As my daughter, Anabelle’s fifth birthday was approaching, we were throwing around ideas of the theme of this year’s party. We traditionally try to find a theme that is gender neutral, especially due to the number of little brothers there are in our gang, as we did last year in her Finding Neverland party. Though Anabelle is a girly girl through and through, she can definitely hang with the boys! She adores the Disney “Toy Story” series and when the idea came up, she was dead set on having a Toy Story-themed party to ring in the big FIVE!
The challenge on my end would be to execute the theme, while avoiding making it overly commercial. With the three different movies and storylines, the possibilities were endless, but also a bit overwhelming! So, in talking with Anabelle, we decided to focus on the latest movie where the toys’ owner, Andy, is packing up and leaving for college and they are mistakenly donated to Sunnyside Daycare. I wanted to play up the use of cardboard boxes to represent the toys being boxed up, as well as throughout the decor. I also thought the use of color was really important to capture the vibe of a school, while also corresponding to the rainbow logo of Sunnyside.
The invitations set the mood for the party and when I envisioned them coming out of cardboard boxes, I knew I had to enlist the help of the incredibly talented Do from Piggy Bank Parties, who designs the most fabulous and creative printables and especially favor boxes! She made my dreams come true when she created these amazing box envelopes (with editable text!) for both the invites, as well as labels throughout the party! Too cute, right?! I found the most adorable illustration of a little girl (resembling Anabelle) dressed up as her favorite Toy Story character, Jessie, by the artist Carolyne Tillery in her Etsy shop oh hello dear! I utilized it in the design of the invitation, along with additional graphics from Kika Esteves.
Also included on the table were different types of candy, as we wanted to steer clear of any chocolate in the unusually hot weather of 95* that day! They were displayed inside clear paint cans and, as you can see below, in perfect arm’s reach for the kiddos!
I wanted the kids’ food to be exactly what a toddler would find in a packed lunch with a sandwich, apple slices, rainbow goldfish crackers, fruit snacks and juice. I found the Toy Story sandwich boxes, as well as the themed snack bags and tissues at the 99c Only Store, which were just perfect!
We set up an art area with easels, coloring pages and Sunnyside art boxes for the kids. Drawings from Andy’s room (printed from Pixar Planet Forums)were pinned across a string, while a blow-up bookworm from Oriental Trading welcomed the toys/kids.
We were so incredibly pleased when we hired Ms. Louisa last year to lead the children in activities that we contacted Soulfire Studios to have her back again this year! I cannot praise Ms. Louisa enough with her ability to capture the kids’ attention and bring so much joy in their imaginative play! We received such great feedback from not only the kids, but the parents who enjoyed watching their kids play, rather than run after them the entire time! She read them the Toy Story 3 book, warmed them up and dressed them in costumes that she brought.
Western dance to “You’ve Got a Friend In Me”! Yee haw!
Rockin’ the maracas and sombreros to “Ay Un Amigo En Mi”!
The kids went home with a set of Toy Story characters and the note quoting Andy in the movie, who just donated his toys to a deserving little girl as he departs for college:
“Now you gotta promise to take good care of these guys. They mean a lot to me.”
So long, partner.