Girls of all ages have been intrigued by the mystery and allure of the mythological mermaid. When Disney released its animated version of the famed story in 1989, many parents found themselves setting up "Under the Sea" themed parties for their little girls. With this popular theme, parents are always looking for ideas to make their Little Mermaid "Under the Sea" party stand out from all the others.
Making the Invitations
Establish the theme of the party by making your own personalized invitations from regular card stock in a variety of ocean colors such as blues, greens and teal, or use bright neon and iridescent colors to capture the vibrancy of ocean animals and creatures. Add some decorative flair by cutting the invitations into ocean-inspired shapes such as seashells and crabs. Using glitter and flashy ocean-themed stickers is another way to add underwater sparkle to the design.
The night before or the day of the party, switch out regular light bulbs with blue and green bulbs to give the area an underwater hue. Decorate the room or yard with party streamers to create an underwater setting and create the look of seaweed. Add dimension and life to the streamers by hanging fish cutouts and balloons for underwater bubbles. Set the table with an underwater-themed tablecloth or use a blue or white sheet decked out with seashells, glitter and toy starfish. Cover doors, chairs and tables with blue or green cellophane, tissue paper and netting or shimmer fabric to add to the mood. Use fish window clings and seashell soaps to infuse the entire house with the party theme.
Crafts and Party Favors
Inexpensive crafts keep the kids busy and give them something to take home so the fun can continue. Have the children make sea urchins by poking Styrofoam balls with toothpicks and then paint the creature with kid-friendly craft paint. Children can also make underwater murals or create sea-inspired collages with shells, colored sand, stickers and small lightweight ocean toys. Bottled bubbles, sand toys and water squirters are excellent party favors. Keep an eye out for summer clearance sales and check your local dollar stores for ideas.
Food and Treats
Aside from Ariel-themed or underwater-colored cakes, set out little bowls of goldfish-shaped and oyster crackers, bubble-shaped grapes and fish-shaped cookies, sandwiches and flavored gelatin cutouts for children to munch on before the finale. For a frosty beverage, make ice cream floats with different types of soda or make a bowl of punch and use ice cubes formed in underwater-themed ice trays to keep the punch cool.
Playing games give guests the opportunity to run off pent-up energy. A crab race, where players crawl on all fours with their bellies up, provides ample running opportunity. Set up a game of tag for the guests. Two players will be "it," playing the parts of Ursula's henchmen -- the eels called Flotsam and Jetsam -- and chase the other "mermaid" guests. If a player is tagged, she trades places with the tagging henchmen. Another idea is a classic scavenger hunt. Before guests arrive, hide regular household items throughout the house or yard -- or stick with the theme and hide items such as shells and starfish. Create a list of those items and have children search for them. The first guest back with all the items wins a special treat.
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