Monday, March 15, 2010
A few months ago, while getting input from Mr. One about what kind of birthday party he would like, I had "over the top" ideas and plans. With a baby due in two weeks and a tight budget, over the top quickly became "simple and easy." Mr. One's top theme picks were superheroes or cars. We went with cars after I found the perfect simple and inexpensive activites involving cars.
Here's the invite. I had my husband print a large 5 on printer paper, and used that for a template to cut out the 5's on black construction paper. I sewed them onto the card with white thread, then stamped a car on white cardstock, cut it out and glued it to the bottom of the five. I used a red scrapbooking pen for the words at the bottom, then printed the information and glued it inside the card. So simple, and best of all, free, using what I already had on hand. Just in case you're wondering what the card says, the words on the front say, "Ready, Set, Drive..." and on the inside it says , "(Mr. One) is turning five!" with the additional party information.
I had him pick five friends to invite, and all but one made it. We partied mostly on the front porch (the weather right now is just beautiful), and kept the party at 1 1/2 hours long. Remember I said "simple and easy"?
Here's our activities:
First off, we painted these adorable kit cars. I found them at Michaels for only 75 cents. Everything was in the kit: the wood, glue, paint, a paintbrush, and instructions, even a bit of sandpaper (though you don't need it as the pieces were already well sanded). Mike and I spent Thursday evening assembling and gluing the cars together after the boys fell asleep (a good excuse to visit and spend some alone time together). Because we had already put them together, all the kids had to do was paint. (I did very clearly print on the invite to wear clothes that could get paint on them, or to bring an old t-shirt to wear over their party clothes.) I also made sure to put out some "girly" paint out for our few girls that wanted a pink car. They had a blast painting away. Mr. Two was especially loving the mess! This was a fun activity and also doubled as a take-home gift for the guests.
We washed up and set up Mr. One's race track and let the kids race Hot Wheels for a bit. They didn't care who won, they just liked watching the cars race to see which ones were faster.
We then sang "Happy Birthday" and ate doughnuts. (They were chocolate frosted to look like tires, and I even thought to use white icing to write tire names around them like a real tire, but third trimester fatigue set in...) We also found some delicious looking strawberries at the store, so we piled them on the platter as well.
Mr. One opened his gifts and politely and enthusiastically thanked each guest.
We played "Red Light, Green Light"* in the driveway and Cars Bingo (one of the gifts from a guest, it fit perfectly with our theme so we opened it right up).
We sent each guest home with their car and cleaned paint brush and leftover paints and a goody bag. I put things the Birthday boy loves inside the bags: a Cars pencil, some of his favorite candies and a bag of Famous Amos chocolate chip cookies.
It was simple and easy and the kids had so much fun. I am learning that sometimes simple and easy is actually better than over the top. Kids don't need to be impressed. They just want to have fun, and they enjoy being together and eating a good treat. My husband and I were more relaxed and could enjoy the party as well without crazy preparation and fancy activities. Happy Birthday, Mr. One! I hope you enjoyed your party!
*Another fun activity that went by the wayside with the pregnancy fatigue was to decorate paper plate steering wheels to use for "Red Light, Green Light." I wanted to share it here, just for future reference. All you do is cut out three sections of the paper plate center to make it look like a steering wheel, then decorate it with crayons, stickers, whatever suits your fancy. My boys have made these before and loved them.