Castle Party -4yr- Refrigerator Box Castle
June in Cincinnati, OH USA
For my daughter's fourth birthday she insisted on a Castle party. Since she would have both Princesses and Princes attending I wanted to make it very gender nuetral.
For the invitations I used gold parchment paper and printed the following in an elegant typeface on my computer: "Hear Ye, Hear Ye! All Ye Princesses and Princes of the Land! You are most cordially invited to attend the fourth birthday celebration of Princess Cara at the (our last name) Castle on (our address) in the Kingdom of Cincinnati. This celebration will commence on (date) at 4 pm until 6 pm. A royal banquet will also be served. Please RSVP to the King or Queen at (our phone number) on or before (date). I also placed a clip art crown at the top of the page (on the computer) and used purple (my childs favorite color) glitter glue to further decorate the invitation. I rolled the invitations up like scrolls and tied with a purple ribbon with the guests name attached to the ribbon like a gift tag. We hand delivered the majority of the invites. We used mailing tubes to mail the others.
Our party was in December so everything would have to be held inside. Still I wanted to make a grand castle and we did so. We had to move furniture out of our living room but the castle we ended up constructing (absolutely free) fit and looked great! This is how we made the castle… Weeks before the party we picked up three refrigerator boxes from an appliance store. The store was very accomodating and gave the boxes to us at no cost. I made castle towers out of all three keeping the middle box larger than the two others which I cut smaller. I then painted all three boxes with gray poster paint. I suggested stones with black paint. We cut a door out of the larger middle box along with a higher window above the door. For the two towers on either side of the center we cut matching windows.
On the door we painted a ring (from an old ring toss game) black and attached it as the door handle with some old hardware we happened to have lying around. The door was painted brown. We bolted the towers together with screws (covered with duct tape to avoid any injuries!!) and cut passageways so the kids could move between the boxes (towers). I cut two banners out of purple felt and glued a simple crown design out of white felt to one and a tiara for the queen out of white felt to the other purple banner. We draped these banners out of the windows of the two side towers. I made a third banner out of the purple felt with a fancy "D" (our last name initial) with a crown over top. We hung this banner from our porch on the day of the party. This sounds like a ton of work, but we constructed and painted the castle in one morning.
On the day of the party when the guests arrived we took them directly to a tub of sand and handed them a gem sifter (kitchen spoon with holes) and a small aluminion pan to search for gems. I had gems hidden in the sand which were craft stones bought at a craft store. I had prepared these by putting double stick tape on them. When each guest had 10 gems they were led to the craft table. I had precut either a crown or a tiara from silver posterboard. At the table the princes and princesses were asked to decorate either their crown or tiara with the found gems and additional metallic stickers (stars, flowers, etc.) found on the table. When each guest was finished we fit their crown/tiara to their head and stapled the ends together. Then each princess/prince transformed had their picture taken in front of the refrigerator box castle.
After the crown craft we had all of the guests sit on the floor in front of the castle for our puppet show. I purchased 10 castle character puppets from Oriental Trading Company all for $14.95. I had written a simple puppet play with my daughter as the main character having a birthday party making sure to name all of her guests. The kids absolutely loved this. Nine 4 year olds didn't move an inch and the play ended up being 20 minutes long!
After the show we kept them occupied for a few more minutes (while the adults prepared the dinner table) with "Pin the Kiss on the Frog Prince". I made a frog out of green posterboard with a yellow crown decorated with glitter glue. I handed each child their own set of lips that I had cut from red craft foam. I put double stick tape on each set of lips. The kids had the option of being blindfolded or just closing their eyes. They had a great time with this. Lots of laughs.
The party room was decorated with silver stars hung from the ceiling cut from the remaining bits of silver posterboard from the crown craft. I had found pink and white chiffon curtains for pennies at a rummage sale and cut and draped these all over for an elegant feel. We also hung more silver stars from the chandelier along with more of the fabric and some ribbons all in lavender, pink and silver. We had helium balloons in the same three colors in the corners of the room. It looked magical and was done very inexpensively. For dinner we served royal carryout pizza. We also had fruit kabobs on little sword drink sticks and a veggie tray with dip.
The cake was a castle with lavender icing with ice cream cones at all four sides to make the turrets. I also decorated the cake with silver hershey kisses and the turrets with tiny silver candy balls. Served of course with ice cream. For favors the princesses took home jewlery boxes filled with purple beads, bracelets, sticker earrings, candy lipstick, a ring pop and hershey kisses. The boys had bags (the velvet type wine bags) filled with hershey kisses, a ring pop and silver silly putty.
The party was a big hit especially the refrigerator box castle. In between games and eating the kids played in it and made up their own puppet shows. The party was a great success and lasted almost exactly two hours after the present opening.