Dr. Seuss books inspire party theme for young children
For many of us, Dr. Seuss and his world of Whos, Bar-ba-loots and Things taught us not only to read, but to love reading. The National Education Association even celebrates his birthday as Read Across America Day.
As a result, the Seuss world makes the perfect backdrop for a young child's birthday party. If the child has a favorite story, the party can feature that book's color scheme and characters. For the one-year-old these party ideas were designed for, "The Cat in the Hat," "Green Eggs and Ham," "The Lorax" and "Horton Hears a Who" provided inspiration.
In "The Cat and the Hat," the Cat introduces the kids to a game called Up-Up-Up in which he hopes up and down on a ball while holding a variety of objects, including a cake. The drawing of the Cat doing this game works perfectly as the image for an invitation.
Design the invitation to look like the inside of the book, and place the scanned image on the right side. On the left side, rewrite the text that introduces the game to invite kids to the party:
"I know some good games we could play,"
Said the Cat.
"All to celebrate (child's name) big day,"
Said the Cat in the Hat.
Then, supply the party information, including date, time, location and RSVP.
Note: Since my child was turning one, and the cake had three candles, I carefully erased two of the candles using the Paint application provided on computers.
Decorations for a general Seuss party can be red and blue. Use a blue tablecloth so red (or red and white striped, like I found at Michael's) plates, napkins and cups really stand out.
The decorations don't have to stick to the typical balloons, tableware and streamers. If the birthday child has siblings, make them Thing 1 and Thing 2 t-shirts to wear. Simply get red t-shirts, white t-shirt paint and black t-shirt paint at a craft store. First, paint a large white circle on the chest of each shirt. (You may need to do two coats of paint.) Once the white paint is dry, paint a black outline. Then, paint either "THING 1" or "THING 2" inside the circle.
"...we can have lots of good fun that is funny!"
- "The Cat in the Hat"
The Cat is the master of fun and games, and Dr. Seuss' works have great inspirations for games. Here are a few we tested:
Rhyme Time- This game is the Hot Potato of rhyming. The game leader starts the game with a word, like "cat," and kids go around the circle providing words that rhyme. Depending on the age level, kids can be eliminated when they are the first person who cannot think of a rhyming word. Once a rhyming word cannot be found, a new word can be suggested for players to find rhymes for. For our party, we didn't eliminate, and the kids enjoyed it so much, they could have have played it the entire party.
Horton Hears a What?- This game was inspired by "Horton Hears a Who." Children shake jars filled with items they'd recognize, and try to figure out what's inside. Baby food jars work best for small hands, but jars can be as big as pasta sauce jars. To conceal what's inside, decoupage tissue paper around the outside of the jar or cover it with duct tape. Ideas for items to fill the jars include change, crayons, small toys or pasta.
Pin the Hat on the Cat- This is played just like Pin the Tail on the Donkey, only the Cat's famous hat is missing! Parents can draw the hatless Cat on poster board, or photocopy and enlarge an image of him without the hat for the game. Hat cutouts are available at stores like Michael's around Dr. Seuss' birthday (late February/early March), can be purchased online, or can even be made at home.
Other ideas include a stacking game, a relay race (in which each child gets an item to hold and passes the item off to the next child so the last child has many items to hold- like the Cat), Go Fish, and Hop on Pop (in which children try to pop balloons).
"Try them! Try them!
And you may.
Try them and you may, I say."
- "Green Eggs and Ham"
It pretty much isn't a Seuss party without some form of green eggs and ham. For our party, we had deviled eggs with filling dyed green and bacon.
For drinks, we had Truffula Tree Juice, which was homemade limeade (with a drop of green food coloring) served with a yellow-striped straw with a puff of cotton candy on top. Children were told to turn the straw upside down and mix the cotton candy in the drink. The kids love the color change and extra shot of sugar the cotton candy provides.
The easiest cake to make for a Seuss party is Thing 1 and Thing 2 cupcakes. Just use red cupcake liners, white cake mix and dye the frosting blue. Using a star tip, pipe blue frosting spikes on top to create the Thing hair. The best part is it doesn't matter if it's perfect since the Things' hair (like their personalities) was a little wild.
Pinterest also has a variety of food ideas that alternate the red and white colors to mimic the Cat's hat. A candy bar at Seuss party would not be complete without Swedish Fish (for "One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish"), Teddy Grahams (for the Bar-ba-loots in "The Lorax") and spiral lollipops (for "Oh, the Places You'll Go").
Since my child's birthday is in March, I thought I'd be able to find a plethora of Seuss items for favors in stores, thanks to the popularity of Read Across America. But, it snowed. A lot.
I didn't get to shop until the second week of March. Figuring I'd probably have to shop online if I wanted anything Seuss-specific, I asked the cashier at my closest Michael's if they still had any Seuss items. She found a co-worker who cheerfully walked me directly to their amazing supply of Seuss items- bookmarks, stickers, pencils, the hat cut-outs, and many items meant to decorate classrooms.
For those of you not as fortunate as I was, Seuss items can be found for purchase from various sources online, and other, more generic items, can easily be found to fit with the theme. Ideas include:
- Swedish Fish
- Teddy Grahams
- Flower seeds (try to find allium or zinnia for a Seuss look)
To hold the goodies, red bags work well with the Seuss theme.
Other Party Ideas:
- Penguin theme party makes little feet happy
Children who love penguins will love these ideas for a penguin-themed party.
- Build a Lego theme party for a kid's birthday
The popularity of the classic Lego building blocks makes it a great idea for a birthday theme for both boys and girls to enjoy.
- Game-inspired party theme sends kids to Candy Land
Kids can visit a life-size Candy Land with a birthday party idea based on the board game.
- Truffula Tree Juice Recipe
Truffula trees are featured in Dr. Seuss' book "The Lorax." This recipe is great for kids' parties or Read Across America events.
- Easy hat crafts honor Dr. Seuss
Some schools may let kids wear hats that are crazy or show their love of Dr. Seuss books for Read Across America Day. There are probably supplies already at home to easily make a hat from scratch.