Continuing with our look at the kind of fun you can create with summer birthdays, we’ll examine the differences in a winter Dora-themed birthday party versus one held in the summer.
For my daughter, Dora was the obsession last year, thus a Dora birthday party was a must. For this party I made a Dora cake, we had Dora party favors and various Dora decorations. This was her third birthday so the kids basically ran amok, but I found myself wishing for a summer birthday as I imagined a scavenger hunt complete with ‘maps’ and ‘backpacks.’ Had we been afforded an outdoor adventure here is how I would’ve proceeded:
Borrowing from the carnival party, we would have fashioned backpacks out of paper bags allowing the kids to decorate them prior to heading off on their grand adventure.
Making the backpacks:
Take a grocery sized brown bag (they are sturdier than lunch sacks) and make the straps using duct tape – preferably colored. Place two pieces – sticky sides facing each other – together, attach to the bag.
Allow the kids to decorate their backpacks using markers, stickers, and/or cut-outs. Picking up some wiggly eyes from your local craft store for the kids to glue on would be a fun addition.
Items to put in Backpack:
The map – to guide them on their quest for treasure and a compass. You can find toy compasses at Oriental Trading (you could also purchase the missing ‘treasures’ through them or utilize your local Dollar Tree).
Use both pictures and words – so the younger, non-readers can also ‘read’ the maps.
Based on the ages of the children attending the party, make the course as simple or as difficult as necessary.
Following the essence of a Dora-type discovery have two to three stops along the way. You could have prizes to be found at each landmark.
At my house, I would have sent the kids through the swing set – having an adult there with a riddle that had to be answered before the kids could cross (similar to the troll often found awaiting travelers in Dora stories). Next they’d have to go through the swinging gates, but be sure to watch out for Swiper! (Have one of the adults sport a tail and some ears and have them try to sneak up on the kids and ‘swipe’ their goodies). Again, have goodies for them to find at this stop. Finish up at the ‘Frosty Wonderland’ in the front yard. Have popsicles and sno-cones ready for the successful explorers.
A fairly simple party to put together and there are so many other things you could do with this theme.
One thing I like to do for my daughter’s birthday is to make her cake myself. I get a cake pan (typically from Michael’s in Billings, though sometimes online) as it relates to the party, and – under the guidance of my sister – decorate it the day before the party. Even if you are significantly challenged in kitchen skills as I am, I would say; “If I can do this, anyone can do this.” On the back of the sheet that comes with the pan are step-by-step instructions on what decorating tips to use and how to frost the cake. One helpful hint my sister shared with me is: Cornstarch. Dip your finger in some cornstarch and use that for small portions of the icing that need to be flattened. It makes smoothing out those little pieces simple and the cornstarch gets absorbed into the icing (so don’t panic when your black icing has white all over it). If that kind of cake is not for you, my sister-in-law made a Dora cake as if looking at Map and made a bridge out of tootsie rolls. It’s amazing how far a little imagination can take you!
Taking the party indoors
Looking back, there are ways we could have better incorporated all of Dora’s good times into our indoor, winter party, but I was so focused on what we couldn‘t do that I lost sight of what we could.
Backpacks could have still been made. Perhaps we could’ve played ‘pin-the-tail-on-Swiper’ or musical chairs set to some Dora tunes – just to name a few classic party games.
While I still maintain there are more options available to summer babies, that’s no excuse for shelving creativity for those just-as-special winter babies.
What are your favorite party memories? If you have winter babies, how do you spice up their parties? Feel free to share your thoughts and ideas in the comments section below.