For all the Toy Story fans out there, you don’t want to miss this adorable “No Toy Gets Left Behind” birthday party from our Creative Contributor, Lynlee Beckett of Lynlee’s Petite Cakes! A great theme for both boys and girls, this party idea is a hit for any child’s next birthday. From incredibly detailed cupcake toppers shaped like all of your favorite Toy Story characters, to a “toy donation” table for all the party gifts, no detail was left behind at this creative event so let’s celebrate and enjoy!
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. Anabelle 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 his toys 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! I found the most adorable illustration of a little girl dressed up as her favorite Toy Story character, Jessie, by the artist Carolyne Tillery in her Etsy shop oh hello dear, which I utilized in the design of the invitation, along with additional graphics from Kika Esteves.
The guests were greeted with giant “magnet” letters reading “NEW TOYS”, as the characters heard when they arrived at Sunnyside Daycare. I wanted the kids to feel like they were toys themselves and the oversized letters and alphabet blocks made from cardboard boxes were perfect! The backdrop for the dessert table was also built out of cardboard boxes and filled with the Toy Story toys popping out of them, while the banner was strung with alphabet block letters. The main attraction on the table was the cupcake display made out of smaller boxes. I made fondant toppers of the main characters and placed them on cupcakes in individual boxes. Also included on the table were different types of candy displayed inside clear paint cans in perfect arm’s reach for the kiddos.
Instead of a tablecloth, the kids’ table was lined with drawing paper from a tabletop paper holder and all the kids had their own Sunnyside lunch box. 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. The adult food was displayed separately in the “Parent Cafeteria” section.
We set up an art area with easels, coloring pages and Sunnyside art boxes for the kids. Drawings from Andy’s room were pinned across a string, while a blow-up bookworm welcomed the toys/kids. Fun and colorful art boxes with Sunnyside labels were affixed with Mod Podge and inside, the kids found a box of Toy Story crayons, character erasers and crayon bubbles and they had a fun time with the coloring pages.
Some of the activities we had in store were kept in these numeric mesh containers and labeled with the box cards. The colorful paratroopers were a huge success and the kids also had fun with the trash bag races and saving characters that I cut out of cardstock with a grabber to mimic the claw! We hired Ms. Louisa from Soulfire Studios to read the Toy Story 3 book to the children, dress them in costumes that she brought and lead them through activities to re-enact the storyline through imaginative play and music! They did a western dance to “You’ve Got a Friend In Me”, Ken’s fashion show while walking down the runway to “Freak Out” and rocked the maracas and sombreros to “Ay Un Amigo En Mi”! We also had Balloons With a Twist do face painting for the kids, at the birthday girl’s request.
We laid out empty boxes with an oversized post-it note for guests to “donate” their gifts to Anabelle, while the favors were hiding in these “TOYS TO DONATE” boxes. 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.
Party styling, desserts and photography: Lynlee’s Petite Cakes (www.lynleespetitecakes.com)
Rootin’ Tootin’ Cowgirl illustration: oh hello dear (www.etsy.com/people/ohhellodear)
Cardboard box envelopes: Piggy Bank Parties (www.piggybankparties.com)