Friday, December 2, 2016

An Eric Carle (Brown Bear, Brown Bear) Birthday Party!

I still can't believe that Lucky is 3 years old.  I went all out for Lucky's first birthday party (under the sea) and his second birthday party (Halloween themed) but this time I wanted to do something easier.  We got permits for a local playground and ordered a bunch of Eric Carle's Brown Bear, Brown Bear party supplies.  

The birthday banner was two sided and it was assembled incorrectly. Thankfully there was an easy fix.  I carefully ripped open the P/H and flipped it around.  Phew!  

I did end up making a few things for Lucky's birthday.  For the first time ever, I made Lucky's birthday shirt and a coordinating red bird shirt for Rowdy.  Since I expected us to be outside, I created matching dinosaur hooded sweatshirts.  This wasn't on the Eric Carle theme but I am planning a dinosaur birthday party for Rowdy so these could have been dual purpose.  

I am most proud of the DIY Brown Bear, Brown Bear party hats I made out of card stock, Eric Carle fabric and some rainbow wire garland.

We even finally got our first family picture of all 5 Browns!  Poor Indy gets left out of most professional photographs since he doesn't like strangers very much. (Indy was not invited to the party.  He hung out in his room on the 3rd floor while the guests were here.)

Finally, I was able to bring out a knit from the past for this party.  While I was pregnant with Lucky I knit a Hungry Caterpillar hat and cocoon.  The hat is getting a little small for Rowdy but it was fun for him to wear it for a little bit again.  

Unfortunately for us, it was POURING on the day of Lucky's party so we had to move everything inside.  I set up our party table and hung our decorations.  

All of the decor was purchased ahead of time, but we had a few "themed" snacks: Goldfish and Brown Bears (teddy grams).  

Lucky was very excited for his playground party, but he wasn't too disappointed when it was raining.  He was just excited to have a birthday party and for all of his friends to come over.  

I, on the other hand, was SUPER disappointed.  Now I'd have to clean my house and come up with activities to keep over a dozen children ages 0-13 occupied!  We had invited Lucky's entire preschool class (siblings included), some cousins and neighbors since we thought that space wouldn't be an issue.  We have a great playroom but it can't really hold dozens of kids, so we wanted to try to find some activities that would draw kids into other areas of the house.  

Adults really liked trying to make the basket from far away.  

As soon as we realized that we might get rained out, we did some shopping exploration trips to find options.  When we changed location, we ran to the local KidsRUs and picked up with Basketball "ball pit" (it only came with a dozen or so balls) and set it up in our kitchen with an Ikea pop up tent.  

Both of these activity centers were a hit! There were regularly 3-4 kids around the ball pit.  This particular inflatable set wasn't the sturdiest, our dog punctured it a week after we purchased it, but Lucky and Rowdy enjoyed it so much at the party that we left it up until we needed to repair it.

Next, we stopped by Lakeshore Learning for some bulletin board paper. I taped the paper to the floor and set out some washable crayons to have a coloring station.  

We also set out an amazon box so that kids could color the insides and the outsides of the box.  

The coloring center was a hit with all ages, but especially the older kids.  The 7+ year olds were great at playing with the toddlers and drawing pictures for them.  

We only left this up for 2 days after the party, but Lucky really enjoyed all of the pictures and messages people made for him.  

We also stopped by the dollar store to pick up some cheap dress up items (thankfully the store was full of them with Halloween around the corner).  We already had the Ikea castle tent which was perfect for our imagination area.  The cowboy hat and fairy wings were the biggest hits.

With the play tunnel in the entry way, we were ready for whatever chaos came our way!

There are so many Eric Carle party favors out there.  We filled the gift bags (which were cheaper to buy that DIY) with themed sticker scenes, bubbles, slap bracelets and mini puzzles.  All of these items are some of Lucky's favorite toys to play with so it was fun to give them to his friends.  We ended up with a lot left over, but these can come in handy if we throw another Eric Carle party or for Teal Pumpkin Halloween Favors.  

Lucky filled the favor bags "all by myself" with mommy's help.  He was so proud to create these presents for his friends.  

I expected to have a fun, outdoor playground party.  I planned to show up an hour in advance to set up and was ready with my camera to photograph the kids running and playing.  The weather had other ideas and I think we still ended up with a really fantastic party!  Some families came with one parent and child instead of two, but we had a full house with the best kind of chaos imaginable, happy children!  

I'm saving all of the Eric Carle goodies.  Who knows, maybe Rowdy's 3rd birthday party will be Brown Bear themed, too!  

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