Sesame Street & Elmo - Sesame Street Lamp Post
Michelle in La Canada Flintridge, CA , USA
My son just loves Elmo and Sesame Street so it seemed like the perfect theme for his first birthday.
For invitations, I took a picture of my son with an Elmo stuffed animal and some balloons. I scanned the picture onto cardstock and wrote, "[Name of child] is turning one. Elmo says come join the fun! We're going to have a party soon. Don't be late we start at noon. The 12th of August is the date. Please come help us celebrate!" We included maps with the invitations and around the border of each map it said, "Can you tell me how to get…how to get to Sesame Street?" The tricky part of planning this party was that our guest list consisted of approximately 50 adults and 25 children, ranging in ages from 6 months to 10 years old. We decided to have it at a restaurant with a private room. We had ten tables.
For centerpieces I recreated the familiar Sesame Street lamp post and sign. I made the lamp post out of paper towel tubes painted green. I glued small white balloons (water balloon-type balloons filled with air instead of water) to the tops of the tubes to look like the light bulb part of the lamp post. I used green and yellow posterboard for the signs. However, instead of writing "Sesame Street" on each sign, I used the name of a different SS character for each table. Then when the guests checked in, instead of being told what table number they were seated at, they were directed to a character table.
For example, the birthday boy sat at the "Elmo" table. (There was also Big Bird, Cookie Monster, Zoe, Bert, Ernie, etc.) To each lamp post I attached multi-colored curling ribbon just under the sign and trailed the ends to the edges of the table to create a colorful and festive maypole effect. I also tied Mylar balloons with the corresponding character to each lamp post. Because I wasn't able to find balloons for each character, I created my own by purchasing plain star shaped Mylar balloons (these come in various colors but I found that white or silver works best). Then, I traced the various characters onto tissue paper, colored and cut them out and glued them onto the balloons using a spray adhesive. I used a paint pen to write the name of each character on the backs of the balloons to help the guests find their tables more easily.
On each table I created coloring books for the children to entertain them while we waited for all the guests to arrive. I printed the pages from the SS website. (www.CTW.org) The pages just happened to be perfect for a first birthday because each page taught the numbers from one to ten. The picture for "One" was a Muppet seated behind a birthday cake with one candle. The picture for "Ten" was Cookie monster holding ten balloons. I added captions to these two pages to personalize our party. (Example: On page one -"Thank you for helping Connor celebrate his first birthday." On page ten - "We hope you had a high-flying time at Connor's party.")
For the adults, when they arrived I had a sign-in table where guests could write a birthday message to my son on scrapbook pages that I will later add to his album. I also got a glass cookie jar, filled it with cookies and tied a small Cookie Monster stuffed animal to the lid. Each guest had to guess how many cookies were in the jar. The one who guessed closest got to keep the whole thing.
Another activity for the adults was SS trivia. From the website, I gathered a bunch of SS trivia questions and printed about twenty of them on a sheet of paper. I made copies of the questions and provided pens and pencils so that guests could work on the questions at their leisure. At the end of the party I gave a prize to the one who answered the most questions correctly. For the final game I traced a picture of Elmo holding the letter "C" (My son's name is Connor) at the top of a piece of paper. Then I printed the title "Connor's Celebration." (With the C's being the most prominent letters). Each guest had to come up with as many "C" words as possible using only those items that were in the room. (For example: cake, children, crayons, chairs, celebration, chatter, etc.) I gave a prize to the guest who came up with the most words.
To entertain some of the older children, I took a posterboard, rolled it into a cylinder and painted it silver to look like a trashcan. Then, I taped a picture of Oscar the grouch into the inside rim so it looked like he was in the can (like a basketball backboard). I saved all my junk mail and crumpled them into balls. The kids took turns trying to toss the "trash" into the can. I gave prizes (bags of Sesame Street cookies) to each child who played.
Lunch was served by the restaurant and dessert was included so we didn't have birthday cake for the adults. We just bought a small cake for my son. For the kids, the dessert the restaurant provided was just vanilla ice-cream. So, I got plain cupcakes from the bakery. I found pre-made sugar decorations in the shape of Elmo's face at a party store. I placed each sugared shape onto a cupcake. It was much cheaper than asking the bakery to decorate 25 cupcakes with Elmo! For favors I purchased white paper gift bags with handles. I photocopied pictures of Elmo's face onto red paper. Then, I simply cut out the shape, added an orange circle for his nose and white and black circles for eyes. I glued the picture of Elmo onto the front of each bag and stuffed the bags with red tissue paper.
The favors were various SS toys that I picked up at the local toy district downtown but also in discount stores. I found little cars, books, foam blocks, coin purses, cups and "Beanies" all with Elmo or Sesame Street characters on them for about $2-$4 a piece. I even found Elmo toothbrushes at the dollar store. Each child got a goodie bag with various SS toys in it. For the adults, I put Sesame Street cookies into cellophane bags and tied them closed with red and orange ribbon (the colors of Elmo). I attached thank you tags that were decorated with SS stickers. I got SO many compliments on this party! My son loved seeing all his favorite characters and we had a wonderful time celebrating his special day.