Saturday, August 1, 2015

Celebrate Your Summer Birthday with Oriental Trading!

We received free product to facilitate this review. No other compensation was received. 
All opinions expressed are our own.

I am pleased to say that just last month we pulled off our very first "friend birthday party" right here in our own backyard. It's taken me a couple of weeks to recuperate, but I really need to tell you about one of my new party-planning best friends... Oriental Trading! Oriental Trading had everything we needed to pull off the most amazingly fun summer birthday party!

Summer Birthday Party with Oriental Trading

When a couple of months ago my preschooler declared that she was having a "friend birthday" this year, I basically froze in panic. She was turning five and had attended several of her friends' "friend birthdays" and quickly realized that they were way more exciting than our little family parties. I knew the day would come - and now it was here - and I'll admit that I had many mixed feelings about it! Most of the parties we've been to have been at big establishments with grandiose fun, often in the form of inflatable jumping equipment. I wasn't too keen on the price tag of hosting that type of party. My daughter also broke her arm twice within a six week period at the beginning of the summer, was still in a cast (waterproof, thankfully), and so safe, low-key activities were a must. We quickly began brainstorming and scouring the internet for ideas of what we could do for fun at home to celebrate a super exciting 5-year-old birthday party!

I love planning parties but wasn't quite sure where to begin when she gave me a guest list of over 20 friends! They certainly weren't going to be running through my house, that's for sure! We agreed to plan a pool party and prayed for sunshine, low humidity, and no rain on this special Saturday in July.

My daughter is fairly particular, so the menu was set in stone pretty immediately to include things like fresh fruits and veggies, chips and dip, crackers and cheese, brownies, and rainbow cupcakes. We decided to stick with water to drink to simplify things. I figured with that menu, I could easily have enough for both kids and parents (hooray!).

We planned to fill the yard with small pools, sprinklers, and other outdoor toys.

The search was on for party favors and party supplies... and wouldn't it be cool if the favors could double as the party fun instead of being an afterthought that we hand out at the end? Party favors sprinkled throughout the party so that the kids cleaned up for us as they left... a win-win for everyone!

If you haven't visited Oriental Trading's website before, you need to! It's very easy to navigate by theme, occasion, or product type. With lots of fun, creative, and colorful items to choose from, I knew we were in the right place! My daughter and I spent some time exploring all the options and here are some things we decided on.

Let me first tell you that the Assorted Colorful Plastic Bags we got were a steal. We wanted plastic because we knew things would be used during the party and would be wet when we packed them up at the end. These bags came in a pack of 50 for $4.99! Thankfully we didn't have 50 kids here, so these will last me through the next couple of years for sure. The quality was great, the colors were vibrant, and the size was perfect to fit all our goodies.

Like I mentioned above, we didn't want to hand out pre-filled bags at the end of the party. Instead, we used the items during the party and then at the end, each child chose a bag color and then filled their own bag with the items above. We did save the Rainbow Folding Fans until the end, rather than having them out with everything else. My daughter insisted on including these fans in the goodie bags because they certainly look super great, but I knew that since they were made of paper, they would likely rip easily and were better saved for the car ride home! It was a good choice on my part because several ripped prior to our guests leaving the yard. Thankfully, rips are fixed easily with some tape and the fans still work. Little hands can be reckless and although these look so cool, they are probably better saved for big kids or grown-ups. I knew this in advance so wasn't disappointed!

When the children arrived, each chose their own water bottle and labeled it with a permanent marker. I washed and filled them and threw them in a cooler with ice, so they'd be nice and cold and ready to go! The kids were able to use them throughout the party to keep hydrated and there were no certainly complaints about lack of drink options when they saw these cool treats! Oriental Trading had several different water bottle options but we chose the Hibiscus Print Water Bottles for our party. The kids loved these and several of them have continued to use theirs to bring their water back and forth to camp this summer!

We stocked up on water squirting toys and my daughter's request was that we fill the pools with them so that when the children arrived they could just start playing with them and then choose some to take home at the end. Perfect idea, right?! She's a pretty smart party planner for 5 years old! Oriental Trading had lots of different themed squirters to choose from. My daughter loves classic rubber duckies and ladybugs so she quickly, and not surprisingly, chose the Rubber Ducky Squirts and the Ladybug Squirts. As with most of Oriental Trading's party favors, these are sold in sets of a dozen. They looked great floating in our pools and the kids had a blast playing with them!

Because we knew that there might be time when children didn't want to play in the water, we wanted to have some options for outdoor fun that didn't include getting wet! 

Everyone loves bubbles so we knew we needed to have those on our list. Again, there are so many options to choose from on the Oriental Trading website but my daughter was immediately sold on these ones that smell like lemonade! I am always skeptical when I buy bubbles because I feel like they only work about the half the time so I was hopeful but not convinced that we'd get any actual bubbles out of these containers... never mind my skepticism about whether they would actually smell like lemonade. And don't even get me started on how risky it is to have bubbles shipped to you instead of buying them in the store! I was convinced I'd get a box soggy with bubble solution! Well, I was pleasantly surprised in every possible way! These Lemonade-Scented Bubble Bottles from Oriental Trading smell like lemonade, make great bubbles, and come tightly sealed so that there was no bubble solution leakage during shipment at all! Score! We set these in a bowl in the yard during the party so that anyone could use them at any time.

We also set out a bowl of these super cute Mini Rainbow Flying Discs and they were a huge hit with everyone. Fun and colorful little frisbees - the perfect size for preschooler hands that haven't quite perfected the frisbee technique!

We knew we wanted beach balls at our party - because who has a pool party without beach balls?! Again, lots and lots of options to choose from, but my daughter loved the look of these Inflatable Color Your Own Flip Flop Beach Balls! She knew that her friends would love decorating these as an activity during the party. She was totally right! They had such a blast coloring these balls with permanent markers and then playing with them in the pools. 

Anyone playing in the sun needs sunglasses! Again, another item with many options from Oriental Trading. We loved these colorful Kids' Summer Fun Icon Sunglasses! They matched our pool party theme perfectly! We handed them out to our guests when they arrived. They were the perfect fit for these preschoolers and a really fun treat for them to enjoy during the party and take home with them.

Super fun stuff right? The kids loved gathering everything up and filling their bags themselves before they left so they could continue the fun at their own homes.

Now, you've seen all the fun toys - and Oriental Trading really has so many to choose from. But they also have great paper products to add some extra fun to the eating time of your party! My daughter chose some Glitzy Chicks themed items because she felt like they encompassed all of her favorite things like sunshine, stars, butterflies, flowers, hearts, colors, and sparkle! They were the perfect fit! We chose Luncheon Napkins, Square Dinner Plates, Square Dessert Plates, and Baking Cups with Picks for our rainbow cupcakes. They were so colorful and fun and really were a great addition to our party!

photo courtesy of my sweet friend, Sheila!

We truly had such a great summer birthday party with the help of Oriental Trading, and honestly, now that we've done it once, we'll do it every year without even thinking twice! It was such a fun and relaxing time for the kids and the parents. Great weather + great friends + great party supplies made for the most perfect and memorable day!

Oriental Trading has a great variety of products and great prices to go along with them. If you're planning a party this summer, check out all they have to offer - I'm sure you won't be disappointed! We are already looking forward to our next party with Oriental Trading!

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