June 3, 2015
Growing up, we had epic birthday parties. Not epic in the Pinterest sense – there weren’t dessert tables or crazy goodie bags – but rather that kids would talk about them for weeks afterwards because my mom made them so much fun. There was always a theme that everyone committed to fully: If we were going to be dogs, you better come with ready to bark and wag your tail; if we were fortune tellers, my mom would practice her accent for weeks ahead of time and it wouldn’t falter all the way through pick-up. I learned from the best.
So I’ve been dying for Alice to get old enough we could throw a themed party. I had a million ideas: slumber party on the moon! favorite occupations! disco!, and she had one: Frozen. And, because, the party really is about the birthday gal and not the idea in my head, which would blow your mind, I put my (non-existent) DIY skills to work and came up with a Frozen party.
Time, as always, was at a premium so my goal was to give us the biggest bang for our buck (ie. give the kids something they would tell their parents was the coolest thing ever, but, in reality, took no time at all). I decided to forgo a ton of decorations and just put up these Arrenndale-esque garland flowers, bought this Frozen paper plate pack, and decided to spend my currency on fun.
I wanted all the kids to feel comfortable right off the bat, so my sister had the great idea to kick things off with decorating crowns. My instinct was to create personalized crowns for each kid, depicting their three favorite things, which they would cherish for all time and, most likely, hand down to future generations. My instincts, as always, were terrible.
Instead my sister pointed me in the direction of these lovely foam crowns, which are pre-cut and ready to go. I raided the Michael’s aisle for anything sparkly, pulled out some markers and we were set. (If you want to make it even easier, here’s a full crown kit so you don’t even have to go to the store.)
They were a huge hit (most kids made several) and it was an excellent ice breaker, plus is there anything cuter than a bunch of four-year olds in crowns? Um, their parents didn’t think so – score one for Party Planner Extraordinaire.
The kids worked up quite an appetite making the crowns so we decided to take a lunch break, even though it was only 10:50. We were crazy.
Again, my original lunch plan was totally overblown and at various points involved every Frozen idea you’ve ever seen on the Internet. You know what the kids liked? The jello. If I could have filled a swimming pool with it, they would have never left. Lesson: Forget the fancy foods. Kids like jello.
After lunch, an impromptu sing-along/dance party broke out, which was pretty much all my parenting dreams coming true.
Once I got lunch cleaned up, we went off to do Craft #2, Cotton Ball Snow Shooters. Is your head spinning yet? Mine actually started to at this point, because this is when my sister had to leave and I was left alone with eight kids.
In hindsight, this probably wasn’t the best craft to do on my own. The night before I had cut out all the Olaf pieces and glued the balloons on the cups (you can find the full directions here) so I was thinking there’d be no problems with having the kids glue on their own faces. I didn’t take into account that it’s actually kind of tricky figuring out how faces go on. I also didn’t have enough glue sticks so I ended up doing most of the gluing and was sweating bullets by the end.
It was totally worth it, though, right? Plus, the kids had a great time “shooting” their cotton balls.
Our final activity was originally going to be a Foaming Snowman, but about midnight the night before I changed it to a foaming Marshmallow (the bad guy in Frozen) because I didn’t have the stamina to get any snowmen accessories ready (you can check out the original adorable tutorial here). It didn’t matter at all.
The kids loved playing with the “snow” to create their Marshmallows; even better, was using their magic powers to melt him.
Up until this point, I know you’ve been thinking, “Bravo, Kara. Way to keep it simple and easy!” And then you see the cake and all the good will I’ve built up, your hard-earned trust falls away, as your betrayal sniffs, “And how long did that take to make?”
You guys, I have no idea. A magic fairy named Jill brought it over and I cried and my daughter cheered and we all marveled at its magnificence. It was a good party up to this point, but the cake really brought it home.
Unfortunately, I have no words of wisdom for how to create this part of the party. I probably would have done a sheet cake with the characters on it and patted myself on the back. There’s also a chance I would have passed around a bag of marshmallows and called them mini-Olafs (let’s keep in mind these are Jello connoisseurs we’re dealing with so I bet I could have gotten away with it).
I don’t normally do party favors, but the Target bin was so full of Frozen goodies we had to splurge. I tried to get things the kids would actually use (and the parents wouldn’t curse me for bringing more junk into the house) – we ended up with bath colors, an Olaf cup, a poster to color, and a sticker book, which seemed to end the whole morning on a high note.
Personally, I think it was a smashing success – I didn’t lose my mind beforehand, the kids all talked about it the next week at school, and the birthday girl couldn’t stop smiling. See, Mom, I took excellent notes.
Easy Frozen Party Directions:
-We put out a Frozen sheet to eat on, picnic-style, which worked great because I could just pick it up and move it all out of the way once lunch was over.
-I know I said it earlier, but I think having an independent craft when the kids came in really helped the party start smoothly. Everyone had something to do right away, it made saying good-bye to mom and dad easier, and it didn’t feel like we were waiting around for people to arrive before we could get started.
-I was worried about not having enough to do (it was a two hour party), but the kids spent a long time on each craft. They were also just excited to play together in a different space so next time I’d probably leave a bit of time for that.
-I also planned on playing “Freeze Tag”, but we ran out of time!
-I put a stool by the kitchen sink so the kids could wash their own hands without needing an adult’s help. When I was on my own, this saved me!
Let me know in the comments if you have any other tips!