Please forgive the photos. the party room is painted a bizarre bright yellow/green, and it messed with the colours in all the photos, it seems! I also didn’t want to put any photos of the blogs that contained photos of other people’s children, so they are pretty cropped.
After asking you guys for birthday party ideas for Lila (thank you so much! So many great ideas, including this one!) I went with a Michael’s superhero craft party. Michael’s (a popular craft store chain in North America, for my wonderful international readers) has prepackaged craft party ideas, geared to different ages. They supply the invitations, crafts materials, thank-you cards and a staff person to facilitate the craft, and you provide the food, drinks, and kids. They generally gear the parties to about 8 children, so we invited 7 other kids to Lila’s party.
When I first called to set it up, they assumed that for a 4 year old girl I would want the princess party, which I flat out turned down. Not that I have anything against princesses, but little kids often have mixed boy/girl parties, and Lila isn’t interested in princesses at all (and no matter how many times I offer, she doesn’t want to watch Frozen). I went with the superhero theme, as the crafts seemed the most fun- they would make capes, masks, power cuffs, and decorate a photo frame. And Lila loves tying on a baby blanket and being ‘Super Lila’ at home.
Guy and I decided that since a photo frame was part of the package, we would send the kids home with a photo. I created a photo backdrop of the city to use for the kids to pose in front of:
I used Picmonkey, which is what I use to edit my blog photos (I might learn how to use Photoshop one day, but my kids are going to have to be bigger so I have more time!). Picmonkey has some theme bundles, and I used the Comic Heroes theme, using the ‘Graphic Novel’ overlay (Guy is such a great photographer, right?!), and I designed the posters using themed overlays- they are below in the photo collages, with ‘Kaboom! and ‘Wow!’.
We brought a digital camera, laptop, and a printer to the party- Once the kids finished making their superhero costume crafts, we took a photo of each child against the back drop, then Guy transferred the images to his laptop, plugged them into the template, and we printed on site and put them into the frames. The results were super cute:
You can see a quick video of Lila trying to blow out her candles on Guy’s Instagram, here.
I made a chocolate cake, and covered the whole thing in rainbow sprinkles and added some little printouts of some of sound effect bubbles for a cake topper. I am always surprised at how hard I find cake decorating- there is a big disconnect between my Pinterest cake dreams and my actual abilities. I need to take a cake decorating class!
The staff liked the posters so much they asked if they could keep them!
To get all the party supplies on theme, I got a birthday-in-a-box set from Birthday Express. I am really impressed with the wide variety of party themes they have (even the superhero theme had 15 different types of superhero party-in-a-box themes) and I found exactly what we wanted– a generic comic superhero theme, complete with balloons, plates, cups, cutlery, decorations, etc. I think it’s really good value (the quality is great) and it is a huge relief to just get everything I need shipped to my front door in one box.
When Lila plays ‘Super Lila’ at home, she says James is Super Baby. So for the party, I put his bib on backwards and sewed a little felt star to a onesie. Instant Super Baby! If we had a bit more forethought (and less general birthday party chaos) I would have liked to take a photo of James in front of the city back drop, I wish we had thought of it at the time.
What Worked Great:
- We went in a couple weeks in advance and picked out the colour scheme for the crafts, choosing red and turquoise blue felt. I did this to ensure that both colour options were unisex, and it was worth it.
- We took measurements for the frames in the party room, for the printout ‘POW!’ signs.
- We also took measurements of the photo frames they use for the parties, so Guy could create a pre-sized frame template so he could drag-and-drop the photos of the kids easily.
- My parents came in from out of town, and it was a huge help- extra sets of hands to help with James and Lila, especially at the end when Lila was exhausted from all the fun and started crying that she wanted to go home (this was about 20 minutes after she had declared that it was the Best. Birthday. EVER!). Guy and my dad took the kids back home while my mom and I cleaned up.
What I Would Do Differently:
- The capes were a bit long for the 4 year old set, I wish I had asked them to make the capes about a foot shorter than normal (capes come presized).
- There was also a clearance bin just outside the door of the party room, and the kids pillaged it and it got awkward- tears were shed over who was or wasn’t ‘sharing’. I wish I had moved the bin before the kids arrived. You definitely want the area clear of distractions.
- This next part sounds a little crazy, but I wish we had a ‘photo list’ of the photos we wanted to take that day- I wish we had got a family photo, I wish we had taken a photo of James as Super Baby in front of the photo back drop. I wish we had got a group shot of all the kids in their costumes together. Next time, I’ll know it’s worth putting a list together so we don’t forget.
And that was Lila’s 4th birthday party!
Note: I’m sure it goes without saying, but none of this content is sponsored. This is just what I chose to use, and I have zero contacts at Michael’s, Picmonkey or Birthday Express.