Tea chose an airplane theme for his 3rd birthday party. I appreciated that his choice allowed me lots of opportunities to be creative.
This post has all the nuts and bolts details from the party. You may wish to check out the password-protected post with pics of the kids enjoying themselves. The password is Tea’s first name. (Sandy – this is a quiz for you 😉 )
The invitations were boarding passes with the guests names printed on them. (Identifying info has been blurred so you can’t hunt me down and force me to design more of these.)
Guests arrived to a “Gate XY (our house number)” sign at the door, an airplane painted in the colors Tea chose hanging from the chandelier, and “clouds” of blue balloons (because white balloons against a white ceiling would be sad).
The kids were hyper from the car ride (and the anticipation of the party, in Tea’s case), so we herded them outside pretty quickly to attempt the make-shift obstacle course I had set up in the backyard. It involved tunnels, cones, hurdles and slalom sticks. Some of the pieces were borrowed from my dad’s dog agility equipment – what the kids don’t know… There were 2 courses set up so they could spread out and keep moving. We didn’t time them or make them race, we just let them go crazy. They ran and crawled around it for awhile and eventually turned their attention to the swing set.
The little pilots were then given their wings and an airplane to fly outside. The goal was to land the gliders in roasting pans, but it was really more of a free-for-all.
During the pandemonium flying, we pulled aside kids to take their pictures in order to make pilot’s licenses to put in the treat bags (although most kids weren’t as thrilled to have their picture taken as Tea – I think he’s immune to my overly zealous snapping away). I printed them out business card-sized and they are so cute!
They worked up an appetite and we served airplane meals in divided trays with finger food for the kids, and a grown-up salad and fruit for the adults. Someone totally burst my bubble while I was in the planning stages of the party by telling me the kids wouldn’t know that airplane meals come on divided trays. But I bounced right back when I reminded myself I was doing this for me, not Tea. (Because, let’s be honest, I wanted an excuse to be creative. Tea would have been equally happy just running around the backyard with his friends.) One of the benefits of the tray meals was that I could make them ahead, and then drop the whole thing in the compost when the kids were done, just as Courtney brilliantly discovered with the box lunches she served the kids at the shower she hosted last month.
The highlight of the party for Tea was the much-anticipated chocolate airplane cake. Thank you, Mom, for pulling through with an amazing cake. The thought of constructing an airplane cake and then frosting it makes me break out into a sweat. Mom was concerned it wouldn’t look enough like an airplane, but when Tea saw it this morning, he asked to get in it, so I think he was convinced.
The last game we played was “pin the pilot on the airplane”. I used some free clipart I found online and enlarged it. I colored the belly of each pilot a different color in photoshop so the kids would know which one was theirs. although they are young enough that I don’t think anyone noticed or cared how close they got to the cockpit. I initially wanted to design a “pin the plane on the runway” game, but decided that could be traumatic if planes started “crashing” all over the place, given we’re taking Tea on a plane to Europe next week.
The highlight of the party for me was when 5 children went home (kidding!)… because they got their treat bags that I had so much fun making. I cut plain old brown paper lunch sacks into suitcases, hung a luggage tag with the child’s name, and filled them with no candy! (I’m sorry, Tea.) I found cute airplane glycerin soaps on etsy. I made passport coloring books and included little bundles of crayons. I dropped in their new pilot’s license, and the kids stuck their gliders in.
All in all, I think the kids had a fun day. We so appreciate our friends, and were glad to see everyone who could make it. I had such a good time getting ready for the party that I’m wondering if I could somehow make a living planning kid’s parties without actually attending them. Any ideas on how I might make that happen?