Animal Crackers: The Party
With the invitations mailed and the cake designed I began to look for affordable favors, fun activities, creative food options and easy decorations. Here is what I came up with:
The Decorations: Keeping in mind that I was playing off all of Avery’s favorites things we made sure to tie that theme in with the decor.
1) A STREAMER TENT: Due to the lack of time and help my husband and I had for this party, I did not get the amount of streamers I had envisioned for my “Streamer Tent”, but all things considered, it turned out cute. My husband took alternating colors of streamers, that coordinated with the colors we were using, and streamed them from the chandelier in the dining room to the edges of the room all the way around. My vision was wall to wall coverage of streamers, but the time did not allow for it. Maybe you could tackle that one?
2) BALLOONS & FLOWERS: What is a Birthday party without balloons? Avery LOVED balloons at the time. A large bunch of multi-colored balloons to coordinate with the parties colors was just the right touch in the kitchen to make it look festive without going to a lot of trouble. I also lucked upon a gaudy $5 bouquet of daisies, at the grocery store, dyed bright colors. They were amazingly perfect for this party and added a wonderful touch to the food table.
3) VINTAGE ABC CARDS: We lined the dining room chair rail with all her vintage ABC flash cards, which made for cute, quick and easy decor.
4) KIDS TABLE: We borrowed a child-sized banquet table and chairs from church, which fit perfectly in the dining room, while still allowing room for toys and parents. We covered the table with a long roll of brown craft paper and placed stainless steel buckets of various shapes and sizes on the table filled with crayons and chalk for drawing. The kids had a blast coloring and so did the parents. The table was quite artsy by the time the party was over. We topped the table off with large round multi-colored confetti that gave the table a colorful and festive look and mimicked the look of the invitations.
5) THE FOOD TABLE: The food table was covered with a small, simple, white table cloth turned sideways and covered with the same confetti that the kids table had been covered with. I used various pieces from my dishes that were colorful or made of various materials to give the table an eclectic look. To highlight the cake at the center I placed the cake plate on an upturned green planter.
The Food: We served all of Avery’s favorite foods at the party which took place over lunch. All of the foods we chose to serve were easy to make and quick as it was just my husband and I preparing the food for the party. Here’s the menu:
• Peanut butter & jelly Quarters
• Ham and cheese quarters
• Miniature pigs-in-blankets
• Cheese & crackers
• Relish tray with dip
• Fruit salad: Watermelon balls, cantaloupe balls & purple and green grapes
• Cheddar bunnies
• Animal crackers (of course!)
• Large pitcher of lemonade
The Activities: There is NO way to organize toddlers and play a game. I’ve tried it. Please tell me if you have – I would love to know what you did! That being said we opted for free-play at this party in a tight space and it worked out quite well. Here is what we did:
1) PLAY KITCHEN: At this point in time our dining room was serving as a temporary play-room, so we were able to rearrange things and leave her play kitchen in the dining room for free-play. The kids loved it!
2) TENT & TUNNELS: We have a pop-up play tent and tunnels with balls that we placed all along one side of the room and the kids had a “ball” running through them.
3) WAGON: You don’t have to go anywhere to have fun in a wagon! We placed our new wagon by the window and the kids loved climbing in and sitting together.
3) CHALK BOARD: In addition to coloring on the table we had a small chalkboard and a tin of chalk set up for drawing.
The Favors: I usually like to go all out with my favors, but being pregnant at this time, I opted for affordable, fun and easy. Each child got a $1 tub of sidewalk chalk and a box of the original Barnum’s animal crackers I loved as a child. You can’t get a more perfect or vintage fit than Barnum’s animal crackers for an “Animal Crackers” party.