How do you decide on a theme for your kids parties?
Every year it goes the same way for us. The girls (whose birthdays are two weeks apart – so they share a party) declare that they MUST have a Frozen party. Then I vehemently disagree. It’s not that I don’t like Frozen, it’s just that they don’t even like Frozen. They never watch it. If they were obsessed with it, I would suck it up and replicate every other party we’ve been to over the last three years, but they’re not. I can’t justify throwing a whole party over a theme they don’t even love and one that I can’t stand to see again.
(I’m not knocking Frozen parties. OK, well, I am. It’s just that if you’ve been to one, you’ve been to them all right?)
So we sat down and analysed what they love. And what they love is story time every evening. Specifically delving into The Enchanted Wood and joining Beth, Frannie and Joe as they climb up The Faraway Tree and have wonderful adventures. I mentioned it to the girls and they literally burst with excitement! It was a done deal.
When I dropped Kyla off at school it became evident that none of her friends had read The Faraway Tree. I won’t lie, I was disappointed. But instead of wallowing in it, I took it upon myself to rectify the problem. The Faraway Tree was one of the core books of my childhood, which is why it was important for me to share that with my kids and now their friends too.
The Faraway Tree Party Packs
Initially I wasn’t going to do party packs. I’m quite over them. But I was so disturbed by the fact that no one seemed to know about the Faraway Tree that I had to fix it. So instead of the usual party packs, I bought a few of the collections of the three books from Bargain Books. The beauty of it is that you can pick up any one of the three and it will reintroduce you to Moonface, Silky, The Angry Pixie, Mr Whatshisname, Dame Washalot and Saucepan Man. These books became the party packs. Each family now has a copy of the book to enjoy at home. Hopefully they too will now know what a lot of what we did at the party even meant, but also grow a love for the funny little characters and their crazy stories.
The Faraway Tree Decor
A couple of months ago I was knocked out with viral meningitis. This meant that my usual plotting, planning and prep that starts around two months before the party was put on hold. It was so on hold that it never got started. So instead of stressing like a crazy person, I left it all in the very capable hands of The Cape Town Balloon and Events Co. Guys, this is easily the best decision I have made. They did everything! Our garage was totally transformed from drab to a Faraway Tree haven.
What I love the most is that you give them a theme, number of kids and a budget and they will make it work for you. Seriously, you don’t have to spend thousands to get a well put together looking party.
Together we transformed our garage into The Land Of Birthdays – with helium balloons of every colour and a table to eat the ice cream sundaes etc. There was a sweet little photo booth, popcorn machine and of course, a jumping castle (which always seems to be the place the kids flock to because I can never get them off). We also used the empty book covers as part of the decor.
The Faraway Tree Cake
Ugh, what a nightmare this cake was. But only because I had this image in my head of what I wanted it to look like and well, it looked nothing like that. We used a dowel stick attached to a board that was then drilled with holes at the top to fit in skewers of icing covered marshmallows. The trunk of the tree was made up of a rectangular cake, cut in circles 4 layers high and then propped up with marshmallows. If you caught any of the snaps that I did as we were prepping it you would have seen the process, at one point I was crying because I was laughing so hard. But anyway, our girls loved our weird little bonsai tree and it tasted pretty freaking great (if I do say so myself).
The Faraway Tree Food
Did I go back and read everything that Beth was served at The Land Of Birthdays? You bet I did! We had Google Buns, Pop Cakes, Lemonade, Toffee Shocks, Cheese Sandwiches, Fruit Salad, Strawberries and Cream, Doughnuts, Chocolate Cakes and even Acornade.
For the Pop Cake I used Woolies cupcake covered with popping candy, Google Buns were Woolies doughnut holes sprinkled with chocolate and Toffee Shocks were the Cadburys Chocolate Eclairs. They don’t exactly explode in your mouth but chocolate is a pretty good alternative in my books.
The lovely Tracy Webb from Coffee and Cream Design did these cool food labels for me on the original book illustrations, but due to printing issues I wasn’t able to print them in time for the party. I was so freaking bummed.
Faraway Tree Food Labels
The Faraway Tree Activity
We did a “make your own sundaes” activity. Technically – according to the Faraway Tree book – all you had to do was say it for it to appear in front of your face. But that was just a bit impossible because I can’t actually do magic. So we gave each kid a scoop of ice-cream and then made all the toppings appear when they said them. (I didn’t leave the toppings on the table because then they go nuts and cover their ice cream with so much stuff that it’s actually inedible – we went around the table and made sure it was still good to eat at the end).
Originally I wanted everyone to dress up but seeing as no one really even knew the characters it was a bit of a bust on that front. But all in all it was a great party – the kids had the best time and that’s the best part!
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Other parties that we have had or been to with a cool theme:
- Superhero Party
- Rainbows and Kites Party
- Shaun The Sheep Party
- Bling Party
- Butterfly Party
- Dinosaur Party
- Murder Mystery party (this ones for the adults)
- Cowboy Party
- A Baking Party (one of my favourites)
- Mister Maker Party
- Alice in “one”derland party
- Mermaid Party
- Sixties Party (also adult but doesn’t have to be)
- Princess Party
- Circus Party