The Theme - Toy Story 3
When I asked my son what kind of party he wanted, I gave him several ideas. He decided he wanted a Toy Story party with a bounce house. After I showed him some pictures from my pinterest board, he said he also would like a number 3 cake or alien cupcakes.
Inspired by Toy Story 3, we picked the theme "Jake's Birthday 3."
I hung the black arrow chalkboard that I made for my son's second birthday on our front gate to let guests know which way to enter. I love using certain elements from prior parties (it is both resourceful and nostalgic - can't beat that!).
There were so many amazing ideas online for decorations and centerpieces for Toy Story parties. But when I saw the advertising posters for Toy Story 3, I was inspired. Each poster had a big number 3 with different characters holding the number. My son loves numbers! So I thought it would be perfect to highlight the number 3 (it was my son's third birthday, after all).
I found square wood plaques at Michael's to use for the bases of my centerpieces, and I spray painted them black. I cut 3s out of construction paper (to match the "3" in the Toy Story posters) and glued them on black foam core. Because I don't know how to make the edges look pretty when I cut foam core, I covered the edges with blue ribbon (leftover from the train track runners I made for my son's second birthday party).
The toys I used for the centerpieces were also our gift to our son. I used removable glue dots to secure the figures to each centerpiece, and then easily pulled them off after the party. He still plays with them!
I try to items that I can use after the party in the decor. I love it because (again) it's not wasteful, and because it serves as a great souvenir of sorts for my son. This year he got the Toy Story action figures for the centerpieces. Last year, he got a train table for his train party (one of his favorite toys), and for his first birthday he got sesame street stuffed animals (and fun decals for the walls that are now in our playroom).
I also like to reuse items I used for other parties. I bought these red and blue tablecloths for my son's second birthday party (see how I used them here) . This time I took the red tablecloths, folded them, and put them in the middle of the blue tablecloths for a contrast of colors.
I also saw lots of amazing ideas on pinterest for decorating with the army men. I tied the army men to butcher twine and strung them around the house so they looked like they were repelling from the playroom into our dining room.
The set came with some parachutes, so I had a little fun with hanging those too.
I also spread some extra army men around the house, so it would look like they were staking out the party (just like in the movie). My son still plays with the army men!
I also made little magnets to decorate my utensil caddies (I bough magnet paper and just ran it through my printer). Some of the magnets said "Jake's Birthday 3" and others had an image of my son on an etcha-sketch surrounded by the toy story characters (using this template). We still play with the magnets.
When I asked my son what food he wanted for his birthday party, he said he wanted "turkey sandwich pizza from Pizza Planet." Although I couldn't make the turkey sandwich pizza part happen, I did manage to get lots of pizza from Pizza Planet (well, it was from a local pizza place that didn't label their boxes, but shh don't tell him).
The Pizza Planet sign was (once again) inspired by pinterest. I made the sign using white and red wrapping paper. I used the white wrapping paper for the background. Then I cut the letters out on the red wrapping paper. My son helped me, by telling me what letters I was putting on the sign, and he helped me put the adhesive on the letters.
I saw amazing ideas on pinterest where people bought white pizza boxes and put Pizza Planet labels on all the boxes. At one point, I planned on buying plain white boxes so that the pizza boxes didn't have the restaurant's name on them, but I was a little worried about how that would work logistically (finding boxes, getting them to the pizza place, etc.). When I called the pizza place to see if they would use my plain boxes, I was thrilled to find out that they already had plain boxes they could use instead of the ones with their logo.
- Chicken nuggets
- Israeli Couscous with Apples and Dried Cherries
- Citrus Salad
- Italian Salad
- Three different Fruit Salads
We had plenty of beverages. I bought special cups with lids and straws for the kids (which made things a lot easier for the parents).
The bounce house was the main form of entertainment. You can check it out here. It was great! My son still talks about it. It was a toddler interactive bounce house, so it was lower to the ground (and not too bouncy). It also was open on all sides, which made watching the kids easy.
I also had a table set up with my sons favorite magic dough, and another table set up where kids could color in magnets (I just printed mini toy story coloring sheets on magnet paper).
Of course, we also had plenty of toys to share with all the kids (including the train table from my son's second birthday party).
My son didn't have many requests, but he did want a big number 3 cake, and he wanted alien cupcakes. A friend of mine who makes amazing cakes very generously offered to make the cake for the party. She made an amazing 3 that matched the 3 from the Toy Story 3 posters that I was trying to incorporate throughout the party.
My son and I then made a bunch of mini cupcakes and regular cupcakes with green frosting. I added some candy eyes, brown m&ms for the mouths, and green sour licorice for the antenna.
I am not a huge fan of favors. I usually dread having to come up with an idea. It seems so odd to me that after throwing a party, you have to send guests off with a gift - a uniform gift that will be enjoyed by all. However, I always feel like I have to have a favor because some people expect them. I try to find favors that are not wasteful and that are a way for guests to take a piece of the party home with them.
When I saw the idea of having the claw above the alien bag favors I got excited about the favors. My plan was to carve Styrofoam into the shape of the claw and cover it with aluminum foil. Unfortunately, I was not crafty enough for my plan to work (Styrofoam is harder to cut then I thought). I almost ditched the claw plan entirely, but then I figured out I could just make a mini claw using card stock wrapped in aluminum foil.
The favor bags were pretty easy to put together. My son had a lot of fun helping me make them. We used a circle punch to punch the white and black circles for the eyes and mouths. My son helped me glue the pieces together and stick them to the bags. He also helped me stuff them. He was very excited to see the finished product on his birthday.
We filled the bags with a fruit snack, stickers, a CD with my son's favorite songs, and a little alien toy. The CD was a huge hit! It was full of my son's (least annoying) favorite songs.