Mermaid/Under the Sea Party

Everything you need for a fun and simple under the sea or mermaid birthday party!

For my daughter’s 5th birthday, she wanted a mermaid party.  Originally she had asked for a mermaid beach party but when I reminded her that mermaids live in the ocean, she came up with the idea to change it to a mermaid/under the sea party. *wink*  I had her help me look through Pinterest and pinned any ideas she liked to my party ideas board.  It was fun to have her help me plan it out and be involved but it also made me a little sad because it means she is growing up.

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I started by making a list of the different aspects of the party: invitations, games, activities, food and decor.  I made the invitations on my computer and printed them out at home.  I kept it pretty simple in terms of the games: fishing for prizes and pin the tail on the whale.  Our craft/activity was to decorate little “treasure boxes” with stickers, jewels and crayons/markers.  The food was one of my favorite parts to plan (details below).  And while I had the best of intentions when it came to decorations, I was also going through my miscarriage that same week and so I had to cut down.  You can find a breakdown of each aspect of the party below.  Feel free to use any of these ideas!

Invitations

Invitation for a mermaid or under the sea birthday party

I made the invitations using my computer and some wording I adapted from an invite idea I saw on Pinterest.  It said: Come for a dive!  Our little mermaid (child’s name) is turning 5!  I found a silhouette of a mermaid tail online which I saved and inserted into the word program I used.  Then I printed it out on white cardstock and cut it down to size with the name of the child who was invited on top.

Games

Fishing for Prizes
I went to the Dollar Tree and bought a variety of things for the kids to “fish” for: stickers, necklaces, rings, paddle boards and tops.  I also found a pack of two mini plastic buckets that were the perfect size.  Both my kids have little fishing rods with plastic hooks on the end that latch so we used one of those and attached the handle of the bucket that way.  We have a half wall leading down to our stairs so I just went on the other size with the prizes while my husband helped the kids go fishing.  Because we had boys and girls at the party, I made sure to ask who was fishing and gave prizes accordingly.

Pin the Tail on the Whale
While at the Dollar Tree picking up prizes, I also grabbed a couple pieces of blue posterboard.  On one, I drew a large whale shape, including the tail, then I cut it all out.  I drew a line across the part of the tail I wanted the kids to “pin”, cut it off and used that piece as a template for all the other tails.  I wrote the names of each child on the tail beforehand to save time.  We blindfolded each child and turned them around the number of times that matched their age, pointed them in the right direction and then let them go.

Everything you need for a fun and simple under the sea or mermaid birthday party!

Craft/Activity

I had hoped to find some inexpensive treasure chests the kids could decorate, but the closest I could find was some paper mache boxes from Hobby Lobby that cost $.50 a piece.  I had grabbed a variety of stickers and adhesive foam shapes from the Dollar Tree and cut them up and put them in containers that I spaced between the kids.  We also pulled out the markers and crayons and let them go to town.  (Make sure you (or the child) write the name on the box.)  We encouraged them to put their fishing prizes in their treasure boxes to try and keep everything together.

Everything you need for a fun and simple under the sea or mermaid birthday party!

Everything you need for a fun and simple under the sea or mermaid birthday party!

Everything you need for a fun and simple under the sea or mermaid birthday party!

Decorations

Decorations were pretty minimal.  I had dreams of crepe paper and balloons and cut outs of fish and sea shells all over but it just didn’t happen.  Instead, I found these little tissue paper pom poms at (where else?) the Dollar Tree and strung a couple of those above the table where we had the food.  Aaanndd…that was it.  Haha.  I didn’t worry about it too much and I don’t think a bunch of 4-5 year olds really cared either.

Food

Ah, yes.  What is a party without food?  There are at least a million food ideas for an under the sea or mermaid party on Pinterest and they are pretty amazing!  Basically, I picked out a few that I liked and knew would be simple and stuck with those.

Cupcakes  I made vanilla cupcakes with a yummy vanilla buttercream frosting.  I colored it using the Neon food coloring which turned out to be the perfect shade of blue.  I piped it on and then placed a seashell made from melted candy wafers on top.  (I found the mold at Hobby Lobby for $2.)  I sprinkled some crushed up graham cracker on top to look like sand and placed one little “pearl” (chocolate candy) on top.  They turned out so cute!

Everything you need for a fun and simple under the sea or mermaid birthday party!

Everything you need for a fun and simple under the sea or mermaid birthday party!

Oyster Cookies  I used vanilla wafer cookies, the same buttercream frosting I used for the cupcakes and another chocolate pearl to make the oyster cookies.

Everything you need for a fun and simple under the sea or mermaid birthday party!

Mermaid Tail Rice Krispie Treats  I used the individually wrapped store bought Rice Krispie Treats for this.  I cut kabob sticks in half and poked them into the treats.  I melted more candy wafers in a tall container and then dipped the treats about 1/2 to 2/3 into it before placing it on wax paper to cool.  I made the seashells by printing out a template on my printer and placing wax paper over the top, then piping more melted candy wafers it on top of the shape.  (A word to the wise: let the melted wafers cool a bit in the piping bag before trying to trace the template.  If it is too hot, it will just run out the tip in a blob.  Ask me how I know…)

Everything you need for a fun and simple under the sea or mermaid birthday party!

Blue Raspberry Kool-Aid  Self explanatory. *wink*

Goldfish Crackers  I totally forgot to set these out and probably would have been a good balance to all the sugar, but it is what it is.

(Most of the kids took their treats home on paper plates from my favorite store for party stuff: the Dollar Tree.)

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Afterwards, we opened presents and then parents were coming to pick up their kids!  The entire party lasted about an hour and a half with 10 kids.  My daughter loved it and kept telling everyone about her mermaid party.

Do you like doing themed parties?  What have been your favorite (to throw or attend)?

Preschool Halloween Party on a Budget

In August of this year, I attended a blogging workshop.  While there, I met a fellow mommy blogger named Kyla (she blogs over at Ford-ology) who lives about 15 minutes away from me and has two kids the same ages as mine but opposite genders.  It was like a match made in heaven!  That night, she and I got to talking and decided that we definitely needed to collaborate on a post in the near future.

One day Kyla and I ran into each other at Hobby Lobby with our kids, who immediately started talking and playing with each other like they were already friends.  As Kyla and I were talking about activities our kids could do together for a playdate, it slowly evolved into a preschool/toddler Halloween party on a budget.  (Funny how things work huh?)  The more she and I talked, the more it all came together.  So today we are each sharing how you can host a fun, simple and entertaining Halloween party for your kids and their friends without breaking the bank.

We blocked out a two hour period of time to do everything which included prep time for each activity.  You could easily choose any one of these activities and do them with your child(ren) or for a playdate.  There is enough here that if you decided not to do an actual Halloween party, you could have some type of Halloween activity for almost every day of the week!  Some take a little more prep time, while others are fairly simple.  But the main thing is that all of them are budget friendly.

To start out with, we had the kids dress up because what’s a Halloween party without costumes?  We just used some dress ups we had at home rather than their real Halloween costumes.  When we got to Kyla’s house, we found that our girls had both chosen to dress as Sleeping Beauty/Aurora and our boys were both dressed as superheros: Spiderman and Superman!  So if our kids look like they are dressed the same, they pretty much are, but it was totally a coincidence.  (A very cute coincidence.)

While the kids played together, Kyla and I finished some of the prep work.  She already had a cute little table all decked out in Halloween decor with a tablecloth, fake spiderwebs and spiders (total cost: $4).  Each place was set with a cute paper pumpkin with each child’s name on it, a pumpkin and the paper goods we were going to use for lunch time.

Photobooth
Our first activity was a photobooth.  Kyla had found some cute monster props for the kids to use for $3 from Target and the Happy Halloween banner for $1 (also from Target).

We also used some darling little tissue paper tassels from my friends Etsy shop, Eve’s Party Market, to add a little extra Halloween fun. 

The kids thought using the props was hilarious and Kyla and I even got in on the fun, using our kids as stand-in photographers. *wink* (The tassels were kindly provided at no cost by Creative Juice Cafe.  The retail price is $4 for a pack of 5 tassels.)

Decorating Pumpkins
The next activity was decorating pumpkins.  We gave the kids some stickers, pompoms, googly eyes and paint and let them go to town.  (I already had the pompoms, paint and glue and Kyla spent $2 on stickers and $4 for the four pumpkins.)

It was so fun to watch them each create their own little masterpiece!  When the pumpkins didn’t have anywhere left to decorate, we set them aside to dry.

Pumpkin Toss
While the kids took a little break to get out some energy, we set up the next activity which we called the Pumpkin Toss.  I bought 3 buckets from the Dollar Tree for $3 and I made six beanbags using some leftover material and plastic pellets (purchased from Hobby Lobby for $3).

Since the kids are all fairly little, we just told them the rules were to try and get one beanbag in each bucket.  My daughter and her son (both 4 years old) accomplished this pretty easily, while the 2 year olds weren’t quite coordinated enough to aim accurately.  But they all had fun and wanted to try multiple times.  (I’m thinking this will be a fun game for my kids during the cold winter months when we’re stuck inside.)  If you have older kids, you could label each bucket with a point value and then tally up points for prizes.

Lunch
Putting together the kids’ lunch was so fun!

We made PB and J sandwiches and then cut them out into ghosts and pumpkins using cookie cutters.

The mummy juice boxes were made by ripping up white fabric I had in my scrap pile and wrapping it around the boxes and gluing some googly eyes on.

The string cheese ghosts and mandarin orange fruit cup pumpkins were made using a sharpie to draw the faces on.

Lastly, we gave the kids some yummy Jell-O popcorn in individual popcorn buckets, also from Eve’s Party Market.  They were the perfect size to portion out the popcorn.  (The popcorn buckets were kindly provided at no cost by Eve’s Party Market.  The retail price starts at $1 for 1 with bulk discounts available.)

Treasure Hunt/Goody Bags
The last activity was a treasure hunt that led the kids to some goody bags.  Because the clues were hidden around Kyla’s house, her kids led the way to most of the clues but all the kids had fun running from room to room to find the next clue.

When the kids found their bags, they immediately sat down to find out what was inside: pumpkin bubble necklaces, spider rings, vampire teeth, pencils, small notebooks, coloring pages and a little bag of candy corn.

All of the items for the goody bags were found at Target in the dollar section and cost $6 to fill 4 bags.

I found the treasure hunt printout on Imagination Soup and just printed it off at home.  The coloring sheets are from Honey & Lime.  Kyla put two on each page and then cut them down and stapled the corner to make a little coloring book.

Like I mentioned at the beginning, our whole goal with this party was to make it budget friendly and have activities that anyone can put together.  Even if you don’t consider yourself crafty, you can take any one of these activities and tailor it to your kids.  Kids aren’t going to care if everything is fancy or picture perfect.  All they want is to enjoy the activities and spend some time with you and their friends.

Total cost out of pocket: $29

Honestly, I had so much fun putting this whole little party together for the kids!  Each activity kept their attention for just long enough to complete it and they were able to get their excess energy out while Kyla and I set up the next activity.  As Kyla’s son said at the end, “It was the best morning ever!”  I think we can definitely count that as a success!

If you’d like to read Kyla’s post about the party, click HERE.

What are you favorite Halloween-themed activities to do with your kids?