My kids love to pick out their party themes years in advance– currently they have have selected party details until they are about 10, even if I don’t take them seriously until about 6 months prior to their actual birthday. Rush was turning 4 and knew he wanted a plane birthday- specifically a jumbo jet party. In the middle of a pandemic.
Due to the COVID restrictions in Singapore we could only have groups of 5 people gathering or 5 people over to our house, so we decided to have 2 kids and their parents over to our house. The plan was to keep it simple– cake then swimming with the kids, to get out the sugar. But as things would have it, it was a stormy day and we stayed inside. Four kids in our apartment!
The benefit to hosting the party at home was that we had more time to decorate– although I tried to hold back since it was just 2 kids + mine! These were the invites to set the mood.
I ordered a dozen inflatable planes, and hung them from the ceiling. It was a really great effect. The hardest part was finding modern planes, not vintage ones. These worked out well! I interspersed the planes with floating balloons, which added depth to the look.
We created airport signs for around the party, which I loved. My husband designed them, then sent them off to a printer to mount them on foam board. I think it was about $20 for all the signs (6 total). It added so much fun to the decor– worth it!
We did create a quick game, in case of rain. The kids folded their own planes then threw them through the holes. East and one kid were really into it– the others were not. Thankfully they all sat down to color at some point, since the pool wasn’t an option.
I found these awesome airplane window decals that I had to get, so we set up our chairs to be an “airplane.” The kids sat all in a row– it was a perfect picture!
For Rush’s birthday present, we switched out his train table for a runway and got him 2 lego planes. We created the runway, got it laminated by the same printers as the signs, then my husband added lights. He loved so much really didn’t want to do much else that day!
I kept the food really simple (as we were supposed to be at the pool!) with plane appropriate packaged snacks and bottled water. I struggled for a bit with the waste of bottled waters, but with the speciality labels, I gave in.
My husband made the cake, as always! Rush wanted a chocolate plane cake, and that’s what he got! It turned out really cute.
I think it was a great birthday party and fun was had by all! Rush has said his next party will be dumplings… let’s see! 🙂
After a week off I realised how much I am enjoying these weekends! The weekend with no theme was so boring. I was so glad when it was decided we were back on!
This theme felt dependant on decorating- or was it just me? But my coffers are running low after so much crafting, so we had to order more craft paper, ink for the printer, streamers and some balloons. Hopefully these items will last us beyond just this weekend though!
I roped my husband into helping me decorate on Friday night, using streamers in front of our diffused white curtains. I had lanterns in my supply closet so we made jellyfish. And the bubbles were a mix of clear and white balloons on twine.
These were ready when the kids woke up the morning and they were mesmerised- as well as our new kitty! We also added some green streamers on the wall for seaweed, with some gold bubbles and free handed star fish and sea horse.
The kids went with dad to the fish market in the morning and had a blast– no pictures of that, sadly. When they got home they had a quick snack of seaweed– grapes on a stick.
And then we jumped right into the first craft of sea urchins. I saw this craft on Pinterest, which was supposed to be a flower. I thought it looked some kind of sea creature! We used foam balls I had around the house – which, if I did this again, I’d invest in some better/bigger foam balls. But we tried it anyway, sticking the balls with q-tips cut in half, then dyed them with colored water.
While lunch was prepared, we moved on to Chomping Sharks. I thought these were so cute. It took a bit to find the templates, but I finally found these, which worked well. They print out tiny, but it worked well for our clothes pins. I printed and cut them out, and the kids colored them. I helped them glue the sharks on the wooden pin. (The fish wasn’t glued on yet when I took this picture, but promise it looked even better.)
They did a bit of coloring before watching about 30 minutes of sea animal related videos (this and this), and then had oysters, clams and shrimp for lunch. My daughter was so happy!
We had a quick nap then it was time for snack. The kids got to make a sea scene on a graham cracker with a bit of blue icing, ground up graham crackers for sand, goldfish crackers and a couple of tiny round sprinkles for bubbles.
Then it was time to make an octopus! I love making paper chains, and we did get staplers in order to do this as easily as possible. I cut the strips in advance and the kids each took 4 legs. They couldn’t quite work the staplers, but I thought it would fit better for a toddler’s patience.
Papa was then in charge of the salt water experiment. It took a bit to get it going, but I think the kids enjoyed seeing if grapes floated in regular water, salt water, baking soda or sugar.
Soon it was time to dance like sea animals, where we ended with baby shark (of course!).
We watched Finding Nemo then played a quick fishing game before having fish tacos for dinner. Yum! Then it was bedtime– thank goodness!
The next day started with the cutest breakfast that their dad made them from frozen waffles.
Then the kids made jello from scratch in preparation for their afternoon snack. They dyed it and flavored it blue, naturally.
Craft time! We used celery to make scales on these fish. The colorful fish made it to our sea wall.
After a quick snack of green apple turtles with grape heads…
…it was time for lots of sea foam bubbles in the blow up pool. Always good for at least an hour of fun.
The kids dried off and we watched a bit about hunchback whales while we waited for the sushi to come.
Once we all had a good nap, it was time for the jello! Papa made a shark fin out of an apple covered in chocolate.
After the kids scarfed down their jello, we make turtles out of egg cartons. I thought the kids would want to paint it– but only Rush did. East used markers. I printed out the fins, then we added a pom pom head and I made little eyes.
The last of the activities was the one I was most excited. The kids dressed up (a mermaid and a shark), then we headed into a dark room for a rotating light up under the sea images.
Then we curled up to watch The Little Mermaid before our pizza dinner.
This may have been one of my favorite weekends yet. Maybe it was the anticipation, maybe it was the decoration but it really worked for me. What about you?
My daughter asked for this theme– 100% so she could have cake. I thought it was a great idea! Since I mentioned this idea I’ve heard so many families hosting half and quarter birthdays, which is also awesome.
I decided to revisit the kids’ birthday parties, East’s 5 and Rush’s 3, along with decorating the condo, making and decorating a cake. I went through our party closet and planned the weekend.
We started with Saturday snack, empanadas with dinosaur napkins and party hats from East’s Dinosaurs in the Supermarket party. We chose empanadas because they look like the backs of dinos!
Then it was time to make the cake! I recently stopped eating gluten, so my husband made me a gluten-free yellow cake, chocolate icing, with the help of the kids, of course!
Then I let the kids help me decorate our place. I picked out a few past party decorations, which added to the rainbow balloon structure that was still inflated from East’s party in March (!) and we blew up a few extra balloons for the floor.
We took a little break with a Sesame Street episode on birthdays, had lunch, then made pinatas! We had some really cute ones at East’s Taco ‘Bout It party that my Mother-in-law made, and I happened to have some small pinata frames on hand. The kids decorated them with a mix of paper and markers and had a good time.
After nap we had a snack with kitty sandwiches with kitty napkins, from East’s Black and White Kitty party when she was 2. We thankfully still had the cat shaped cutter!
Then we made the craft from that party, which was a kitty mask. I still had a lot of black cardstock on hand (I assume from this party?!) so we cut out the faces with the silhouette and I free handed the rest. We taped the spoons to the back.
After this they got to decorate the cake! This may have been the best part of the day for them. After icing and sprinkles, I pulled out some candles I had on hand, as well at some decorations I collected in Japan years ago and never used.
Then we moved on to the next craft, which were ribbon wands from East’s most recent party, the Unicorn Rainbow party. I let the kids pick extra ribbon and we tried hot glue to adhere it this time. It worked better– and I have the burned fingers to show for it! The best part of this craft was because it was so recent, all of the supplies were together. It took literally no work to pull it together.
To burn off some of the sugar, we moved on to a dance party! For Rush’s Woodland Animal party we had a dance teacher lead a dance class, but this time we just had youtube. Still, we donned the animal ears and jumped around.
While dinner came together, we read Dragons Love Tacos 1 and 2- relics from the taco party— then had tacos for dinner! They were delicious! Then we lit the candles, sang happy birthday and cut the cake.
The next morning we started early with the fun! We did a couple of hula dances (youtube again!), while wearing our leis, like at East’s Moana party when she was 3.
Afterwards was water play- another highlight of the weekend! At Rush’s first birthday party (Hot Air Balloons) we had a ball pit for the little ones. We re-created it with water balloons in a kids pool on the balcony. We probably could have used more water balloons to complete the effect, but the kids had fun.
After the kids were dried and dressed, we cuddled on the couch to watch another birthday related Sesame Street, ate lunch (with a bit more cake to follow) and took a nap.
When they woke up, the kids got a snack of “safety cones” and “boulders” from Rush’s ‘Can You Dig it Party?’ complete with the plates, napkins and cups.
Once they had their fill, we moved on to two crafts- both from their first birthdays. These turned out to be the biggest hits, as they didn’t really remember them! We started with maracas from East’s Taco ‘Bout It Party – fairly simple with plastic eggs, beans, disposable spoons and duct tape.
And then we did thumbprint art with ink pads and a thin point sharpie, from Rush’s Hot Air Balloon Party. Since then someone gave me a book with a ton of thumbprint doodles so we had fun trying them out.
After all of this we were supposed to have sensory digger play (from the Can You Dig It? Party) but I didn’t have it in me to make a mess. So we pulled out some glow sticks and had another dance party. The kids had never played with glow sticks before (they are supposed to be in bed before it gets dark) so it was a really fun to break them, and dance in a dark room!
Following dancing our hearts out, we watched Alice in Wonderland and ate pizza, our usual movie + dinner Sundays. The weekend was a lot of fun and did get us talking about which parties were our favorites. The kids loved all of them (awwww) but the adults were pretty clear that Moana and the Woodland Animals were a cut above the rest- even if they all had something special and fun. Let’s just hope the kids remember it this way!
Our themed weekends are keeping us busy, both planning wise and enacting, so we are keeping them up. I hope you find them entertaining! We decided on a Singapore theme to enjoy in some local delights, just as Singapore announced stricter lock down measures. It made procuring treats more difficult, but we still had fun with it.
We started with fruit drinks on Saturday, which was one of the first things we did when we arrived in Singapore. I remember heading to the hawker center and ordering big cups of juice for each of us. We made them at home this time, with watermelon and strawberry.
Shortly after we started making the dumplings. My kids love dumplings, so making them is a fun treat. They started with the dough, then helped to roll it out and put the filling in the little pockets.
Singapore is more than 75% Chinese, and we ended up with quite a feast, with all kinds of dumplings, a scallion pancake, veggies, and salad for mommy. The kids ate a ton and were hardly hungry for the rest of the day.
After a good nap, and a failed delivery of Singaporean snacks, we started on our first craft of making Peranakan tiles. Peranakan is the mixing of the Chinese settlers with the local Malays in what is now Singapore, and they created beautiful tiles that can be seen throughout old shop houses. I wanted to create the tile designs out of paper, but really struggled to find anyone who had done this. We ended up cutting out shapes with the silhouette and letting the kids glue them to a piece of cardstock.
After this my husband make some local mochi, called muah chee which is a little softer than Japanese mochi. Meanwhile the kids and I worked on a centrepiece for the table with red tissue paper flowers.
For dinner we did a mix of order in and making at home for the local favorite, Nasi Goreng. It’s a Malay, Indonesian, and Singapore dish that is simply delicious. And we had the muah chee, sesame and peanut for dessert.
For breakfast we had a typical Singaporean breakfast of kaya toast and egg. Usually the egg is soft boiled, but we opted for hard boiled.
Then we opened up our tiny balcony for some water play. One of our favorite things about Singapore is the plethora of fun water areas for kids around the city. Most of them are free and they offer a great way for the kids to cool off in this hot city. So the kids played in our water table, while enjoying Singapore views.
After drying off, we shared some boba tea and peanut butter pancakes (min jiang kueh). One of the things that closed just that Friday was boba tea shops, so we did make our own boba. But in the end we were able to find a shop that was able to deliver, so we had some commercial and some homemade boba.
After water play, we did another craft. We made chili crabs and merlions, both national symbols of Singapore! Both print outs are from here. I added a few more flourishes to make it fun.
Just before lunch we watched a short video on Singapore wildlife, which may have been one of the best parts of the weekend. I liked learning about the otters and birds and lizards. For lunch we had delicious Indian food. Singapore is about 7% Indian and the food here is delicious. We are so spoiled.
And per our usual Sunday afternoon activity, we watch a movie. This week it was Jungle Book. It was a good weekend, filled with yummy food. I think we would have made any Singaporean proud!
Some people think half of the fun of traveling is in this planning- and I’ve tested this theory the last couple of weekends in quarantine.
The first weekend was a bit of a fluke as it was Easter. We dressed up for high tea, did a couple of bunny crafts, dyed eggs, hunted for eggs, had a nice Easter lunch then beautiful dessert and charcuterie boards for dinner. It was a lot of fun and we barely felt limited by staying indoors.
We thought we’d try it again the following weekend with an indoor camping theme. I put together a schedule, we planned the menu, researched crafts and decided on a movie.
Saturday morning, after the kids (ages 3 and 5) came back in from outdoor time, we started with snack time. We pulled out the nuts, dried fruits, coconut chips and chocolate and we made trail mix- and ate it. Then it was time for placemats- which took me right back to my Girl Scout days. I cut up the paper ahead of time and kept it fairly simple for the little ones, while challenging myself with a more complex design. (I generally followed this tutorial)
We took a break to watch a camping themed episode of Sesame Street, a lunch of sandwiches and chips and naptime, then we were back at it with filling and baking apples and making rain sticks by pouring rice into a toilet paper tube (find out the secret here) before the spider hunt.
I printed out a bunch of spider clip art on pinterest and added a bit of gold glue to help them shimmer in the flashlight. I hid them around the house, gave the kids flashlights, and they went on a spider hunt. I taught them to hold the flashlight by their eyes and look for the sparkle, and they ran around the house, collecting spiders. It was the most fun.
Then it was time to “make the campfire” with Daddy. They made rocks out of paper and painted a fire-like structure (a wire pyramid with paper over it). While the paint dried, we sang campfire songs (with Barney, I’m embarrassed to say!). The kids were so excited to for the sun to set.
We took a “hike” around our condo grounds, collecting nature items (sticks, leaves, flowers) that we later used for our centerpiece. After a proper camping dinner of hot dogs and corn on the cob, we had s’mores. We warmed a bowl of chocolate squares with marshmallows and served it alongside homemade graham crackers (recipe here), because hoarding has officially moved to cookies. S’mores are a family favorite and the kids were in heaven.
After bath, we collected around the “campfire,” sitting on our mats to tell stories. The plan was for them to sleep in the tent together, but that didn’t quite happen for a variety reasons. They did “sleep” in it for naptime the next day (just so I’m clear, no napping happened).
I’m not gonna lie, we were tired that night! The next day we had a special breakfast of French toast, then the kids took a visit to the “swimming hole” – a unicorn kid pool on our tiny balcony. The kids spent more than an hour in that tiny bath!
After swimming, we made bird houses—coloring the roof, and hot gluing the popsicles sticks on the ends.
After a lunch of BBQ chicken (the kids ate the drumsticks) it was naptime (for mommy!) and in the afternoon, we watched Charlotte’s Web before eating pizza.
We had fun, and the kids haven’t stopped talking about this week. When asked what they are grateful for, they mentioned the s’mores and the spiders, and they haven’t stopped singing the songs from Charlotte’s Web. This weekend we are going to try a Singapore theme.
So why not try it? Maybe it’s not a whole weekend but maybe it’s a French dinner and watching The Artist, or negronis and an Italian countryside puzzle— it just has to be planned a bit in advance, so there’s something to exciting on the horizon. How else will we get through this pandemic?