Rainbow Fish -5yr- Swimming Pool Party
Bonnie in Bangkok, Thailand
My twin daughters celebrated their 5th birthday with a "Rainbowfish-Under-the-Sea" party theme. The girls chose the theme themselves and then left it to Mommy to get on with it. I love a challenge so... I scoured the ideas on the Birthdaypartyideas.com website, visited BirthdayExpress.com to check out their supplies and then got cracking. It was actually a really easy theme to do and it worked well for all the guests - both boys and girls.I love carrying the theme throughout a party (not sure if it's more for me or the girls) but of course I had to start with the invitations. I downloaded the Rainbowfish image from the internet and used Photoshop to add the words "Please come to Kit and Alex's Rainbowfish-Under-the-Sea 5th Birthday party" to the picture in a silly font in pink.
Since I only have a black and white printer, I burned a CD with the jpeg image and took it to our neighborhood photo store for printing. I printed out lots of copies to use as decoration at the party as well as for the cards. I glued the glossy rainbowfish image on to blue/green colored card, added some stars etc for decoration on the front, glued a small square of information on the back (time, date, location, RSVP, dress as your favorite under-the-sea creature, invitation to bring parents as well, etc) then I put the card into a little plastic baggie and added some pretty tiny shells that we bought at the beach a few weeks prior. Every invite had about 7 little shells in the bag with it. I folded the top of the baggie over and stapled it securely closed. Invitations went out to 22 children (lots of little brothers and sisters) and 20 actually came on the day. It was wild!
Our local swimming club allows pool parties on the premises on weekdays so we scheduled the party for 3 to 6pm on a Tuesday. This was good because it gave us a limited amount of time for the party and we knew that dinner and cake would be the signal to the parents to go home since they all get up so early for school the next morning. The children came straight from school and were greeted by a big blue sign that said "Welcome to Kit & Alex's Rainbowfish-Under-the-Sea birthday party!" The sign was decorated with lots of color images of Rainbowfish similar to the invitations. The sala where we held the party is open on all sides and we hung blue, purple and teal streamers (3ft long each) all around the edge of the roof on all sides.
My husband and friends did a fabulous job of decorating the room with bunches of balloons and streamers. In the center of the room we hung a Rainbowfish Pinata which I made myself out of papier mache and decorated with leftover Christmas paper. He was very easy to make (just a big balloon for the body) and the only tricky part was getting the fins to dry straight. And we had a single purple, green or blue helium balloon tied with a purple, green or blue ribbon on each chair at the long table where the children would sit.
AS an FYI - in Bangkok, helium balloons are very expensive. We found it much cheaper to buy the balloons at a party supply store and to purchase a cannister of helium and fill them ourselves. We had to pay a large deposit on the helium tank, but we got it all back and it was about 1/4 the price of purchasing individual helium balloons.As the children entered the sala, each one was handed a small half cup of blue jello with a Swedish Fish gummi candy swimming in it. They thought that was "cool!" and followed up with a refreshing glass of blue sprite (one drop of blue food colouring to a large litre bottle)
There was a coloring table off to one side where the little brothers or sisters could have some quiet time (occasionally one of the big kids felt the need too!) and I had found some great coloring pages of fish and The Little Mermaid on the internet that I'd printed out and photocopied for the kids.Some of the kids headed straight for the pool but others wanted to do some activities. I had a lovely arts & crafts project planned but it proved to be a little too difficult for the age group and very time-consuming for me. I created individual craft kits for each child to make a rainbowfish placemat to take home as a memory of the party. I had cut out blue cardboard for the base of the mat, and put a sticker on the back with a place for the child's name and the date, etc.
Then each child was given a fish that I'd already cut out with sticky tape on the back to put on the "sea". And a baggie of green grass weed (green sticker paper) to decorate the bottom of the ocean, bubbles to place around strategically and most importantly, a pile of shiny scales that they could attach to their fish to decorate any way they wanted. All of these pieces were pre-cut out of shiny sticker paper by me in the weeks before the party so that all the children had to do was stick them. Simple, right? But sticker paper has a habit of sticking to anything so… They were on the children, on the ocean, on the table, and not necessarily on the fish!! This didn't appear to bother most of the children but it bothered some of the mothers!
Also, the final step was to seal the mat between 2 sheets of clear contact paper and that was no easy feat on a hot, muggy afternoon either so…. I think I would steer clear of that particular activity until they are older!The other activities were much more successful. The piÃ±ata as mentioned before, pin the fin on Rainbowfish, pass the fish-shaped parcel, Fishing with plastic rods for magnetic fish in a small tub, find the fish (I had small quarter sized pictures of colored fish that I had laminated in plastic. Prior to laminating, I wrote on the back side the name of each child coming to the party. I got all the kids out of the baby pool and dumped all the "named fishes" into the pool. The children had to find their own fish to collect a prize.)
And finally a relay race of "pass the rubber octopus" in the baby pool as well. I kept all the activities in the baby pool so that it was easier to supervise the children. If anyone wanted to go the big pool with their parents, they could, but the party action was all at the baby pool.All the prizes were fishy - some were purchased locally in Chinatown and others were ordered from Oriental-Trading.com. There were fish shaped bubble necklaces, fish stickers, fish decorated pencils, gummi fish, fish/crab magnets, Little mermaid stickers, etc.
The children started to get grumpy about 4:30 so we stopped the activities long enough for dinner. The table was a long one draped in a blue tablecloth (provided by the club - also the dinner buffet came from them - so much easier that way!!) but we added rainbowfish cups, plates and napkins and colored shells which the girls helped me to paint as table decorations. Dinner included blue sprite, fish sticks, pizza, chicken nuggets, raw veggies, crab fried rice, etc and cake (the most spectacular 3D rainbowfish shaped cake you have ever seen - one for each daughter! The children just oohed and aahed over the cake! It was a real pity to cut it up.
After the cake we did the pinata and as usual, it took the Moms & Dads to finally bring it down. I am always so worried it will break to easily and then I make it so tough that the kids can't break it at all! My girls had helped me make it and we each added a layer (or three) of papier mache so that explains it!! Everyone at the party had two shots at the pinata, and when it did come down, there were some loose candies, but there was one small party bag inside for each child so there was no real fight over the candies. I had emails and phone calls for the next two days from the parents thanking me and asking me for tips on where to get all the ideas and "stuff" I had for the party. And the children were still talking about it days later. I know I go overboard for the girls' birthday - but it's only once a year and I hope these special days create memories for them that they can harken back to when they are middle-aged and having a lousy day at work. Shouldn't everyone have some special memories for a bad day?And now I need to get started on their sixth birthday party…they've chosen The Powerpuff Girls as the theme!!!