Throwing an Outer Space Party for Toddlers

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My son requested an outer space theme for his 3rd birthday and I was more than happy to comply since I secretly hope he becomes an astrophysicist or something in the field of astronomy. The thing is, it’s actually very hard to find space-themed items. It’s a sad commentary on society’s prioritizing of the astronomical field, I think. Anyway, I realized I was going to have to get creative to pull this thing off.

Luckily I am also pregnant and have had an insane nesting urge since early in my second trimester. And with this being the second baby, there’s really not much to do. We already have most of the items we need and there’s no nursery to setup because she’ll be sharing a room with our son eventually. So I used all that extra energy to plan my son’s birthday. In the end it turned out fantastic and didn’t cost much at all.

Décor and Location

Honestly, I didn’t waste too much time, energy, or money on the décor. For a bunch of toddlers there’s really no use in decking the place out when they won’t really appreciate it. I decided to keep it nice and simple. I got black tablecloths, a cool large space birthday banner, and my son’s present which was a rocket ship tent. These were enough to give ambiance and fully explain the party theme.

rocket tent

For the location I normally would have hosted it in our yard or at a park to save money, but knowing I’d be 35 weeks pregnant and it would be mid-July I didn’t want to be hot and sweaty. Instead I booked a FREE community room our local grocery store offers. Now, obviously not all areas will have a resource like this, but make sure you look into it because you’d be surprised how many places offer free or low cost rooms. With it being inside I was obviously constrained by the size and layout of the room which is why I decided to plan lots of activities for the kids so we wouldn’t have more than a dozen toddlers running wild in a small room.

Activities

Planning the activities was my favorite part. I looked online to get ideas and in the end used a combination of things I saw and my own ideas to create different stations the kids could enjoy. It worked well to contain the chaos and it also gave parents something to do at the party rather than just stand around and watch kids run and scream.

Glow In The Dark T-Shirts

Instead of party favors I decided to have a t-shirt decorating station. I purchased inexpensive space stencils and glow in the dark fabric paint online and found an amazing deal at a local thrift shop on brand new t-shirts. I still can’t believe the luck of it, I literally found toddler size new shirts for $1.50 a piece. The chances of that happening has to be small. If I hadn’t stumbled on this find, I planned on purchasing t-shirts online where I found them as low as about $2.75 each.

outer space activitiesouter space activitiesSpace shirtsSpace shirts 2

The kids and parents loved this idea and everyone ended up with really cute and unique shirts by the end of the party.

Space Sensory Station

What toddler party would be complete without a sensory table? Kids absolutely love these things so if you’ve never used one I totally recommend it. Basically you fill bins with various items of varying shapes, sizes, and textures and that’s it. The kids will do the rest. They’ll scoop it, play with different items, and inevitably spill some of it.

outer space sensory binsSpace sensory bin

For our sensory bins I bought black and neon colored aquarium rocks for the base. Then I placed solar system stickers, glow in the dark planets, bouncy balls that looked like rocks, and various space-themed erasers in them. I completed it with a pair of tongs and scoopers for each and they were done. This was the simplest to plan and put together and was one of the most popular stations. Most of the items I put in them came from either the dollar store or from a cheap online retailer.

Learning Landing

I didn’t want to waste an opportunity to sneak in some education so I created the Learning Landing. I printed space coloring pages, offered black cardstock and space stickers to make scenes, and had a pile of astronomy books and other educational materials to look at. I also found a great solar system large puzzle at a thrift store that I added to this mix.

Space learning table

I’m not sure how much the toddlers learned, but they enjoyed the stickers a lot and I found the parents had a great time coloring! Fun for all!

Planet Painting

I also wanted an art activity so I threw in planet painting. All these materials were bought from the local dollar store. I bought:

  • Styrofoam balls for the planets
  • Styrofoam rings to place the planets on to dry
  • Several packages of paint
  • One package of paintbrushes
  • Plastic bags to take them home if they hadn’t dried in time

Planet painting station Painting planets in action

This was another simple activity that the kids really loved.

Cosmic Capsules

As luck would have it I found space-themed grow capsules at Target that worked wonderfully as my science station. All I needed to provide was hot water and bowls. The kids chose a capsule, dropped it in a bowl, and then let a parent pour the hot water over it. In minutes they watched their capsules burst open and form into a space shaped object. It was easy, cheap, and went over very well.

Space growing capsules

Space Food

The last challenge was to figure out the menu. I didn’t want to spend a ton on food that toddlers might not eat so I picked some of their favorites and made them space-themed. Here’s what we ended up with:

  • Cosmic Fruit (watermelon cut into space shapes and red grapes)
  • Astronaut Yogurt (kids yogurt shaped like astronauts, amazing I found these at a store)
  • Galactic PB&J (peanut butter and jelly sandwiches cut into space shapes)
  • Star Wars Mac N Cheese (Kraft offers Star Wars shaped mac n cheese)
  • Strawberry Space Goo (strawberry jello)
  • Rocket Fuel (Koolaid squeeze bottles that look like rockets)
  • Star Wars Cheez-Its (Cheez-It brand crackers makes these)
  • Hummus, spinach dip, crackers, carrots, sub sandwiches, and fried chicken (more for the adults)
  • And of course a space decorated birthday cake

outer space food space food spread more space food Rocket cakeSpace fruit

Besides the cake, sub sandwiches, crackers/dips, and fried chicken everything was made at home so it kept the cost down and the food seemed to be a hit based on how quickly it disappeared.

In the end the party was a great success. Everyone seemed to have a blast and my son made some great memories. I loved planning this party and look forward to future themes. I will add the main thing that made this possible and easy was starting far in advance. I literally began planning this in January or February and kept my eyes out for any space-themed items whenever I was shopping. I just had a box I threw everything into as I bought it and kept a list going of my ideas. It made the whole process far less daunting and I didn’t feel overwhelmed because I did it little bit by little bit.

I hope this helps for anyone looking for ideas on a space-themed birthday. Feel free to share any of your ideas or successes in the comments below.

 

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