Okay, are you guys ready for a long post?! I have been working on this around the world party for my daughter's fifth birthday for months now. Here are the final photos and description. Hope you enjoy!
The around the world theme was literal - we "visited" all seven continents. We set the tone with the invitations. If you remember from a previous post here the invitations were airline tickets good for a trip around the world. We used the logo established on the invitations throughout the party.
When guests arrived, they were greeted at the check-in table by the "staff". We all dressed up like air travel personnel - badges and all. I made the epaulettes my husband is wearing to fit a shirt my pilot brother let us borrow (thanks Ross!). The children were given a passport with their name in it along with several travel stamps. As they arrived in each continent, they received a stamp in their passport.
Along with their passports, each guest received a carry-on bag. The carry-on bags were a big part of this party. They contained items specific to each continent we visited and the children used these items to complete each continent's activity (More on this later). I painted each child's name on a bag with fabric paint. This was so the kids (and/or their parents) would be able to keep track of it throughout the course of the party.
Here's a shot of the bag and all it's contents.
Australia - kangaroo ears for sack races (hopping like kangaroos)
North America - lunch and cake at the main "runway" table (they got to take the USA placemats for a North American souviner)
South America - craft decorations for making rain sticks like Brazilian farmers
Asia (China more specifically) - they use chopsticks from their bags to use for the scratch-off craft dragons
Africa - binoculars to spot all the animals out the windows in the woods like they were on safari
Antarctica - mittens to wear while they made and played with fake snow
Europe - the park ranger brought one of their real bunnies up for the kids to pet
So this picture shows the items in their bags to use throughout the party. We also included some extra things - a punch ball balloon with the world printed on it and a world beach ball.
Our first stop of the party was to Australia. Inside the kids' carry-on bags was a pair of kangaroo ears. They put them on and we had a sack race - you know, hopping like a kangaroo. The kids loved it!
Next stop, lunch! Otherwise know as - North America. We used lunch and cake time as North America to insure there would be plenty of time for all the other continents. The center table was decorated with a large globe overhead and the table was covered in a "runway" we made with masking tape. (I saw this idea from the always impressive Amy Atlas here.) Also notice the placemats at each place setting. We took United States Map and laminated them. That was their souvenir for their carry-on bag.
The kids enjoyed pre-packaged in-flight meals. Notice the jelly sandwich cut into an airplane shape. Nothing too fancy; I wanted the kids to actually eat! Each place setting also had a logo covered water and napkin. The pilot hat was only at my daughters place setting. That's what we used for her party hat while we sang Happy Birthday.
The adults (or carry-on parents as they were refered to on the invitation) ate from the food table in front of the large orange world tapestry.
After lunch, the kids were free to do the other four continents at their own pace.
In South America, the kids used the decoration packages from their carry-on bags to decorate pre-made rain sticks. Available here.
The Africa area was a safari activity. The room had two walls with floor-to-ceiling windows and one of the walls of windows was backed by woods. We bought a set of blow up safari animals and tied them to the trees. In the carry-on bags was a pair of binoculars that the kids used to find the animals. We made up a checklist telling them all the animals that were out there. I didn't end up having any good pictures of this area, so here is the best I can offer. I just wanted you to see the zebra table cloth and grass skirt.
Next up, Asia (China). We painted a scroll with Chinese letters saying Happy Birthday. The kids used chopsticks from their bags to do this craft - scratch dragons.
Now onto my favorite continent stop - Antarctica! We made a large sign to hang overhead and put a huge map of Antarctica over a blue tarp on the ground. (I realize this picture is from the kangaroo races, but I didn't have any other picture to show the Antartica area.) When the kids came to this activity, they put on their mittens from their carry-on bags. I told them they would be doing an experiment like scientists in Antarctica. I gave them each two cups - one with a powder and the other with water. When they poured the water into the powder it changed to fake snow! It was so fun!!!! I bought the Insta-snow here. It's even cool to the touch. (Note: I will say it was VERY slippery on top of the tarp.)
Once the kids were done with all the continents, we had one more to visit - Europe. The park where we were at has lots of farm animals for visitors to see. The park ranger brought up one of the bunnies for the kids to look at and pet. Correlating the bunny to a specific continent was a bit of a stretch, but we went ahead and did it knowing the kids would love it.
Now that the kids had done all the continents and received their passport stamps, it was time for CAKE!
As guests left, they took home a decorated airplane cookie set atop a cotton candy cloud. The tag said "Thanks for flying Ella Macy Airlines".
And finally, look at that birthday girl, pilot hat and all! I think she had a great time and that is what it's all about. That smile makes all my hard work worth it.