We took Jenna to Disneyland the year she turned two, and she was obsessed with the Little Mermaid ride, and especially the room where they sing “Under the Sea.” That, coupled with a newfound love of the water, led us to plan a birthday loosely based on the frivolity and fun to be had under the sea (cue Jamaican-Disney music)!
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There are a lot of things that we were able to re-purpose from Jenna’s first birthday, like the crepe paper puffs on the outside of the pergola and the sewn circles over the food table.
When our guests arrived, we directed them to our backyard with a poster board cut into an arrow with leftover balloons from the previous party. I added some curled ribbon, and Jenna helped me with some streamers as well.
We transformed our side yard into an underwater welcoming party of lobsters, jellyfish, starfish, crabs, and fish!
The best part about these decorations is that I could make them with my two-year old, and they were dirt cheap because we made them out of paper and plastic plates!!!
As for the rest of the backyard, we added clusters of balloons in the trees along with dollar store fish/whales hanging from the pergola.
It was fun to twist crepe paper to look like seaweed! On a different vein, Jenna was in the midst of a “naked phase” for the birthday. Thankfully, she deigned to wear her adorable swimsuit for the party, but party prep was another matter entirely…
I made an extra green arrow, so Jenna and I decorated that as a bathroom sign.
A printable sign that we used coming into the house:
Food & Drink
At two, many of the kids were becoming more exploratory with food, and we took full advantage of their expanding palates and limitless imaginations!!!
Since most of the kids were still using sippy cups or water bottles, I was mainly concerned with provided beverages to a crew of moms (several of whom were expecting again). Water bottle labels are one of the easiest ways to personalize a party.
I had a friend who needed to unload some lemons from her backyard, so we were able to make some freshly squeezed lemonade, which was delicious!
We prepared hot dogs cut like octopuses (with ketchup on hand, of course).
For adults and kids alike, we provided deconstructed sandwiches (adults can make a sandwich, and kids can pick and choose which pieces they’d like). As a little extra fun, we made the croissants look like crabs with olive eyes!
This chip and dip was very easy and whimsical. We prepared the humus dip ahead of time, and it was a perfect compliment to the veggies!
I stuck triangular chips in the guacamole as “shark fins.”
This project was my favorite! I cut a watermelon to look like a shark and filled it with fruit. I also made fruit leather to surround the “shark” in curly-cues that resembled water.
This jello was a fun treat! The “boats” are cutie orange slices with a small paper triangle sail. You can also see our fish bowl full of goldfish in the background!
I made this delicious cake with three layers of cake in different blue shades. After icing the cake, we added graham cracker crumbs to look like sand. In another version of the cake, I also added frozen icing molds of sea creatures.
Since our region was going through a drought at the time of Jenna’s party, we tried to have fun with water without using more than our fair share of it! I found this tutorial for a water blob, and we thoroughly enjoyed making it, and the kids had a blast looking for the little fish and other plastic critters we added to the dyed water! One thing to watch out for: the darker water coupled with the reflective qualities of the plastic made for a VERY hot water blob. Try and keep yours in the shade, and you’ll have hours of fun at your disposal!
This water table was easy to build and, with the collection tub underneath, didn’t end up wasting too much water either! It was up in our backyard for months!!!
Finally, we also had a inflatable pool filled with sponges made to look like stars, whales and fish. We hung some towels on a drying rack along with sunscreen and swimming diapers for whoever needed them.
For favors, we stuck with our goal of “bringing the party home.” Even though everyone does “water at home” differently, we figured most people do baths with their kids, so we went with that idea! We used simple party bags and filled them with homemade bath fizzies (labels here) in the shape of sea creatures along with a Dollar Tree shower puff.
This party was fun and novel for us as the first time our daughter had a hand in a party we threw. It made it so much more fun to share all of the prep, crafting, and cooking with her, and she thoroughly enjoyed her big day!!!
Whether you’re throwing your own ocean party or want to adapt these ideas to your own theme, I hope you found some useful ideas here!