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A DIY Sensory & Science-Themed Toddler Birthday Party!

Wyndham turned 4 last week, and I haven’t really written about it all that much. No long letter, no sentimental ruminations. It’s not that I don’t have them; it’s just that I’ve been too busy organizing a kick-butt birthday party for he and his kindergarten classmates.

It’s his first school-age birthday party. Because his favorite TV show at the moment is Magic School Bus, of which we whole-heartedly approve, I knew it would make a great theme. A quick jaunt on Google proved my theory right, with tons of ideas on the Scholastic website itself.

Once I saw their sensory-themed party kit, a little seed planted itself in my brain, and it wasn’t long before I curated a selection of some of our favorite sensory and preschool-appropriate science-style activities, experiments and games to play at the party! Needless to say, things got messy, but word on the street is that Wyndham’s party is the talk of the playground and kindergarten classroom.

I win at birthdays.

One might say I go a little overboard with the birthday party action, and perhaps even go so far as to surmise that I must have oodles of spare time on my hands to pull together such a theme with matching invites, cupcakes, loot bags and games. To all of this I say, yes indeed I spent much of my ‘spare’ time (when I should be sleeping) putting things together for this party. Aside from my hobbyist nature when it comes to my natural flair for crafting and cooking; the biggest reason that I throw somewhat lavish parties for my kids (and will continue to so), is for the magic. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, as chief resident memory maker for my kids, this is their time. This is my time to make their world a wonder, wherein they are celebrated and given as much magic and joy I can foster for them.

I wasn’t alone in my quest anyway. Wyndham’s dad was only too happy to assist. Over the years, if there is one thing that I’ve learned about having birthday parties for kids it is that organization and time management are key. Given that I have a thing for the ornate in this regard, as long as I start crafting things and creating menus a couple of weeks in advance, I’m golden.

If I wait until the last minute, I’m doomed, and all of the fun (for me), is lost. I’ve got to say that the sensory/science theme will probably be one of my all-time favorites. The kids truly had an awesome time. It didn’t even involve loading them up on junk — but there were cupcakes involved (of the sugar-free variety, of course)! Don’t hate.

Feel free to snafoo this theme and play around with it for your own toddler birthday party. We had so much fun with it!

  • a ‘Sense’-Sensational Magic School Bus Party! 1 of 11
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    Click through for some great ideas to create your own!

  • All-Hail Stickers 2 of 11
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    Toddlers aren't the only ones who love stickers! We printed out sheets of the Magic School Bus logo and characters from the show/book onto sticker sheets to make the cupcake toppers, loot bags, and to decorate the science journals (in the goodie bag). The rest just went in the giveaway loot bags that Wyndham gifted to each of his guests as they were leaving.

     

    Each loot bag had a magnifying glass, colouring sheets, a sticky hand, silly putty, glow-in-the-dark slime, a petri dish, a mini-dropper, an expanding bug, 'science' journal, stickers, mini bubbles and a school bus. I purchased most items from the dollar store!

  • The Spread 3 of 11
    02-7

    Kids are easy to please. We made plain cheese and Hawaiian pizzas, cut 2 or 3 bite strips, cranberry apple juice split with filtered water, and a big spread of fresh fruit with vanilla greek yogurt dip. I made dark chocolate spelt cupcakes (sweetened with honey) and whipped cream cheese frosting sweetened with a bit of  maple syrup, and topped with some gold sprinkles. I found napkins and paper straws that complemented the color scheme in the discount aisle at Home Sense. 

  • Sensory Table 4 of 11
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    Using plastic table cloths from the dollar store, we covered our harvest table and the carpet with a couple of big plastic drop-sheets. It was a hit! A little bit crazy with so many kids into messy stuff, but worth it. 

    As seen above: googly eye soup (which turned into tea time), salt bin and oatmeal bin (not shown.) We used our regular everyday sensory bins and measuring cups and spoons for the bins. Kids love water play, pouring and measuring salt and oatmeal. Salt is really fun to pour through funnels and scribble or write in. Plastic dinos from the dollar store had a lot of fun in the oatmeal and sand mountains (apparently!). Other fun things to include in sensory bins are glass water beads, pom-poms and random kitchen or baking utensils. 

     

    Always supervise babies/toddlers when engaging in sensory play!

  • The Birthday Boy 5 of 11
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    Rockin' his beloved (he seriously wants to wear it nearly everyday) rocket boy shirt, courtesy of courtesy of Wild Things Dresses.

  • Fizzy Ballons 6 of 11
    balloon-experiment

    I purchased some tinfoil baking trays for the experiments using baking soda and vinegar. This one was a hit! 


    Learn how to do this quick and easy science balloon experiment

  • Bubble Dough 7 of 11
    DIY Sensory & Science Birthday Party

    I wanted to make oobleck or slime, having made it for the kids before and knowing what a hit they are. I also knew it would be hugely messy and that some guests would be arriving all dressed up. So. I found this recipe online for 'clean' dough that's a little more fun to play and experiment with than regular play-dough. I added liquid watercolor (teal) to avoid stained hands!

     

    It took some elbow grease in kneading, and I didn't end up following the measurements precisely, but it call came together and I'm glad I stuck it out! It smelled fantastic (I used green apple scented shampoo), and we now have a big bin of it that will last for months and months to play with whenever we want. Water beads, pom-poms, baking gear, dinosaurs and cookie cutters are also great companions to this sensory activity.

  • Diet Coke & Mentos Experiment 8 of 11
    Exploding-coke

    Yeah, I didn't get any pictures of this as I was busy in the kitchen pulling pizzas out of the oven. I did, however, make it outside in time to witness the 'big SPRAY.' Trevor did this experiment, and he loved it. He used a string attached to a Mentos candy to to pull out of the diet coke bottle and make a BIG volcanic display, wherein all of the kids ran under the spray like it was a sprinkler. A bunch of the neighbors came out to watch the display, and they all were highly amused at our predicament in having diet coke showered children to attend to. So much for worrying about our little guests' dress-up clothes!

     

    Get the instructions to do your own via Tinkerlab

  • Fizz Bubble Pop Experiment 9 of 11
    IMG_30281

    Oh, the kiddos loved this one. So easy with a guaranteed 'WOW' factor. All you need is baking soda and vinegar to make  mini volcanos! This is another activity that we used liquid watercolors with instead of food coloring. You only need a little bit, and it doesn't stain!

     

    Learn how to this experiment via Mom 2 Posh Lil' Divas

  • Hot Air Experiment 10 of 11
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    ... otherwise known as repeated attempts at blowing out one's birthday candles. He got there.

  • Music Circle 11 of 11
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    We've collected and been gifted a lot of play instruments over the years, so it was easy to gather them and have Trevor do a song circle with them! The kids really got into it, and it was LOUD. They made requests, and when I asked the kids if they knew that Wyndham's dad was a rockstar, I heard one of the little girls whisper to another, "I told you!" And that, my friends, is how we closed down the party!

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More Babbles From Selena…

Selena is a crafty, culinary mom. Regular writer here and on Disney Baby. Part-time mischief maker, all the time geek. 

Elsewhere on the internets…

Via her humble beginnings, mastering in general mayhem: le petit rêve

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