The little man turned 4 last week and I threw him a rocket ship birthday party with the help from family over the weekend. Everyone had a ton of fun. I like to pick themes for birthday parties. It helps narrow down the possibilities. His 3rd birthday was all about bugs and his 2nd was about balls (click on each to see a few details). So far it’s been a breeze choosing a theme as Seth’s preferences have been very obvious. Here’s a rundown on our rocket ship party.
Invitations & thank you notes – relief print of Seth’s shadow rocket (see yesterday’s post)
Decorations – The piece de resistance was a rocket ship tent purchase on clearance after Christmas that was given to Seth for his birthday. I wanted to paint Styrofoam balls to look like planets and hang them with paper stars in the gazebo but ran out of time.
Food & beverages – We kept it simple here. For that matter I don’t think I’ve ever kept it this simple for a gathering of any kind. Just bottle drinks for the adults, juice boxes for the kids, chips, veggies & dip and one rocket ship cake. The cake was made from a box mix. Better than purchased, not as good as made from scratch. But again, time was an issue. (Although I didn’t give Eleanor anything other than water to drink, she seemed to be good at finding other’s left overs to shake. Good thing there was a pool to rinse her off in.)
Activities – Now here’s were I had fun. Regardless of the theme it is summer and was in the backyard so water was involved. A kiddy pool, sandbox and slip ‘n slide provided wonderful entertainment. The kids probably would have been satisfied had I done nothing else – but not me. Two rocket ship related activities were a must:
1. Astronaut portraits – We gave Seth an astronaut costume for his birthday. If this didn’t have the triple purpose of present, party prop and Halloween costume I wouldn’t have spend the money. (Yes, I realize I’m tempting fate by buying a Halloween costume this early in the year.) Each kid got to try on the suit and helmet. We had them pose in front of a backdrop made from left over tar paper stapled to the wood fence and spray painted with a star scape. I’ve cropped out their feet for a more “realistic” look and am including a print or two with each corresponding thank you note. The kids were so cute patiently waiting their turn. They each wanted a shot with the helmet closed as well as open. Many wanted multiple turns.
2. The second space themed activity was a scavenger hunt. I compiled 6 stock photos from those available from Microsoft. I hid a pile of these pictures in 6 locations in the neighbors yard. Each type of picture in a different location. After showing the kids what they were looking for and giving them directions I let them loose. The object being to collect all 6 pictures and return to me for a surprise reward (rocket ship stickers). I’m mean – I also made them count each one our for me as proof. If they didn’t have all 6 I would have them lay the pictures out on an uncut original sheet to see what was missing.
Just in case you want to host a space scavenger hunt of your own I’ve included a pdf for you to print. Make sure to print one more than the number of kids participating. Cut all sheets into 6 pictures except for one sheet to be used as the example. How well you hide the picture piles depends on how old the kids are. For preschoolers I wouldn’t get too sneaky. Here you go: space-scavenger-hunt
Thank you gifts – I adore thank you gifts. They’re inexpensive and fun. Sticking with our theme we included “sand from the moon” and some rocket balloons. To keep the cost down we split out packages of rocket balloons and wrapped in tissue 4 balloons and 1 or 2 blowing straws per child. Then we mixed up a bucket of homemade moon sand based off this tutorial – basically 2 parts play sand, 1 part cornstarch and enough water to create the right moldable consistency. Don’t expect it to be like the commercially processed moon sand but this is just as fun and a heck of a lot cheaper.
A big thank you to my parents and hubby for all heir help putting this together. Sometimes my ideas are bigger than the possibilities and it’s good to have a support troop to ground me.