So my not-so-little anymore guy, James is kind of obsessed with letters and books and numbers and reading and, well, basically anything academic. He was sight reading words by one year old and now at three is sounding words out--crazy. Naturally, this has led to a bit of an obsession and abounding love for the children's show "Super Why" on PBS (or Sprout here).
If you're not familiar with the show, here are the basics. The show centers around the main character, Whyatt, and his three friends (Little) Red (Riding Hood), (Alpha) Pig, and Princess Presto. They all live in Storybook Village and each episode a problem of some sort comes up for one of the characters. They call a meeting in their Book Club where the character facing the problem states it to the group.
Well when they have a problem, they look in a book! They jump into a sometimes well known, sometimes new but always a little altered story to see what the character in the story did when facing a similar problem. Along the way Pig uses his alphabet powers to help out, Red uses her rhyming power, Princess P uses her spelling power, and Why uses his reading power. All the while they collect shiny red "Super Letters" that will give them the answer to their "super story problem."
Fun stuff! So when it came to figuring out James' birthday this year, it was a no-brainer. I HAD to do a Super Why party! Well, here is the result of my obsessive DIY-ing and planning! I hope you enjoy it!
For colors, I focused on Why's color themes which are blue and green. I made green felt masks from this pattern and reversible, shiny blue and green capes for each of my boys. I also dyed a t-shirt green for James (because I couldn't find a solid green one that wasn't neon or hunter...erg...) and sewed on a "3". It is now one of his favorite shirts...
I did a fun little photo shoot with James and Jon to get photos for the invitations I was going to make. Here are some of my favorite shots from the session.
I grabbed the shots of them reading "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" by Eric Carle as a little foreshadowing for Jon's party. :-)
I put together these super fun pop-up invitations based off these Princess pop-ups I found. I thought they turned out pretty great!
For food, I tried to stick with an alphabet theme as much as possible but also wanted to make sure my picky three year old would be happy with the selections. We had mac n cheese bites that I found here and I used alphabet pasta--delicious! These were exceptional fresh out of the oven (I made them the night before to save on prep time day-of) and they were still pretty good rewarmed for the party. I also put out bowls of "letter crackers" (Scrabble Cheez-its) and "letter cereal" (Alpha-bits--which happened to be Super Why themed!). Total hit!
I made some cheese and some chicken and cheese quesadillas (one of James' favorites) and cut out "JAMES" from some of them. I used mini alphabet cutters to cut "JAMES" out of some fruit for a kebab and made other regular fruit kebabs for "magic spelling wands". I also made some frozen banana dipped in yogurt pops for "Why Writers" and totally forgot to put them out! Oops! Beyond the letter themed food, I had deli roll ups and veggies and hummus to please the birthday boy. :-)
For decorations, I made a triangle pennant banner out of some fun blue and green prints to hang behind the party table. If you'd like a custom pennant banner, be sure to visit my Etsy shop and order one! I also put out photos from when James was a newborn, one year old, and two year old, as well as a few shots from the invitation shoot. I used green and blue tablecloths and plates and plasticware and had some green and blue balloons as well. Guests were greeted at the gate by a "Welcome to Storybook Village" sign that I painted and weathered.
For favors, I made letter crayons using old broken crayons and silicon molds. I also printed out Super Why coloring pages from the PBS kids site here. I then tied a balloon to the bag of crayons. Fun! I made green felt masks for all of the party guests and super hero capes from dollar store t-shirts and had foam stickers available for all of the kids to decorate their own. They LOVED this!
Well, being a Super Why birthday party, we of course had a "Super Big Problem"! We were missing the cake! We went into the "Book Club" (a quick little entryway made from two cardboard boxes, some zip ties, and paint!) and read the story of Little Bo Peep (based exactly off the Super Why episode that used this book). I had tossed around the idea of doing some fun little games during the story based off the characters' powers (like an alphabet game, a rhyming game, a spelling game) but decided for a bunch of three year olds I'd keep it simple.
We did, however, have to find and collect our "Super Letters" for our "Super Story Problem". Since I was doing these activities, we didn't get any photos of them. :-( But the kids LOVED finding the letters I had cut out of cardboard and covered with sparkly red yarn. Our "Super Story Answer" was to "Follow the clues" (just like in the story). So we read a clue that told us to follow the alphabet trail around the house, go down the slide, and then we'll find the cake! We did just that--the kids had a great time running around the house and going down the slide--and there was the cake waiting for us!
The cake was pretty much my sloppiest cake work ever--I totally ran out of time! In fact, I had the wrong time in my head for when guests would be arriving and ended up doing a major scramble to get everything out and set up! Erg... I did make some fun little modeling chocolate toppers of the Book Club scene that turned out alright though. :-) The cakes were carrot cake and mint chocolate cake with homemade buttercream frosting. They didn't looked the prettiest, but boy were they delicious!
I also made some chocolate souffle cupcakes with mint cream from this recipe that were gluten free and AMAZING! I did use Young Living Peppermint Oil instead of peppermint extract, though. ;-) If you're interested in learning more about Young Living or getting started with essential oils, be sure to contact me! I also left out the coffee and threw a bit of peppermint oil in the cupcakes themselves as well (total mintaholic right here).
The party was a total success (despite me being rather frazzled from being behind schedule)! The kids had a blast--which is the important thing--and the food was delicious. Can't really ask for more :-) And the party was in our backyard in Boonton, New Jersey, so not having to travel for setup (especially since I was behind) was wonderful!
Such a fun time! Don't forget to sign up for my newsletter while you're here to stay up to date on all the exciting things going on here! Also be sure to check out some of my photography work and email me or call me at 330.317.3862 to book your next family or newborn session!