Last week one of our little gardeners turned 5 years of age. We celebrated the big event with two small garden themed parties! We decided on two parties, as we feel smaller groups offer more learning and interaction for party goers. Check out our previous post for all the fun gardening party preparations. The parties were held two days in a row. The first one was 4 and 5 year old girls. The second was co-ed 4 and 5 year olds. And of course a few younger siblings attended both parties.
Once all our guests arrived we put on our gardening aprons (that were part of the party favors) and headed outside! We first talked about the garden and tried to name the things we could see, eat, smell, etc. We also investigated the compost bins and what was inside. Then we started picking!
Our garden had enough produce at the time for everyone to pick one or two things. So at both parties we picked onions, radishes and carrots. I loved seeing the kids’ faces when I pulled up the first carrot! At the first party we ate lettuce leaves right off the plant. One child did it with me, one licked it and we all laughed.
At the second party we had more time to play in the garden, so we had the children plant okra seeds. I chose okra seeds because they are dark in color and a good size for the children’s small hands. It is also something that if by chance sprouted, it would be in season. They were able to plant more than one seed, which I think they enjoyed. One or two wouldn’t have been enough. They enjoyed digging the holes much as they did planting and covering them up. Of course we got out a huge watering can and took turns watering the seeds.
We also had time for each child to harvest a lettuce head. The children snapped off the roots and threw them in the compost bin. At the end of the party I sent the heads of lettuce home with the parents. I loved how each kid was so proud they had pulled it right out of the ground and given it to their parents to take home.
Other fun backyard activities were the bean bag toss game, the sandbox and the bounce house. The bean bag toss was a big hit at the second party. Winners took home colorful packs of tomato, pepper and onion seeds. The sandbox was a big hit with the younger children. We hid toy butterflies in it for them to dig and find.
After all the gardening and outdoor fun, the kids had worked up an appetite. At the first party we headed inside for drinks and healthy snacks. Afterwards, instead of cake or cupcakes, we all sat down and made mud pudding! Each child got a “flowering pot” or small clear green bowl. They scooped mud (chocolate pudding), dirt (crushed chocolate cookies) and worms (gummy) into their flowering pot. Each child was then given a sprig of fresh cut pineapple mint to stick into their mud creation. Of course I had a bite of the mint to show the girls that it was yummy. They all giggled and started in on the yummy mud.
At the second party we opted for a sunflower cupcake. I totally took the idea from Martha Stewart Living Special Gardening Issue, March 2011. We made cupcakes & decorated them with plain orange and yellow icing. We placed a bowl of dark colored fruit (blueberries, blackberries, grapes) on a table and then surrounded it with the cupcakes. We added a stem and some leaves to finish it off.
I know by my daughter’s actions that she had a wonderful time at each party. Each offered a different chance to learn about the outdoors with her friends. Though gifts were discouraged, we did receive them (and are thankful). Some gave thought to our garden theme and we had to include them in this post…
Handmade Childs Gardening Apron that was embroidered with the birthday girl’s name. The gift included gardening tools, matching gloves, a hand painted watering can and even a ladybug knee pad. Awesome!
An outdoor memory book was given with markers, stickers and other scrapbooking supplies. It is designed to help record outdoor adventures. We will use it to describe what we see, hear and smell. There are places for us to tuck nature treasures into keepsake pockets. It even has an easel on the back cover, where you can stand it up to display your photos and work. We will really enjoy this book in the coming months!
We are almost done writing all our thank you cards. And as I look back at the parties I have to smile. I didn’t have much time to take pictures but I really enjoyed working with all the kids in the garden. One child at each party enjoyed the garden more than the others. They asked a million questions and even stayed at the garden after all the kids had left. I may never get another request for a garden themed birthday but if I do I will be thrilled.
Happy Gardening… and LOOK the children’s okra seed sprouts are already sprouting!!!!!!