Ages before the time, I started collecting 2 litre juice cartons to use as bricks to build the little princess a castle of her own. Along the way, I acquired some cardboard cylinders and some bigger boxes too, so with 174 (I know - crazy right??!?!) juice cartons, 2 cardboard cylinders and 18 camera boxes (and some hardboard to help stabilise the whole construction), we set about constructing a disposable castle. We painted it, made some makeshift flags and even a working drawbridge - the little princess was ecstatic!
For the invitations I used plastic pill canisters and plastic tot glasses glued together to resemble a castle turret. A card flag attached to a toothpick was glued to the top with the invited guest's name printed on it. The actual invitation was rolled up like a scroll inside the pill canister. It read: Hear Ye! Hear Ye! Princes (Name) requests the pleasure of your company at her third birthday party. The royal celebrations will commence at 2 o' clock on 7 July at Castle (Surname). Please come dressed in your most royal attire. RSVP the Queen Mum (contact number).
Decorations: We erected the castle indoors as there was a strong possibility of rain. A collection of pink and purple helium balloons were scattered across the ceiling, each with a little stamped cardboard crown dangling from it's ribbon.
Games: On arrival, make-up was provided for those who didn't already have (a touch of blusher, a spot of lip gloss and some pink nail polish). Temporary sparkling tattoos were also applied to those that wanted. When everyone was decorated, the little princess was seated on a chiffon-draped throne beside her castle. A red carpet (a roll of plain red wrapping paper) was rolled out in front of the castle. Each guest walked down the red carpet, courtsied or bowed the the princess and offered her the gift they had brought for her. She, in turn, presented them with a necklace (white and red beads on a string for ruby and diamond necklaces for the girls and a "dragon tooth" on a string for the boys). When that was done, it was time for the royal ball. Each child was given a long ribbon to dance with. We played a waltz over the sound system, and the little royals twirled and danced to the music.
The kids were then seated for a royal craft activity. I found a template for paper dolls here, and made enough for each guest. There are all kinds of themed outfits on this site, and I chose several different prince and princess clothing options for the kids to decorate. To make it extra special, I ensured that each child's paper doll looked like them by ensuring that the hair of the paper doll was the same style and colour as each child. The children were given the dolls and clothes and gems and sequins and stickers and kokis and decorated their paper dolls. When they were done, we stuck a tongue depressor on the back of each one, and took a picture of each child with their paper doll in front of the castle. The kids took these home with them.
I also constructed a dragon pinata filled with gold coins and fake jewellery and hung this from a tree outside (it didn't rain after all!). When the kids were done with their paper dolls, we told them that a dragon had stolen the kingdom's treasure, and we had to go and claim it back.
Each little princess was given a star wand (a template for this is can be found here) and the princes were given balloon swords (instructions can be found here) - and we went out to the garden to hunt for the dragon.
Food: Once the children had collected their treasures we went inside for a royal feast! There was a variety of pink and purple sweets gathered in a cellophane packet tied with a pink curling ribbon for each child as well as golden goblet juice (apple juice) served with a straw sporting a crown decal.
The little princes and princesses played in the castle until home time. Everyone agreed it had been a very successful event.
Jessica - DURBANVILLE