Who can resist such an adorable cupcake tower topper like this drum cake? Not me. Music instruments, like drums, are an excellent theme for a toddler birthday party because parents can find plenty of ways to decorate and to build activities around the theme.
Cupcake Tower and a Sweet Table
I spot that real life party from the talented cupcake studio Blue Cupcake located in Los Angeles. Visit her site to see more pictures of the sweet table where they served dipped marshmallow pops, cake balls, rice treat pops, french macarons and candies.
+ Blue Cupcake
Mary wrote to me about the cute sailing theme party that she did for the birthday of her toddler son. With several simple craft projects, she was able to design everything from scratch. She did not stop with the room decor, her food packaging plays a part of her theme. Have a look at her little fishing rods of goldfish crackers and the saltwater taffy filled sailboats for the adults.
All the kids received a personalized sailor outfit that they wore during the party. Some kids further decorated their sailor hat with stickers. Dressing up the kids make the photo booth session more memorable.
Besides hanging a fabric and felt pennant under the porch (or inside her home), she installed cut paper sailboats under the sun umbrella.
A fun and inexpensive idea was the paper waves that Mary attached to the kitchen counter. You could use that idea on a buffet table. The waves complement her sailboats on the sea cupcakes.
Bravo Mary! You successfully created a beautiful sailing birthday theme.
Sherry Willis wrote to me about the nice Mermaid Birthday party she hosted for her 4-year old daughter. She did a great job designing cute cupcake and cake toppers, fun games to occupy the kids and imagining the party decor.
I like the idea of decorating an homemade Bean Bean Bag Toss game. It’s a simple idea that adds a personal touch to the party. Another fun activity was the fishing game. She custom made everything. Each guest has a bucket with a name tag to put in their catch of the day.
With a little work and creativity, it is not that hard nor expensive to tailor a kids birthday theme. To give you a head start, you can stop by Sherry’s etsy shop. She sells banners, cake toppers, birthday hats, favor tags and invites. Have a look at her Circus party favor tags. The Mermaid theme should be available in a near future.
+ More details about this party at Party Pops
+ Party Pops shop on etsy
If you are looking for inspirations for a shabby chic party theme or a vintage tea party in a garden, look at what this mom did for the combined birthday party of her two daughters. Jess of Pen and Paper Flowers put a lot of efforts in preparing the event. She shared many details in a series of posts about her Lemonade and Sunshine party. Jess should be proud!
The ice cream scoop in a Mason jar looks so appetizing. The flavors were lemon sugar cookie ice cream & strawberry/lemon swirled italian ice. An old bird bath was transformed in a nice ice bucket.
Do not be shy to create multiple vignettes. They contribute to the ambiance. If you cannot find enough vintage milk bottles, you can recycle the bottles of Starbucks Frappuccino. The 9.5 oz. bottles are perfect to serve individual drink. The 13.7 oz. bottle can be use to serve water. I also keep empty bottles of water bottles in a cabinet.
+ Photos: Pen and Paper Flowers
This pirate birthday party for a little boy is second to none thanks to a magnificent kid-size pirate boat. A mom designed the boat along an old square teak table to sit comfortably 24 kids. Around the table she fashioned the heart of the boat structure with benches while the bow and the stern are made from recycled plywood and old packing crates. The result is a place where kids could play and imagine themselves sailing on the sea.
Kids played several activities including the must-have treasure hunt and potato sack races. It must have been a fantastic birthday party.
+ via Imprintables
It’s no secret that little boys love monster trucks. When Jennifer Shields of Posh Tot Events received the mandate to plan a fabulous Monster Truck party for the third birthday of a little boy, she made sure the party would be memorable. She succeed! The small details are everywhere.
Jennifer infused the spirit of the theme in many ways. I like the way she decorated the cake stand with a wheel. And who could resist those lovely monster truck cupcakes?
Even for a kids birthday party, it is important to set the table properly before the event. As people entered the room, the tabletop design sets the tone. I like how she decorated the back of the chairs with checked flags.
This was an outdoor party. They rented an inflatable play center with a big truck at the top. How cool is that for kids?
+ Monster Truck party at Posh Tot Events
+ Photos by Kristen Alexander Photographer
Many readers got in touch lately about the party they did. You can feel Amy Atlas inspirations in every one of their dessert table. I decided to illustrate event design tips that are worth stealing from their party photos. I selected two kids birthdays and one bridal shower.
Pool Party for a 5 years old
Maureen of Anders Ruff Custom Designs did a pool party for the 5th birthday of her son. Make it easy to coordinate everything by selecting a palette widely available in store. Green and blue are hot this summer. And both represent the hues of ocean water. This was a great choice. Maureen uses the blue for boys and the green for girls.
She used toys as lunch containers. She put the lunch bag into a sand pail personalized with the name of each kid. This is a good idea also if some of your lunch bags are for kids with dietary constraints. A pail made it easy for the kids to carry their lunch and after they have a toy to play with.
She designed the banner, the party circles and all the labels. She sells those on Etsy. One thing that elevates her dessert table is the fact that she wrapped the boxes / stands. A mix of gift wrapping papers and ribbons is all you need to make an impact. You can read of the details and see more photos on her blog.
Be original with how you serve the food. For a green and white bridal shower, Mandy of Everyday Obsession tied the spoon to the tumbler glass. It feels special and it is practical.
Add variety with your labels. Kristina at Modern Frills has one favor tag design done for each flavor of her popcorn take-home bags. It’s Kim from TomKat Studio who designed the party invitations, cupcake toppers, and labels.
+ Custom Matching Party Logos for cupcake toppers, address labels, favor tags, stickers by Anders Ruff $7.50 USD
+ Custom Happy Birthday Banner Design by Anders Ruff $15
Decorative cupcake wrappers can infuse in a flash the essence of your party theme at an affordable price. Plus, no need to be or to hire an expert cake decorator. Jungle animals and circus animals are favorite themes for a kid birthday. Every kid will have one of those in their childhood.
Another model that is always handy to stock is the car and fire trucks. I like the Sweet Dots Cupcake Wraps’n Pix for a little girl birthday or a baby shower.
These sets come with 12 cupcake wrappers and 24 pix. All that for only $3.49 at
New York Cake & Baking Distributors Wilton. I discovered this go-to spot for pastry chefs and baking lovers in NYC by reading the Behind the scenes articles at Amy Atlas Events. The best thing is that you do not have to live in New York City to get your hands on their stuff since they deliver worldwide.
January 29th, 2013 Update: It seems that NY Cakes and Baking stopped to carry them. Head to Wilton to get it. I updated the sourcing links.
+ Jungle Pals Cupcake Wraps’n Pix $3.49 /set
+ Big Top (Circus) Cupcake Wraps’n Pix $3.49 /set
+ Wheels Cupcake Wraps’n Pix $3.49 /set
+ Sweet Dots Cupcake Wraps’n Pix $3.49 /set
Pauline’s little girl of The Party Studio turned 5 years old. Her little girl is a fan of cooking shows. Her mother organized a stylish party where the kids decorated cupcakes and their own cupcake box. It goes with my philosophy that you should teach kids how to cook and bake at a young age.
Then, the details of the buffet table caught my attention. The baking tool cupcakes are superb. The ensemble feels young yet sophisticated. Get the details and a list of the suppliers at The Party Studio’s blog.
+ photos by Eclektic Photography + design
+ via The Cake Blog
I am glad to introduce the first guest blogger who gave me an hand during my trip in Japan. The first one is Lisa Kothari of Dear Peppers and Pollywogs. Lisa is an author who runs a kids party planning business since 2005. Lisa provides practical solutions and good planning advices to parents.
Today, more and more parents are opting to request No Gifts on their kids’ party invitations. It often doesn’t work out very well, as some people adhere to the guideline while others ignore it altogether and bring a gift. The fact is people want to bring something to a child’s party, as a result, to get around embracing the concept of traditional gifts or no gifts at all; there are creative ideas that offer an in-between the two options:
- Host a book exchange and organize it in a few different ways:
- Guests bring a wrapped gift and everyone takes one home.
- Some open the books on the spot; others wait until the kids have gone home.
- Give your child an experience rather than a party. If you allow friends to be invited, let the experience be the celebration, not the stuff.
- Hold an inexpensive gift exchange (under $10) so that every child receives a gift.
- Request art supplies and donate them to a shelter.
- Hobbit Practice – Better to Give than to Receive! Each child receives a gift, although they do not bring one.
- Request a donation to a great organization like http://www.heifer.org/.
- Contact a charity that is a favorite and ask for a Wish List, i.e. a list of stuff the organization really needs. As an example, the humane society may need leashes, collars, toys, etc. Request guests bring these items in lieu of birthday gifts to donate and make the wishes come true!
Whatever donations are brought to the party for a favorite charity, have the birthday child deliver the donations to his chosen charity.
This is a great round-up of ideas that are alternatives to traditional party gifts. Also, keep in mind if you are concerned about the amount people will spend on a party gift for your child, it is appropriate to write in your invitation, Gifts under $__ would be appreciated. Putting a price limit guideline on the invitation can help to keep gift-giving budget friendly.
Happy Gifting ─ or not!
Lisa Kothari is giving away a copy of her book, Dear Peppers and Pollywogs…: What Parents Want to Know About Planning Their Kids’ Parties in which she answered non obvious questions that many parents will face. She sent me a copy two years ago and I found that it is an excellent resources for parents.
To enter this giveaway, simply share what is the best kids party theme you ever saw? Write your answer by commenting on this post. The winner will be determined by a random draw of all the answers received before noon ET on Wednesday, April 21st, 2010.
Update: The winner of the giveaway is #8 Kim – The TomKat Studio. Read more about the random draw.
I cannot pass on anything stylish that is quick and easy to make. The marshmallow pops made by Genevieve of Celebrate Today certainly qualify. Make sure to add the ribbon and to find a nice way to display for the ultimate Wow factor.
No one will have troubles doing their own version. Let me repeat her instructions: “Insert lollipop stick, plunge marshmallow into melted chocolate and dip in pastel colored candy dots”.
If you are planning a baby shower or a kids birthday party, you have no reasons not to steal her idea. Everybody will love you.
March 22nd, 2010 Update: Thanks to Kim of The TomKat Studio (see comments), I know now that you simply melt Candy Melts to get the pastel coatings. You can have a look at the complete instructions for making your own Marshmallow Pops.
+ photos and recipe: Celebrate Today