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I first heard about Junie B. Jones books by Barbara Parks from my friend Elizabeth, who asked what I thought of them. Was Junie B. a bad influence? Meg and Grace had been given some Junie B. books, so I started reading them out-loud to the girls while they were in the tub. Pretty soon, nothing was getting washed and we were all laughing hysterically.How to plan a Junie B. Jones birthday party or back to school party by The Party Teacher

Meg and Grace were instantly clear on what behavior was not ideal. But they loved hearing about all Junie B.’s, shall we say, impulse control issues. And so I’ve been clear that we had to have a Junie B. bash. Since so many of Junie B.’s adventures are set at school, I decided to create a school day in Room One for our guests. Black boards and primary colors and polka dots, oh my!

I immediately thought of Catherine from Serendipity Soiree for creating a Junie B.-inspired illustration and printables collection. I adore how she incorporated black boards and the checkerboard book border! (Visit Catherine’s shop to find the printables.)

I turned my dining room mirror into a black board using fadeless bulletin board paper and polka dot borders. (Shop your local school supply store; I could have bought the place out! Who knew you could find giant pencils?) The idea of the Junie B illustration was for it to look like it had been drawn on the black board. I added two of Junie B.’s favorite friends, Phillip Johnny Bob and Raggedy Ruth, to the dessert table.

Throughout the party, I added stacks and stacks of Junie B. books.A UGA logo on a red tin lunchbox was hidden with a book, and I hung more books from the chandelier. (Red, yellow and blue gumballs from Polka Dot Market.)On the dessert table, I used school locker-style drawers to display cake pops from Cake Pop Fusion. The pops are made to look like little ABC, 123 books — and they were so good! (The little straw flags with Junie B.’s favorite exclamations are from Serendipity Soiree.)

The monogram cookies are from CookieXchange, because Junie loves her B.

Peep cupcakes were inspired by Junie B. Jones Has a Peep in Her Pocket with fondant “peeps” by Scrumdiddlyumptious Bakery.

Our birthday cake was Junie B’s favorite chocolate cake with white icing and strawberry ice cream. I love dressing up a simple cake with an amazing fondant topper from Brittany at Edible Details. Her little first grader is holding an elephant like Phillip Johnny Bob, Junie B.’s stuffed friend.

On the dining room table, I dressed each place setting with a cafeteria style tray, plus lunch in a yellow paper sack, closed with the yellow paper clip. Utensils and napkins were stored in pencil cases. At each place was a nameplate with the guest’s first name and middle initial.

Each place also had a “first grade journal,” which was a great filler activity during the party.

I also like to have any craft activities set up before the party, so each place had everything we needed for our hat decorating craft.

I used covers from my shop to decorate each chair.

Wrapping paper made for an inexpensive table runner, used on the dining room table and dessert table. An American Girl doll school desk held a simple floral arrangement of yellow mums.

I kept lunch simple with PB&J, juice boxes, carrot sticks and applesauce.

I asked our guests to come dressed in mixed up clothes like Junie B. The girls turned out in vests, big hair bows, Peter Pan collars and knee highs — perfect for Picture Day. (I got to dress up as Mrs. Having a role as a the hostess can help you pull off a theme party. I welcomed the girls to their school day and told them they needed to raise their hands when they had questions, which they found hysterical.)

Our crafts and activities followed a typical school day.

  • Art: Decorate your own party hat (see the cupcake topper tutorial here)
  • Health: Guests read an eye chart and received hand-painted purple glasses, just like Junie B. in Junie B. Jones, First Grader (At Last!)
  • Reading: Quiz of Junie B. trivia
  • Specials: Picture day like in Junie B. Jones Has a Monster Under Her Bed. We were sure to take pictures when the girls “weren’t ready” – just like Junie B.
  • Recess: jump rope, homemade sidewalk chalk paint, hopscotch, four square, punch balls
  • Math: guess the number of gumballs

At the end of the party, we handed out report cards that I designed in library card pockets.

The girls went home with party favors: a Junie B. Jones book with a bookplate designed by Serendipity Soiree, packaged in brown paper lunch sacks, topped with a thank you tag and red-painted clothespin.

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