Lots of dancing fun with friends at this sweet and simple ballet birthday party!
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After having two boys, having a daughter to plan parties for is a lot of fun. Of course, she enjoys plenty of things with her brothers, like LEGOs and nerf guns, but she also has her own interests like babies and pretty dresses and most recently, dancing.
We decided on a ballet party before Christmas, but between having a newborn in the hospital and all the fun of Christmas, I did not do any planning until just a week before the party. Actually, the week before the party was so busy that I was resigned to having a very simple party without the usual effort that I usually enjoy putting into our birthday parties.
Thankfully, though, I had a rush of motivation and a little inspiration the day before the party. So even without the usual attention to detail and planning, the party was a lot of fun and had just enough to make it feel special and like a sweet celebration of my little girl.
Ballet Party for a Happy Fourth Birthday
I literally did nothing for the party until the day before. I just couldn’t find the motivation! But, I was able to get out and run a few errands the day before the party which helped me to get excited about setting up our home for a party. I picked up plates, tissue paper pom-poms, balloons, and a vinyl tablecloth from the dollar store.
In addition to the few items I picked up, I pulled out a few baskets and pieces of decor from our stash at home. I stayed up until 2 AM the night before baking the birthday cake and setting up for the party. Everything was a surprise to my daughter when she woke up in the morning, which definitely added to the excitement!
I commissioned some original artwork from my children to hang up for the party, too. It may not be Degas, but I love it. I hung up their dancers in the dining room on a piece of white yarn with several white balloons. The string also proved to be usual during the party when we hung up paintings to dry.
Our dining room table was covered with a pink plastic tablecloth (a must for easy clean-up after a party!). I set out a basket of craft supplies and half a dozen pink roses in the center of the table.
We had two main activities at the party, in addition to plenty of free play and a make-your-own-pizza station in the kitchen. The first activity was to paint a ballerina with a handprint tutu. It was a simple craft that only took about thirty minutes for everyone to complete. We started with this activity while guests were still arriving so the table was never overcrowded with crafters.
I put dollops of craft paint on paper plates and then thinned the paint with a little water to make handprints a little easier. I also set out our set of gel crayons, which were a perfect match for the paint because they are so bold and colorful.
An older party guest who has been taking dance for years agreed to lead the girls in a little dance class. She led them in a simple warm-up, showed them different positions, and then they all played a few games. It was very sweet to watch.
The prep for this was remarkably easy— I pushed our couch back to make more room and set out a basket of play silks. They used the play silks to dance with, to practice leaping over, and for a game of four corners where the girls would dance in the center of the room and then run to a corner when the music stopped. If their color corned was called, then they were out.
For the music, I streamed classical music using the Amazon Music app through my portable bluetooth speaker. We listened to a couple of our favorites– Vivaldi’s Four Seasons and The Nutcracker.
When possible, I like to provide food at our parties. In part because I simply enjoy feeding people, but also in part because I want people to be able to come and linger and enjoy the time together without having to worry about a meal as soon as they leave. In past parties we have had bbq sandwiches, a nacho bar, and grilled hot dogs. As much as possible, I try to have the food ready to go before the party and have it set out in a way that is easiest for people to help themselves.
Our ballet party started at 10AM and went through lunchtime. I set out a bowl of fresh fruit and a bowl of organic cheese puffs for everyone to munch on during the morning. I also set out pretzel rods dipped in white chocolate and pink sprinkles for snacking.
I debated between a few different options for the lunch and ended up going with a build-your-own-pizza bar because I had everything I needed to for it on hand already.
I multiplied my thin crust pizza dough recipe by six, and then divided up the large portion of dough into 18 pieces. This dough is really amazing because it is SO SIMPLE and can be made in about ten minutes.
For the toppings, I pulled a couple jars of marinara sauce from the freezer, cut a few vegetables, and put some shredded cheese in a bowl. I used our griddle to cook a couple chicken breasts and a few sweet Italian sausages for meat toppings.
The kids took turns at the kitchen island putting together their pizzas. Since I quickly rolled out each portion of dough on a piece of parchment paper, it only took them a few minutes to top their pizzas. I was able to cook them four at a time on our baking steel, for about 6 minutes.
After everyone finished eating, we sang and cut the cake. I made a coconut layer cake, adapted from a recipe from this cookbook, for my daughter. If I’m honest, I chose this cake largely because I’ve been wanting coconut cake, but my daughter agreed and it was enjoyed by all, so I don’t feel too guilty.
Of course there is always more that I could have done, and considering doing, like little tutus for the guests or simple tote bags as favors, but in the end, there just wasn’t time for that this year, and I’m okay with that. The most important things were covered– friends and family we love, fun games, and delicious food!
- snack food, pretzels, juice boxes, fruit, & roses were purchased at Aldi
- disposable plates, utensils, tablecloth and candle were purchased at the dollar store
- play silks from Amazon (we seriously love these things)
- gel crayons from Amazon
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Mary B says
I’m super impressed with the fantastic party you pulled together at the last minute. Your very talented. Especially with a newborn and all the other kids to take care of. Well done! My daughter will turn 4 on the 22nd of this month!
Thank you! I’m glad it all came together at the end. Happy birthday to your daughter too!
Sharon Smith says
Happy Birthday to your Daughter.!
Many many happy returns of the day! Your Daughter is so cute. Love her ???