In February, Lucy turned 5. Until now, we’ve only had small birthday parties with the family. So this year we invited her friends over and had a little celebration.
Lucy loves the show Olivia, based on the kids’ book series. And since her birthday falls around Valentine’s day, stores were filled with red party decor. Perfect! The Olivia theme just fell into place.
There are so many fun things you can do with this theme since Olivia is such an imaginative girl. One minute she’s dressed in a red gown, then she’s painting a masterpiece, or she’s off on a pirate adventure–which makes the party work for girls and boys.
Now aside from how over-the-top you could make an Olivia party, I have to confess (and I hope I don’t disappoint)….I kept the party very simple, for two reasons:
1 – I was in the middle of Celebrate the BOY and was, well, a bit tired.
2 – I really wanted it to be about the kids, rather than the adults coming with the kids. And since the party guests ranged from 3-5 years old, I figured that all they really wanted was to do was eat treats and jump on the trampoline. The party could have been a “play date” and they would have been thrilled.
So jumping and eating is (mostly) what we did!
I used Lucy’s Olivia doll as reference to draw a face on manila-colored file folders. I cut them out, colored them in, and glued them onto red paper (with gingham paper on the back). Totally simple and hand-written.
It was hard to decide who to invite since her circle of friends ranges from school kids, to church kids, to dance class, etc. What happened to the days when Lucy only knew 2 people? I decided to keep it small and sent Olivia invites to the kids in her church class.
Simple again–with a 5 year old, that’s easy to do. I could have hung up two balloons and she would have exclaimed “oh!!! A party!!!”
So, we placed balloons in all the open spaces, using gravity to pull them down rather than Up! Then we twisted red and white streamers throughout the front room and the kitchen.
Games and Activities:
Olivia is a girly pig with interests in every direction. So the party games can be whatever theme works for you.
When the kids arrived they all decorated a red crown or pirate hat. We let the glitter-glue and jewels dry throughout the party and the kids took them home after the party.
It was nice having other moms around to help cut out crowns and assist the kids. Thanks Moms!
Then we played 3 games.
We turned on the Olivia theme song and the kids walked around and around with excitement. Of course they were a bit young to grasp “getting out”. And Owen–the first one to get out–ran to me in tears. Sorry kids. It’s all fun and games till you learn that life is filled with winning and losing? Maybe it’s a better game for 7 year olds. They still had fun.
Don’t Eat Francine!
We normally call this game “Don’t Eat PETE!” but Francine is Olivia’s friend on the show, so we renamed the game for the party.
It’s simple and fun. You start with a small handful of candy. One person leaves the room and you all point to a piece of candy that will be “Francine”. The person comes back in the room and tries to guess which candy is Francine. They point one by one to a candy asking, “is this Francine?” They get to keep whatever candies are not Francine until they pick the right candy and everyone shouts “Don’t Eat FRANCINE!!!!“…and they all start laughing.
Using a piece of paper marked with a grid (rather than a pile of candy on the floor) helps the game move along faster and makes it more fair for each child.
Fishy Fishy in the Brook
I have many memories of playing this game at my own birthday parties. If the kids are young enough they may not know that mom or dad are behind the curtain, playing “fish”. So it’s still a bit magical. And it’s a great way to pass out party favors to the kids.
For a fishing pole, we tied a rope and clothespin to the end of a dowel (pics and more info in the Pirate Tutorial here). Then we hung a sheet across the doorway and each kid had a turn to walk up and go fishing. We’d say “Fishy Fishy in the brook, do you have something for (kid’s name) Jeremy’s hook?” Sometimes the fish placed funny objects on the hook– a stinky sock, a baby pacifier, a gardening glove–and the kids thought it was funny. But eventually they felt a heavy tug and pulled up their party favor basket.
For the girls we had red heart baskets with dressups and treats (thank you Target dollar section).
I made each of them a red Simple Skirt! It was easy to sew up 10 skirts in an evening.
The boys got Pirate booty bags,
with pirate vests! (to go with the pirate hats they decorated earlier). I used the Frontier Vest tutorial, combined with the Pirate Life update.
The moment the kids were waiting for…..cupcakes! Red velvet cake with white frosting and little flags on top.
Lucy and I made these the night before using circle labels and toothpicks. I’m obsessed with making flags now.
And lastly, everyone jumped on the trampoline till mom and dad came to pick them up.
And that was that!
The party was a simple success.
Till next year!