Longtime readers may recall, I had my first kid 7 years ago. Plenty more big things have happened since then. We bought a house. We had our second kid. A pandemic raced all over the world.
So, with a combination of the kids still being a bit young, then avoiding most social gatherings due to the pandemic, we hadn’t hosted a birthday party where our kids’ classmates were invited. The most we did for celebrating with friends was at daycare, where we sent in popsicles for everyone to share. But that was the extent of it.
So here we are, in 2023, and my daughter is old enough and the covid numbers are low enough that we feel like we’re ready to host a kid birthday party.
Many parties these days seem to be held at special party locations where kids are able to run around and bounce off of things. Play gyms, bouncy houses and slides, etc. We’ve gone to a few at local farms, which was pretty low key and had the added bonus of being low risk for covid by being outdoors. January isn’t the ideal time for an outdoor party, and I wasn’t really keen on one of those indoor play parks. Plus I didn’t start planning the party until a few weeks before her birthday, so the timeline on most of those options meant I was too late to even try to get a spot. So we went with a party at home!
Growing up, my mom always threw the most amazing birthday parties! There was usually a theme (based on our favorite movie/book/topic), with decorations, games, and a homemade cake all matching the theme. So I had a lot to live up to!
Discussing the party with my daughter, we settled on a theme: Outer Space! She’s big on science topics, especially space, so it seemed like a perfect idea. We started talking ideas for activities. Immediately, she suggested Pin-the-flames-on-the-rocket!
I felt a bit at a loss for other ideas, so I checked out Pinterest, a site I hadn’t really looked at much since saving recipes for our CSA fruits and vegetables, and then planning our wedding years ago.
So, what space-related activities and items did we end up with?
My daughter wore one of her outer space Svaha dresses (she has both the Constellations glow-in-the-dark dress and the Webb’s First Deep Field dress)
We got space-themed cups/plates/etc. from Oriental Trading company, and I totally lucked out at the grocery store where I found little 3oz paper cups with stars, astronauts, and rocket ships on them that were perfect for holding the various ingredients needed throughout the party!
First activity: Edible Constellations
I set out pretzel sticks and marshmallows (and M&Ms, because, why not?) and let the kids create edible constellations! Some kids used the reference materials to inspire them, but also encouraged them to just make whatever they wanted. Some kids did more eating than designing!
If the kids had been a bit older, I may have tried having them try to guess each other’s constellations (especially if they were one of the actual constellations). But they had fun and enjoyed the chance to be creative and eat snacks!
Next activity: Rocket Ship Bookmarks!
I came across a blog post showing how to make origami bookmarks decorated with little rocket ships. I made some stencils for kids to cut out all the pieces based on the drawings included at that blog post. I think the kids did a really awesome job!
Moon pizza time!
After that, we had make-your-own moon pizzas! The moon is made of cheese, right? Or maybe the pepperoni look like craters?
Really, they were just English Muffin Pizzas, but I gave each kid their own plate with english muffins pre-toasted and sauced for them. I used more of those little cups to give everyone their own cup of cheese, and also set out a few pre-cut toppings. The kids got add the cheese and their favorite toppings. I noted where on the baking sheet where I put everyone’s pizzas so everyone would get their own pizzas back after baking, then popped them in the oven. Then ~7 minutes later the little pizzas were out of the oven and ready to cool.
Pin the Flames on the Rocket
While we were waiting for the pizzas to cool, we played Pin the Flames on the Rocket! I drew and colored in a cartoony looking rockeship, and cut out some bright orange flames for each of the kids to use.
Then it was time to eat the pizza!
A solar system cake
I baked and frosted a two-layer chocolate cake with dark chocolate fudge frosting (mixed with a little blue food coloring…not sure that actually made a difference), and did my best at representing the sun and the planets in our solar system. I served up the cake to the kids along with ice cream.
I also made some half-moon cookies that both the kids and grownups got to enjoy!
By that point, it was pretty much time for everyone to go. If we ended up with extra time, I had a back up activity where the kids could decorate rocks, creating their own “space rocks”. But that seemed unnecessary, as the kids were having plenty of fun!
Now to start planning for my son’s 5th birthday…