My sweet Hannah turned 2 last month! How can this even be possible?! To celebrate, we had a Sesame Street birthday party. She absolutely loves Elmo, and the other Sesame Street characters are also pretty near and dear to her heart.
To get ideas, I scoured the internet and created a Pinterest board. With so many adorable ideas out there, why reinvent the wheel? The bulk of the party planning was focused on the activities. I came across so many great character themed station ideas, which I thought would be perfect for a toddler birthday party. I settled on 9 sations:
Abby Cadabby’s Magical Art Station: I filled an art caddy with markers and crayons and provided a bowl of Sesame Street stickers and a folder with Sesame Street birthday coloring pages ripped out of a coloring book.
Elmo and Dorothy’s Fishbowl Toss Station: A Sesame Street version of a classic carnival game. Simply toss the ping pong balls into the fishbowls. Inside the “fishbowls” (vases from Dollar Tree) I used plastic goldfish party favors. I wrapped an empty box with Elmo wrapping paper to use as a base. It was actually really hard to get the ping pong balls into the fishbowls, but the kids had a lot of fun trying and then watching the ping pong balls fly all over the place after hitting the rims of the vases. To make it easier, I would suggest “fishbowls” with larger openings, although the harder version is a lot of fun too.
Cookie Monster’s Cookie Dough Creation Station: I made some homemade play dough (my first time!) and bought some vintage Sesame Street cookie cutters on ebay.
Big Bird’s Big Bubbles Station: This station was super easy, just a plastic bin with bubble solution and a bunch of little bubble wands inside (all from Dollar Tree). The other bubble accessories were gifts from my mom for Hannah’s first birthday.
The Count’s Counting Station: This station was a guess how many game. The older kids guessed how many jelly beans they thought were in the jar and then wrote their guess on a little piece of paper and then placed it inside the repurposed baby shoe box. The person with the closest guess won the jar and all the jelly beans. I wrapped an empty box for a platform.
Ernie’s Rubby Ducky Pond Station: This station didn’t go according to plan because the rubber duckies I bought wouldn’t float upright. The idea was that the kids would use the nets to scoop up one duck and the number on the bottom (I numbered them using a sharpee) would be how many prizes they could choose from the prize bin. The kids, especially the little ones, had more fun splashing in the water, scooping as many ducks as they could, and then eventually mixing up the duck pond and fishbowl toss toys—putting duckies in the fishbowls and the ping pong balls and goldfish in the duck pond. It was great fun for all!
Oscar’s Trash Toss Station: This station ending up being a really fun one, especially for the dads. I almost scrapped this idea because I kept forgetting to save cans. Thankfully I had just enough. In keeping with the trash theme for Oscar, I wrapped an empty box with supermarket ads.
Bert’s Sidewalk Chalk Station: Another super easy station. Just a bunch of sidewalk chalk we already had laying around the apartment.
Super Grover’s Super Games Station: This station didn’t actually get used because the kiddos at the party were too young and too interested in the other stations to try any of the games. It was intended more for some much older kids that I thought may have been coming but didn’t end up coming to the party. Just a bunch of classic card games I found at Dollar Tree in packs of three.
Overall, the stations were a huge hit. Even though they didn’t all go according to plan and the kids didn’t play all of the games in the way they were necessarily intended, it was so much fun to watch kids of all ages run around from station to station having a great time. It warmed my heart to see Hannah go to each station, except the games one, a number of times and to see how much fun she was having playing with all of her friends!
This past Sunday we celebrated Hannah’s first birthday. Her actual birthday is this Sunday, but I thought it would be fun to coordinate Hannah’s birthday party with our July potluck at church. It was a day of good friends, good food, and a refreshing swim in the church pool.
I can’t believe I planned my first birthday party and lived to tell the tale! It was so much more work than I thought it would be, and what I did was incredibly simple compared to the so many talented mommies out there in the blogosphere. I’m proud of what I put together, though, since party planning is really not my thing.
Although I had grand plans to make the cake and cupcakes from scratch, I ended up using cake mix. Thank goodness too, because even that took forever. For the cupcakes I used a yellow cake mix—I’m not a big fan of vanilla—and a chocolate fudge cake mix. And for the cake I used chocolate fudge mix also. The trouble I ran into with the cake mix was that it’s so light that I had a heck of a time moving the cake layers from the pans, to the cooling racks, and then onto the cake plate in one piece. Oh well, nothing that a little frosting couldn’t hide.
And speaking of frosting, I did actually make my own. It was delicious! Not sickeningly sweet like so many recipes out there but definitely sweet enough to satisfy the sweet tooths in this house. I used this recipe and this tutorial with my 1M frosting tip to get the rose effect. It was my first time ever piping frosting and I never had a mess up. Super easy and quick! My only complaint was that I put too much red dye in my batch of pink frosting for the cupcakes and it turned out more coral than pink. At least I got the cake frosting right.
For the table layout, I used two desert towers from Joann’s to display the cupcakes. I didn’t really love the way the yellow and chocolate cupcakes looked side by side but this dilemma was unavoidable since I wanted people to be able to choose from two kinds of cupcakes. The cake was was just a simple two layer cake with frosting, sprinkles, and a target candle. The pictures were Hannah’s birth announcement and her 1 year announcement/invitation. How I love those Costco photo cards! And lastly, one of the table centerpieces, a tissue pom flower, so that the centerpieces on the tables would match the birthday table.
Hanging above the birthday table was a collage of Hannah’s first year month by month. I mounted 5×7 prints on scrapbook paper with double sided tape and then glued them onto posterboard. To make the garland, I traced and cut letters from my scrapbook paper scraps and glued them to a long piece of ribbon.
For the tables I made really simple but somewhat time consuming tissue poms. There are a bazillion tutorials out there, but I came across this video on youtube, which was pretty straightforward and easy to follow. The vases were 79 cents at Ikea!
I didn’t really have a super cohesive theme, but I was sort of going for pink and yellow floral to match Hannah’s dress. Overall I’m pretty pleased with how things turned out. There were a few bumps in the road along the way but I’m just glad that I got everything done and that we had a lot of fun celebrating Hannah’s first year!