To me, turning four is a big deal. It’s the first real step toward being a big kid, dropping the “baby” or “toddler” moniker.
I had it in my head for months that we’d do a Lego themed birthday. I had Pinterest boards filled with fabulous ideas, and of course, Kid LOVES them. But there’s one thing he loves more: Octonauts.
It was important to me to allow him to have a say without me (really) steering the answers (it was the first time, really). He got to pick out the treats, the food and the games. The most important thing to him—aside from Octonauts—was having his friends there.
Well, that just opened up a whole new level of complexity!
We’ve never actually had a “kid” party… I had just gotten comfortable with a house full of adult family and friends! Plus, we didn’t really know the other kids’ parents well (read: AT ALL). Because of this, we decided to go all in on the under 4 crowd party idea. It would be our way to get to know the kids Kid hangs out with, as well as their parents. BRILLIANT.
It turned out better than I could have imagined. Sure, not even half of the kids we invited showed up, but I don’t know how we would have fit any more people! Plus, we were able to be really present at the party, which was fantastic.
Now, on to the details!
OVERALL THEME: OCTONAUTS
Don’t know who the Octonauts are? Then you either A). don’t have kids, or B). live under a rock. They are taking Disney Junior by storm, created based on a very successful line of books. They’re super cute, and well drawn.
Some may say I went overboard. But if you knew how much I DIDN’T spend…
To keep costs down, I printed out several illustrations—both from the book set, as well as the TV show—and put them in frames around the house. It really helped tie the spaces together for almost nothing. (total cost: I used extra frames around my house, so NOTHING)
|fun frames and cute pictures add a touch of whimsy.|
|no space was off limits!|
I bought plastic tablecloths from the dollar store, cut them into strips, and tied them to a ribbon. These made fantastic backdrops in two different rooms. (total cost: $4)
|what a ham! bet you don't even notice the fireplace behind him!|
|having the backdrop really makes all the difference.|
I had grandiose ideas of hanging “bubbles” and sea creatures from the ceiling (similar to the quote cards I did at Kid’s 2ndbirthday), but decided instead to put up seaweed everywhere. Just two rolls of paper streamers and some tape gave me the WOW I wanted. Plus, I didn’t have to stand on a ladder pushing pins into the ceiling for hours. WIN! (total cost: $3)
|just tape, twist, then tape again!|
I designed the banner myself in Photoshop, and cut out each circle by hand. Not my favorite part, by the way… I ran a string through each one with a needle and done! (total cost: uhhh… several hours of my time?)
|wait for it...|
|see what I mean about the backdrop?! WOW.|
|the kid table was adjustable, so we set it to the lowest setting. perfect height!|
The food table has to be my favorite. Again, I used a dollar store tablecloth, threw a party net over it (look in the luau section of your local party store) and just set it up with delicious food, a themed toy or two and another framed character photo. (total cost: $6)
|look at all that food!|
I threw together a welcome sign, so the front door screamed "PARTY" when guests arrived. Oh yeah, and I added more seaweed (total cost: NOTHING)
|welcome to the party!|
My big splurge (and something I totally could have done without) was $2 chocolate wrappers. It was cheap, but SOOO time consuming to put on every single chocolate. Plus, I'm left with most of them in my house, almost a week later. I guess I'll eat them...
|sticker sheets are much better than the lick and stick kind. I got lucky!|
Of course, no party is complete without balloons. I blew up a few dozen to hang around our party game, but otherwise, I left it to Party City. (total cost: around $20)
|don't fly away!|
I made kid a birthday shirt (okay, well TWO) with his favorite characters on it. It was super simple to do, thanks to the wonder of craft paper and heat bond (see my tutorial here). (total cost: $10 each)
|Kwazii (left), Peso (right).|
We kept it pretty simple this year. A pre-made Octonauts Pinata (found online for $15) and a “Pin the Eyepatch on Kwazii” printable (found on Etsy for $5). Kid is STILL playing the Pin game… SUPER WIN!
|for the younger crowd, go with the pull-string pinata.|
|stuff it with little toys and treasures.|
|pin the tail on Kwazii.|
|close your eyes and PIN!|
|just a few trinkets to take home...|
|the entry table.|
Can I be honest with you for a second? I knew I was going to have some sandwiches cut out with sea creature-shaped cookie cutters, but beyond that, I didn’t figure out the food until two days before the party! With us celebrating at 10:30am, we kept it really light.
|lots of color!|
Kid LOVES cantaloupe and other fruits, so that was a given. We also had his favorite snacks—fritos and goldfish. Add in a vegetable tray and some water, and we were set.
We set the table with basic plates, cups and silverware, and only splurged on themed dessert napkins. (total cost: $15)
|we're ready to go!|
Oh, did I forget something?
Husband and I have a friend that makes cakes as a side business. We were lucky enough to have her make DELICIOUS cupcakes and a beautiful cake. Oh. So. Good.
|such a happy boy.|
|make a wish...|
|Miss Tonya, the cake guru.|
(total food cost: $50)
Until next time...