17 different women, 36 crazy children, 0 babies in utero
Adventures, Advice and Questions from a group of Mormon women who met in Queens, NY and have now scattered all over the place.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Parties Part 2: 4-year-old girl

Yes. I actually attempted the PARTY for Pukasaur's 4th birthday. For her 1st b-day there were two guests, 2nd b-day was at playgroup, 3rd b-day, 1 guest. This year it was a total of 7 little girls in my tiny apt. I got great ideas from the web and from brainstorming with Pukey (herein referred to as D1). Here they are:

I had two goals:
1. I wanted every girl to feel comfortable, included, a winner and of course a princess. For many of the girls it was their first "drop-off" party. To make them feel at ease I had happy nanny and her friend be grown up princesses. My mom sent me a few of my old prom dresses, so they were in dress-up too. The princesses welcomed them in and got them started on creating their own foam crown. D1 also greeted each girl at the door and gave them a necklace (mardi gras beads from Claires) upon arrival.

2. To teach D1 that parties were about friendship and fun. I asked for no gifts please (half of the girls did not comply), and I tried to come up with ways that we could prepare for the party together. I had her decorate the outside of our front door with photos pertaining to our princess theme. We also decorated the goodie "bags" (purple plastic chinese food containers from Michaels) with stickers and filled them with goodies. I would run ideas by her ahead of time: What do you think of this game? How about this for lunch? etc. This way she was looking forward to socializing and not: PRESENTS! PRESENTS! PRESENTS!

1. Crowns: We made these first so that the glue would dry, turns out we never LET them dry, the girls wore them right away.

2. Nails: When the girls were done with their crowns I painted their nails with Loreal JET SET. That was fun. All this we did around a round table in D1's room, and watched a little Disney Sing-Alongs while the nails were drying.

3. Schedule: I posted two Schedule of Events on the walls so that my husband and adult princess helpers could anticipate what was coming up next.

4. Lunch: We sat around the coffee table on the floor in the front room and ate D1's fave foods: Macaroni and Cheese and Strawberries. And yes I made HOMEMADE yummy Mac n Cheese...not Kraft and not even the usual Easy mac.

5. Games: We played buried treasure game. Each girl was blind folded and plunged their hands into a bowl of rice that was filled with jewels. Once they found two, the next girl got a turn. We strung the jewels on a string for a necklace.

We played the Princess and the Pea. I told the story and then each girl took a turn hiding the pea (a green super ball) under one of three pillows, and each girl got a chance to guess which had the pea. Everyone got a prize of a ribbon wand which came in handy for...

Freeze Dance. We played Abba and then paused and had to freeze. This was very simple, fun and a good way to work off lunch.

We ended with sitting on the couch (this was a great photo op) and playing Guess the Princess. I just printed small photos of each Disney princess and held them in my hand. I gave clues and they guessed. Everyone had fun guessing and winning a feather boa to finish their princessy look. The girls enjoyed keeping the little pictures too. Who knew?

6. Cake was of the ice cream variety and so very easy for me. That was the last event of the party, followed by some more photo ops.

7. Decor: I had Cinderella playing on the tv on mute as part of the decor. A few times we turned up the volume...slicing the cake, waiting for lunch to be served, waiting for moms.

I also had ironed a few pieces of dress up in case any girl showed up with no dress up clothes, and ended up hanging them on my book shelf and curtain rods as part of the decor. I also lined up the goodie bags in the window for decoration. I used a pink tablecloth for lunch on the coffeetable and then spread it on the floor for the Buried Treasure game.

It was a success. For photos click here.


  • She will remember that party forever and ever!!! I loved that you included her in the planning, didn't focus on presents and didn't spend a ton of money in the process. So creative and well done!!! Do you have any ideas for little boy parties???
    posted by Blogger Jen at 3/09/2006 07:31:00 AM  

  • Wow, I'm totally impressed. I did the 3 year old party thing with 6 kids, and it was a success, too. Then I tried the 4 year old party with 12 kids, and um, I'm never doing that AGAIN! Plus, 3 moms brought siblings, and I had some neighbor kids wander around, so we had 5 extra kids on top of the kids who were invited. AAACK! 6 kids is plenty, and much more socialable. more than 10 kids makes it chaos, present focused, and kids are sort of just bouncing off the walls.
    posted by Blogger Heather O. at 3/10/2006 09:16:00 AM  

  • Can you plan my birthday party, Kage? I'm turning 31 this year - I've got to do SOMETHING to make it cool...
    posted by Blogger chloe at 3/10/2006 10:41:00 PM  

  • chloe - you can make it a 20th anniversary of your 11th birthday and go totally 80's or have a 10th anniversary of your 21st party and have a drinking theme - Hee Hee :)
    posted by Blogger TftCarrie at 3/10/2006 11:21:00 PM  

  • I tired a no presents party too--instead we did a book exchange where everyone brought a wrapped favorite book and went home with a different book.

    Unfortunatly, most people also brought "a little something" for the birthday girl. We are going to have to practice this no present thing so people get comfortable with it, I guess.
    posted by Blogger a spectator at 3/11/2006 10:37:00 AM  

  • I totally get the no presents thing. Our kids don't need any more stuff and we just want the guests to come and have fun. But, when we get invited to a party, it's a great opportunity to show our kids how fun it is to give presents. I don't like that chance taken away from me.

    So as I was thinking about what I could do for Princess's 4th birthday this summer I thought maybe we could have the kids bring presents to give away to kids at a local women's shelter. That way, kids can still practice giving and the recipient can be someone who really needs it. Just an idea I've been stewing on,
    posted by Blogger TftCarrie at 3/11/2006 01:01:00 PM  

  • I knew that there were some kids invited to my party that might not be able to afford a present. Of course I probably shouldn't judge this as an outsider looking in, but I did not want any undue pressure put on them to come up with a gift...I just wanted them to come and not worry about presents. This was my motivation on asking for no gifts.
    posted by Blogger Kage at 3/11/2006 01:04:00 PM  

  • Carrie--that is a good point. One of the presents that was snuck in was a homemade gift. I wonder if something simple like that, or maybe a homemade card for the birthday kid, would be nice. Of course, for some families, the thought of making something is more stressful than buying a gift!

    Oh well--the book exchange was nice as everyone got a new book and got to open a gift.
    posted by Blogger a spectator at 3/11/2006 03:37:00 PM  

  • Kage - I totally get your point of wanting lower-income families to not feel the pressure of having to buy gifts for a party. I think donating gifts to a charity could give those children a chance to give as well, because many charities accept gently used books and toys.

    Also, I heard a great idea today about gifts for children - especially your child's friends. Instead of buying a toy or other present, you make a personalized "playdate giftcard" for the birthday child. The giftcard is good for one "special outing" with you and your child. It can be something more than just a normal "play at my house" date. For example - a trip to the zoo, or the movies or the beach. The parents love it because you take their kid off their hands for an afternoon, you love it because you get to do something fun with your own child and you have given a really unique and personal gift. And the kid loves it because they will be making memories with a friend. I thought it was a really great idea. You would need to do follow up and make a plan to "redeem" the certificate in a timely manner because making a child wait for something so fun just kills them.

    Anyway, I really liked the idea so I thought I would pass it on.
    posted by Blogger TftCarrie at 3/11/2006 09:22:00 PM  

  • I really like that idea a lot. I took my daughter to a childrens theatre performance yesterday and her ticket was only 5 dollars. I thought about letting her bring a friend, and totally would have, but then got selfish b/c I wanted her all to myself. Turns out I should have let her b/c one of my friends met up with us, and we yakked and after a while Pukey said: Mom, please talk to me too...oops.
    posted by Blogger Kage at 3/12/2006 04:34:00 AM  

  • My daughter has been asking to have a princess themed party this summer. Thanks for all the brilliant ideas!!
    posted by Anonymous meems at 3/15/2006 09:03:00 AM  

  • I just did a "once upon a time" party for my little guy and it worked out wonderfully. I used books as decorations, bookmarks as favors, and we did book exchange with all the kids instead of presents. It was easy, simple, and so much fun.
    posted by Blogger Tri Mama at 3/15/2006 01:34:00 PM  

  • We did a homemade presents only, Hawaiian themed birthday party for my daughter's 6th birthday. It was a great way to level the gift giving playing field, so no one felt pressured to purchase an expensive gift. Most girls had a great time making their presents, my daughter really appreciated that they were made just for her, and those who didn't want to make something, brought craft projects that they found at places like the dollar store, for my daughter to assemble herself. We only had one family that didn't comply. It was really nice. This year, we'll be trying the book exchange idea, for a new twist on no presents :).
    posted by Blogger Mommalee at 6/29/2009 11:19:00 PM  

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