It's A Small World Party -1yr- Small World Invite
Kim in Show Low, AZ, USA
I actually started planing this party before my daughter was even born, and was just hoping to have a little girl to do this for someday being the Disneyland fan I am. It took many months to prepare, but the decorations were very inexpensive to make since I mostly used poster board. I also highly recommend that once you choose a color scheme, you pick up a variety of coordinating solid and printed scrapbook papers for the various projects.
Invitations: I set the stage by making invitations to resemble the front facade of the It's A Small World ride. Find a simple version of this as you will use it a lot. I happen to have had a piece of scrapbook paper with it, but I also found a great color page on a Disney website that came in handy. I designed a card to look like the very central or clock" portion of the building sized to fit within the biggest envelope I had. I first drew the clock tower then colored it with pink light blue and lavender colored pencils with a gold marker outline. Next use a scanner to copy and print multiples of the invitation. Once copied I cut out the top peaks of the towers and cut on the line that was between the doors. Fold the doors backward so that they open.
On separate paper I printed out the party info with the saying "Join us for the happiest birthday party to ever sail around the world." printed at the top. Following the details I added a note for the children to come dressed in ethnic costumes from this or another country as well as instructions for the adults to bring something to represent their careers for a game we would be playing. I glued this piece behind the doors so that when they were opened the party info was on the inside. For a bit of whimsy the clock face on the building that rolls from side to side I made on a separate piece of white paper then cut out the circle. On the main card in the position that the face piece would go I cut out an oval shaped hole about an inch and a half long and just wider than my foam circles. On the center back of the face I mounted a double adhesive foam circle and inserted the piece through the oval with the face in front. Behind that circle I mounted a penny sandwiched between another foam circle. Some of you may know this as a slider card. The end result is that when the card is tilted from side to side the face will roll just like on the ride's clock tower face does. People were amazed with these invitations and even thought I hand colored each one.
Decorations: Using the Small World building once again I designed a much bigger image of it on two pieces of white poster board to be the backdrop behind where my daughter would sit for her cake. I painted some of the shapes of the building with my colors of pink lt. blue and lavender but left a few shapes white and covered some of the more basic shapes with pieces of the coordinating printed scrapbook papers. I then trimmed the entire design with gold glitter glue. Closer to the date of the party I cut out this large building and glued it to a light blue plastic table cloth to be hung on the wall at the party. This made for a great photo backdrop. A mistake I've learned from at my son's past parties of cake pictures with the fridge or A.C. unit behind him. I also used two shades of light blue paper to cut out triangular pennants and used the coordinating printed papers to cut out the letters to spell Happy Birthday Ella with my Cricut. I then strung the pennants together with pink rick-rack and hung this above the backdrop. Having the coordinating papers in each piece really looked nice together. For the rest of the kitchen/dining room I used my 3 colors in streamers balloons and tablecloths.
Since I had covered the outside of the ride already I wanted to bring in other elements of the ride for my tables. I used light blue plastic tablecloths to cut large irregular circle shapes to represent the ride's waterway then placed those on each table's pink or lavender tablecloth. I once again used my printed (double sided) papers to fold simple paper boats that I placed around the waterways filled with candies and some small international dolls I had. I couldn't leave out the cool topiary trees so for centerpieces I created various animals out of different sized Styrofoam balls and painted them green. I then mounted these on dowels and stuck in decorative flower pots covered with colored glass rocks. The front of my house I made to look like the front of the ride without going into too much detail since my guests wouldn't see that much of the outside. I used white poster board to recreated just the right and left of the clock tower and again the smiling face in my center front window. On the front door I printed "welcome" in various languages and taped them to the door. On the backside of this same door I made similar signs saying "goodbye".
My living room became the "inside" of the ride. In the front windows I hung large paper cutouts of Big Ben a Dutch windmill and the Eiffel Tower. Since these would be visible from both sides I made the side that would be seen from outside white with gold trim and brightly painted the other side that would be most visible during the party. I then made coordinating 2 foot tall paper dolls in the style of those from the ride to go by each of these monuments on the inside. A British Beef Eater a French Can-Can girl and of course the iconic Dutch girl in a tulip. I created 10 more of these scenes throughout the room using either more of these paper dolls or real dolls I dressed up. Dora the Explorer makes a great East Indian princess paired with a paper Taj Mahal and stuffed tiger.
I even had scenes hanging from the ceiling like the Chinese child hanging from her kit an Arabian genie looking girl flying on a carpet (a place mat hung from my ceiling fan by fishing line) and a kid hanging from a bunch of helium balloons. Don't forget animals. I used stuffed animals like a koala in a ficus tree and a penguin on quilt batting as well. I found it very helpful to map out the room ahead of time for where each scene would go. That made decorating go very quickly and kept me from making pieces I would have no place to display. For final touches I placed various knickknacks of world icons throughout the house and more printed signs saying "Happy Birthday" in other languages. I also hung a world map up and asked guests to put a dot on any other country they have been too.
Food: In keeping with the "Small World" theme I had a buffet of food from around the world but as much as possible I made it "small". For instance I made egg rolls in wanton wrappers instead of the larger egg roll wrappers. Thankfully the frozen food aisle in the grocery store has many items that fit the bill like mini quiches and tacos. This was expensive but a lot less work. I also had mini samosas small bagels with lox and cream cheese California rolls mini pizzas and hummus with pitas cut small to name a few. I found Beers of the World and toothpicks with world flags at World Market. I also put out cards saying what each food was and the country it represented.
For the cake I realized while making the Small World building repeatedly that it looks like a child's block tower. This gave me the idea of making petit fours in simple shapes then arranging them to look like the building. I baked a white sheet cake and then cut out squares rectangles and triangles according to my design. I poured white pink and light blue glazes over the pieces of cake then arranged them on a foil covered board to resemble the building. I used a sugar cook for the clock face. I used a gold sparkle decorating gel by Wilton to add details. This kept with my worldly finger food theme plus made serving the cake much easier since each guest just had to come pick up which ever piece they wanted.
Games: We kept the multicultural mood by playing birthday games from around the world I found online. The first is a popular party game from Germany called "Topschlagen". In this game a prize is hidden under a cooking pot the child is then blindfolded and given a wooden spoon they have to hit around until they bang on the pot. This game was very popular with this crowd of 1-6 year olds but I didn't blind fold the babies. The adults played a game that is a custom in many Asian countries on a child's 1st birthday. As mentioned in the invitation each adult was to bring something that represented their career for instance my mother was a florist so she had a silk flower. I had each guest tell who they were what they brought and why while my husband was off changing Ella from her Brazilian costume I made her into her party dress. When we were finished placing the items on the floor we put Ella down to choose one. Which ever she chose is supposed to be the career path she will choose later in life. Everyone thought it was fixed when she picked Daddy's keyboard. And of course we had a pinata from Mexico for the children.
For favors I used the Paper Dolls cartridge from my Cricut cutter to make different children of the world. I had to get a little creative to make 7 different ones for each guest. The bathrobe cut in an Asian looking paper can substitute as a kimono for example. I then assembled and glued these different dolls onto white paper bags and wrote each child's name at the top. Inside for favors they each got a rubber ducky of the world and an Earth shaped kickball from Oriental Trader. (They now have a huge selection of around the world merchandise that wasn't available last year.) Plus gold coins that look like foreign money form World Market a maraca and a C.D. we made of children's songs from around the world like "Waltzing Matilda Frere Jacques Yankee Doodle and of course "It's a Small World.""