I am the proud parent of a two year old Dora fanatic. That’s right, she’s Dora crazy, and refuses to watch any other cartoons regardless of what we try her on. So naturally, when her second birthday party was coming near, there was no choice but to throw a Dora the Explorer themed party for her. Not only that, but we had a budget of less than $30. Most parents will understand when I say a normal birthday party with five children as guests can run pretty expensive all by itself, presents for your child not included, so $30 is definitely skimpy. Skimpy, and completely possible.
The first thing we did was look online to see if there were any good ideas for Dora themed birthday parties out there, and we stumbled across this site: http://www.birthdaypartyideas.com/html/dora.html. It was loaded down with parties thrown by other parents, and was a great inspiration to us. It not only gave us good ideas for cheap games, but also gave us an understanding of what some age appropriate activities were for younger children. We decided on doing three activities for our daughter and her guest, because three is a good number for two young children with a short attention span, but we did not yet have an idea of what the exact activities would be. We did know that we would provide prizes after each activity, and we also knew the activities had to be fast and easy for the girls to figure out.
Shopping started by going to the local dollar store and looking around to see what we could find as far as decorations and prizes. This initial trip was also for ideas of what the activities could be. To our surprise there were a number of Dora items that were age appropriate for our 2 year old daughter and her two and a half year old friend. We made sure to check every part of the store that might have something “Dora” and were pleased to find everything we needed.
As far as prizes for the three activities, we purchased Dora zip lock baggies to keep the treats in, dora stickers as one of the prizes, dora hair brushes and mirrors as another prize, soft chocolate candy, honeycomb cereal, and individual Yohoo chocolate milks. Everything went into the Dora zip lock baggies, and we were set as far as prizes.
Total cost for treats: $9
$2 Two packages Dora stickers
$1 Package of 3 chocolate Yohoo drinks
$1 Box of honeycomb cereal
$1 Dora zip lock bags
$2 Two bags of soft chocolate candy
$2 Two sets of Dora hairbrushes and mirrors
For decorations we bought pink streamers, and two packages of assorted balloons, a Happy Birthday banner, and a Dora calendar. We cut out the many pictures of Dora and her friends from the calendar and taped them up around the house, along with color pictures of Dora that we printed off of the internet.
Total cost for decorations: $5
$1 Package of two rolls of pink streamers
$2 Two packages of assorted baloons
$1 Happy Birthday Banner
$1 Dora Calendar
After seeing what we could find in the dollar store, we came up with three easy activities for the kids. We started by letting our daughter open up one present when the guests had arrived. Inside was a present and a note from “Swiper the fox” saying he had taken the rest of her presents and hidden them. There was a hand drawn map showing three different places they had to travel to, just like on the show. We then gave both girls a backpack to put prizes in and lead them to the first place on the map.
The first activity was going through a forest, which consisted of green streamers torn and hung from the kitchen ceiling and cabinets, as well as hung from extending curtain rods across the counters. All the girls had to do was walk under the curtain rods with green streamers and collect their prize in a zip lock bag on the other side. They loved walking under the streamers (vines).
After the forest the girls were lead to the dining room where there was a picture of Dora holding a flower pot with flowers. On the floor there were about a dozen fake flowers from the dollar store scattered around and an empty box. We told the girls that Swiper the fox had knocked over Dora’s flowers and they needed to pick them up and put them in the box. Being two years old, they loved it and put all the flowers away and received their prize, another Dora zip lock bag filled with candy this time.
We looked at the map one more time and went to the hallway which was closed off with a baby gate. Behind the gate the hallway was filled with balloons of different shapes, sizes and colors. We told them they had to go through the “river of bubbles” and find a fish. On the floor under the balloons were two loofas (also known as bath poofs) with a fish sewed on the outside, and a baggie of cereal tied to each one. The girls found each fish which they also got to keep, and ended up in my daughter’s bedroom where they found the rest of the guests and the rest of the presents that “Swiper” had stolen. All in all it was great fun for the girls and it was fun for us to watch.
Total game cost: $7
$2 Two backpacks
$1 Package of two rolls of green streamers
$2 Fake flowers that we pulled off the stems
$ Balloons (covered in decorations budget above)
$2 Fish loofas
We held the party at 1pm so that we didn’t have to feed people lunch, and had cake and ice cream for desert. We made lemonade from the frozen concentrate and added peach flavoring to it.
Total food cost: $7
$1 Cake mix
$2.50 Ice cream
$1.50 Frozen lemonade
Total party cost: $28 and two very happy 2 year old girls who love Dora.
The nice thing about theme parties is that if you shop around beforehand, you don’t have to spend tons of money. If it had been a party for a boy, we could have just as easily purchased “Diego” favors at the dollar store, or if we had wanted to do Sesame Street, the Dollar store had tons of things that would have gone well with that theme as well.
As far as games go, the activities can be switched up for the interests of different children, or for children of different ages. The website listed above had some very elaborate parties and games for older children, some cheap, some expensive. When it comes to games and prizes though, simply think of what will be the most fun for children of that age, and go with it. It doesn’t have to be expensive or elaborate for the kids to have fun.
Bottom line: Going cheap doesn’t mean the party won’t be fun, it just means you’re not breaking your bank for a one day event. Shopping smart is so much more satisfying than shopping easy, and as long as you put some thought into it, your child’s party will turn out to be a blast.