“I want my birthday party to be kitty-themed this year”, declared my almost-six year old daughter… “But wait – I want it with butterflies too!”. Initially I was a little daunted by this unique double-theme combination, but Ellie’s birthday parties are always my most fun and fulfilling creative project of the year, and I was determined to see how I could pull this off.
My first step was to identify the activities I could do to entertain her friends, and in an initial brainstorm I joked with my husband about bringing in some real kittens for the kids to adopt (which would probably be every kid’s dream party and every parent’s worst nightmare party!)… but it led to the idea of having a Beanie Boo “kitten adoption center”. The kids could choose their own kitty from a forest-themed display, flanked by butterflies, and then go through a number of stations to personalize and adopt their new toy.
When Ellie’s friends arrived at the party, the first thing they could do was go to the welcome station to pick out their own cat ear headband.
I ordered a good selection of cat beanie boos for the forest-like adoption center. They sat on sections of cut wood (actually taken from a friend’s tree that had to be cut down), with three central pillars covered in faux hedging.
I made the sign using cut vinyl from my Cricut and hot glued on some silk flowers.
After naming their kitty, Ellie’s friends could create their own name tag, using cheap key-tags I found at Staples. I created a selection of ribbon collars, using stick-on Velcro to fasten them, that the kids could “bling out” with stick-on crystal tape.
The next station allowed the kids to decorate a cat food bowl (AKA a paper ice cream cup) with washi tape, which they could fill with Swedish fish to feed their kitty.
The next station was my personal favorite – the “glitter box” filled with glitter confetti, three pink sparkly poops made out of modelling clay, and a shovel to clean up after their pet! This station was a huge hit, with a number of kids asking to take the poop home with them!
Finally, they could pick out some hair bows for their kitties before filling out their pet adoption certificate.
Here is a video tour of the adoption center to help bring it to life:
To pull in the butterfly theme for activities, I planned a mass butterfly release with a combination of painted lady and monarch butterflies. The kids also each got an envelope with a live butterfly inside to open up, and it was pretty magical to see their faces light up as these beautiful creatures emerged from their cool hideouts to bask in the sunshine on the kids’ hands for a while before flying off into the breeze.
Ellie picked the color theme for the party (pink, purple and white – not so unique for a 5 year old, but that’s ok!) and the decorations for the party relied heavily on artificial silk flowers, which I mostly sourced from the clearance aisle at Michaels. I took a basic metal archway and wrapped it with flower garlands, while adding some wisteria to dangle down from the top.
I also created a pink-to-white ombre artificial flower wall to display in the garden as a photo backdrop, which proved particularly popular with the live butterflies!
For the cake and dessert table, I used another flower wall as a backdrop and cut out some paper butterflies using my Cricut Maker machine to add to the scene, along with some tulle curtains to soften the look.
The three-flavored birthday cake was decorated with a fondant cat with a butterfly on its head, and edible sugar butterflies were added to additional cupcakes and desserts. Above the cake I displayed two bell jar decorations which included fake butterflies, flowers, moss and rocks.
Another focal point was a 4-foot tall Ferris wheel which I decorated with flowers and magnetic butterflies. This ferris wheel was an unexpected find at Home Goods and was originally a gray metal color, but I painted it with a white chalkboard paint and added aging wax to give it a more antique feel.
I re-used the moss marquee letters I had made for Ellie’s 5th birthday party to go above the fireplace. My Mum had the brilliant idea of having flowers and butterflies come out of the fireplace, which I thought added a cute, whimsical touch. I also displayed a birdcage that I decorated with flowers and butterflies.
After everyone jumped in the pool for a swim and had some balloons twisted for them (it’s a 6-year old birthday party after all!), guests got to take home their adopted kitty as well as their “meowgical cat ear” headbands that they had selected on arrival. As they were leaving I overheard one child say “Ellie’s parties are so magical, this is the one place where no kid could ever be sad”. Between this comment and the smiles on everyone’s faces, I was definitely a happy camper.
Thank you to Studio Carre for the beautiful photos of this event!