Name: "Littlest Superhero" (3)
Location: Washington, DC
My husband and I are big believers in the power of superheros - and, specifically, of Superman, so it's no surprise that our son is, at 3, a fan. When we suggested a Superman birthday party, his eyes lit up. We knew we had to make it happen. Since it so often feels like we're trying to get our kids to move at our speed or fit into the constraints that we set (bedtimes! daycare! no tv during the week!), we wanted him and all of the guests at his party to be met where they were and for that place to be celebrated. The goal of the party was, for us, for all the kids to feel special - to feel super - and to create an environment where everyone, kids and grown-ups, could have fun and play.
The first thing we agreed to do to set that tone - we both needed to dress up as Superman. Yep. I was a 35-year-old Mom in a spandex Superman costume, greeting my friends and neighbors. After the first couple of guests arrived, I didn't even notice anymore and - actually - really enjoyed the commanding feeling you get walking around with a long cape streaming behind you.
After we agreed on costumes, we contemplated the 'activities,' which were pretty simple:
1. Turning our coffee table into a LEGO table like we see at the bookstore - - DIY-ed with IKEA fabric and velcro.
2. Butcher block paper decked out with a great skyline drawn by art teacher husband across the dining room table, serving up crayons and stickers to let the kids create a Superhero world. We had aspirations of playing 'pin the crest on the chest' with a beautiful Superman drawing my husband made but, ultimately only used it decoratively. Gathering the kids together for a picture and cupcakes felt like plenty of structure. We also had the luck of a sunny day that put the deck and our small backyard in play (literally!) too.
Our house is pretty small so we kept decorations simple - a Superman-inspired Happy Birthday banner (Etsy Shop: BananaLala), lots of red, yellow and blue streamers and helium balloons. My husband's Superman bank made a great centerpiece.
I wanted the kids to feel special from the beginning and so put a "Superhero Changing Station" on our porch where they could pick up a felt mask and wristbands in their favorite color and with their initial. They were a big hit! (Etsy Shop: BabyDear) We set up drinks in the kitchen away from little hands and put super-labels on the water to help the parents power-up (Etsy Shop: SpencervilleJunction). Adding Superman symbols to the top of the cupcakes was another fun, theme-related touch (Etsy Shop: JwCrewey).
The other (selfish?) goal that I had was that I hoped our son and his buddies, as he calls them, would remember the party for almost as long as I would. I wanted to send them home with lots of fun reminders of a great day spent playing together. I found great cloth bags that were the perfect size for a preschoolers 'treasures,' whatever they may be. They included each child's initials and a superman symbol to make them feel special (Etsy: fAverittecreations) and I filled them with homemade playdoh (red, yellow & blue in snack-size tupperware with superman stickers on the top), superman stickers, a justice-leage-inspired rubber duck, and a Superman ring. (After all, doesn't every 3 year old need a secret decoder ring?)
All in all, it was an absolutely terrific day. I know the kids had fun, but I can't imagine that they had more fun than I did planning it! :)
Thanks Liz - what fun!
(Images: reader Liz)