Mighty Girl decided she loved parties when she was two and a half, and spent the next six months asking when her birthday was. For her third birthday, she had a party at a soft play centre – to save me preparing the food!
For her fourth birthday, having managed Destructo Girl’s Christening party in the meantime, I thought I would do a ‘proper’ party and MG chose a pink tea party theme – the party was all about the food, no games or anything planned but I figured the kids would amuse themselves anyway – which they did! We had 17 children plus their parents.
This year, for Mighty Girl’s fifth birthday, I decided to avoid supplying a buffet and chose a party time of 2 – 3.30pm: between lunch and tea times! She really loves drawing and arty things so I suggested that for entertainment and she chose a Rainbow theme.
As her birthday is only two months after Christmas, and my girls get spoilt rotten every year with so many presents, MG’s party is her birthday present. She has a couple of small token gifts from us but she loves parties so I probably go a teeny bit overboard…
I knew I didn’t have to lay a full on buffet given the time of the party, but I still planned to have snacks and drinks available, as well as the all-important cakes. Being a rainbow party, it had to be rainbow cakes and snacks!
As there were so many cakes, I went for healthier snacks. One platter of vegetables (plus dips on the side) and one platter of fruit. I probably could have just done the fruit, as the vegetable platter was fairly untouched at the end of the party but the fruit and crisps were well decimated. The children would have got through far more crisps if they’d been available! I had a mini-obsess a couple of days before the party about finding blue and purple vegetables but it really didn’t matter and I’m glad the blue dyed celery didn’t work out because the natural colours looked so much nicer than if there’d been fake dyed ones in there.
The most time-consuming preparation for me was the cakes. Forty-eight fairy cakes and one huge birthday cake. I was aiming for 36 cakes but the mix made 48 in the end. I always find it hard to estimate (or to under-cater!) Five year old’s parties generally don’t seem to have parents staying but I wasn’t sure so over-compensated with cakes just in case!
Knowing there would be 24 children meant a birthday cake that fed at least that many, so a huge cake was also in order. I used cake mixes and ready made icing because making six colour layers meant I needed to cut corners elsewhere. Each of the 48 cupcakes were made from 6 separate spoons of colour mix = 288 spoons of mixture just for those. Plus icing and decorating… I spent the best part of six hours making the cakes!
Rainbow cakes are very easy to make, but are time consuming. I do recommend it though, because it has a fantastic end result. I got the idea for the birthday cake decoration from here. This took ages to do! I ran out of smarties just over half way through so had to run to the village shop and get some more. The icing/frosting started to dry out near the end so the smarties were falling out and needed more frosting.
The birthday cake is messy at the edges because I couldn’t cut the cakes flat so had to fill in the gaps when layering with lots of icing. We did not give the children edge pieces! I made it in three layers with two colours in each layer due to the size. It would have been better if I’d had a wider cake tin and then would have done it as two layers.
The village hall we hired doesn’t allow anything to be stuck or pinned to the walls and I find the best kind of decoration is the sort that tidies itself up at the end of the party, so like last year the party bags were the decoration. Attaching helium filled balloons to party bags gives a great look, and the bags act as weights. The only minor downside is when the children want to play with the balloons, but this has only happened at the end of the parties when they were taking the bags anyway
Last summer MG was invited to a party where there was an amazing face painter, Mona from Little Precious Face and Body Painting. We offered MG choices of entertainment for her party and she chose face painting. She especially liked the fact that as the birthday girl she would get a face paint and a glitter tattoo!
Mona really is amazing. She arrived 15 minutes before the party start time to set up, and just got on with decorating all the children who wanted to. She was a huge draw from the start – the early arrivals gathered round her to watch MG having her designs and she gave each child who asked a number for their turn. MG can be shy, but she happily talked with Mona to choose her designs and colours. All the children who had face paints or glitter tattoos looked fantastic and really had works of art painted on them.
Obviously I can’t share pictures of the other children but there were fantastic designs including beautiful flowers and butterflies, an amazing spiderman design for a child dressed as spiderman, and a brother and sister who wanted to be king and queen had crowns painted on their foreheads – she even painted a stubbly beard for the king!
Mona stayed longer than she was supposed to so she could finish off two children who had arrived late and she insisted I had a glitter tattoo too! She was so friendly, kind and so obviously enjoying doing what she does. I just can’t recommend her highly enough. When I asked MG what she liked about her party, she said “everything!” so I rephrased the question to what did she think the best part was, and she said “the face painting”. I’m pretty sure this won’t be the last time we’ll be booking Little Precious!
Crafts & Games
I say ‘games’ but there was only pass the parcel really! I suppose you could count the party bag labelling as a game – I made laminated name tags for each child and put them at the entrance of the hall; the party bags were at the back of the hall. The children had to find their name, and take it to choose a colour bag where it could be attached by velcro. Then any artwork that they made could be added to the bags for them to take home at the end of the party. This also cut the party bag costs right down too! I did add a few token things – a glow stick, balloon, temporary tattoo and party blower – so it wasn’t completely empty and had some weight to keep the helium balloons in place!
Pass-the-parcel was a logistical nightmare. Due to terrible planning on my part (and my “everything has to be a rainbow” planning head) I didn’t have enough tissue paper to wrap round as each layer of the parcel got bigger so we ended up with four parcels of seven layers going round – three at the same time, then the fourth added when things were getting messy trying to give everyone a go and I realised that there were 22 children in the circle anyway… (3 x 7 = 21!) The children were all fantastic though, making sure all their friends had a turn and there were no arguments or tears. In fact, the children were amazing for the entire party, they were a brilliant bunch and should be proud of themselves.
There were four tables of crafts. These were:
Scratch art: I got several sets from Baker Ross as I thought they were great and fit in with the rainbow theme perfectly! There were crowns, masks, bracelets and badges. I thought the crowns would all go so bought a second pack as there were only 8 in a pack but one pack was enough. All the badge parts disappeared, but there were loads of the circles that should have been in them left over so I’m not sure what the children put in their badges!
Beading and Porcelain painting: I put these together on one table because there weren’t many porcelain things to paint and it was probably the most popular table! I’d got 12 mini mugs for designing but I could have got more as they were very popular (having said that, we still had three left that had been coloured and not claimed!) The beading was also popular, I could have set out much more space for this. The porcelain pens and mugs and tiles were also from Baker Ross. The beads were from all over the place, I’d got a big bag of alphabet beads from Baker Ross too but we have a huge collection of beads as it’s something my girls like to do.
Sticking: lots of bits and pieces, lots of glue and card sheets, mainly from the girls art stash.
Colouring and drawing: pages torn from colouring books plus plain paper with a variety of pens, pencils, crayons and paint dabbers. Very popular with the younger guests.
Congratulations for getting to the end of this post! I’ve missed out all sorts of things: the bunting that MG decorated before the party; the packets of Rainbow Drops I repacked into snack bags for the pass-the-parcel treat, all the help I got setting up and clearing away… It really was a fantastic party. Not for any of the preparation and rainbow theme-ing, but because all the children were fantastic and without them there wouldn’t have been a party at all