Yesterday, the Minx turned two, and on Saturday we held a Mad Hatter’s Tea Party to celebrate. I enjoy having parties for the children’s birthdays and there’s always a theme, though that’s usually just to help me design the invitations and pick out the paper plates. This year we went with a Mad Hatter’s Tea Party with much the same intention, but our guests seemed to be excited about how we were going to bring this theme to life so, rising to the challenge, I set my mind to it.
I designed colourful invitations in a variety of fonts. Normally, I make them in PowerPoint, save them as images and then have them printed as postcard sized magnets on Vistaprint, but I left it too late this year so I printed them off at home, laminated them up and put some magnetic sticky tape on the back so that guests can easily stick them to their fridge if they wish.
Party Box Name Tags
Budget and a lack of appropriately themed knick knacks for the party bags/boxes meant that we put the usual sort of things into them instead. However, I tried to tart the boxes up a little by adding a name tag to the side rather than just writing their names on.
At the buffet table we had Eat Me and Drink Me signs, and I had intended to make at least the children’s sandwiches “different” by mixing up the toppings but the “kitchen staff” made an entire loaf of sandwiches in just one flavour rather than opening all the jars which was really frustrating but at the end of the day, family were helping so you have to smile and just be glad you haven’t had to stand and make any. We went to Greggs for the adult sandwiches – four or five packs is loads on a buffet table for 20 adults so long as you cut each sandwich in half, and they taste much better than I could make myself.
This year, the Minx’s birthday cake was shaped like a teapot complete with fondant dormouse. I covered it in butter icing because I hate royal/fondant icing and kept the design pale and simple, to appear like it wasn’t anything particularly special. I made a trial cake for the Minx’s toddler group and used coloured fondant icing for the handle and spout but I found them tricky to work with, so on the day of her party I made them from biscuits and put some matching butter icing on them.
Everyone commented on the cake (as is only polite) but the real surprise with the cake was when you cut it open to see seven differently coloured layers! It was really eye catching and just a little bit different. Those who want to avoid colours can smile politely, wrap it in napkins to take home and then simply exchange it for something they’d rather their children eat when they get there.
Down the Rabbit Hole
To get into the party I pinned some tinfoil (budget again!) to the right hand door with a sign asking older guests to enter through the looking glass, and in the left doorway I put a toy tunnel with a laminated picture of Disney’s white rabbit hanging from it, and a sign asking younger guests to enter down the rabbit hole. I put a messy mat out to protect their party clothes.
Mad Hatter’s Costume Corner
In one corner of the room we had a few children’s tables with arts & crafts things on and some Alice in Wonderland pictures to colour in. I bought some hats to decorate and took lots of aprons and t-shirts to protect the children’s party clothes. My little Minx had a ball decorating hers up, and it gave the older children something age appropriate to join in with.
The Monster got to pick his favourite party games, so we had Pass the Parcel – the elimination version. I hate putting children out, but I also hated playing Pass the Parcel as a child if I didn’t get to open a layer – especially if someone got to open more than one – so I give each child a packet of sweets to add to their party box if the parcel lands on their lap.
We also had musical statues. The last person to stop moving each time was given a plastic medal and then they could decide if they wanted to go and play somewhere else or keep dancing. All the judges had to do was keep an eye on the children without medals. It’s amazing how few tears and tantrums you get like that, and half of the children went home believing they had won!
In an effort to keep with the Mad Hatter’s theme we played a game of limbo. Not because it features in the story in any way, just because it was a little bit weird and wonderful. The kids loved it, though the musical limbo stick did eventually end up broken when we were tidying up.
Lastly, those children who wanted to took part in a team “croquet match” relay race based on the game from the story. We had two inflatable pink flamingos (from Deep Sea World) and I made six hoops by creating playing card soldiers, laminating them into hoops and blue tacking them to the floor. I also made medals for both the winning and losing team.
After that the children went back to free playing with all the toys until home time. We were shattered, the kids both had an afternoon nap and everyone had a great time. Roll on August for the Monster’s party. I wonder what theme he’ll pick this year…