I’m not a huge fan of Disney or the traditional princess who waits for her prince to come along and rescue her, however, as a little girl I loved both Disney and princesses, so I can appreciate the magic that comes alive when a little girl puts on a princess dress and dances with abandon. At the end of last year, my parents took the entire family on a Disney cruise. It was my girls’ first exposure to Disney and Boo was thoroughly enchanted by the princesses. My mother gave her this Princess Tiana Costume and so began the theme of her third birthday party. Who am I to stand in the way of a girl and her happily ever after?
This was a very special birthday for Boo. Because of the circumstances of where we live, Boo does not have a lot of children, apart from her sister, to play with. We’ve been here for two years now and she has developed some friendships with a few kids who live in town (about an hour and a half away). She doesn’t see these kids often but she adores them and talks about them non-stop. They were all able to attend her first ever kid centered party, which made the day even more memorable for her. Granny and Gramps, who live in Botswana, were also able to fly in for the occasion and spend a long weekend with us, so we went all out for this third birthday celebration because we might not get the opportunity again.
We rented an old manger’s house on a tea estate at the foot of Mt. Malanje for a few nights so my husband was actually able to disengage from work (hard to do when you live where you work), and we had a lot more space than our little two bedroom home would have allowed. The house is surrounded by beautiful gardens and tea fields, so the girls could run free without the worry of elephant and buffalo.
Boo, Kooks, and I have been preparing for the party for over a month which added to the anticipation. Our guest list was pretty evenly split between boys and girls so we tried to make our princess party magical, without being overly girly. Since we went with the princess and the frog theme, it was pretty easy to shift the focus from the princess to the frog and we also included a lot of swamp insects for good measure.
We made crowns or tiaras for all of our guests:
We printed the templates from First Palette. Then we painted them, glued them to cereal boxes for a little more strength, cut them out, and decorated them. We used glitter glue, foil shapes, and some stick on jewels. This project took a number of days to complete and the girls really enjoyed seeing the work progress. They are very proud of their crowns and had a hard time saving them for the party!
A frog prince piñata:
We followed instructions on how to make a frog piñata from Bry-Back Manor except we used a traditional one part flour, two parts water paper mache paste instead of the glue. We also added a tongue made out of a party blower that we cut the top off and stuck a craft stick in before gluing to our frog. Of course this was no ordinary frog, he was our frog prince, so we added a toilet roll crown. This project was so much fun. The girls loved getting messy with the paper mache and were amazed to see how we could turn a balloon and newspaper into a frog prince. We talked a lot about how the piñata game is played because I had a hunch Boo would be upset about beating her creation to death. I was right. When she first heard that we were going to hit the piñata with a stick until it broke she didn’t like the idea at all, but the promise of sweets falling from the sky ended up winning out. We made frog goodie bags for our guests to collect their sweets in. We traced the small frog favor bag template from Mr. Printables onto green card stock, followed the instructions for cutting, scoring, folding, and gluing, and then we just pasted on some eyes and drew on a smile. They were really easy and turned out pretty cute. Unfortunately, I forgot to take a photo of them.
We played feed the frog a fly:
We were originally going to have a kiss the frog game but decided that feed the frog a fly would be a little more gender neutral and really just a lot more fun for the two to four year old crowd, regardless of gender. I used the cartoon frog drawing instructions from the How to Draw Guide but instead of drawing I cut out construction paper in the shapes and colors we needed. We then glued the shapes to our easel paper. We printed fly coloring pages from Squidoo and the kids each colored their fly and put press stick on the back before being blindfolded, spun around and pointed in the direction of the frog. Update – the fly coloring page we used from Squidoo is no longer available but there are few other cute flies at TheColor.com.
Frog party blowers:
The kids had so much fun with these! This craft can be found at Disney Family Fun. Unfortunately we couldn’t get the frog outline to download but it was a simple enough design to draw. We used green card stock, red party blowers, and big googlie eyes.
Frog take home bags and butterfly favors:
And a party just isn’t a party without a favor bag to take home. We used regular paper lunch bags and personalized them with simple frog name tags. They held ring pops for all the princes and princesses as well as bouncy balls, bubbles, and fruit snacks. Each child also took home a butterfly favor made out of clothes pins, sandwich bags, pipe cleaners, and googlie eyes that held a snack for the drive home. The idea for the butterfly favor came from Baballa.
And last but not least the blue castle cake:
We found the directions for this cake at Parenting and Boo fell in love with it, but she wanted her cake to be blue like Aurora’s castle. She has been talking about it for months. Boo helped bake the cake in advance and we froze the pieces, but decorating it was the only part of the party planning that she was not involved in. Granny and I took care of that after bedtime the night before the party so she got to wake up to it on party day. She was thrilled and the party was a huge success.
We seem to be getting a bit better at the birthday thing each year. Last year we celebrated Boo’s birthday on Easter Sunday and invited a number of people who work at the Wildlife Reserve. It was a lovely day but, apart from Boo and Kooks, there were only two other kids and only one was Boo’s age.
We moved to Malawi a few weeks before Boo’s first birthday and invited another couple that worked in the reserve. I tried to bake her first birthday cake in the springform cake tins that were left in the house. What I didn’t realize was that they were damaged and they leaked. Half the mixture leaked out of the pans before they could bake and I ended up with two pancakes. I tried to remedy this by piling on the icing but I got my mother-in-law’s icing receipe wrong and the end result was a disaster. Boo had her very first taste of chocolate that day and didn’t seem to mind the dismal failure of a cake. Since then she’s gotten a little more discerning so it’s a good thing my cake making skills are improving.
For those of you who are looking for non-traditional princess role models for your children, I love this list of “Six Princess Books for Parents who Really, Really Hate Princess Books” from Building a Library. I’ve put just about all of them on our wish list!
Disclaimer: The princess costume above is linked to my Amazon Affiliate account. If you purchase through this link I will receive a small commission.