Some time last year, my husband was outside washing the van, and my girls went out to watch him, play, and get all wet. They were entertained for hours, and it was all so simple. It reminded me that it really doesn’t take a lot to make kids happy. And, putting them outside is one of the things that makes them the happiest. So why not plan an outside party and let them get dirty? And that’s how my Gardening Party came to be. (Find the party plan here and host a children’s gardening party for your kids!)
Here’s how to pull off this party.
A little advanced planning makes it all easy.
My best party trick? Doing a little at a time so I’m not panicked at the end. Bonus trick: group like to-dos together. Do all your Etsy shopping at one sitting. Run your local errands in two batches: (1) everything you can buy early and then (2) all the last-minute items you need.
- I purchased and fluffed my tissue flowers (Especially for You by Y.W.) well in advance. The morning of the party, I set up my PVC pipe and drape system and attached the flowers with zip ties.
- I ordered my ruffled tablecloth a few weeks before the party and ironed it the night before. (Get yours from Shauna Krantz of Ruffled Pretties and Ella & Annie magazine. To purchase a tablecloth, contact Shauna at https://www.facebook.com/ruffledpretties.)
- A local shopping morning with the girls, and we had sodas, plates, gardening tools, and yellow buckets.
- Crafting periods included embellishing my bamboo utensils and terra cotta pots, pre-painting sunflower centers on our aprons, and making hats bloom. Easy can be plenty impressive: hot glue flowers around an upside-down terra cotta pot, and you have a cake stand.
- The day before the party, the girls and I picked up seasonal flowers and dirt, cupcakes, and made our cakepops.
Focus on kid-friendly.
In the end, the only thing that matters about your party is that the kids have a blast.
- Our lunch was Uncrustables, cuties, and baby carrots with dip. Food kids like and nothing fancy. (After all, they really just want to start playing.) You could make PBJ sandwiches yourself and cut them out with a flower-shaped cookie cutter. Or, spend your time elsewhere. (I did!)
- Each activity allowed them to get messy (they thought). We painted aprons with our hands (to keep the dirt off their clothes). We planted individual containers of flowers for the girls to take home and two front-porch containers. You would have thought the girls had never seen dirt before (even though their gloves kept them from getting filthy).
- Our party favors were super-simple: Jelly bean “seeds” in a corrogated “planter” cup from Bloom Designs Online.
Each choice makes the next choice clear.
When you feel overwhelmed by party options, start making choices. Each choice you make narrows down your next set of choices. It’s having too many good options that makes things hard. Gardening led me to sunflowers which led to yellows and greens which led to our printables by Sunnyside Print and Party Shop. See?
- When we chose a gardening theme, that meant dirt, which to me, meant an outside party.
- An outside party meant food that could hold up in the sun. A fondant cake instead of buttercream. Opening the dessert table earlier than I normally do during parties. (Or, you could have desserts inside and not worry about the sun.)
- The sun meant having extra water at our “hydration station,” misting bottles, and sunflower-embellished caps to keep us all cool.
- Paint and dirt led to having a hand washing station so kids didn’t have to track the dirt inside to clean up.
- And of course, the gardening theme meant flower-inspired desserts and gardening trowels to hold our food labels. I adored our cake by Sugar Sugar Cakes, cookies by Creating Awesomenessity, and sunflower lollipops by Sparkling Sweets Shop.
- Gardening-themed desserts? That meant terra cotta planters as servers, chocolate graham cracker “dirt” lining the planters, and trowels holding our food labels. I made “grass” from green licorice and planted the lollipops in it.
Want even more tips to make planning this party easy?
Want to play in the dirt at your next birthday party? I’ll teach you how! Click here to view the done-for-you party plan.
- Party styling: The Party Teacher
- Party plan: The Party Teacher Shop
- Photography: Viridian Images
- Printables: Sunnyside Print and Party Shop
- Ruffled tablecloth: Ruffled Pretties
- Tissue flowers: Especially for You by Y.W.
- Cake: Sugar Sugar Cakes
- Cookies: Creating Awesomenessity
- Sunflower lollipops: Sparkling Sweets Shop
- Cakepops: The Party Teacher
- Cupcakes: Target
- Yellow check napkins: Peppermint Pinwheels
- Berry baskets: Cute Kids Food Box
- Corrogated cups, rock candy sticks, yellow candy cups: Bloom Designs Online
- White footed frames: Celebration Lane