Birthday Party Themes: Under The Sea

Looking for a great theme celebration for a children birthday? An ocean life decoration can be fun. Tips on setting up, activities, and other ideas.

INVITATIONS:

Get some scrap paper and tear it to approximately 4X6 inches. Don't worry if it looks messy-- it's supposed to. Write out your invitation on one side of it. Roll it up, place it in a glass or clear plastic bottle. Add a few teaspoons of sand and some small seashells and rocks. Cap the bottle and seal it with a piece of tape. You can hand-deliver these messages in a bottle, or you can actually slap an address label on it and mail it. If mailing it, plastic is a better option, and make sure to check with the post office for postage rates (you can put the stamps right on the bottle, you don't have to wrap it).

DECORATIONS:

If you can find some dollar-store discount fabric in a blue, blue-green or sea foam green color, buy up a bunch of yards and tack it to the walls from the ceiling around the party room. Hang blue and green streamers, and white balloons (some helium, some not) should be let loose around the room to be bubbles or sea foam. Get craft foam in assorted colors. Help your child cut out fish-shapes. Take all the foam scraps and use them to decorate the fish by gluing on fins and scales and eyes, and hang them around the room. Use an inexpensive bubble-blowing machine to add to the atmosphere.

Make a "buried treasure" chest out of a cardboard box by wrapping it in aluminum foil or spray-painting it silver. Use construction paper to make the hinges and latches and glue them on for effect. You can hide it somewhere in the room and the kids have to find it using a map, or you can stash your goody bags in it. Serve your snacks in clean, plastic beach pails on the table, and your punch or juice (preferably blue) out of goldfish bowls. Freeze gummy fish and sharks in ice cubes and add them to the bowl (make sure it is brand new from the pet store and never been used for fish!).

ACTIVITIES:

Make a couple of fishing poles by getting some large sticks, and tying a length of string to the end. Glue or tape a magnet to the end of the string. Take some of your foam fish and tape a paper clip near the mouth. Write a number on the fish, then lay them out on a blanket, number side down. The kids have to take turns using the pole to fish for one of the foam fish. After all of the fish have been caught (make sure each kid has an equal number of fish), each child adds up the numbers on the back of their fish. The person with the highest number wins.

Make fish print t-shirts. Get a box of inexpensive craft t-shirts and a couple of real (dead) fish from the seafood counter. Make sure the fish are whole and have not been cut. Put out craft paints and let the children take turns painting the fish. Then, take a t-shirt and lay it carefully over the painted side of the fish so you don't smear it. Press the fabric down on the fish gently, then carefully pull up. The child will have an imprint of the fish on the shirt.

Play pass the eel. This game is played like hot potato, only using a stuffed eel instead. You can make one simply by stuffing an old sock and drawing eyes with a permanent marker, then sewing the end shut. Have the children sit in a circle. Let an adult with his back to the children hold some kind of buzzer (such as an old novelty hand buzzer) and buzz it at random. Let the kids pass the eel around. Whoever is holding the eel when the buzzer sounds is "zapped" and out of the game. Keep playing until a winner emerges.

REFRESHMENTS

Any kind of blue juice will make a great punch. Try making some blue jello in a fishbowl and adding gummy worms and sharks. You can make octopus wieners by taking hot dogs and cutting them length-wise, halfway up to the center. Then carefully slice down the two cut halves to make them into 4 legs each. The legs will curl up and resemble an octopus.

Serve a nice pasta salad using sea shell pasta, or serve seashells with a seaweed (pesto) sauce. Fish sticks and crab cakes make great sea-themed food. Goldfish crackers and gummy worms make great snack items. Make ocean cupcakes instead of a big cake. Bake your usual cup cake recipe, then frost heavily with whipped cream tinted with blue frosting. Top with a white chocolate seashell. Sea shell molds can be found at most party or baking stores, all you have to do is purchase ready-to-melt white chocolate, melt it in the microwave according to directions, pour it into the molds and chill.

GOODY BAGS:

A fun thing to do might be to dispense with the goody bags all together, and give each child their own small, colorful goldfish in a little bowl, like the kind you win at carnivals if you can pitch a coin in them.

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