LAND OF OZ
Arabella is my true spirit animal when it comes to Birthday parties. She gets into party planning months in advance! She starts talking about what “Theme” she wants to have and throws out a lot of ideas. When invited to other kids parties she always asks, “mom what kind of theme do you think it is” and we come up with all these crazy, silly ideas of what kind of party her friends might be having.
This year she wanted to do a Wizard of Oz theme. I remember watching the movie growing up and being terrified of the “scary” parts (perks of being the youngest). She is familiar with the story of Wizard of Oz but we have yet to watch the movie. We read a few Wizard of Oz books and watched all the songs on YouTube. We do a lot of role playing and pretend play, pretending to be the characters. It’s been a fun theme for her for most of her 3 year old self so she decided to go with it. I was so excited when she picked Wizard Of Oz because it’s such a fun well done movie, and there are countless ideas to incorporate for a children’s party!
After I held her to it, and we officially committed (she had other ideas and kids constantly change their mind), we went through all the must haves. They included
FUN PARTY DECOR
DESIGN A DRESS
FRIENDS & FAMILY
YELLOW BRICK ROAD
INVITES FOR FRIENDS & FAMILY
We picked a date and got started on the invites. I like to try to make everything interactive from start to finish. Since the movie starts off black and white, we came up with the idea of having the kids color the invite. I hand drew the back of the invite and the front and added the information on zazzle and printed. I included an easy and mailable paint pallet with brush for the kids to paint in the drawing. After a few trips to the friendly post office to get the card weighed the paint pallet was the way to go. Crayons (only 2 small crayons) were to heavy and would have been an extra dollar to mail, but the light weight paint pallet was the price of a regular stamp even with the tiny brush. I also included some movie quotes on the back of the card where the envelope seals.
ARABELLA’S DRESS: Arabella wanted a dress that was sort of like a modern day Dorthy Dress so she didn’t have to be in costume. She still wanted to dress like Dorthy so I used blue and white stripe fabric with white lace and made the top straps ruffle. She also wanted shimmery shoes but didn’t want red so we went with pink!
YELLOW BRICK ROAD: It’s nice to provide a port of entry so guests know where to go. We implemented the classic yellow brick road, with a spot right next to it to drop gifts off.
ARABELLA’S NAME: I always highlight the person of honor! This year I did wood letters with poppy flowers and a giant rainbow behind! I save the letters so I can re-use for future.
GIANT POPPY FLOWERS: It’s always nice to create extra visuals if you can. I made giant poppy flowers from tissue paper and used most of them in the lunch setting. I had some on the ground and some standing throughout the party area.
DORTHY: I love having a themed character at party’s . They are usually trained in theater and offer a really fun and interactive element! They are always good with kids as they often do lots of kids parties. They are a great extra hand in helping with the kids and entertaining so the parents don’t have to do as much. I usually have them facilitate the games, sing, dance, blow bubbles, read a story and if the party is small and they still have time do a simple 10 second face paint on the kids. Dorthy greeted Arabella with a ring in private when she arrived. She then went on to interact and play with all the kids, facilitated the games, read a story, sang and did bubbles. She also brought a necklace to give her when she left to go back to Kansas. She is a professional actress and she had a beautiful singing voice. I love how she stayed in character with the kids and adults the entire time. We booked her through Premier Princess Parties. Dorthy (AKA Stephanie Wohar) website, www.StephanieWoahr.com is so adorable, if you are looking for a character (esp a princess) look at how amazing her looks are!
COLORING WALL: This was fun, mostly for Windsor and other younger guests. She is currently a coloring machine! I used some poster board and stakes and got this giant coloring wall together. Wrote a big FOUR added some confetti and let the kids go wild. The adults left cute messages and the kids drew some pretty cute masterpieces!
LOLLIPOP GUILD: What kid can resist a giant lollipop wall?? This is one of my favorite scenes from the movie so had to include!
GOOD WITCH BAD WITCH:
One of my favorite lines from the movie! Such a fun way especially for the girls to get into the party theme. Only Mimi & Gigi (aka, the east witch and the west witch) partook in being the bad witches! Most of the other kids wore the tiaras and were good witches! I love the picture of Mimi & Gigi with Arabella, what a fun picture for her to have when she is older of both of her grandmas together!
DIY TATTOO BAR:
Most kids DIE for tattoos, I feel like it’s not a party unless you come home with (washable) markings! Since I already booked Dorthy and didn't want to spend money on an airbrush or tattoo artist I did a simple and clean Tattoo Bar. It was hard to find Wizard of Oz tattoos, so I just got things all kids LOVE. Rainbows, Pony's, Super Hero's, Unicorns (etc!). I used a kit to organize them so they could easily find and displayed them in a frame. I was happily surprised they stayed organized by the end! I also put out rainbow sponges and little clear bowls of water for the application.
OVER THE RAINBOW NECKLACE: In rainbow colors we had glitter beads, pastel beads, flower and butterfly beads and letter beads for the kids do design their own necklace! I also found good witch bad witch charms that they could pick from.
SCARECROW DIG : who doesn’t love digging for junk?! Last year we had a sand dig and the kids and Arabella loved it! This year we had a scarecrow dig, I added hay to a blow up pool covered in lace. Unfortunately we forgot to keep stocking. The plan was to dump half in now and half in later, we never did the second half because we were so busy. The kids found every last tiny thing so it was a true hit! I added things like rainbow fidget spinners, gems, putty and slime, rainbow heart necklaces, bubbles, bracelets, things that kids love.
PIN THE HEART ON THE TIN MAN: This was one of the main party activities. I changed up the old pin the tail on the donkey and made pin the heart on the tin man. I ordered a tin man cut out and made rainbow color hearts with a double sided sticker. It was fun for Dorthy to write out the names with the kids. At four most of them could spell (and write) so it was a fun interactive thing to do before they played. I snipped some floral fabric for the bandana so the kids could do it blindfolded.
EMERALD CITY PHOTOS: Photos are clearly a favorite of mine so I try to do at least a simple DIY photo booth for the kids. I think as they get older they are starting to get it more. This year had the most participation.
STORY TIME: If I have a charector booked, one of my favorite things to do at a kids party is story time in the theme of the party. Dorthy read the kids version of Wizard of Oz right before lunch. It always helps to gather everyone around right before Lunch and cake is served!
LUNCH: I’m the type of person that shows up for the food, so I like to provide a meal at parties. The kids were provided little baskets for lunch with Jimmy’s Johns, chips, apple slices and an apple juice. For the adults, I made my simple salad (which was a big hit) and a Caesar salad in little Chinese takeouts containers. It’s always easy when the packaging can allow the adults to be mobile. I also made a caprese sandwich and chicken salad sandwich and put in little glassine bags.
CAKE : I lied I actually come to parties for the cake! We have a favorite bakery that we use, Bentfork Bakery. They have THE tastiest cakes I’ve ever had! I have tried many cakes from many bakeries and they always come through! Everyone who tries them is always ready to use them at their next party!
This is my absolute favorite thing to plan besides cake! Since Wizard of Oz has so many angles, and Arabella is in a BIG rainbow phase, I thought cloud favors would be perfect. I love paper sewing so I made up these EASY and INEXPENSIVE DIY clouds to put the favors in. I try to pick favors to tie into the theme that actually might be useful and not something you get home and toss. I think the best part of the party favor was the rainbow color jumprope (again tying in the over the rainbow song). We also had an alphabet cube "brain teaser" for if I only had a brain. A heart craft and heart stickers since the tin man needed a heart, and witch bubbles. We added a little tissue to make them puffy and some confetti because who doesn't love confetti. Arabella actually helped me sew these (we did a lot of prep durning Windsor's naps), I worked the needle and she pushed the foot pedal. For the display at the party, I arranged the clouds on a low table to make them look like one large giant cloud. I added some star and white balloons and put up a "there is no place like home sign" next to it. I had a rainbow balloon that I could't find that was supposed to go with the balloons but I just said forget it since I couldn't find it.
ITS PARTY DAY! Some other pictures I thought were worth sharing from the party!
THANK YOU'S: I like to use one of the photos for the thank you cards we send out from the day of the party. This year I went a step further and printed some of the pictures the photographer took. I thought the guests would love to get some printed snaps with the card.
About three days after Arabella's party she started asking, "When is my birthday?" She even has her party theme picked out for next year! FROZEN or MOANA, but let's see how many times the theme changes until she commits! UNTIL OUR NEXT PARTY, When Windsor turns TWO & Arabella turns FIVE! I do however plan on blogging all the previous parties in the new “celebrate section”.
Photo Credit :: mix of Cecilia George Photography; myself and My mom!