Saturday, June 2, 2012

Horses and Ponies Everywhere! Our Horse Themed Birthday Party!

Iraq is turning 9 and she has never had a birthday party - at least not one where we invited other children. Because she get so overstimulated so quickly, we never thought it would be a good idea... at least not until this year.

This year we got brave! Mid-year resolution-type brave! (I have been writing monthly articles for

So in keeping with the "brave" thing, we decided to do a combined party for both Iraq and The Skink - The Skink's August birthday makes it hard to invite kids from school, so she's never had a "real" birthday party either. When I asked them what kind of party they wanted, Iraq immediately answered "A HORSE party!" The Skink agreed happily.

Since funds have been tight, I needed to figure out how to do a horse-themed birthday party on a dime (or maybe 2 dimes...)

So, first the invitations:

I found some art I liked on the internet, and then took that idea and reworked it into something that would do well for the party. I threw it into a Word document and found a font Iraq liked. I already had some card stock in a multitude of colors, and voila! The brown ribbon for the bow cost less than $1, and really added a nice touch.

I roamed about on Pinterest and asked friends on a horse-related internet forum and gathered some nifty ideas, one of which was to give each child a hobby horse which could then be used for a variety of horse-themed games during the party. Well... I don't know if you have priced hobby horses lately, but if it had come down to buying them, it would have been out of the question... by a few hundred dollars. Solution? I made my own out of remnants that I already had in the basement! I stuffed them with the stuffing from old pillows that we no longer needed.

I needed awards to hand out to the kids, so I found a tutorial on how to make rosettes HERE. Instead of using buttons, I found that poker chips (which we already had) fit perfectly! I got the ribbon out of the bargain bin at WalMart :-) Didn't they turn out cute?

To carry out the theme, I printed out labels using the same art that I did for the invites and stuck them on water bottles from the Dollar Store with clear packing tape. A borrowed container from Mimi, a little ice and we made "Fancy Water!"

 Horses also like carrots (but unfortunately not all kids do) so I made "carrots" using saran wrap folded into a cone, filled with Goldfish Crackers and tied off with a little green ribbon. I also found some little trophies in the party section of WalMart and they were not expensive at all!

Since the colors were pink and brown, all I had to do to frost the cake and cup cakes I made was add a few drops of red food color to regular 'ol white butter-cream frosting and mix it up with a blender. Brown? Chocolate! Duh :)

Since I'm better at sewing and drawing than I am at frosting or baking, I embellished the cupcakes with the same artwork printed on card stock, cut into small circles and hot glued onto toothpicks. They were so easy it's almost silly!

I set up all the horses, carrots, ribbons, food and fancy water just before the guests arrived and it looked like this:

I just happened to find blue napkins with white polka-dots in the party section... and they matched the blue ribbons I made. How cool was that? Don't mind the awkward frosting on the cake. Frosting cakes isn't my thing - LOL. At least the colors were cute!

Here are some other Horse Themed Party Ideas that I collected while I was putting this party together:

Games: (Be sure to have awards to hand out :)

Horseshoes (you can find cheap plastic sets online for less than $5)
Stomp the Fly (See description below)
Dangling Carrot - Use twine to tie around carrots and then dangle from a tree branch, swing set or hand-held stick. Kid who eats the whole carrot first wins.
Bobbing for Apples - Instructions Here

Horse Races - If you are giving out hobby horses, have the children race them. If not, just have the children pretend to be horses.
Hunter Over Fences -   Set up kid-safe obstacles for the kids to jump over (think Olympic Show Jumping). Of course any variation will do, so get creative with your obstacles.
Sugar Cube Races - Same idea as egg-and-spoon races, but with sugar cubes instead of eggs.
Lasso the Horse - Set up a child's rocking horse behind a line in the grass or on the floor. Have children stand behind the line and attempt to toss a hula-hoop or large embroidery hoop over the horse's head.
Bingo Horse Races - (Use hobby horses if you have them) Mark off a grid about 6 squares wide and 8 squares long - use tape indoors or chalk outdoors to make your grid. Number the squares 1-6. Mark a starting line at one end and a finish line at the others. Have 6 kids line up on the start line - then roll 2 dice. The number on the first die dictates which kid can move (by the row they are standing in). The second die dictates how many spaces forward the kiddo can move... so a 3 and a 1 would mean the child in row 3 can move 1 space. First kid to the finish wins.
Saddle the Horse - This game is basically like pin the tail on the donkey, but uses a printed out picture of a horse and cut-out printouts of saddles. Kiddo who places her/his saddle closest to the horse's back wins.

Make your own horse Pinata tutorial (they show a dog - just modify it and make a horse!
Water Bottle Label tutorial
Hobby Horse tutorial (For goodness sake - the reins come off the bit at the horse's mouth - not behind the ears!)
Carrot Napkin Holders

And here are a few pictures from our wildly successful day that I spent less than $50 on (total!).

We did this game called "Stomp the Fly!" You tie a black balloon to each kid's ankle and have them try to pop each others balloons. The last kid with a full balloon on their ankle wins... and I have to say the entertainment value of this game for the adults who are present is priceless!

(Her balloon got stomped... poor thing!)

Did the Birthday Girl have fun? She did amazingly well today - and perhaps this expression says it all!

(Me and my shadow... I mean camera...)

After the presents we did the pinata... but unfortunately the thing had apparently been fashioned from cement or something because after each kid took 10 whacks...

...we let the dads try...

(I love this picture - I think it looks like he just took a bite out of it!)

Yes - a fun time was had by all! No meltdowns, no regrets. Just one great (and inexpensive) party!


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  1. Those horses are gorgeous. Don't you just LOVE Pinterest. I often think I'll never have to buy another curriculum or craft book. I'm looking forward to browsing your blog for ideas for my little boy with Down syndrome. Thanks for sharing.


  2. Wow, what a gorgeous party! Looks like the kids had fun!

  3. , so she's never had a "real" birthday party either. When I asked them what kind of party they wanted, Iraq immediately answered "A HORSE party!" Ideas 4 Kids Parties

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  6. Oh wow, This is just beautiful. I never thought of a horse themed birthday party. It didn't look like you are in a budget because these looks awesome! Speaking of parties, I've hired Catering in Beverly MA and they are the best. Check them out :) Thanks!


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