Barney Party -2yr- "C" is for Cookie
Jamie in Lexington Park, MD United States
My daughter turned two recently and I wanted to make her party extra special and of course keep it within reasonable costs. She loves Barney and Sesame Street and I hated to deprive her of one or the other. I thought months in advance how I can incooperate both so she can be extra happy because turning two is so much different than that one year old that sits in her high chair the majority of the time (although the 1st bday is priceless and special anyway). Our family lives their distances, so after long thoughts, I decided to have two parties-one on her real birthday with family only (the Barney party) and one for her little friends (the Sesame Street party).
The Barney themed party was your traditional birthday party at home in the kitchen and dining room. I had decorations with the green, yellow, and purple colors, along with matching Barney dinner wear, which I purchased off ebay. I served Barney burgers. It was a summer stuffed burger recipe that we just called "Barney burgers"easy to make. I wanted it to be simple, yet special, because all my efforts were being thrown into the kids' party a couple days later. That's what it turned out. My daughter was happy because she saw her Barney, BJ, and Baby Bop could care a-less about anything else.
Lots of planning, bargain shopping, and organization brought us to Noelle's second birthday party with her little friends. It was so cute because each day (a week before) we kept counting down and she knew she was having a "party" as she would say with "Zoe, Elmo, Big Buck, and Cookie" Noelle was quite excited. So much different than the year prior! It was great and that made it all worth while.
The party was early July and yes when you have a summer baby, you think great, outdoors, well wrong. there was no way we could be outside because it was too humid. I thought and thought and after a few suggestions, we decided to use our finished basement with a couple of activities outside just to let the kids run about.
The party was planned from 11am until 2pm (naptime plays a big part when you have toddlers). There was about 15 adults and 4 toddlers expected to come. About two months prior to the party, I took all Noelle's Sesame Street stuffed toys, oragnized them around her on the floor and took her picture with them (keep in mind that her nursery is Sesame Street themed). I developed that pic in wallet sized and made my own invitations. I bought a card kit in bold colors from the local craft store (on sale about 15 cards and enevelopes for $2.50).
I used some Sesame Street stickers for the front and my sizzix sidekick machine to cut out some balloon shapes and party hats and some scrap ribbon for the balloon string. I used my printer to make lettering titles that said Noelle's Party. All this was for the front cover. For the inside, I just typed up: Noelle's Party is being brought to you by the number 2 and the letter N with all the party info (where, when, time). I also included for people to remember their cameras for the special guest. They loved the invitations and it wasn't costly and a keepsake.
I wanted to maximize my space in the basement so nobody was crowded and the kids had room to move around. We placed chairs surrounding the outer layer of the room. Every adult had a place to sit, but we still had plenty of play room. We have a small unfinished section of our basement in which we have a refrigerator that held the drinks and ice for our guests. I simply kept that door closed w/a sign on the door that they could help themselves to drinks.
There was only one table set up along a wall to hold food when it was time, outta the way, yet easily accessible. On a normal day, the rec room has a tv entertainment center, in which we surrounded w/a play area gate so the kids wouldn't tamper with the equiptment. We decorated using bold colored streamers and Sesame Street banners (which I found at the dollar store months in advance for 4/$1). All my Sesame Street tablecothes, plates, napkins, etc. were purchased on ebay (also done in advance and on average including shipping each package was about $1.50 ea.). We used plastic silverwear in bold colors, also bought at the dollar store.
I made the Sesame Street sign out of poster board, hanging one on the down the stairs into the basement (that one said Sesame Street) and the other outside on the mailbox post (that one said Noelle's Party). I used my friend's Cricut machine to cut me out N's and 2's for confetti on the table (that saved some time, but way cheaper than buying those little bags). We ordered some bold colored helium balloons from the local party store, some we put on the table, and a few we tied above the sign outside.
As weights for the balloons, I used Noelle's Sesame Street character toys (stayed w/the theme and free, didn't have to buy any). Also the back of the table, I printed some pictures from our recent vacation to the Sesame Place, pasted them on some scrapbook paper and stood them up like a frame. It really looked cute and on a reasonable budget, too.
The party started at 11am, as I mentioned, so I had in mind for the children to have "free play" from 11-11:45. I set up centers in my basement and labeled them with a copied & colored character pictures out of a Sesame Street coloring book. Picture this, you come down the steps, on one side, the smaller side of the rec room, vinyl side, we had Noelle's toy bins against the side wall (labeled Ernie's Toy Tubs). All I did was fill each bin w/quiet toys, such as Sesame Street cars, foams blocks, play phones, etc.
Next to that, was Noelle's big floor foam ABC mat put together w/her old blow-up baby pool in the center filled w/plastic balls from her ball pit (labeled Big Bird's Ball Nest). This was the kids favorite as you may have guessed! In the other corner, next to the ball nest, was the basketball hoop (she received this as a gift from family on her real birthday you know the Narney birthday) and that was labeled Bert's Basketball.
Circling around the room in the next corner was a small kids' table (borrowed from a friend) covered w/that brown mailing paper (bought at a local store for a little over a dollar plenty left over on the roll) and it had Noelle's Color Wonder finger paints and markers with the special paper for the kids' labeled Zoe's Art Center. Hey, no mess because it only writes on the paper. Last, but not least in the room, going down the small hallway (maybe 6ft max) was Noelle's pop-up tunnel tents (labeled Telly's tunnels). I fit 5 play stations in one small room (guessing that room is maybe 12ft x 12ft plus the hallway).
Now, moving into the larger part of our rec room, where all the chairs are, etc. I had two more play stations. Noelle's Step 2 slide (labeled Cookie's Crazy Slide) and her small Step 2 picnic table w/4 wooden peg puzzles (labeled Groover's puzzles). It sounds like a lot, but all I did was take what Noelle already had, thought of a station, colored some pics, and labeled them. instant Sesame Street play area and the kids' loved it. They weren't running all over the place and had penty of options.
At 11:45, lunch was served to the kids first. In which the four of them sat at the cleared off Step 2 picnic table (that used to be a station) and each had a bagged lunch. I bought the bright colored paper sacks at the dollar store and slapped on a Sesame Street sticker. They each had 4 chix nuggets, a banana, a snack bag of animal crackers, fruit snacks, and a juicy juice. All neat and an easy clean-up.
Once they got started eating, we put the food on the table for the adults to eat. I made pepperoni rolls and ham rolls. I put them in large cookie tins that my Mom had (covered the tins prior w/scrapbook paper and old Sesame Street valentines I had left over from Feb. and labeled each container "pepperoni rolls" and the other "ham rolls"). One Mom made potato salad and the other Mom made fruit salad. We managed to get some small containers from a restaurant w/lids to put the salads into (in fact the fast food joint gave them to my Mom as a donation, she just asked). I got a big bulk of lunch sized chip bags. This made for a super easy clean-up and a way people could just hold their plates on their laps.
For the cake, I made a small one for Noelle to blow out her candle and play with. Well, she blew out the candle, but no chance in touching it because she's not a sweet eater. I made a boatload (about 30) cupcakes and decorated them as Sesame Street faces (got this idea from the sesame Place). Bake your cupcakes as normal, cover each in white icing, use different colored spinkles (red for Elmo, Blue for Cookie, orange for Zoe) and then icing in the eyes, mouth, and nose w/an icing bag and different colors according to the character. They were adorable and so easy to make. Much less time consuming than a character cake.
The surprise guest game while the kids were finishing cake. I snuck upstairs and dressed up as Cookie monster. We worked with a lady on ebay who custome made a great furry Cookie costume for $100 + $40 shipping. I came down to the "C" is for Cookie song and danced to that and "fuzzy and Blue" from our sesame Street cd. Each kid got a hug and a Cookie Monster sticker. It was great and so cute. I left and said bye and when I came back down as myself, I asked if I missed anything and the kids kept saying "Cookie!"
After that, at about 1:00, we headed outside for some games, we played Journey to Ernie. Which was basically an egg hunt. I used left over eggs (in Ernie colors) from Easter and stuffed them w/cut out pictures (I just scanned memory cards, downsized them, and printed them out). Put a pic in each egg and some Ernie faces in other eggs. The eggs were spread all over the front yard. To hold their eggs, each kid got an Ernie gift bag (found these at a local store for $1 ea.) When the opened the egg and found an Ernie, they had to bring it to me, in which I was waiting on the porch steps. At the end, they all got a stamp on their hand as a prize. They liked it, it got them outta the house and kept w/the theme.
We headed back downstairs and did a craft, in which I made up to continue our Journey to Ernie. All the pieces and made-up directions were in a ziplock bag for each kid and parent to help. They sat at the Step 2 picnic table to do this. (orange plate for Ernie's face, red pom pom for nose, cut out felt for mouth, tongue, and ears, craft googly eyes, a black feather for hair and some tacky glue) and there you have it an Ernie.
After the calm craft, we got back up and played the Elefun boardgame, where they catch the flying butterflies. Now that was a flop because they only gave about 20 butterfies in that game and they shot up in the air so fast. So, we made a joke of it, tossed the butterflies in the air and the kids ran and got them. DO NOT BUY THAT GAME!
It was almost 2 by this time, so Noelle opened up her gifts and the kids got their favors (a Sesame Street paper popcorn tub 4/$1 at the dollar store filled w/playdoe, party hat, temp tatoos, Sesame street stickers, punch balloon, etc..little things amounting to about $4 a tub). Everyone was on their way home.
It went by super fast, but it was so much fun. That's why I knew all the planning and prep was well worth it when I saw my daughter's face the whole time. Happy as can be! Biggest advice..plan ahead and use the most from what you have around the house.