I can't believe it. Tomorrow I am going to be a mother to a six year old! Wasn't it just yesterday I was taking a 5lb baby home from the hospital weeks before we expected her? As we have learned, that early entrance is very typical of Bria, who is very driven and looking forward to the next thing.
Bria's Birthday will always remind me of how much my life changed in 2006. Because of her birth, my first Mother's Day will always be the most memorable. Not to say that today hasn't been amazing so far. Between lovely gifts and hilarious card from my girls, and the even more awesome gift of a few hours of peace and quiet while Chris and the girls run errands and clean the studio, today is shaping up to be fantastic!
But Bria's Birthday always makes me want to celebrate. Her birth was the catalyst that changed my life forever. Six years ago when I held her tiny body in my arms it changed who I am, what I wanted and how I was going to achieve it. I don't think I'll ever have words powerful enough to describe to her what a gift she was to my life. I am hoping the legacy of love I leave her and Malia will be my actions.
This year Bria was set on having a Littlest Pet Shop Party. She loves animals and currently wants to be a vet when she grows up. She may also have a ridiculous Littlest Pet Shop toy collection (mostly bought with her own money from collection bottles and cans). I generally like to stay away from "branded" themes for parties but turning six just seems like a milestone in terms of her budding independence.
Next year she'll be in grade one. This summer she is old enough to attend all-day day camps. We've been talking about setting up an allowance. Sometimes the things that Chris and I do that used to make her laugh embarrass her. All the signs of of little girl who is growing up. Sigh... So Littlest Pet Shop Part it was! With 25 kids... yes you read that right. I was crazy enough to let her invite her entire Kindergarten class and all her friends outside of school. Was the party a bit crazy? Yup! But it was also pretty awesome!
First let's start with the cake. I found a picture of a Littlest Pet Shop Cake on Pinterest and sent it to my friend Joanna at Frosted Memories. Joanna is amazing! Anything I send her she is able to create. Here is what the finished cake looked like:
The cake was Bria's Birthday gift from us and she was thrilled to add all the Pets on the cake to her collection! Also, like all of Joanna's cakes, this one was delicious!
To keep the food in theme with the idea of pets and animals I made a healthy hedgehog! Another great idea I found on Pinterest that was simple, effective, and all the kids gobbled it up!
In the picture you can also see little cube of cheese on toothpicks. These were mouse nibblers! It's amazing how as soon as you make food fun kids dive right into the healthy options! I also put our goldfish crackers in a small fish bowl as kitty treats.
I think the spread was fit for a pack of animals, I mean kids ;)
For decorations I tried to keep it simple and colorful (and unfortunately forgot to take pictures of many of them!). My wonderful friend Bea, found this fantastic bouquet of Littlest Pet Shop Balloons at Party Packagers. It was $25 but also included inflation. The kitty balloon is huge! Normally a balloon that size is about $20 so we really did get a great deal!
I also hung rainbow streamers, hung rainbow tissue globes and stars (also bought from Party Packagers), put pink table cloths on all the tables, and bought rainbow colored plates, cutlery, and napkins. It made for a very colorful, inexpensive, fun party room!
With 25 kids between the ages of 3-6 attending the party I knew activities would be very important so we didn't end up with sugar powered chaos! We did a mix of dance activities and games for an hour.
Animal Circle Dance
I taught them a dance called Back in Line off the Salsa Kids CD. The song includes actions for a crocodile, crazy monkey, kangaroo, elephant, and pink flamingo. The kids loved the mix of Latin and Hip Hop beats in the song and did a great job with the follow the leader sections.
Next we played Animal Freeze, a game I invented that is a mixes the ideas of a cakewalk and musical chairs. I have 30 foam circle placemats (from Ikea) about a foot in radius at the studio. On the backs of 10 of these I taped pictures of Littlest Pet Shops I found online. Each round I would add a few circles with pictures on them to the other circles scattered on the floor. The kids took turns calling out different animals we could move like to the music. When the music played they moved like animals around the circles. When it stopped they had to find a circle and freeze in an animal shape on the circle. Then I would count to 3 and they could look under their circle. If they had a circle with a pet shop picture they won a prize!
Animal Obstacle Course
This was a fun and simple way to get all the kids moving together and burn off some energy! I created 4 different obstacles for the kids to move through in a circuit:
- Crawl like mice through tunnels
- Leap like frogs on lily pads (foam circles)
- Walk like crabs along the beach (I used pylons to create start and finish lines)
- Balance like roosters along the fence (balancing domes purchased from Scholars Choice)
I used the song Old McDonald from Brent Lewis's Rhythm Basket, a fantastic CD of children's songs created by various pitched drums. The kids loved it and were ready for a sitting activity after 5 minutes of very vigorous play :)
Kitty, Kitty Where's Your Fish?
Next we played a simple circle game called Kitty, Kitty where's your Fish, that I adapted from the game Doggy, Doggy where's your Bone? First I taught the kids this chant:
Kitty, kitty where's your fish?
Someone stole it from your dish!
Maybe the Monkies from the Zoo!
One child would have a turn as the kitty and would be blindfolded. While the kids would say the chant with their hands behind their back, I would pick one person to hold the plastic fish. Once the chant was over the kitty would remove their blindfold and get to guess 3 times who had the fish behind their back. If they kitty guessed right they got a prize. If the kitty didn't guess the child with the fish got a prize.
Dance Party with the Chipmunks
We ended the dance and games section with a good old fashion dance party using, who else? The Chipmunks! My girls LOVE the Chipwrecked soundtrack and as I learned so did all our party guests! We turned off the regular lights, plugged in the jelly dome (like a disco ball, but it projects various colored lights around the room and responds to the music), and just let the kids bust a move for 15 minutes!
It was a fantastic party! I even impressed myself with my ability to entertain 25 kids for 2.5 hours. Of course I have to thank some of my "older" guests for helping me keep the party under control. It always makes me so happy when the "Framily" in Bria's life can make it out and celebrate with us :)
When I asked Bria at the end of the day if the party was what she imagined she hugged me tight and said " Mama, that was the BEST party I've EVER had!!!!!!"