Did anyone hear there was a royal wedding yesterday? Well it just so happens that it was (equally importantly) Maddie's sixth birthday party as well. She chose a Wellie Wishers themed tea party and started planning it pretty much the day after her fifth birthday party. I was terrified to agree to a party at home; traditionally we've gone to plays with a very small group of friends, but I finally agreed if she promised to keep it to six friends.
Have you heard of the Wellie Wishers? They are a very sweet American Girl collection focused on friendship and nature. We've been enjoying reading the books and Maddie has acquired almost the full set of dolls thanks to saving her pennies and generous family gifts. When she requested a Wellie Wishers themed tea party, I knew it had to be in the garden and include crafts, dress up, and nature play. We had the benefit of time as she started discussing her ideal party a full year ago, allowing us to pick up pieces we thought would work with the theme as we found good deals. Even so, the bulk of the planning took place in the past month. I love taking a theme and running with it and this was a fun one to pull off!
Maddie had the idea of stations set up throughout the yard, so we discussed different activities that could take place at each one and realized we ended up with five — the same number of Wellie Wishers! We named each station after one of the dolls — Camille's Painted Birdhouses, Kendall's Flower Crowns, Willa's Tea Party, Ashlyn's Bingo Game, and Emerson's Dress Up Parade. As party guests arrived, they played in the playhouse and colored these wellie printables available as a free download from American Girl.
We found inexpensive birdhouses at Michaels and purchased an acrylic paint (fast-drying and washable!) color to represent each doll. The party was two hours long, so we hit this station first, giving the birdhouses time to dry before going home.
Next the girls moved to the flower crown station. We used kits made by American Girl that had all the materials for each child to make a flower crown for herself and the doll. This activity required a bit of parent participation, but they got the hang of it fairly quickly. Most girls decided to not make the flower crown as full as the box directions suggested, so we had lots of leftover materials (you would need to pick up some extra elastic if you want to stretch the kit materials out).
The tea party! Undoubtedly the cutest and sweetest part of the whole party, and looking over the photos melt my heart. We found this mismatched floral china at the resale shop connected to our local library. They happened to be having an amazing sale the week we wandered in so we scored all the tea cups, saucers, platter, and tea pot for $15!! The floral plate set and tablecloth were Goodwill finds - we had a lucky scavenger day! We picked up two dozen pink roses from Costco and displayed them in a cheery yellow watering can we already had on hand.
The girls were adorable snacking and sipping tea with fine china. A flower cookie cutter made peanut butter and jelly sandwiches fancy and we snuck in some vegetables before the cupcakes came out. We held a family tea tasting party the week before the party and my kids decided on Trader Joe's Berries and Cherries herbal tea which I brewed extra strong for flavor before refrigerating.
After lunch the girls moved over to the lounge area for a wild game of bingo. I created these bingo cards using a free bingo generator I found online (I unfortunately can't remember which one I used but there are a bunch available) and different Wellie Wisher images. The girls had so much fun they played quite a few games and I was unprepared by not having extra bingo cards at the ready! The game gave me enough time to clear the food off the table and wipe down the platter to display the cupcakes. Now we were ready for the yummiest part!
A local market provided the cupcakes and the birthday girl picked out lemon cake with white buttercream frosting, sprinkles, and these cute butterfly toppers which were actually rings. Maddie really wanted to include a wishing ceremony — her idea was to have each chid write a wish and bury it with flower seeds in a pot full of dirt. When the flower bloomed, the wish would come true! As adorable as this ceremony sounded, I reminded her that candles burn quickly and kindergarteners don't tend to write fast. We decided instead to ask each guest to make two wishes in her heart, one for herself and one for Maddie, before the candle was blown out.
Once everyone was full of sugar it was time to run it off! We placed a bunch of dress up clothes in a basket next to our Wellie Wishers tent and the party guests changed before parading through the yard. They kept swapping costumes and creating games — many of the party guests commented that this was their favorite part of the party!
We all had fun and my favorite part is when Maddie threw her arms around my neck and thanked me for throwing her this party! It was a perfect Wellie Wisher day - full of friendship, laughter and fun!
Are you planning a Wellie Wisher themed party? I'd love to hear about it!