Disclosure: Thank you to Oriental Trading and Pro World who each provided materials to help us in hosting this party. All opinions expressed within are my own and have not been influenced in any way.
When my littlest insisted on a “Eat Trees” party to celebrate his first “friends” party, I knew I was in for a challenge. Since seeing pandas at the National Zoo last spring, he has obsessed over the black and white beauties that the rest of us call pandas.
Since this was his first friends party, I knew I wanted to keep it simple. Two and three year olds can be a bit unpredictable, so I wanted little surprises at our guests’ developmental levels. I also wanted it to tie into the “wintery weather” we have been experiencing here in Pennsylvania, so the theme, “Snow Many Pandas” was born.
Panda Party Decor
One of the first items I decorated for the party was a DIY White Playhouse from Oriental Trading. The house comes white, and it was super easy to put together. I felted the roof and windows and added some washi tape and paper decorations to the door.
Last summer I picked up this huge canvas art print from my favorite artist, Matthew Lew. Right now it hangs in my youngest son’s room, though eventually I imagine it will move into a movie room for the kids and their friends. Next to it, a framed copy of the Mary Ann Hoberman’s Brother poem reminds us of our favorite verse to capture brotherhood. And, it is true – “this little bother of a brother’s very strange,” or at least he can be!
In one of my most maddening art projects of last summer, I had origami’ed this panda head for my son’s room. Since I have 30 or so hours of my life invested in this project, I was going to use it SOMEWHERE in this party. He hung watching over the food table!
Panda Party Food
Because the party was at 9:30 AM, we decided to serve cereal in little bags. I figured 3 year olds wouldn’t totally ruin the house with cereal – and that the bags were much easier to contain than plates. We cut out cute panda shapes and then individually glued the pieces onto small, plain white bags. Then we added Alpha-Bits and Trix to the bags! They were a big hit.
I also made panda cookies using my top tried-and-true butter cookie recipe. To make the black of the panda’s face, I added a little cocoa powder to my royal icing recipe – it tasted GREAT! I am going to recreate this in my holiday cookies this year.
Panda Party Activities
One of our projects at the party was for kids to use dot paint to add colorful snowflakes to a panda scene. Oh what colorful creations they ended up with!
If there is one thing I have learned about kids’ parties, it is that you need to plan for the kids’ movement in the space. We laid down a picnic table cloth for the art projects so that they could see where they should sit.
In this craft, we had the kids decorate small white boxes with paper pieces to create a panda head. They turned out so cute!
The hit of the party was a center that was really an after thought. I cleaned out and filled our sand table with cotton balls and hid panda figurines all throughout. Some kids spent all 1.5 hours of the party at this table!
The kids found little pandas and put them into this cute DIY wood house shadow box!
I also used an old box to create a snow ball toss. I made snowballs from yarn and wiffle-ball like golf balls and the kids tossed balls into the belly!
Panda Party Favors
As favors, I added little fabric scarfs to plush pandas (of course) and foxes (an ode to my son’s name) that I found at Oriental Trading. The kids loved these gifts, and took time selecting the plush “friend” that they would take home with them!
Panda Party Attire
No party is complete without some festive attire! I made this quick panda shirt using a panda design I bought from the Silhouette Design Store and used charcoal HTV and black glitter HTV from Pro World. On the back I added a red flocked #3 like you would find on a jersey to show that it was his third birthday!