Sesame Street Safari -2yr- Safari Passport Invite
Suzanne in Zephyrhills, FL, US
For my son's 2nd birthday, we decided on a Sesame Street theme not only because he likes the show, but also since they just opened the SS Safari of Fun at Busch Gardens (BG) just a few months before. We live close to it and have annual passes so our kids really enjoy it and get to see the characters quite a bit. My son loves giving them hugs and high-fives. Many of the 15 preschoolers that were at the party are passholder's too so it was a theme everyone would enjoy.
Invitation: When you get an annual pass for your child now, they give you a SS Safari of Fun packet that includes a Passport-like booklet. I used that as the inspiration for the invitation. I scanned it and printed several copies. Anywhere that had Busch Gardens, I changed it to our last name Gardens. I printed several copies and cut and pasted on to blue construction paper folded in half.
The front had My Passport, the SS Safari of Fun logo, and Tribal Elmo on the front and another logo on the back just like the original. When you opened it, you had to turn it to read it just like a passport. For the top half, I used the welcome letter that was in the packet to decorate it. I scanned the letter in and cropped so just the header and footer was showing. The top had a border with the logo (changed to our family name). The footer was the matching border and above that a desert scene with a few of the SS characters.
For the bottom half of the page where the passport photo would normally go, I put a cropped picture of Elmo hugging my son when he met him the first time. I then typed in big colorful letters Join us for a Sunny Day at the new our last name Gardens Sesame Street Safari of Fun, as we celebrate my son's name 2nd Birthday! Come and play where everything is more than just A-ok, it's an adventure! Let us tell you how to get, how to get to Sesame Street.. I had the party details below. In the envelope I included a large map that I had made from the interactive map on the BG website. I printed it out and cut the attractions that we were going to have in our yard and pasted them where they would be in our yard on the day of the party. I even used trees and other scenery off the map to landmark trees and other things in our yard.
On the back of the map was a list of attractions with descriptions. Most of them were pretty similar to the original descriptions on the BG website, with just a few alterations to match what we actually had in our yard. I am not a professional designer, but the invitations came out looking really good and got everyone excited for the party.
Decorations: We used the main SS colors of Red, Blue, Yellow, and Green. We had streamers in those colors to wrap around the beams outside the house and around the stair rails. Instead of SS themed tablecloths, we opted to use ones from the dollar store in those colors. We used a lot of stuff we already had. On the dining room table, my older daughter's old elmo head trick-or-treat buckets was filled with M&M's and used as a centerpiece. Between both kids, they have many stuffed dolls (including 7 elmo's!) and lots of SS toys of different kinds, so we have them displayed everywhere.
My son's room was the changing area so we were sure to put his elmo sheet set on his toddler bed. Even the bathroom had an elmo bath toy standing at the edge of the sink. Instead of using pricey SS decorations from the party store, I bought generic happy birthday with balloon themed banners, hanging decorations, hats, and blowouts. On one of the SS websites they have printable bookmarks with the main SS characters on them. I resized and printed them and glued them on to the banner so that each letter of Happy Birthday had a character on them. I did one large group image for the other hanging decorations. I got a SS stamps set off of ebay and stamped them on construction paper. I used my scrapbook cutter to make circles to paste on to the hats and blowouts.
The Dltk craft site has a TON of SS party crafts. I didn't use all of them, but I did use their SS toilet paper roll crafts for decoration. I made 3 sets of the 6 characters. You just print the pieces and glue them on to toilet paper rolls. I made little signs for 4 of them (elmo and cookie were already holding something). The signs said Happy 2nd Birthday and my son's name. I lined up each set in 3 different prominent places in the houses. I got the idea to stuff them with Hershey kisses and mini-reeses with custom round party labels I made myself with SS character images to hand out to the adults as party favors. So they served a dual purpose. I was going to do signs outside for each attraction, but I ran out of time.
Activities: We have 2 acres of land and plenty of outdoor toys so the kids were plenty entertained. We named them corresponding to what they are most like at the actual BG park. We have a large playground with several wooden forts, 7 slides, and 5 swings that we designated as Elmo's treehouse trek. At the beginning of summer my husband built a waterplay area in the yard using a large roof tarp and a system of plumbing pipe with small holes to spray water and even sprinklers overhead. This was Bert and Ernie's watering hole. Our two plastic pools was Oscar's swamp stomp. Our turtle sandboxes was Slimey's Sahara Sand area. Our little tykes bounce house with slide was Cookie Monster's Cloud Bounce. They have a mechanical car ride called Count's Zambezi Rally so we set up an area of the covered concrete for the kids to use ride-on cars and trikes.
In the park, they have Telly's Jungle Jam, which is basically just large tunnels that you walk through. For that area, we got out our kids tunnel set, so they could craw and explore. My kids also have a motorize train that they can ride around a small track. BG has a kiddie train, but it's not in the SS area. It's in the Timbuktu area. They do have small roller coaster on a track with Grover as the character, so we named our train, Grover's Timbuktu Train. We even had a small plush grover to ride on the front much like the coaster at the park. We didn't use all the park attractions as they have quite a few mechanical rides, but we did add one that isn't there, which is Baby David's infant play area. This was a large plastic baby fence attached in a circle on foam mats with SS baby toys my kids have outgrown. Many of the moms appreciated a special safe place for them.
Games: There really wasn't a need for games as there was so much to do and I figured they wouldn't want to stop to play organized games.
Food: We had a table outside designated as Zoe's Snack-n-geti Tribal Treats and then towards the end of the party we had a Dine with Elmo character lunch much like the one at the park. Instead of real characters, though, we had an Elmo and Big Bird airwalker balloon that floated around inside. I think the kids enjoyed interacting with the balloons just as much.
For drinks, we had tea and lemonade with red plastic cups for the adults and the Solo brand SS cups and matching lids and straws for the kids. We also had Apple and eve SS juice boxes. I found Elmo punch, big bird apple, and bert and ernie berry at walmart and toys' r us. I had to order Grover white grape and Cookie Monster Orange tangerine off of amazon.
For the kids snacks, I made Dorothy the Fish Fishfood Snack pack in plastic sandwich bags. Each one had a label with the kids name and letter. I got the letters from the SS street coloring pages online and so each one had a mini image of the letter with a SS character A is for Andrew and so forth. The snack mix consisted of goldfish, pretzel goldfish, earth's best SS crackers with elmo and big bird faces on them, and cookie monster's letter of the day cookies. I also had a pack of alphabet shaped fruit snacks since they don't make SS fruit snacks anymore. I had chips for the adults.
For lunch, we had pizza since it's not only elmo's favorite but my son's. We had 3 fruit and vegetable platters. An elmo fruit platter with strawberries as his face, yogurt dip in pools for the eyes, purple grapes for the pupils and mouth, and a small tangerine for his nose. The cookie monster plate was made similar except blueberries for his face and he has no nose. The Zoe vegetable platter was made with carrot slices, vegetable dip for the eyes, and cherry tomatoes for the nose and mouth. I used watermelon and honeydew for her bows and grapes for her pupils. I made cookies in the shape of the letter F and the number 2 and used cookie icing in the party colors to decorate them.
Cake: I made one large rectangular chocolate cake with vanilla icing. I put SS character cake toppers that I found on clearance with a number 2 candle so he had a cake to blow out and for the adults to have cake. I made vanilla cupcake cones and filled them only part way. After the baked. I cut off the top of the cone leaving only the part you hold. I frosted them green and then put on top Cake balls that I had made to look like Oscar heads with green candy melts, white M&M's, and colored frosting for the pupils, eyebrows and mouth. I put the heads on top. I wrapped the cone in aluminum foil and smoothed it so the waffle pattern of the cone really looked like a trash can. I even found short gummi worms at walmart that I place beside his head to represent slimey. The recipe for the cake balls can be found online, but the cupcake cone trashcans I came up with myself. They turned out really good.
Favors: I made party favor bags using colored paper bags from the party store. Using coloring pages as a guide, I made the faces of 13 of the main characters (actually 2 sets each so there was extra just in case) with construction paper and markers. I did elmo, cookie monster, grover, Rosita, bert, ernie, count, zoe, abby cadabby, prairie dawn, telly, grouch, and big bird. Each bag had a bottle of bubbles. I like the miracle bubbles brand because of the bright colored bottles and also because they one small circular label that you replace easily with a customized label. Each bottle had one of the 13 characters by color and they were put in their corresponding bags.
I also made coloring books. The covers were made with a birthday image that I found on a SS activity page online, I inserted a picture of my son that I converted to cartoon so it looked like they were celebrating his birthday. I changed the calendar page on the wall in the background so that it was his birthday and instead of elmo's name, my son's name was on the cake. The title was Sesame Street Celebrates my son's name 2nd birthday Inside I had coloring pages that I had scanned from a SS birthday book I found at Dollar tree. I had two per page and used a long range stapler to bind it down the middle. The back said This party was brought to you by the letter F and the Number 2. I bought crayon packs from the party store and labeled Elmo's Crayons in crayon font and a thank you message. Letter fruit snacks finished off the bags.
The parents got the toilet paper characters filled with chocolate as mentioned before. I also made them cds with SS music. I downloaded music from famous singers that have been on the show singing their own songs with more kid-friendly lyrics. I downloaded 11 songs including Sheryl crow, R.E.M., Dixie Chicks, etc. I made cd labels by using a clipart I found online. I cut them with my circle cutter and used my adhesive machine to adhere them. The faces of SS characters were in a circle, so for a cd, it was perfect. I used the same image for the cover of the jewel case and put the title in the center, which was Rockin with my Mama and Sesame Street. These were a big hit especially for the moms who are tired of listening to standard kid music. I find I like the SS version better than some of the originals. The party was a big hit. It took over a month to prepare for, but was totally worth it for all the smiles I got. For thank you notes, you can customize your own on the DLTK site and print them yourself, so that is what I plan to do.