Move over unicorns and flamingos, the Panda is making way! I just can not believe I have a 9 year old! Planning Avery’s birthday is especially sentimental because she is the reason I started this sweet journey. As my first child, I quickly became inspired by celebrations and wanted to make them memorable.
The age of 9 is full of changes. I think it’s the age that they become a little too cool for some things, so when I asked Avery what theme she wanted for her birthday, she did not know at first. She’s had an art theme, a “bow and arrow” theme in which I turned into a bohemian/tribal party, a My Little Pony….. one thing is for sure, she did not want a “character” party per say.
I told her it could be anything! She has a love of stuffed animals. She has a panda eye mask, panda pajamas, and won about 3 stuffed pandas during our summer trip to Legoland. She also has a love for asian food, so when she chose a Panda theme, it actually was quite fitting.
I wanted the invitation to be minimal, since she is maturing. I scoured etsy, and here is what we decided on:
For the location, she picked the aquatic center that her brother Ethan had his at, so that basically became the entertainment, along with a slime station because duh- slime craze!!!!
We also played Pin the nose on the Panda. It is a printable I found on etsy:
The winner of this and the slime contest received these cute mini pinatas:
The kids had a blast at the aquatic center:
For food, I kept the asian theme and wanted to serve it creatively. I came up with Bento boxes and Chinese food boxes to serve the food in:
And what is a kid’s party without the addition of pizza? Ha! I normally have pizza in individual boxes so that it is easy to grab and also for later in the day after the kids are tired from the water activities:
I made some panda cookies for Valentines day, and Avery absolutely fell in love with them. She wanted me to make a version for her birthday, so I made some with a little party hat, holding the number 9:
For the other desserts, it became really fun, keeping with the panda and asian theme, we made “sushi” with rice krispy treats, green tea kit kat and white chocolate kit kats, wrapped with a sour belt:
For cake pops, I ordered some bamboo paper straws and used those as the “stick” to the cake pop, and I attached a panda on there, as if it were climbing the bamboo:
When I think of Chinese food, a fortune cookie always comes to mind. I wanted to incorporate that somehow. I’m sure you’ve seen these everywhere as a cupcake topper, but I wanted to add something a little extra, so I printed out these labels, cut them, and stuck them in my chocolate dipped fortune cookies. Another way to personalize the desserts and showcase Avery’s age:
I added some candy to the table to fill in the spaces too- an easy way to add to the dessert table without slaving away in the kitchen. In keeping with the theme, I added white gummy bears and labeled them as pandas, and green m&ms featured as “edamame” hehe:
For the cake, I wanted it to resemble a Panda. I made a Panda face with ears and a party hat for the top tier, and the bottom tier, I just frosted and covered in black and white sprinkles:
For the decor, it had to be something somewhat easy to transport. I used chicken wire and stranded all kinds of tropical leaves as the back drop and used an acrylic sign for showcasing Avery’s name and age:
I also did a balloon garland as a “banner” If you’ve read other posts, I of course did not have a professional photographer, so this was not the finished banner. I actually included confetti balloons too, as you will see in other pictures. Sorry- these are real-life unstaged parties and we are celebrating aka running around getting stuff done! Ha!
For favors, I found these adorable polka dot bags at Michaels, and I thought of applying vinyl panda faces to them. I ordered the vinyl from Andrea of Mac Creations on etsy. I probably use her shop for every party. Once some one gives me great service and products, I tend to be loyal! She also made the vinyl letters for the back drop and the Adopt a Panda sign. She is awesome!
I included tags for the guests to adopt these pandas and insert them into lanyards to protect it:
The idea of adopting pandas was actually Avery’s idea, as I mentioned her love of stuffed animals earlier. I try to incorporate a lot of their current likes in every party to make it extra special.
Another way I like to be “extra” and incorporate the theme is in what the birthday girl wears, along with the family. We had too much fun with it this time. LOL!
When Avery first picked the panda theme, I really was thinking, what in the world??? But what I did was think of things related to the panda, and not have all desserts in a panda shape. It makes for a much more creative and fun spread. I also faced the challenge of not making it too “character-y”, and a little more “mature”. Yes- mature at 9. Lol! I can’t wait to see what she will dream up for her big 10! (time please slow down)