Well I finally got around to it. After two years of wanting to write a blog post about one of my parties I managed to find a bit of time to write about my daughter’s recent third birthday party. I decided on an ice cream theme (with her approval of course) after a trip to my favourite party supply vendors Paper and Parties (check out their online shop). They have so many unique and trendy party wares that I can’t help but imagine ways to incorporate them into my next event. Anyways, when I was shown the Ice Cream Party Garland and Ice Cream Truck Centrepiece by Meri Meri Party, I was sold! It works out so perfectly since ice cream happens to be my little lady’s favourite food. The theme and colour scheme were decided, and the party was designed around these two pieces.
So, I guess I will start with the invites. I always do a digital invite and either email or text them to party guests as it saves cost and reduces waste. There are tons of amazing digital downloads to fit your theme on Etsy for very minimal cost if you are interested in going this route. For this invite, I just used some free vector images and added the text from one of my favourite photo apps. A recent party trend that we have adapted into our kid’s parties is to ask that guests consider not bringing a gift and instead contribute a small donation to a chosen cause. To fit with the ice cream theme, our cause of choice was The Children’s Miracle Network, just like Dairy Queen on “Miracle Treat Day”.
Our kids are fortunate enough to have a lot of toys and clothes and there isn’t much they need, so in an effort to highlight that birthdays are about celebrating and not necessarily receiving gifts, we do it this way. We know that family members are still likely going to get the kids gifts and they also get one bigger gift from mom and dad, so they do end up with a few gifts in the end! It is tricky sometimes to word this request without sounding rude so here’s how I did it for this party:
Next, I always love finding thrifted furniture or décor pieces that I can repurpose to fit my party theme. I often check out second hand stores or craigslist for items that might fit the bill. For this party, I really wanted to make an ice cream cart, so I was really thrilled when I found a wooden Ikea cart on Facebook Marketplace for $30. I added some white spray paint I had on hand leftover from a previous project and some crafters duct tape ($6 total) in my colour scheme to create this DIY ice cream cart/ display for a grand total of $36:
I really wanted to have some play stations set up instead of games since the age range of guests was wide and it would have been difficult to find something that everyone could participate in and enjoy. I decided to do a cloud dough sensory table set up like an ice cream shop. I thought the cloud dough needed to be taste safe since my son and the other little ones might end up with some in their mouth. I used this cloud dough recipe and coloured it with oil-based Wilton Candy Colours that I added to the coconut oil before adding it to the flour. Keep in mind the colour will be a bit light once you mix the oil with the flour, so you can add quite a bit of colouring to your oil. I made three different colours, added some dollar store ice cream scoops, red pom poms for cherries, sprinkles, colourful containers and spoons and this cute ice cream sand toy from amazon and let me tell you, it was a HUGE hit!
One thing I thought about when doing this sensory table set up was how messy it could get. I am lucky that the weather was great, and we were able to do this activity outdoors, but if the party was indoors, I planned to put down some pretty tablecloths or old sheets.
Another factor to consider is the kid’s party clothes. The flour can stick to clothes and make them pretty messy, so I made these super easy DIY kids aprons from some reusable shopping bags that I got from the dollar store. To save time, and since this was only a one time use thing, I assembled them with a glue gun. They served their purpose and kept the kids clothes clean! But if you are looking for something more durable that perhaps the kids could take home as a party favour, here is a sewing tutorial.
Speaking of party favours, I decided not to do a goody bag and instead have a self serve ice cream bar, similar to Menchies where the kids could pick their ice cream colours and mixings. I used the DIY ice cream cart I had made to set it all up. The take home ice cream idea started off as a bit of a logistical nightmare but I decided to adapt a dessert recipe my mother in law makes to create a no-churn ice cream base, that the kids could start with, add in their choice of mixings, then freeze once they got home. That way there would be no sad melted ice cream on the drive home! Here is a similar recipe.
I bought these take out ice cream cartons from amazon (worked out to $1.50 each) and set them on the cart with the toppings and pitchers in an ice bucket filled with the ice cream base that I coloured with different colours of food colouring. The last thing I added to the cart was some ice cream shaped bubble favors that the kids could either take home or play with at the party.
Finally, the desserts. I decided to use the Wilton Giant Cupcake pan to make a giant ice cream sundae cake. I trimmed a little off the top of the top half so that the shape was more rounded like a scoop of ice cream and saved this portion to make ice cream cone cake pops (which I displayed in the Ice Cream Truck Centerpiece). I finished the dessert table off with a set of Ice Cream themed sugar cookies in cone, sundae, popsicle and number 3 shapes.
And that’s it! It was a blast to plan, the kids had a great time, and my daughter is still talking about her party weeks later. I would say it was a success!
Let me know what you think in the comments!