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Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Themed Play Dates -- Oriental Trading Products Review

Disclosure: I was sent these items to review free of charge from Oriental Trading. All opinions in this post are my own. I did not receive any other compensation for this review. I am including links to the products for your convenience but do not receive anything if you buy from them.

Perhaps it is my love of planning parties and such, but I love throwing themed play dates for Hazel and her friends and Hazel really enjoys them. This summer we have had or will have three different themed play dates and we used some products from Oriental Trading to make them even more fun. The themes are fairies, mermaids and Bible stories: Creation and Noah's Ark. 

Mermaid Play Date

We have not had the mermaid play date yet, but we will start with it. Last year we did have a mermaid play date as well. We will use some of the ideas from it as well as this mermaid craft we shared previously. 


Weather permitting we will have the party out on our patio and in the back yard. We will decorate with the green crepe paper as our seaweed again.

We will also hang the shell garland on our stairs. I laid it out on our blue futon for the photograph. We will also hang the mermaid party photo door banner in the garage door so the girls can have their picture taken as a mermaid. Although it is hard to tell, Hazel is very excited about the mermaid photo banner. We also got the matching mermaid party luncheon napkins with which to serve our treats. As for treats we will do some of the same treats as we did last year though Hazel and I have not finalized our menu. 

The kids will have some crafts including these beautiful mermaid sand art pictures. Hazel only made one of the three designs on them so I would have one to show you. My only complaint is that there is not always enough of one color to complete the picture well. I purchased a little extra blue sand at a craft store for our play date.

The other craft is to decorate frame with shells. We got the colorful clamrose seashells from Oriental Trading and then I purchased a few small sea stars and sand dollars for the girls to use from a shell shop at Cape Cod this summer. The frames will be what they bring home a picture of themselves as mermaids. We may also make the paper mermaids Hazel and I made previously.

Finally for activities we will play our walk like a mermaid sack hop and we got an inflatable dolphin ring toss game (which we used for all three play dates). The first one we received was defective, but Oriental Trading sent a new one out right away. Hazel loves it!
For more mermaid ideas check out my free mermaid printable post, my pattern for a mermaid tale for an 18-inch doll and my mermaid Pinterest Board.

Fairies Play Date

Hazel has been into the Rainbow Magic Fairy Books by Daisy Meadows. There are many of these books with different fairies. She is hoping to have a future birthday party themed around them but for now we did a play date with two friends.



The first set of chapter books, the rainbow fairies, has the fairies lost in the human world and when the two girls, Rachel and Kirsty, help find the sisters they have them stay in a black kettle under the rainbow. So the perfect decoration is the rainbow cloud ceiling decoration (which is also perfect for Noah's Ark). The falling rain did fall in a few spots. I taped them back, and the truth is it did not matter. The kids love the rainbow and love how the sun shines on it to make rainbows below. In the books Rachel and Kirsty also receive a necklace (a locket) from Queen Titania that has fairy dust in it so they can return to Fairyland whenever they need. The girls made necklaces with fairy dust bottle charms on it. We added some fine glitter to the bottles after making the necklaces. My first mistake was to use some of the bright tipped laces we had left from Hazel's Frozen birthday party (also from Oriental Trading). I chose these since we had so many of them left and thought it would be easier for the youngest girl coming (in preschool), but I did not check them with the bottles and the laces did not fit through the wire loop of the bottle corks. I pulled out some jewelry wire and made small loops to hold both bottles on each necklace. We did have a few issues. One of the corks broke and then got pushed into the bottle and one bottle fell off and was never found. Besides this the girls loved it. The youngest girl sprinkled her fairy dust everywhere (and this is probably why the cork broke from being opened and closed so often). The final fairy item were the wings. After all you can't have a fairy play date without wings for the girls. We used the DIY Beautiful 3d Butterfly/Fairy Wings and let the girls decorate them any way they wanted. We had glitter glue, dot markers, trims, jewels and more.


 Each girl modeled their wings and I used a flower garland to make flower crowns for the girls. They did not like wearing them though. For other crafts the girls made wands and fairy mushroom houses (the fairies in the books live in mushroom houses). Hazel modeled most of the crafts in the picture above and the houses are below.

For food we used the Fairies Cookbook by Barbara Beery for inspiration. We took it out from the library. I made signs for each of the items with pictures of a character from the book. We also had signs for the various crafts and activities.

We served Danielle the Daisy Fairy Cookies, Queen Titania's Fruit Wands, Florence the Friendship Fairy's Friendship Bread and Heather the Violet Fairy's Sandwich Swirls. For a beverage we had Fairyland Punch or raspberry lemonade and water.  For activities the girls were going to play the dolphin ring toss, but this is when we discovered the first one was defective. We were calling it Shannon the Ocean Fairy's Ring Toss. The girls played fairy tag which Hazel made up. Two were fairies and wore fairy wings (all the girls had their own store bought wings with them as well as the ones they decorated) and the third was the goblin trying to get the fairies. When the goblin tagged a fairy the fairy and goblin went to a designated area to remove and put on wings so they could trade places. The girls had so much fun playing and pretending to be fairies as well. For more Rainbow Fairy ideas check out my Rainbow Fairy Pinterest Board and for more general fairy ideas check out my Fairy Party and my Fairy Pinterest Boards.

Bible Stories Play Date

On Hazel's summer reading list from school are Norman Messenger's The Creation Story and Jan Brett's Noah's Ark. I figured it would be fun to read these books with some of her friends and then play games and do crafts around them. Oriental Trading is a perfect place to find Bible themed crafts and games. We also served some snacks to go along with our theme. We put a plate together of our Creation Snack Mix so people could see the various days in the mix.


Creation Story

I read Norman Messenger's The Creation Story and God's Amazing World by Eileen Spinelli to the kids. We had several younger kids and no one from Hazel's class, but it was fun to have a story time with them. Then Hazel told the story using her 7 Days of Creation Sand Art Sheets

Hazel loved making these. We got 14 sheets but somehow got three day 2s and only one day 5. These are where I realized we would need more sand for the mermaid sand art. We used several of the packets of the extra sheets to get these covered. The nice part of them is the story is printed on the back of each one. 
For a craft the kids made their own cards from foam and various things like plastic animals and markers. We had a ten-year-old here but I did not get a picture of her cards before she left. Hazel's are pictured above but she could not find where she put day five to dry and made two day sixes. For a game we had the kids where animal headbands or hats and walk like the animal. However they changed it into a game of tag while wearing the headbands or hats. For more Creation Story ideas check out my Pinterest Board.

Noah's Ark


For Noah's Ark we had Noah's Ark Finger Puppets for everyone. Hazel told the story using her puppets. The story is on the back of each puppet. We are not sure why the lion is the second puppet, but that is how the story goes.  Each friend got their own set to bring home. We also used our rainbow cloud ceiling decoration to decorate and put a wooden Noah's Ark toy under it. One of the younger boys enjoyed playing with the toy. We also made a dove garland from coffee filters. I followed the tutorial at Inner Child Fun but when I printed her template it was too big for my coffee filters. We hung our doves on the banister. For a game I told the kids they were doves and they had to find the leaves I hid around the yard like they are olive branches. The kids than took turns hiding the leaves themselves which then turned into hide-and-seek. Then when everyone got hot they made paper plate Noah's Arks inspired by these on Artsy Craftsy Mom. We also played the dolphin ring toss game


The kids were more interested in doing their own thing though. For more Noah's Ark ideas check out my post about our Noah's Ark toys and books we have read and my Pinterest Board

Stay tuned for more themed play dates (especially next summer)!