Beach Party 5yr - Sand Art & Shell Necklace
Carla in Chandler, AZ
Beach party by the pool My daughter, who was turning 5, and my son, who was turning 2, have birthdays within a month of each other, and have many of the same friends, so we decided to throw one big bash for them this year. We also live in Phoenix where it is very hot in the summer, so I was trying to think of something unique to do for their party where we could accommodate a big group. After doing a little research, I found we could rent out a local city pool that had water slides, a lazy river, etc. Included in the price were lifeguards, and the whole thing cost me about the same as renting a giant bounce house. For the theme, we decided on a beach party.
For the invitations, I found a great website where you could purchase messages in a bottle. You could buy glass or plastic - I opted for the plastic since the kids are younger, and included was parchment paper, sand, minature shells, corks and rope to tie around the top of he bottle. On the parchment paper, I printed "This message in a bottle is here to say, it is time for K and J's birthdays! We will celebrate the party at a wonderful pool, splashing and sliding will make you feel cool! If you think you can make it, just give us a call. Our beach part will be great - you'll have a ball!" I got so much positive feedback from these invitations. I handed most of them out, but included with them were boxes for shipping, so some kids received them in the mail.
We only had two hours at the pool, so I knew time would be limited. I set up two craft tables for the kids who weren't swimming. One was to make a shell necklace - I put out several buckets of shells with holes in them (designed to use in jewelry making) and some rope to string them on. The other was a sand art table with multi-colored sand and little plastic dolphin keychains to fill up (all from Oriental Trading). Both were a hit, and it was good because both boys and girls could do them. Another activity I had was a small plastic pool which I filled with sand ($5 pool and 3 bags of sand which are around $4 each), and I laid some shovels around the pool. In the sand, I buried gold coins, little dolphin balls, surfboard keychains, bubbles, sand dollars, sea stars and lots of colored shells (again, Oriental Trading). We then made pretty paper bags for each child - I printed out a sea-life background with the words "thank you for coming to K and J's beach party, 2005," and my daughter and I then stamped around the sticker with different sea life stamps and tied a raffia bow on the handle. The kids put the treasures they dug up in these bags - they all LOVED this.
For favors, I purchased multiple inflatables for them to play with in the water - mini surfboards, dolphins, suns, mermaids, etc. These were around $1 each through Oriental Trading and on ebay. I blew them up for added effect, and put them in another little plastic pool, and each kid got to pick one they wanted. I also set up a table with beachcomber hats ($1.50 each or so on Oriental Trading), plastic sunglasses (10 in a pack - Target), little stuffed dolphinis (Oriental Trading), tropical tattoos, and gummy flip flops and bags of dolphin crackers (Oriental Trading). We had all kinds of snacks out, including little sand dollar cookies (found the recipe in Taste of Home), dolphin cookies (found cookie cutters on ebay), and I found an inflatable drink cooler with a palm tree sticking out of it at a party supply store for $12 - put lots of cold water and juice boxes in there.
For decorations, I hung up several balloons - found a little snorkler boy, a dolpin, and a girl swimming, inflatable palm trees, and little plastic sea creatures were set out on the tables (Oriental Trading).
For the cakes, I made my daughter a mermaid cake as she requested (Family Fun website), I made my son the snorkler cake from Family Fun, and I found a dophin cake pan on ebay which also made. I also found these cute little, assorted color metal sand pails, about 2" high, through Oriental Trading, so I filled them with ice cream, gummy worms, chocolate sauce and covered them with graham cracker crumbs to look like sand. I kept these in a cooler. I tried to get some gelato-style spoons, since they look like little shovels, but didn't have much luck. Finally, the pool had a speaker system, and they put Jimmy Buffet cds on for me. We also ordered in pizza for everyone. The kids all had a great time, and it was a blast to put together!!