Friday, October 11, 2013

Throwing a Dora Sing-a-Long Birthday Party - FAIL and WIN

Chiquita loves Dora so when I asked what kind of party she wanted this year a Dora Sing Along party was the obvious choice!  Based on a recent special episode called "Dora Rocks" it involved lots of... you guessed it... singing!

Let's get my one epic FAIL out of the way.

I wanted to make microphone cupcakes for all the kids.  I found lots of inspiration and decided to bake cupcakes inside ice cream cones the morning of the party so they'd be fresh.  Great treat to go with the theme, right?

Well, I overfilled the cones on the first batch so they oozed right out all over the oven, destroying the cones as they went.  Still baked ok, and pooled into the muffin tins I'd placed them in to cook, so they was plenty of edible cake, just not in any edible/cute form.

So for the surviving ice cream cones I made mini cupcakes baked in regular liners and just stuffed the base of the cones with disaster cake.  I only ended up with about a dozen decent microphones and since we'd invited more than a dozen kids I needed a plan B!

Hubby to the rescue!

Even though he was at work, my husband sent someone to a local Mexican bakery to get a Dora cake that could be picked up in time for the party.  I'm not sure if it was a win or fail that it ended up being a FULL sheet cake of tres leches cake (we're talking about almost 4 square feet of very heavy and runny goodness).  Our party goers didn't even eat 1/4 of this cake, including the platefuls we sent home with them.  Shout out to the pastelerias (latino bakeries) of the U.S.!    Tus pasteles son los mejores! 

Beside the cake drama the party went well.  Here's an outline of our activities:
  • Dora Rocks Coloring Pages. I printed off a few copies of this coloring pack from and put out cups of crayons.  As kids came they had some chill coloring time while getting comfortable.  Time: about 15 minutes
  • Free play!  Running around the yard and trampoline time as they got bored of coloring.  Time: 10 - 20 minutes.
  • Cake!  And drinks and a veggie plate.  Everyone wanted cake and I see no reason to wait until the end.  This also helped get more or the ginormous cake eaten.  *Bonus for the parents* the kids had some time to run off the sugar before they went home.  I knew they would be wild at the party with or without it.  Time: 20 minutes

  • Pin the Tail on Swiper.  This was a great game for our wide age range of guests (2 to 7 yrs old) and almost all the kids were excited to play.  I marked all their tries, but we didn't make it competitive. Time: 10 minutes
  • Karaoke.  We didn't actually do karaoke since most of our crown doesn't read, but I had a dvd of Dora songs on during cake and Pin the Tail on Swiper so they could rock out.  Chiquita loves to dance!!  Time: n/a
  • Pinata!  Even though we got a Dora pinata with pull strings we still let each of the kids take a few whacks with a stick.  Part of the excitement of a pinata is the fear of being hit, right?  After Dora was decapitated without any candy actually coming out we did use the pull strings.  I had little paper bags for all the kids to put their pinata loot in.  This had several benefits: Parents could ration the treats a little ("Look how much you have! Give some to your little sister!") and they could put them out of sight so they didn't eat all the candy right then.  Time: 15 minutes
  • Presents.  I was proud of Chiquita for how genuinely happy and grateful she was for each gift.  I made sure each child got to hand her their gift since kids really like giving gifts almost as much as getting them.  Time: 15 minutes.
  • More free play!  Things got a little rougher here at the end.  There were fewer kids, but they were very hyper.  I wish I'd had some toys ready to pull out for this time or maybe one more activity.  Time: 20 - 30 minutes.
We sent each kid home with a few little toys in a reusable Dora cup!  All the free play time also meant that I had time to get most of the party cleaned up (with a little help from another mom!) before it was actually over.  The main after-party challenge was figuring out how to store the 3/4 of a sheet cake (in smaller chunks so they could actually fit in the fridge and freezer).

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