes with the pets!) the information for the party was "hanging on the wall" inside the dog house like a poster and listed the usual: Party for Erin; Date; Time; Location and RSVP number. It was hung with paw prints (to resemble push pins) with the number 5 on them. The color of the invitaions were classic LPS colors - cyan blue for the outside/inside was 20% cyan navy (type and shadows) and magenta for the roof and bone. But the best part was the fact that the invitations also opened I made an outside of the side wall (in cyan with a little flap at the top). On this piece it read "Join Erin for a "Little" Party in Pet Town that's BIG on Fun!". The best part was that all I had to do was print the doghouses (4 up); the flaps (12 up) cut out the shapes cut a slit with an exacto knife on the larger piece and slide in the flap taping the back. I guess I forgot to mention that the finished size was "little" 4.25"W x 4"H. I considered using a card stock to back the invites but the tape was almost invisible and it was an issue of time. I found magenta envelopes with blank note cards at Target which was a great fit. A lot of the ideas for this party was a combination of things that I found on this site and from brainstorming with my kids.
The decorations: I always try to make most of the decorations just to keep the cost down on this end so we can splurge in other areas! We had a large room to work with and a separate area for the food so this worked out well. From the invitations we knew that we wanted to create a "PET TOWN". First I made a banner size sign (3.5 ft x 11.5") that included five (5) LPS pets and the words Welcome to Pet Town - it was hung above the entry into the fellowship hall room (kitchen area is separate). Then we took an upright freezer box and making a "Club House" instead of paint I had a large roll of light blue craft paper (from my son's party - educational supply store will also sell just by the ft.) so I cut the box to fit the height of the paper. Using clear packing tape I taped one end onto the box wrapped like a package and instant dog or "club house". I made a large bone shape on the computer (light magenta) and typed the words PET TOWN CLUB HOUSE then printed and cut out the shape. All over the box when then cut out paw prints in magenta and cyan with white number 5's on them and using double sided tape adhered them to the sides. Since I had to cut the box there wasn't a top! But my daughter opted to use her LPS flat sheet folded to fit with a small overhang. To each side of the club house I sat flower pots - using two magenta with orange polka dots stovepipe hats (Dollar Tree) two Maxwell House empty coffee cans I punched a small hole into the plastic lids and put a large pink/purple/blue pin-wheel flowers (Dollar Tree) in each can then covered with the hats and tied with a string. (Very cute could be used for lots of parties especially a Mad Hatter Tea Party!)
Next I created a sign with artwork of a frog and small pond with a sign that read "Leapin' Lagoon - Where you can feed the frogs... but only flies!" This was probably the best thing at the party - I found a 3 ft round frog pool on clearance at Wal-Mart - $3 I then took the same blue craft paper and cut out a random pond-like shape - placing one end of the pond against the wall I then put the frog pond on top of it. Making sure to leave enough room so that you can still see a fair amount of the "water". I cut out lily pads from green felt (left over from making elf costume for Chrsitmas school play) and backed them with non-skid drawer lining (Dollar Tree) using a hot glue gun. I placed five (5) lily pads in the pond and atop each of those was one small plastic (bath toy) frog that I found a K-mart (12/bag) - $3. To hide the edges of the pond I wanted to make the appearance of rocks but couldn't imagine using real ones - safety first! So in a midnight moment I thought of using newspaper covered in gray craft paper. But that was going to take alot of newpaper so in another midnight moment - of picking up toys - I discovered that my kids had tons of stuffed animals that would make perfect size rocks! I cut out squares of gray paper covered taped and they were so realistic no one had a clue what I used!
There was a few more signs to designate areas too: "Birdie Boutique" included a LPS blue bird on a perch with a tag phrase "Where all the pets shop to look their best!"; "Just Dance - The Grooviest Place in Pet Town!" yellow duck and silver disco ball on the sign; "Taste of Pet Town - See what the Happiest Sportiest Fanciest Messiest and Hungriest pets in town eat for dinner!"; "Kibble Cafe and Barkery"; "The Fish Bowl" _ it was a poster that I made and put on the wall that read The Cat String Quartet will performa the Fish Bowl it included the Date/Time of Erin's Party and the last was the "Pet Town Adoption Center". There was still one area that needed a little pizzazz so we used an existing quilt hanger and hung my daughter's LPS comforter up - the colors matched perfect and left no doubt about the theme. I found some large mylar balloons (on theToyHunt.com) of a LPD cat and frog (little pricey but it's May and they are still inflated!) as well as round mylar balloons with LPS on the front. Combined with reg. Latex ballons of cyan magenta yellow and green we created several bundles of balloons to scatter around the room in needed spots. Of course there were lots of streamers swaying across the ceiling from corners to the middle of the room (we used cyan magenta yellow and spring green).
The largest thing in the room was the table instead of using the 8ft rect. tables in a row I opted to put three of them sid by side to form (an almost) square. I covered each in a light pink table cloth. I covered a small box in the blue craft to give some height to the center and placed a clear fish bowl I shredded the blue tissue paper into strips and placed around and slightly under the fish bowl. Inside the bowl I placed a little of the shredded tissue paper too and then a plastic bowl up-side down. I covered up the bowl with light blue marbles (borrow from my son) then there was two LPS fish on their coral (included with pet). I cut out 10 more felt lily pads and placed them around the fish bowl in a medium size circle. And used the remainder of the plastic frogs. The plates were purchased at Sam's club and were a square shaped cyan (lg) I laid them in front of each seat and turned them to make a diamond the napkins we used were a combination of LPS (green with frog monkey etc pets) and White with green cyan purple paw prints that read "Wipe Your Paws". I alternated each and placed them in the plate. Since Erin's birthday was right before Easter I found LPS cat head shaped "eggs" to fill with candy and place at each setting. I placed little bowls of peanuts malted pastel shaped eggs tiny white covered pretzels with pastel sprinkles on the table as well. Of course we always have as many adults at a party as kids so this table was more for them and to look pretty.
The kid tables were across the room covered with a LPS table cloth but still had solid colored square plates except they were smaller and yellow. I placed a LPS atop each plate and for the center piece on this table opted for pastel photo stands shaped like flowers (held two pics each) and we used three (Dollar Tree - $1 ea). Erin wanted her picture taken one day and was making some serious funny and sweet expressions so I used those in black and white printed out 2 each backed them togther with double sided tape and inserted into the clip - way cute and the kids loved talking about them! The Activities: As the guest arrived each was greeted by Erin (who was wearing poodle ears made of bath puffs and socks sewed to a headband - idea I found in Family Fun Magazine!!!) complete with painted nose and collar. She they welcomed them to Pet Town and asked that they stop in the Birdie Boutique for a "little" shopping. Each child was asked to pick out what pet they wanted to be (cat dog pig bat mouse frog bear rabbit - several of each in different colors/breeds). They were made from plastic headbands (6 for $1) and using scrap felt/faux fur for the frog I used a green bucket hat (from a beach theme VBS) and hot glued two white cotton balls then a large moveable eye on each of those. (My son wore this - he's not much for face-painting! I also made a pig nose out of pink craft foam for accomodate this as well!) So as each child determined what pet they wanted to be I also painted noses whiskers freckles etc on the "pet" guest. They then chose either a cyan or magenta collar made of 1" ribbon with paw print charm - this was made with round tags (found in the school supply section of Wal-Mart) to which I drew a paw print out of black sharpie. To secure the collars I used self-adhesive pieces of velcro to each end.
After each guest was transformed they played in the club house until all of the guest arrived. To break the ice and start the fun we decided to do a "Taste of Pet Town". My mother-in-law dressed in a chef's hat and red apron came from the kitchen area (and for the day was Chef Margaret (she spoke with a french accent!) of the "Kibble Cafe & Barkery") carrying two trays of food. Inside a large bowl I placed several of my daughter's LPS figures (she only has about 200 - crazy I know!) I shredded strips of magenta yellow and green tissue paper and covered them up. One at a time they had to pull a pet out the bowl and decided what that pet would eat for dinner. It was great to see them try a food they normally wouldn't eat. We had cocoa puff cereal (aka kibble); PF goldfish crackers; raisins (flies); apples; carrots; celery; shredded wheat (hay); cheese cubes; grapes - red & green; lettuce; peanuts (in separate dish for allergy reasons); blueberries; blackberries; strawberries; gummy worms; gummy berries; bananas and sunflower seeds.
Then Chef Margaret invited then to come to the Kibble Cafe for a bigger taste of what pet town had to offer. My daughter is really into hands-on things and wanted pizza at her party but not from the local chains so we opted to make small pizzas using english muffins! Very easy to make preheat oven to 350 degrees use large foil lined cookie sheets split english muffins spoon on a little pizza sauce and cover with toppings and cheese. We ended up creating five (of course) varieties: five (5) cheese; pepperoni - Hormel makes mini pepperoni which was purr-fect (pun intended!); sausage; supreme with cheese pepperoni sausage mini chopped green pepper black olives; and finally (my favorite) BBQ Chicken pizza instead of pizza sauce use BBQ sauce (my family pefers Sweet Baby Rays original) rostisserie chicken from the local deli cut into small pieces and a shredded italian cheese blend. Finely shredded cheese melts faster! We were able to get 20 on each sheet and it only took about 8 mins to melt the cheese.
In addition to the pizza there was also a large salad bar with numerous toppings dressings; vegetable trays fruit trays pretzels chips cheetos (a must!). My children do NOT drink soda/pop so we opted not to have those at Erin's party instead we had water 100% juice sugar free lemonade tea both sweet and unsweet (several parents appreciated this!) It was probably the easiest food I've prepared for a party I bought cleaned and cut up all of the veggies fruit ect the night before and took to the church to store in their two fridges the pizzas were essentially an assembly line that was able to be done about 30 minutes before the party covered and placed in the fridge.
Kids always take less time to eat at parties than the adults so we quickly began the games.
Game #1: Good Doggie No Bone - a spin on duck duck goose. A small rawhide dog bone is all I used for this game. The "pet guests" sat in a large circle and one child at time would go inside the club house I would then give one of the children in the circle the bone to sit on. The child had to walk around saying "Good Doggie" as they tapped the pets on the head. If the child did not have the bone they would reply "Good Doggie - No Bone!" Then chase the one that has the bone. They each took a turn trying to find the bone - they all had fun.
Game #2: Leapin' Lagoon - musical chairs meets leap frog (kinda). I took the lily pads off the table and from around the pond (we had 13 children at this party) and placed them in a circle (this is where the non-skid backing comes in it kept them in perfect place on the floor. I played music as the kids leaped like frogs from one pad to another they were then eliminated just like in musical chairs the last one standing recieved a gift set of 2 sm. bottles of body wash/shampoo and a green bath puff with a frog head. (Wal-mart after Christmas clearance).
Game #3 - Just Ducky - by far the most fun of all! I had all of the children stand in a straight line and then asked my daugther to pick five of her friends. Of course that would have been fine in and of itself but then I had them get the person who brought them to the party to stand up there with them. Best part was two of the guests had come with their dads! Then I took them to the area designated as the "Just Ducky Dance Studio - the grooviest place in pet town!" Where I had laid out over-sized sun glasses (clown type) large sun hats in different colors a several pairs of suck feet (made with card stock and elastic cord - to fit over they shoes and rest around their ankles). Each took this in great stride and put on their duck costume. But little did they know what they would be doing. My daughter said almost from the beginning of planning her party that she wanted her friends to do "Tooty Ta" at her party. So we took that a step further and had the five parents lead the "Tooty Ta" - I borrowed a CD from a teacher at my son's school - it was absolutely hilarious!!! In the past I felt that parents and adult family members were kind of just sepctators (at times maybe a little bored) so I wanted to involve them a little more. To my surprise even some that wasn't "put on the spot" joined in. I forgot to mention that I made several more ears and collars than I knew I needed just to have a variety so most of the parent wore them throughout the party as well.
Game #4: Tidy Cat - aka clean the liter box. I have to say I never thought that old fashioned oats and mini tootsie rolls (unwrapped) could cause such a commotion but the kids went wild with excitement. I put the oats in a long flat clear tote (I normally use it to store rolls fo wrapping paper) filled it with the oats and tootsie rolls then placed three cat liter box cleaner scoops in the oats. The oats didn't stick to the candy (I think I used about 150 pieces to four large canisters of oats - which we couldn't cook but they didn't go to waste we fed them to our chickens!). The kids were so polite about taking turns and once they found the "kitty poop placed it into a little plastic bag - I used the disposable bags typically for baby diapers! However they soon discovered that it wasn't the "real thing" and all it took was one kids tasting it and announcing that they were chocolate....they soon stopped filling the bag and began eating them as the uncovered one.
Once the laughter subsided from this we decided to take a little break in the games and go to the "Barkery" for a more normal party snack. This was the cake and ice-cream portion of the party. Erin's grandmother always makes her cake (she's a professional cake decorator). This year's cake was spectacular. Because she also had other cakes to make for that same day I tried to design a cake that look complicated without all of the work. So the final design was created using alot of Erin's LPS figures and the Pet Nooks that are sold as well. The beauty of the nooks is that they can be connected at the sides so we used them in a circle shape. My mother baked a 6" rd 4 layer cake iced in light pink simple blue dot border for the base cake on top was 4" rd 3 layer cake iced blue with a simple pink dot border a 8"rd clear plastic cake tier sat between the layers (without pillars). This allowed for the pet nooks to sit in a circle on the plate as if floating in air - it almost created a tree house look. Inside each pet nook was a LPS figure as well as few stragetically placed LPS figurines on top of the nooks. The pink slide that came with her LPD playground set was attached to the bottom of one the nooks/plate and supported by another 4" rd 3 layer cake iced blue with pink dot border atop this layer was dog with some of the "greenery" that comes with LPS items. At the end of the slide was the "finish line" arch from the playground set I snapped of the plastic ribbon and placed a LPS cat inside the arch who was wearing a tiara (LPS accessory). The top of the cake was a simple number 5 candle (white/pink). On the 6" cake she wrote Erin on the side of the cake. We placed the cake on a table by itself with a solid pastel purple table cloth.
After the cake was set up I placed a few more of her LPS figures around the base cake. Extremely easy to do look like it took all day. Great idea for someone with limited cake decorating skills all you need is two colors of icing to be able to ice the cake smooth and be able to squeeze a dot for the border. Everything else is just a matter of washing the plastic items and placing them in the right spot! We also made cupcakes (since the cakes were small in size) iced them the same two colors and some pastel wafer like round sprinkles and a LPS ring on each one (found at theToyHunt.com). After the cake most think the party would be over but not the case "The Pet Adoption Center" was then opened. This was an area that was near the entrance/exit door I was set up with a small table that had a basket full of stuffed dogs on it. There was a sign that read "Pet Town Adoption Center - all they need is a little love!" It was more of a side table so it had a small shelf on the bottom we placed a play doctor's kit and a few door prizes. The children lined up (to my surprise) and waited patiently as Pet Town Adoption Center Manager (me - I wore black pants black shirt and had an orange beak made of felt/elastic cord- so I was a black bird). My son wanted to do something special for his sister so he made a quit costume change - from frog to vet...I took my husband's white (XL) T-shirt and using sharpie markers made the appearance that he was wearing a white lab coat by drawing pockets lapel name tag even made it look like he had on a white shirt and striped tie under the lab coat just by using the markers. Turned out really good. Be sure to place the shirt over a piece of cardboard to keep from bleeding through as you draw.
Anyways the "vet" checked out each dog and gave them there first set of shots. We had three breeds to choose from - scottish terrier beagle and husky and each dog made a barking noise when their paw was pressed. The dogs were about 10"-12" long. This was the real $$ splurge of the party (Dollar General surprisingly life-like animals $3 each then 20% off - I bought 20 and since I was buying such a large qty I asked if it was possible to get an additional discount - final cost was $2 each!) In addition to the dog I gave each a small adoption certificate (made on the computer 4 up) made small enough to leave a border when adhered (DS tape) to the card stock note cards that came with the envelopes I used for the invites!
But of course they also needed a little care package to feed and care for the new pet they adopted. I took plain white gift bags with handles (Wal-Mart bundle packs) and made a little square tag that had a paw print shape in the same colors as the invites that read BIG THANKS! and DS taped it to the bag. Inside the bag was a stainless steel dog dish ($1 bin at Target); scooby snack bone shaped graham crackers (bought the big box then ind. packaged 10 into small sucker bag wrappers and tied) LPS rubber stretch braclets (party section of store or online party shops) - made a great collar for their new pet!; Using clear treat bags I made a bag of Kiddie Kibble - pkg of rainbow colored bumpy nerds (sam's club) zoo gummies and a rainbow twizzler ind wrapped (looked lie a chew toy). Erin wanted a pinata but there wasn't really a safe place at the church so we opted for mini pinatas (similar to crackers in England) made of paper towel rolls (cut in half) stuffed with a push pop mini M&M's mini choc. candies then wrapped in tissue paper tied on each end with a different bright colored ribbon then a smaller coordinating color tissue paper wrapped around the middle of that decorated with a few LPS sticker and the words Thank You! hand written. (looked like a fetch toy when finish something we didn't expect)!
Each bag also include a can of silly string. Of course that still wasn't the end. Erin was ready to open her gift which is usually when most guest begin leaving - understandably but instead they made a row of chairs and faced the birthday girl sitting in a bigger chair and watched intently as opened each gift. That was to be the conclusion of the party but Erin wanted to know what the cat string quartet sign was for so we opted to have the guest that had dressed up as cat come to the center of the room. I then encouraged everyone to use their silly string!!! Momentary laspe in judgement - Had I forgotten that we were inside!!!! Oh well the clean-up task double but what a great way to end the party!. The party a great success and I hope this lends others a way to make a Littlest Pet Shop themed party a unique birthday experience. Erin's thank you notes was a group photo of all her friends in "pet fashion" sitting in front of the Leapin' Lagoon Pond - with the words BIG THANKS! (in a large type) then below that "Thanks for making my 5th birthday the happiest ever!" - Erin"