Pretty Pony Party -5yr- Hobby Horses
Denise in Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA
May 2003 Winner
PRETTY PONY PARTY - 5 yr old My preschool daughter wanted a "Pretty Pony Party" for her 5th birthday. Planning this party was a challenge as there is very little available in the way of pastel colored ponies and accessories for parties. When looking for party ideas - I could only find Cowboy or Cowgirl Western Party Ideas. I remembered that there was a toy called "My Little Pony" in the 1980s. I searched the web and found a "My Little Pony" website. It appears that they are bringing back the "My Little Pony" line of toys in Fall 2003 - but not soon enough for a Spring 2003 birthday party. The Hasbro website did help me get some ideas for decorations - there was some information about what Ponyland looks like, pony names, etc. After a little more searching on the web. In any case, using a search engine and searching for "My Little Pony" will probably turn up some websites with information, images and even "My Little Pony" items for sale.
INVITATIONS - Little Coloring Books For the invitations, I made a little coloring book for each child - but using standard 8 ½ x 11 inch paper folded in half. I used some pretty pastel pink parchment paper for the cover of the coloring book. On the cover I used 4 different very small pony images from Tootsie's Ponyland website, interspersed with the words in a dark pink / purple fancy font, "You're Invited to a Pretty Pony Party". The first page inside the coloring book was all the information about the party along with another image of a pony and the words at the top of the page, "Celebrating Helen's 5th Birthday". Then I added 6 pony coloring pages.
On the last page I had pony names written in fancy font again along with the following words: What will you name your pony? (Names scattered across the page from right to left) Butterscotch, Blossom, Cotton Candy, Apple jack, Melody, Moondancer, Twilight, Starshine, Posey, Cupcake, Rosedust, Honeysuckle, Angel, Sugarberry, Princess, Sparkle, Strawberry Surprise, Majesty, Lemon Drop, Lucky, Sweet Stuff . . . Or another special name of your own? The cover and all the pages were folded and assembled - then I simply sewed the book binding on my sewing machine. It was very easy and fast - but gave a nice finished look. I used bright pink thread to contrast with the pastel pink book cover. I printed the addresses on the envelopes using my computer and printer and also added a small image of a "My Little Pony" to the front of the envelopes.
I heard that the coloring book invitations were a great big hit with the girls. They were coloring all the pages, naming each pony and were all very excited about the party. It really helped to set the mood for the party. I had to pay an extra ounce postage - but it was worth it. To save on postage, you could hand deliver them.
PRETTY PONY HOBBY HORSES I decided to make each party guest a "Pretty Pony" hobby horse. It was worth the effort and became a big part of the entertainment, a great party gift and beautiful décor for the party! It was difficult to find a pattern for a hobby horse - there were none in any of the pattern books at the fabric stores. I found a great pattern for the hobby horse from the internet. We made on slight adjustment to the pattern - to make the ponies look more like baby ponies, we shortened their nose just a little bit. I made the ponies with pink short nap fur material, white yarn manes and gold bridles and reins.
By searching for clearance material, shopping the sales and using coupons - I made the horses for about $4 each! I purchased pink fur on clearance for just a couple dollars, bought yarn at 50% off, bought the gold ribbon on clearance after Christmas for the bridle and reins. I used the animal eyes from the craft store for eyes. It looked more realistic than buttons. For the stick, I used the smallest size diameter of white PVC pipe (from the hardware store). The longest length of pipe cost 89 cents and I got three hobby horse sticks from each length of pipe. I sanded off the black markings stamped on the end of the pipes with fine sandpaper and used a hot glue gun to glue on the end caps to the exposed end of the pipe. I also used a hot glue gun to glue on the bridles and reins. The hardest part was sewing the manes - everything else was really easy. They looked great and all the girls loved them.
DECORATIONS We took our decorating cues from the "My Little Pony" website - pink and purple colors, flowers, castles and rainbows. With all the Pretty Pony hobby horses, we needed a place to "park" the ponies. My husband used his sawhorse legs and an 8 ft 2x4 board with holes drilled in them for the hobby horse sticks to go through. I painted the boards with non-toxic school paint, tied on ribbons and tissue paper flowers to decorate it. This worked out very well, because the girls could look at the bottom of the stick for the sticker with their name on it to find their horse. I had some rainbow garden flags that I hung in the party room, along with lots of pink and purple streamers, balloons, tablecloths, and napkins.
I did find a party pattern at the "Party America" store that pictured a unicorn and a castle and colors that went with our theme so I used some plates and napkins in that pattern. I decorated a cake with pretty pink, purple and white unicorn figurines from "Birthday Express". I bought 5 of these unicorns (since it was her 5th birthday) and this was plenty of decoration along with some pink and purple icing.
The centerpiece of the party room was a large castle that we made. It only cost $17 dollars ($15 for paint, $2 for plastic table cloths)and was a big hit! We obtained 4 grandfather clock boxes from a local clock shop - for free. (I was amazed at how many grandfather clock boxes are available every week at the clock shop!) We took apart each box and laid it flat to paint. The way the boxes are made, we could get 2 castle towers from each box. The flaps on the sides of the box completely overlap - so when taken apart, each tower had three sides. After taking the boxes apart we cut the tops to look like a castle tower - with some cut out spaces.
We painted the flattened cardboard with a paint roller and a long extension handle (like from a mop or broom) in dark gray. I found some great paint at a school supply store - it gave great coverage - even when we thinned it with quite a bit of water to make it stretch ($15 for a 1.5 gallons of paint - black and white). From a hardware store, I purchased a large sponge with rounded edges (to look like a stone) - and sponged on castle stones in light gray paint in offset rows. When we assembled the towers, we helped support the two sides by putting twine through a little hole in each side and pulling the two sides together so that they wouldn't "flop" out.
We obtained two large flat pieces of cardboard from a furniture store to make entryway arches between the towers. We cut slots in the sides of the towers to insert the arches. For a doorway, I strung some twine from tower to tower behind the cardboard arch. I then took a cheap plastic table cloth from a party store in light purple and sewed on the sewing machine a simple hem - which I pulled the string through. I cut a slit in the middle of the "curtain" hanging from the arch way so the kids to enter and exit easily. On one side of the room we had 4 towers arranged with two archways to look like the front of the castle. Then we had the 3-sided castle towers arranged around the room against the walls - as if we were in the castle courtyard.
I was hoping for some nice weather and we lucked out - it was a beautiful day. I purchased a plain wedding arch from Michael's Craft Store (with coupon) for outside in the yard. In order to make the arch "kid-sized" - I took out two lengths of the arch on each side. This made it just right for the kids to go under. To decorate the arch, I used a plastic table cloth in light purple - $1.00 on sale! (you really can do a lot with these cheap plastic table clothes . . . ) I cut the table cloth in half length-wise and then covered the top and outside of the arch with these pieces. I laid the narrow plastic over the arch and cut slits all along both side - it kind-of looked like fringe. Then I tied the plastic table cloth to the arch by tying two pieces of the fringe all along the edge of the arch. I used two pieces of floral garland tied with the plastic fringe to the outside edge of the arch on each side. I really looked beautiful. They had a great time riding their horses under the arch. When it came time to open gifts - the girls even sat under the arch and we opened the gifts outside.
ACTIVITES While waiting for guests to arrive - I had some extra coloring sheets out on the table. We also had some pony figures and play items that my daughter had on a folding table for everyone to play with. As each girl arrived, she also picked out her Pretty Pony Hobby Horse and we put a sticker with her name at the lower portion of the hobby horse stick. After each girl picked her pony - I had her name her horse and then presented her with a Pony Adoption Certificate. I found a pretty clip-art certificate with pastel colors, hearts and flowers - added an image from the website of a "My Little Pony" mother and baby pony and a rainbow and had the words: My Little Pony Adoption Certificate Miss ___________________ has adopted (blank to write in pony name) Date: ___________________. The girls thought that this was great!
After every one arrived, had adopted a pony and completed their certificates, we took all the pretty ponies out for a ride in the yard and through and around the garden arch. The we came back in to play "Pretty Pony Beauty Parlor" - another big hit. I used some food storage boxes that I already had to assemble "beauty parlor" items for each pony. It was easier for the girls to work out of the plastic box - than a plastic bag. When they were all finished any left over items from their box, were placed in zip-lock baggies and put in their goodie bags. The pony beauty items in each box were: Craft Gems with self-adhesive Velcro loop tape stuck on the back. (Large Gems worked the best) Plain Metal Hair Clips ($1 for 12 from the Dollar Store) with lots of curling ribbon tied on them and curled. Pink and Purple of course. Gold Elastic with Gold Jingle Bells tied on the elastic to go around their necks Flower Lei Bracelets from Oriental Trading to go on ears or noses Various clips and hair items bought on clearance.
When all the ponies were decorated - I also had glitter body spray (left over from a dance recital) that I would spray on the pony if the girls wanted me to. After that we had a Pretty Pony Parade to some nice music. My Little Pony Story Books and My Little Pony Movie For some quiet activities, I had purchased a "My Little Pony" storybook from e-bay to read to them. I lucked out and also had a friend who still had a "My Little Pony" movie from her daughter's childhood - so I was able to borrow that. We set up a TV-VCR in the castle and the girls enjoyed watching the short 20 minute movie after they ate lunch.
Pass the Surprise Boxes - this seems to be a favorite game with younger kids. I fill two boxes with little prizes (candy, stickers, figurines, notepads, pencils, play jewelry, etc.). They sit in a circle and pass the box around while music is playing. When the music stops, the person with the box gets to pick out a prize. I cover my eyes and peek through my fingers so that I can make sure that everyone eventually gets a prize as I stop and start the music. The nice thing about this game is that I can use lots of different little prizes - even things left over from past parties. We've done it with one box before, but passing two boxes keeps the game a bit more lively and exciting!
The girls spent a lot of time riding their horses outside - so we didn't need to have lots of other games. We were going to have a dress-up relay race and a Pin-the-Tail on the pony game. Using a tracer projection machine I had enlarge an image of a "My Little Pony" and my girls helped me color it in. We were going to use strands of pink yarn with scotch tape to play Pin-the-Tail on the pony.
GOODY BAGS I used plain white lunch sacks purchased in bulk from Sam's Warehouse (we've used them for lots and lots of parties!) and decorated them with stamps borrowed from a friend - hearts, flowers and a pony in dark and light pink. I put each guest's name on the bags in order to add each girl's coloring sheets, prizes, etc. during the party - so they wouldn't lose any of the items that they worked on or won.
The goodie bags also included: Several Coloring Pages - images that I got from the websites Ring Pops Clear Plastic Treasure Box with miniature pony and accessories - sold at Wal-Mart for $1.99 Pink Heart Crazy Straw - Valentine's Clearance Items Chocolate Hearts in purple, red and pink foil wrappers - Valentine's Clearance Candy Princess Fruit Chews - individual pouches Zip-Lock baggies of left over "Beauty Parlor Items" Of course the main party favor was the Pretty Pony hobby horse! I find that Valentines Clearance Sales and Easter Clearance Sales are a great place to find things for Goodie Bags for Girl Parties - lots of stuff in the colors that girls like and I can usually find items that don't look as if they were from Easter or Valentines.