Hot Tub Party 11yr - Hot Tub Cake
Suzanne in Annandale, VA, USA
This is a Hot Tub birthday party I planned for a boy turning 11 with a winter birthday. It's not easy planning an indoor party for boys this age, but if you have a hot tub you're in luck! If you don't own a hot tub, check the internet and you'll find plenty of places that rent them out just for parties.
My invitations feature a picture of the birthday kid sitting in the hot tub surrounded by snow, with steam rising. It says "Please join Nathan for his hot tub birthday party. Bring a bathing suit and a towel, date/time/place/rsvp #/food to be served." I used tropical fish stamps.
As an ice breaker activity when kids arrive, start off with a "Who Am I?" game in which each guest arriving has an animated character from tv, movies, or a video game taped to his/her back and has to ask the other guests "yes" or "no" questions until they figure out who it is. To keep with the water theme, you can have characters from Sponge Bob, Shark Tales, Nemo, Donald Duck, etc. I just cut pictures out of magazines. If you have more than 8 guests, divide them into two groups for hot tubbing. One groups plays games like Musical Hot Tub Towels (musical chairs but with towels) and Hot Coconut (hot potato but with a coconut) while the other group changes into bathing suits and soaks in the hot tub. They can also do the limbo to surfer music.
After the first group has soaked for 20-30 minutes, have the second group don their suits and squeeze in. Take a picture of all the kids squeezed into the hot tub! Then the first group gets out so the 2nd group can have a good soak while the first group plays games. When both groups get back together again, play a memory game in which at least a dozen water-theme objects are on a tray (sea shell, toy fish, lei, sunglasses, sunscreen, snorkel, flip flops, etc.) and the kids have one minute to look at them and try to memorize them. Then you cover the tray with a towel and give them pencil and paper to write down as many as they remember. Winner gets to be the first octopus for the next game.
Play Octopus Tag outside (you can find directions on the internet, but basically the octopus is in the center of two groups trying to tag other "fish" as they pass by. Those who are tagged become "seaweed" and have to freeze in place while trying to tag others, until the one left gets to be the next octopus). If the weather is bad you can substitute the Limbo indoors.
Now for the cake shaped like a hot tub. Make two 9" round cakes and stack them like a typical layer cake. Frost the outside in chocolate and cover with fudge sticks lined up vertically to look like wood slats (our hot tub has a wood frame). For the top of the cake, add some blue food coloring to white frosting and frost the top in thick waves. You can add gummy fish, gummy lifesavers, or even plastic people to the top. And/or you can let the guests make their own sundaes or jello treats using blue ice cream or jello, whipped cream, and gummy fish, lifesavers, etc.
For party favors I covered large yogurt containers (32 oz. size) with wave pattern holographic tissue paper (found at the dollar store) and typed a note: "Thanks for coming to the party. Use these the next time you get yourself into Hot Water!" Inside were those little expanding towels that are packaged to look like small fish or other shapes but turn into a full-size wash cloth when immersed in warm water; also some of the shaped sponges that come in little pill-like pellets but emerge in hot water; juice boxes of lemonade; and squirt fish.
I also bought long curly straws and sea-theme plastic ice cubes. These can go in the goody box or be used to serve fancy "volcanic" punch to the kids during the party. Here's the recipe: 3 cans frozen fruit punch, 64 oz. can of pineapple juice, 1 can cream of coconut, two 2-liter bottles of ginger ale, ice cubes, 6 cans of water. Add the coconut cream last. If you are not too worried about spills, you can serve them the fancy drinks while they are in the hot tub.