Monday, August 15, 2011

How to Have a Monkey Party

I debated a long time over the theme for the Spud's birthday party this year. He is an avid lover of cars, trains, and really anything with wheels; so any of these seemed natural choices for party themes. However, the Spud just happened to born at the same time as a bunch of girls in our group, and I wondered how many of his little girly friends would enjoy a car-themed party. I finally settled on a monkey party, since he wanted to have his party at the local park. (Plus, we call him "little monkey" all the time!)
The invitations were handed out a few weeks in advance, all tied up with monkey ribbon.
We asked guests to come join us at our favorite local park for some "monkeyin' around" at the playground and the splash park. All they needed to bring was some stuff to get wet in and a wrapped squirt gun or water toy for the gift exchange.
Food and treats were super easy to make for this theme. The monkey cupcakes were the stars of the show - made with chocolate-frosted cupcakes, nilla wafers, and marshmallows.
I used a simple styrofoam cone from the Dollar Tree to create a monkey lollipop tree. The little monkeys were hot-glued onto the suckers and then stuck into the tree for party favors.
The funky monkey leis made of froot loops and string were a big hit with the party guests. They could run around and play while carrying their snack with them wherever they went. These actually did not take too long to make, and as a bonus, the Beast helped me and got a fine motor skills activity in for the day.
The day turned out slightly cool and overcast - not ideal for getting wet. Still, friends buddied up quickly to tackle the slides and monkey bars and swings.
The Spud was overjoyed that his friend Pursy could come to his party. (Apparently summer birthday parties are harder than I thought - everyone is already on vacation or committed to something else when you invite them!) Pursy and Spud chased each other all over the playground, and that girl never let that balloon out of her sight.
Little friends hung out near the picnic tables with the grownups and waited patiently for snacks and cupcakes.
I tried to make the snacks not only coordinate with the theme but also with the Spud's favorite treats. Besides the cupcakes, lollipops, and froot loop leis, we had "monkey munch" (chocolate animal crackers and marshmallows), peanut butter and banana sandwiches, and fruit snacks. The tables were decorated with red streamers, colorful balloons, and an inflatable monkey. (all from the dollar store - cha-ching!)

At one point, all of our monkeys were in a huge tree on the playground property.
The gift exchange went over well. Everyone got to open one wrapped water toy - we went from youngest to oldest. After all the gifts were opened, the trading commenced until everyone was happy with the toy they received.

Later, after everyone left and we had finished cleaning up our party area, the weather warmed up enough for our three kiddos to quickly change into their swimsuits and go play in the splash park for ten minutes or so. We ended our special day by driving over to the local Burgerville, where they were featuring "throw-back prices" for one day only. Three very tired and happy littles munched cheeseburgers and fries and slurped their chocolate milkshakes before heading off to bed.

Success! I still can't believe my little monkey is three! I must admit though that this preggo momma is exhausted from all the party planning. No more parties for a while!

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