Birthday bash: on the farm

By Heather Camlot

A child’s first birthday party is certainly more for the parents and family than for the soon-to-be toddler, who won’t really understand or remember what’s going on. But that doesn’t mean a first birthday shouldn’t be celebrated as a grand event.

The farm is an ideal theme for young children, who are aware of pigs and cows and a host of other animals through songs and books. Here’s how to build on the theme:

The set up:  First decide whether you’ll be having the party at home or at a nearby farm or petting zoo. Once you know the location, select n appropriate invitation, like Vintage Paper Parade’s farm tractor or Chocolate Sundae’s down on the farm. Don’t forget to ask everyone to come in jeans or overalls, with cowboy hats and bandanas. At home, order some hay bales for decor and extra seating, create a barn out of a large cardboard box, place large animal cutouts on stakes around the yard. For any location, dress tables in red and white checkered tablecloths, use a toy farm or stuffed farm animals as centerpieces, and wrap cutlery in bandanas.

The menu: You can’t get any better than farm-fresh foods in terms of authenticity and health. Serve hard-boiled eggs, fresh country bread, local in-season produce and fresh milk. You can also cut sandwiches, sliced cheese or fruit into animal shapes with cookie cutters. If you’re a phenomenal baker or like a challenge, a farm cake such as this will be an all-out jaw-dropper. The rest of us can still make baby’s first cake with the help of a novelty cake pan in the shape of a tractor, which can be rented or bought.

The activities: If you’ve booked a farm or petting zoo, head out for a walk and enjoy. If the party is at home, set up a station where kids can decorate farm animal masks or headbands (that you’ve assembled beforehand), play a round of pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey with older kids or duck-duck-goose with the younger set, read favourite farm-themed books like Sandra Boynton’s Barnyard Dance! or The Three Little Pigs, or plant seeds in clean baby jars, which guests can then take home.

Have a happy E-I-E-I-O day!

First published July 2009 on MySweetBaby.ca.

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