around the world party

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.


laurie said...

Amazing! And what I love is that you could use this theme and customize it for different ages. Everyone loves the adventure of travel.

katie@tulsadetails said...

Oh my gosh! The party was amazing!!!! The sandwiches alone were the cutest things ever. You outdid yourself. Awesome job!

Toni said...

Absolutely love all the details!! I def noticed some Amy Atlas details and so many more inspiring decorations! I just did an Around the World Party for my 2 year old on Happy Hour Mom. It's so funny seeing all of the travel items that I've been obsessing about for the past few ways. Way to go, looks like the whole event was a major hit!! I'd love to do a post on our site too!

birthday girl said...

Wow! This is adorable- what a great job you did. Thanks for sharing. :)

Amanda said...

Oh wow! What an impressive party! You have done a great job at keeping with the theme. I love all the continent stations and the boarding passes are adorable! :)

Entertain Exchange said...

Wow, this is amazing! What a great job you did.


Yolanda said...

This is a stunning and creative party idea, and you executed it so superbly. Hats off to you!

Regina said...

Wow! What an amazing party! I just stumbled across your blog and you are a very talented lady! Any chance you have ever done or have any ideas on a military style birthday party? My son turns six next month and it's crunch time to get it all done. Thanks and I'll be bookmarking your blog for sure!

Anne Powers said...

Thank you all for such wonderful compliments! The day was full of fun.

Regina - I've never done any military themed parties, but that sounds so creative! I would love to see pictures.

Suzanne Dagliere said...

Hi Annie, I finally found a quiet moment to look at your blog and all I can say is OMG!! You are absolutly sooo talented!! I can't even pick out my favorite part, I think maybe Ella's smiling face says it all!! You are the best! Suzanne

jessieasjune said...

This party is AWESOME!!! I am featuring this, and your blog, on my "How cool is that Tuesday" on May 24th, 2010 feature at A Year in the Life of June Cleaver at

ktmvd said...

I love, love, love this party! You did such an incredible job. Quick question for you -- where did you find the orange world tapestry that you used as a backdrop? I am looking for something similar but am having a hard time finding one. Thanks!

a. party style said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
a. party style said...

ktmd - I bought the world tapestry at Urban Outfitters. They have a blue/teal color available too. The area I needed to cover was quite large so I had to buy two. In my search, I also found a very affordable world shower curtain available at I couldn't use it because it was clear, but maybe that will work in your space? Hope this helps.

Lou Ann said...

Wow! This party was AMAZING!! I love the passports and the cute lunch packages!

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Shirin said...

What a wonderful party! I love the kids eating on the runway, along with so many other details! Can I ask you where you found the passports and stickers/stamps for them? Thank you for sharing your creation online!

Sandy Ang said...

Such an amazing themed party. Love all the little attention to details like the passports and attendent tags ! hope you'll come link it up to my Travel challenge here to inspire us all

Anonymous said...

that cake looks yummy!!!!!!! love the party theme !!!!!!lol

Nancy said...

very creative looks like a great party, thanks for sharing

Robin Stewart said...

AMAZING! I am a assistant troop leader and there is a National World Thinking Day for girl scouts to think of other girls in other countries and what they are doing. I seen some well thought out parties. But, I have never... If you have any templates for the passport and don't mind sharing even more than you already have.
Again, you are truly amazing.

a. party style said...

Robin, Thanks for you sweet words; you are making me blush! The passports came from Oriental Trading Company - cheap to boot. Hope this helps. And again, thanks for taking the time to comment.

Anonymous said...

Wow! Your kiddos are very lucky. Creative, so creative. I was wondering where you bought the tote bag or if you made it. I know you said you painted on the child's name. Thanks for your information.

a. party style said...

Hi Anjel - Thanks for your sweet words! I bought the bags at TJ Maxx several years ago. I walked in the door and they just happened to have a tote with a world on it. I got lucky!

Anonymous said...

I am starting a daycare with an international theme i had the idea to have a scavenger hunt and each classroom have a theme and this is perfect idea

Anonymous said...

I am doing the same theme for my 5 year old and we were going to do the Kangaroo hop as well - how did you make the ears? And the flags?

Tara O'Neill said...

I am doing this theme for my daughters 13 birthday party in November. I'm having a hard time figuring out what to do for teens and pre teens. Can you share any ideas with me...

you can email me at if you wish....

Help and Thank you

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