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How to Throw a Kids' Space-Themed Birthday Party

To celebrate her grandchildren's birthdays, Martha and her daughter, Alexis, turned company headquarters into a space-themed extravaganza, replete with a planetarium show, mini solar systems, celestial-themed snacks, and a cake that was out of this world.

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. . . 3, 2, 1, Liftoff!

From left: Here, I am holding a finished solar system craft the kids made at the party. Classmates, parents, and other friends gathered around the cake Alexis made to sing “Happy Birthday.”

On March 6 and March 8 this year, Truman will turn 5 and Jude 6. But for two days, they will be the same age: 5, as Truman is very proud to point out. These two bright, beautiful, and curious children are close in age and are also very close as siblings. They love sharing friends, toys, and living quarters, and they especially love sharing their birthdays with all the children in their classrooms.

 

Each year it is a challenge and delight for my daughter, Alexis, and me to come up with an idea for a birthday celebration. Last spring, we developed an outer-space theme for their joint party, with stars, planets, solar systems, and intergalactic-exploration activities. Our first thought was to take everyone to the American Museum of Natural History’s amazing Hayden Planetarium in New York City, but it was unavailable at the time, so we set out to invent our own universe.

 

We decided that the clerestory in my office headquarters was the perfect place for the party, and found many of the event’s important elements on the internet. Alexis discovered huge inflatable planets, which we hung from the 23-foot ceil- ings. She also located a portable planetarium by Starlab, which delighted every single child with its dark interior, illuminated with the stars of the galaxy. And the educational show it presented every half hour was so interesting that most of the kids went inside the dome at least twice.

 

For food, Alexis designed healthy snacks: vegetarian canapés made of fruits, vegetables, and cheese that were cut with cookie cutters into various space shapes. She baked the cakes and decorated the colorful spheres to look like the planets, and the interpretations were not only realistic, but delicious, too. Truman and Jude stood proudly by the cake as it was sliced and served, talking about the planets -- their respective sizes, the number of satellites each boast, and the characteristics of each.

 

And what a fun time it was! The children ran and skipped and played for the duration of the party, which lasted about three hours, and took home soft-foam planets, custom cookies by Sweet Dani B, and their solar-system crafts. It was a magical afternoon for all, and everyone learned something new about the universe we live in. Our job this year? Coming up with an even better idea.

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A Space Odyssey

The children learned a lot about the universe and had fun in the process. Consider some of the stellar details:

  • A Galaxy of Treats
    A Galaxy of Treats

    We covered a table with open-face sandwiches cut into rockets, stars, and moons, and popcorn comets, orbiting a “sun” of vegetables.

  • A Crafty Activity
    A Crafty Activity

    We put together a crafts table with painted styrofoam balls (found at lacrafts.com) and skewers where the kids could create their own miniature solar systems.

  • The Birthday Cake
    The Birthday Cake

    Alexis baked a cake that resembled the solar system. Each “planet” was different and even had its own ringed core.

  • View of the Stars
    View of the Stars

    Starlab set up a portable planetarium and gave the kids an exciting and educational guided tour of the galaxies (starlab.com).

  • Landing Gear
    Landing Gear

    To give the kids a place to sit and play, Alexis put rugs decorated with the sun and planets down throughout the large space. (Jabez’s Rugs solar system educational area rug, from $40, amazon.com.)

  • Far-Out Decorations
    Far-Out Decorations

    Removable decals of the planets by Fathead were positioned on a wall covered with black paper (fathead.com). The children loved identifying each one.

  • A Galaxy of Treats
    A Galaxy of Treats

    We covered a table with open-face sandwiches cut into rockets, stars, and moons, and popcorn comets, orbiting a “sun” of vegetables.

  • View of the Stars
    View of the Stars

    Starlab set up a portable planetarium and gave the kids an exciting and educational guided tour of the galaxies (starlab.com).

  • A Crafty Activity
    A Crafty Activity

    We put together a crafts table with painted styrofoam balls (found at lacrafts.com) and skewers where the kids could create their own miniature solar systems.

  • Landing Gear
    Landing Gear

    To give the kids a place to sit and play, Alexis put rugs decorated with the sun and planets down throughout the large space. (Jabez’s Rugs solar system educational area rug, from $40, amazon.com.)

  • The Birthday Cake
    The Birthday Cake

    Alexis baked a cake that resembled the solar system. Each “planet” was different and even had its own ringed core.

  • Far-Out Decorations
    Far-Out Decorations

    Removable decals of the planets by Fathead were positioned on a wall covered with black paper (fathead.com). The children loved identifying each one.

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