Party Theme: Farmyard Chicks and Ducks
It was Thursday night. The family was coming over on Saturday to celebrate my daughter's 2nd birthday. I had been busy with work and hadn't come up with a theme for her party. She liked everything, so that wasn't much of a help. I was aimlessly searching the internet looking for inspiration.
Along comes my little girl, clucking like a chicken. (I don't know why. I have long since stopped asking questions like that, and just go with the flow.) "Come here my little chick-a-dee," I called to her. She hopped over to me and crawled onto my lap. Ahhh! Here was inspiration at last.
I am not a baker. I admire those who can make a cake from scratch, but I am a cake-box queen. Please use whatever kind of cake you like, but a denser cake works better when creating cake sculptures.
Easy Buttercream Icing
- 1 cup unsalted butter, softened but not melted
- 3 cups confectioners sugar
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract (or other flavoring or your choice)
- About 4 tablespoons of milk
Beat the butter on low speed until creamy. Add the sugar. Increase speed to medium and add the extract. Add the milk 1 tablespoon at a time until you get the desired consistency. Add the coloring of your choice.
I find the best ideas come from seeing what other people have done. I did a google search for "chick cake" and looked through the images. There are a lot of great ideas out there, many by people with far more talent than I have. I found just what I wanted on a site called "Creative Baby Shower ideas." There was the most adorable baby duck cake, and I was going to make it for the party.
For the body of the chick, I used a small metal mixing bowl. That gave me the flat bottom to place the cake on the dish, and a flat top to place the head on. For the head I used a Wilton Sports Ball pan set.
To make the cracked shell, I lined the inside of the metal mixing bowl with plastic wrap. I then melted white chocolate and coated the inside of the metal mixing bowl with the chocolate. I put it in the refrigerator to set, and then repeated the step, because I wanted the shell to be a little thicker.
For the eyes, I melted white chocolate onto wax paper in the shape of the eyes. When they were hardened, I drew on the black part of the eyes with some food coloring.
For the beak and the feet I used candy orange slices. The beak is two orange slices with no alteration. The feet are 4 orange slices rolled thin between two pieces of wax paper, and then cut to look like a duck's webbed foot.
Assembly was fairly easy. I placed the cake that was made in the mixing bowl on a plate so that the wider part was on the plate. I covered it with yellow colored icing. I placed several toothpicks on the top, and then placed the head on top of the toothpicks. The head was covered with the yellow frosting. I positioned the eyes, beak, and feet and pressed them into the icing. You may need to use more toothpicks to secure the beak and eyes. I peeledl the plastic wrap off the white chocolate shell and broke pieces off to place around the base of the case. I kept enough of the center intact to place on the little duck's head.
Favorite Recipe Sites
Cake is fine, but the theme should extend to the food as well. The food doesn't have to be cooked any special way, as long as you give it a thematic name. I do try to pick food items that go with the theme, but I don't go crazy making my chicken nuggets look like actual little chickens. Here are some ideas for a delicious menu to go with the party.
- Chicken Feed (Chex Mix with candy corn)
- Haystack (pretzels)
- Chicken Drumsticks and wings
- Pigs in the Blanket
- Deviled Eggs (Farm Fresh Eggs)
- Veggie Platter (Garden Stand)
- Potato Salad
- Hoedown Corncakes
- Moo Bar (Chocolate milk, coffee, tee)
- Sunshine Tea
- Present in buckets, rectangle "troughs", with presentation cards
- Red and White Tablecloth
Which animal is your favorite?
Almost any game can be renamed and modified to fit any theme. But with the Farmyard theme, there are already ready-made games that need no alteration. For family parties, or multiage parties, it is fun to play the game multiple times, but have the players grouped by age. A little tweaking of the rules can make the game more challenging for adults. Here are nine party activities to choose from. But don't stop there...Share your ideas by adding to the list.
- Pin the Tail on the Donkey - a timeless classic. This affordable game (less than $5) is available in most stores that have party supplies. The masks that come with the games are often useless, so have a bandana available to cover the player's eyes. We don't have the real little ones spin around when they are blindfolded, but we do spin the older players. Just make certain the floor is clear so no one trips.
- Egg Spoon Game - Plastic spoons and plastic eggs are all you need for this game. Players race each other, holding a spoon that is balancing the egg. If the egg drops, that player has to go back to the beginning. For older players, you can use real eggs, but you would probably want to play the games outside.
- Barnyard Tag - One child is the farmer. One child is the fox. The other children are farm animals. The farmer has to capture the farm animals that are running loose and bring them back to the farmyard. But watch out for the fox who may set them free. When all the animals are corralled, (with or without the fox), the farmer gets to choose a new farmer and fox.
- Ducks and Cows - Have everyone gather into a circle and close their eyes. One person goes around tapping them on the shoulder and telling them they are either a duck or a cow. On a given signal, everyone has to find the other members of their duck or cow team. They have to keep their eyes closed, and find each other by "mooing" or "quacking." This is a good game for the older kids in the group.
- Duck, Duck, Goose - Everyone sits in a circle. The person who is "it" walks around the outside of the circle, tapping each person and saying "Duck." When they come to a person they want to race, they tap the person and say "Goose." The two run around the circle trying to be the first to sit in the recently vacated spot. Whoever is left standing is the next "it."
- Duck Walk Race - Ready - Squat - Go - Players race each other while waddling like ducks. If you lose your balance you go back to the beginning.
- Old McDonald Farm Hunt - Hide toy farm animals. Sing Old McDonald. Whatever animal is featured, is the animal the players need to find. You can hide multiple animals, but let the players know. (Ex There are 3 cows.) Whoever has the most animals at the end wins.
- Sheep Herding - Blow up a bunch of white balloons. Using a black marker, draw features on them to look like sheep. Set up two goals across from each other. Players use brooms to herd the sheep into their goals. The team with the most sheep wins. (Add a fan to make the game even more challenging.)
- Butter Churning - This activity is not a game, but it is a great learning activity. Give each person a small, disposable food storage container. I like to use the Glad Mini Rounds. Fill each container halfway with heavy cream. Then each person shakes their container. The heavy cream will turn into whip cream. Keep shaking. The heavy cream will separate into buttermilk and butter. Pour off the liquid and spread the butter on some crackers. Mmmm... Fresh from the farm.
Old MacDonald Had a Farm (by FoxPail)
There are so many options available for this theme. Look around and draw inspiration from what you see in magazines, on television, and on the internet. Even your littlest darling can bring you ideas that can lead to a great party.