Our youngest son recently turned one! We had a small party for him at home and invited a few family friends to celebrate. My 5-year-old and I brainstormed possible birthday themes — what did his baby brother like best? Cheerios (by the fistful). Pancakes (to my dismay, he’d eat just pancakes everyday, three times a day and nothing else, if he could). And destroying all Lego and Magnatile creations made by his big brother (I’m sure there’s a party theme in there somewhere…). Then, our a-ha moment – a brown bear party! His brown bear lovey is his favorite thing, his most cherished buddy he snuggles with all day long.
Here are a few simple ideas I put together for his birthday:
We turned paper bags into brown bears, with some crayons and construction paper, to hold party favors for each family. We gave each family a copy of this book (there is such a simple sweetness to all the stories in the Little Bear collection that make them perfect for bedtime reading) along with some mini bags of gummy bears. I love giving books as little kids’ party favors (along with candy or a yummy treat); you can usually get paperback copies of early reader stories that go with just about any party theme for $2-4 each.
To make the bags, get dark brown paper bags and construction paper in a matching color. Cut out little semicircles for ears and glue the bottom edge of each ear to the inside of the front of the bag. Using a lighter shade of brown paper, cut out circles (they look better when they’re imperfect), and glue those to the center of each bag. Use a black crayon to draw the eyes, nose and mouth. This is an easy craft that an older child will enjoy helping with.
We made our own “Brown Bear Munchie Mix.” This is super easy to make ahead of time with kids. Get a big bowl and mix up the following bear-themed snacks:
- chocolate bear cookies
- freeze-dried strawberries and blueberries
- honeycomb-shaped cereal
- mini pretzel nuggets
Scoop the munchie mix into small cellophane bags to give to each child. We made labels for the treats by stamping onto leftover squares of brown construction paper and sticking them onto the bags with double-sided tape.
For drinks, the kids had chocolate milk and apple cider in plastic bear containers. You can buy a box of these unlabeled BPA-free bear bottles (typically used for packaging honey) online. They come with flip-top lids with a small hole just big enough for a standard plastic straw. (IKEA straws fit perfectly; note that paper party straws will not fit). The kids were excited to take their bear bottles home with them. (FYI: as a super-easy party favor you could also just fill these cute containers with gummy bears!)
I couldn’t help adding some bear ears to the kids’ lunch plates, too. To make these, just cut out ears from brown construction paper and glue them under the edge of these brown plates).
We had so much fun celebrating with friends. Can’t believe our sweet baby bear is already 1!