As I have mentioned before, I LOVE throwing birthday parties for my kiddos. Reading others blogs and surfing the internet is always helpful to me when I am planning and putting together a party. If you would like to refer to my process of planning a party on a budget, click here. I also did a post called 4 Steps to a Royal Princess Party.
But this post is about Dora and Diego. That’s right, amigos; many parents (whether they like it or not) know the theme songs to these Nick Jr. television shows, and many kiddos love to explore with Dora and/or Diego.
For my son’s second birthday, we invited kids of different ages and gender, so I decided to go with Dora & Diego combined with activities appropriate for 2-5-year-old kids.
For this party, the activity I put together added to the decor, so the only stand alone decoration I had was in the kitchen around the food table. I decided to turn our kitchen into a jungle!
The trunks of the trees I made out of cardboard, and the leaves I cut out from a printed image I found on Google images. The vines are just cords I found really cheap at Hobby Lobby, and the Happy Birthday sign is Diego themed. This was an inexpensive way to decorate, and my kids both loved it. All of the kids thought it was great!
I decided to make the gift bags out of dollar store purple gift bags. I painted on the face and stuffed it with take-home toys I made for the activity. The bags were fine, but if I had it to do over, I would make them out of more sturdy bags, maybe even cloth bags. Because the kids had to carry them through the activity and the stuff inside was too heavy for the bags, they ripped easily.
The bags, made to look like Dora’s backpack were stuffed with things the kids needed for the activity near the end of the party. First, there are the rain sticks.
The body of the rain sticks is cheap pvc pipe from Home Depot. Home Depot will actually cut the pvc pipe down to whatever size you need. I bought one long pvc pipe for cheap, then had them cut it into foot long sections. They also helped me find the caps which I painted black and used for the ends of the rain sticks. To make the rain sticks, I rolled them onto some zebra print contact paper. Then, I made a spiral of tin foil about a foot long. I painted the caps, and put one end on each pipe, put the tin foil spiral inside, and put a few handfuls of dry beans inside. I capped them off, and ta-da! Homemade rain sticks!
Next we have the telescopes. These I made out of paper towel rolls. I just rolled them in the same contact paper I used for the rain sticks and decorated them with Dora and Diego stickers.
Finally, we have the maps that I made to look like Map from Dora the Explorer. I used material I already had in my stash; it’s a creme colored and textured textile, almost like something you might use for heavy drapes or upholstery. I painted the face and the map with pastel dye sticks and set it with a hot iron (read instructions carefully) so that it would be permanent and washable.
This is the set I used. I found them at Hobby Lobby for maybe four or five bucks.
I ordered a Dora and Diego themed cake, and we had Little Caesar’s pizza with simple sides. I’ve decided that while my kids are little, they will have more fun with the things I make for the kids to play with than food, so I focus on making fun take-home items and games. When the kids are a little older, I might put more effort into homemade food, but for now, I normally buy a lot of the food already prepared.
Going on an Adventure
We had about ten kids at the party, and they all got to go on an adventure! After everyone ate, I had my husband take everyone into the kitchen and get ready to sing the Happy Birthday song while I set up a few things in the living room. My husband opened the drawer where the candles should have been, only to find a note from Swiper the Fox saying he had swiped the candles! So all the kids were given their Dora the Explorer “backpacks”. They pulled out the map, and as a group, we started our adventure.
First, we had to get past the Cranky Volcano. He was upset and cranky because he had been awake for days and couldn’t sleep! The only thing that could help was the sound of rain. So, the kids all got out their rain sticks, and made rain for the Cranky Volcano so he could fall asleep.
To make the Cranky Volcano, I used a poster and colored it with colored pencils. Then, I cut out two faces, one asleep and one cranky. I attached Velcro to the big poster where the face would go and on the back of the poster and to the back of each face. I hid the sleeping face with Velcro on the back of the poster, and as the kids used the rain sticks, I switched the faces.
Next, the kids had to cross Puzzle Bridge. But the Bobo Brothers had been playing with the shapes and left them in a pile of leaves! My son got to get the pieces and the kids helped him know where to put the pieces.
For the lost shapes, I simply made a pile of leaves out of images of different leaves I found on Google images, which I printed and cut out. I cut out the shapes and painted them, and I just printed a picture of the Bobo Brothers to hang next to the poster.
The fabric under Puzzle Bridge was a velvet blue. It looks much darker in the picture that it actually was. I cut the top flaps off of a couple of cardboard boxes, painted them, and taped them together to make the bridge.
Next, the kids went to the forest, where the candles were hidden in a nest in one of the trees. They pulled out their telescopes and tried to spot the candles. Before they could get the candles, Swiper the Fox popped up and they had to say, “Swiper no swiping!” three times like they do in Dora the Explorer.
Unfortunately I forgot to get a picture of Swiper. I used the pin the tail on Swiper the Fox activity at nickjr. com to make him. The trees and bushes I made out of cardboard boxes and posters. (You can get cardboard boxes from grocery stores, Wal-Mart, liquor stores, etc. We had just moved a couple months prior to this party, so I had a lot of boxes that I saved for the purpose of making these things, but cardboard boxes are free and you can make so many neat things out of them!)
We had SO much fun at this Dora and Diego party! This was about 6 months ago, and my kids still play with their maps and rain sticks. It was a lot of work, but it was worth it. I’ve found that
Have you thrown a birthday party for your kids recently? What did you do? What resources did you use?