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Birthday Party with Dora Theme

My four year old daughter finally narrowed down her birthday party theme to NickJr.'s Dora cartoon. She was almost swayed by Tinkerbell and her fairy friends as we browsed the party aisle at Target for paper goods for her party - but after much indecision she stuck with Dora and her red booted monkey pal. I really needed to get the invitations out so we purchased the packaged pre-printed ones from Target when we picked up the napkins and plates. I bought some purple felt and ribbon and a few craft sheets of black, white and red felt to make the character "Backpack" for each of the kids.

I also purchased a Dora coloring book - the simple drawings of the charchters really came in handy! Working from a picture of Backpack - I cut two patterns for the front and the back - making the back piece also have the flap that would fold over to close the backpack. I then cut ribbon in 14" inch lengths and sewed two straps to the right side of each back piece of felt. Then, with right sides facing out, I sewed the front and back pieces together and then ironed the flap over the front so it would stay down. I cut out white eyes, black pupils, and a grinning red mouth - using the coloring book picture as a guide. The felt had a sticker backing so Juliana placed all the features on each pack.

Inside each backpack we placed a red boot, cut out of poster board, and Map. Our party was based on Swiper swiping the cake, so I drew a map that showed the 3 places we needed to visit to get to the party and the cake.I also wrote the info that Map usually gives the viewer to tell Dora along the bottom of the map and then made color copies of the map that I had drawn and then "laminated" each one with clear contact paper. I rolled them up and used the sticker felt to put Map's eyes and mouth on and then put a rubber band around each one to keep it rolled up.

The first stop was alligator river - we rolled bubble wrap out down the hall and cut simple alligator heads out of green construction paper and then glued oval shaped construction paper eyes to the flat heads so that it looked like the rest of the alligator was underwater. The kids had to carefully walk without waking up the alligators. We needed to make enough noise to keep the alligators away, so we had a table set up with the supplies to make paper plate maracas. There were stickers, pens and streamers from crepe paper to decorate the plates and then we used duck tape in different colors to keep the plates together. The kids had a great time with this activity and enjoyed waving the streames around and making noise.

Next we entered Butterfly Gardens - The week before Jules colored on plain white coffee filters with washable markers, then we sprayed them with water and the colors ran together beautifully. We let them dry and then slipped them in the split of an old fashioned clothes pin and bunched up the middle of the filter, while spreading the sides open to look like wings. They turned out great! We tied fishing line around the round part, or head, of the clothes pin and suspended them from the ceiling at all different lengths - I even tacked some to the walls and mantel. On one of the butterflies we taped a golden key.

Once the kids got to Butterfly Gardens we played Pin the Boot on Boots.I made a big poster board sized drawings of Boots and the kids found his missing boot in their backpacks and were then blindfolded and had to put his boot on. They thought it was hilarious where his boot would end up! Finally, we located the butterfly with the Golden Key and used it to open Swiper's Hideout - the door of which was a piece of craft paper hung the length of the doorway to our hobby room. Once the paper came down the kids could see the table set for lunch and the cake - which was a 3-D depiction of the map they used on their trip. We also hung the ceiling with pink, yellow and orange streamers and it looked really festive!

For lunch we had mini tacos from Trader Joe's, baby carrots, strawberries and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches cut into butterfly shapes. After lunch we had cake, opened gifts, and then did a butterfly pull-string pinata - the kids used their backpacks to hold the candy and fruit chews that fell out. Juliana thought it was a great party! 

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