A Bubble Party Blowout!
For six months, our October 2008 Mom of the Month, Viki Hojnacki, collected bubble wrap. Lots and lots of bubble wrap. (Conveniently for her, her office received many well-padded shipments.) Her mission? To throw a bubble-themed party for her daughter Paisley's third birthday. Yards of packing material were just the beginning, though. "I love coming up with all the little details of a party," says Viki. Here's how she got this party hoppin' (and poppin'!).
Bubble Bottle Invitations
- You'll need one bottle of kids' bubbles for each guest. Empty the contents into a bucket or container (you'll need it later). Wash the bottles and wands. Remove the labels and then let the bottles and wands dry.
- On the computer, create an invitation with the party details. Viki's was approximately 3 by 8 inches. Print them out and trim them to size.
- Roll each invitation, scroll-style, around a wand and then place them in the bottles.
- Print mailing labels with the partygoers' addresses and stick them to the outside of the bottles. Viki added playful touches to her labels, such as "Ingredients: 100 percent fun" and "Recommended for all ages."
- Take the bottles to the post office just as they are -- no boxes or envelopes required. Each cost Viki about a dollar to mail.
Viki was literally bubbling over with quick and inexpensive decorating ideas. "I wanted the party to be simple and open-ended," she says, "so that the kids could just be kids, and we could enjoy our guests." Her ideas included:
- Bubble-wrap welcome: Viki taped the bubble wrap she had collected to the walkway that led to the party area in the backyard. She used clear packing tape to connect the sheets, then attached loops of duct tape to the back so that it stayed in place. The effect: an irresistibly noisy start to the festivities.
- Chalk greeting: Viki decorated the driveway with chalk messages ("Party this way!" "Paisley's birthday!") and drew colorful bubbles. She also left out a bucket of chalk so that guests could add their own art and well wishes.
- Bubble machine: "I bought a little inexpensive one and set it up in the backyard," says Viki. She choose Gazillion Bubbles from Funrise Toys (available at Wal-Mart and Target for approximately $20). To fill the machine, she used the bubble solution from the empty invitation bottles.
- More backyard bubbles: As an easy way to emphasize the "round" theme (and to give the kids fun stuff to play with), Viki gathered every ball and Frisbee the family owned and placed them around the yard. She also bought a disposable helium tank for some major balloon action. "It looked like there were bubbles all over the place," she says. "The kids were really excited!"
Games and Activities:
Viki repurposed three kiddie pools to ingenious effect:
- Serve up a bubble-wand buffet: Fill a pool with about four batches of homemade bubble solution (below). Place a variety of wands -- big ones, little ones, star-shaped ones, and more -- nearby so guests can dip in as they please.
- Make a megabubble station: Fill a second pool with about six batches of homemade bubble solution (below). Let the kids use a hula hoop for a wand, and voila: giant bubbles!
- Create a "bubble pit": Viki filled the third pool with bright "pit balls" (like the ones found at kids' amusement centers) that she bought at Wal-Mart. Guests didn't hesitate to jump right in!
Viki's recipe for homemade bubble solution:
1/2 cup Dawn dishwashing detergent, original formula
5 cups water
2 tablespoons glycerin
Bottles of bubbles, of course! For an added touch, Viki tied a helium balloon to each.
With Viki's help, Paisley sent cards mounted on 5- by 7-inch pieces of -- you guessed it -- leftover bubble wrap.