Decorations: I displayed space books around the kids' playroom (where most of the party took place). Books are a fun (and cheap) way to decorate and they double as a quiet party activity. I also had little astronaut figurines and any other toys having to do with space out on the playroom shelves for kids to play with at their leisure. The big centerpiece of the party was the cardboard rocket playhouse my parents gave Charlie as a birthday present. We let the kids color it with crayons and play inside it during the party.
- Activities: For parties, I always set up different centers for the kids to pick from when they arrive. I know I can feel uncomfortable when I go to parties...and I'm a grown up. I figure kids feel this way sometimes too, so it's nice to give them a choice of activities to get them feeling comfortable and in the party mood. Plus, when you're talking about young children, you can never make them all do the same activity at the same time. It's too hard. Giving them options is the way to go. For this party we had a playdough table, a craft table, books and space toys scattered around the playroom and the playhouse rocket. I was also brave and put the computer on a kids' space website for tech savvy kids to explore. Our computer is in the middle of the kids' playroom, so it was easy to monitor their use of the computer while the party was going on. I made sure to expand the screen on the computer so that no other toolbars/windows would be accessible to a preschoolers' wandering mouse. To do this, just go to your browser's toolbar and click "view" and then click "full screen."
We made planets by coloring round coffee filters with water-soluble markers and then spraying them with water. After our planets dried, we glued them to black paper and added star stickers. Too bad this picture is so bad, because this craft turned out really cool. Using blue and green markers makes the planets look like Earth, using red and orange can make them look like Jupiter? Mars? Who knows...the point is, they look planety and that's what you're going for.
Rocket sandwiches with baby carrot rocket boosters, stars and planets cheese and crackers.
Your basic chocolate cake decorated to look like space. Adding plastic space guys and a space shuttle hopefully distracted from my less than professional cake decorating skills.
Grand Finale: We walked to a field near our house (one without lots of power lines or low-flying planes) and blasted off a real rocket! I had no idea these rockets even existed until one day when I was at Michaels getting supplies for the party and saw an aisle there labeled "Rockets." I was giddy with excitement to go down that aisle, let me tell you. These rockets are serious business and not for people like me who are afraid to open up a can of biscuits. Thankfully my husband was not scared to light the tiny little sticks of dynamite that are required to launch one of these babies.
Here's a video of our rocket launch:
Party Favors: Astronaut ice cream, of course! And I made a mix CD of songs about space using iTunes' "genius" feature. Just go on the iTunes website and it's pretty self-explanatory how you can find music that is about certain themes. I had fun picking the music for our "Space Jams" CD and it was great background music for our party as well. Here are a list of the songs on our CD if you're interested:
- Rocketship Run by The Laurie Berkner Band
- Nine Planets by Justin Roberts
- Backyard Spaceship by Justin Roberts
- Rocketship by Justin Roberts
- Great Big Sun by Justin Roberts
- Blast Off by Mikey's Band
- The Solar System by Joel Media & Crew
- Blast Off! by Rocknocerous
- Pluto by Rocknocerous
- Fly Me to the Moon by The Laurie Berkner Band
- You Are My Sunshine by Elizabeth Mitchell
- Twinkle Twinkle Little Star by Elizabeth Mitchell
- Down to Earth by Peter Gabriel
- Outer Space by Relax Kids
Did I mention that this is when my secret music crush on Justin Roberts began? Sigh...
Here's a picture of the actual Space Jams CD. I took a picture of some of Charlie's space toys and made a cool personalized label. Can you tell I live for this stuff?
Here's a video taken during the party when one of the space jams was really pumping. This will give you an idea of the space party milieu, if you will. That's me with the baby and the wet hair.