Let me clarify though. There are no presents, it isn't her birthday after all. These also aren't the rent a bouncy castle, bring in a princess, invite 25 kids type of parties. These are the do it yourself, get creative, spend just a little money for a fun afternoon type of parties that focus on crafts, treats, and some old-school games. I do hand out loot bags although these mainly consist of items the kids have made at the party and perhaps some pinata filler to top it off.
We always start with a theme. The first party was a butterflies, this year it was rainbows. The invitation was printed off at home, cut out using decorative scissors and glued onto construction paper. It was hand delivered to each guest's home. My 6 year old felt so grown up running up to each mailbox on her own.
Decorations were very old school. A trip to the dollar store for balloons, bristol board and construction paper did the trick. To add a bit of colour and tie in the Rainbow theme for the party, the kids made paper chains following the colours of the rainbow. A grouping of balloons in rainbow hues finished it off. Tablecloths were brightly coloured Mexican serapes and the kids themselves added a great deal of rainbow colour to the party in their brightly coloured clothes.
As I mentioned earlier, the activities were very old school. We played 'Pin the Cloud on the Rainbow' using a board my daughter painted on bristol board and some clouds cut out of construction paper. I had a local teenager come to help and she worked the toenail station which was a HUGE hit. I had pre-cut each girls name using my Silhouette machine and bought dollar store frames to be used as the craft. Each girl completely coloured a coffee filter in any patern she wanted using washable markers. When it was finished we spritzed it with water so the colours would bleed together. We left it to dry (this took all of 2 minutes because it was SOOOOO hot) and then put it in the frame behind their name. The results were beautiful and the girls were delighted.
Now I am not a big fan of pinatas. They are expensive, get shredded to pieces and are usually filled with junk that gets thrown out the moment the guests arrive home. But, after hearing my kids beg (wow, do kids LOVE pinatas) I agreed on one condition, we make our own. I found some instructions on the web and altered them slightly to fit our materials. We used an old paper bag, coloured construction paper, staples and tape. We purchased hair accessories and re-packaged them in rainbow colours and of course added a few bags of rainbow skittles and sour rainbow sticks. It was an inexpensive and easy project to do with the kids but more importantly, it was fun.
Food for the party was minimal and simple. The timing was mid-afternoon so I wasn't serving a meal. To keep it simple I used my trusty Ikea kids dishes in the rainbow of colours and each girl chose a colour so it was easy to keep track of whose cup was whose. We had a rainbow fruit tray, colourful veggie chips, Kool-aid in 4 rainbow shades (something my daughter has ALWAYS wanted but never had) and of course a Rainbow Sherbet ice-cream bar with rainbow toppings of gummy bears, m&m's, mini-marshmallows and sprinkles. My kids even placed all the candies for the ice-cream bar in the bowls by colour so they looked like a rainbow too. Yum!
The party was a HUGE succes! It is funny though because I don't actually feel like the party itself was the most fun. For me, the best part of the party was really the 2-3 week lead-up. The planning and prepping for this party filled many, many summer hours and got both my kids focussed on one collective project. I got so much joy watching them come up with ideas for decorations, games, etc. Their creativity blossomed and they felt fulfilled seeing their vision come to fruition. I would definitely encourage a party for no reason at all. We'll have to see what we come up with for next year!