Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do you see? I see a birthday party where everyone should be! Jennifer of Little Black Press designed this “beary cute” Brown Bear Party for her daughter Caroline’s 2nd birthday. Isn’t her party shirt just adorable? (Plus that smile & cute bear cake topper!)
PARTY HIGHLIGHTS to look out for:
– 12 colorful fondant animal cupcake toppers!
– Brown bear book inspired napkin and water bottle wrappers
– Orange favor buckets & personalized rainbow stripe party hats
– Colorful pinwheel garland over themed party wall decals
– “Hear, Read, Color & Play” activity stations
PARTY DETAILS, as told by Jennifer…
I chose the theme “Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?” because it is was my daughter’s favorite book and also because our last name is Browne and we’ve been calling her “Brown Bear” since I was pregnant with her. She loves the book so much that she could actually recite it word for word! There wasn’t much out there for this theme and at first I wasn’t sure if I could pull it off, but I came across a set of vinyl wall stickers at Target and knew they would be perfect to design the party around (and only $10 for the set!). My next purchase was a set of board books that were part of the favors for the kids – there are several books in the series, so I purchased one of each title (this was also helpful because I knew some of the guests already owned the original “Brown Bear” book). I designed the birthday invitations and played off the wording in the book and incorporated a flap that hid Caroline’s picture beneath. For an extra touch, I personalized the envelopes with each guest’s name, like “Caroline, Caroline, What Do You See?”. Throughout each element of the party, I tried to incorporate the colors, animals or wording from the book to tie everything together. To top it all off, we visited the Eric Carle Museum in Amhearst, MA on her birthday to see pictures from the book, along with many others.
For decorations, I was able to incorporate all of the colors from the animals in the book. This party was a DIY extravaganza! Some DIY projects included a banner that hung over the dessert table “Caroline is 2”, a pinwheel garland, a “Thank you for coming” banner that hung over the favor table, and a “Sip and Snack Bar” banner that hung over the children’s refreshment table. My favorite element of the decorations was the vinyl wall lettering that I did – “What Do You See?” which I put over a mirror and “Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? I see a birthday girl looking at me!” which was the focal point of the dining room and a great backdrop for taking pictures! I made a balloon wreath that I had seen on Pinterest to hang on our door, along with a welcome sign that I made using a picture frame mat and some ribbon. I lined our staircase with different colored balloons, adjusting the ribbon length for each one, to create a rainbow effect as you walked up the stairs and into the party.
For favors, I made candied popcorn for the adults, that I put in bags tied with brown and white baker’s twine and finished with “thank you BEARY much” tags. I found the twine and tags on The Cupcake Social’s Etsy shop and printed them myself. The kids each got orange pails decorated with brown bear stickers that held a board book and a box of Goldfish with tags that said “Goldfish, Goldfish, What Do You See?” to tie in with the theme. The also took home stuffed animal Brown Bears, which I found at Kohl’s. I found adorable striped hats at Target that I personalized for each guest, as well as one for the birthday girl that I embellished with ribbon to make it extra special.
For the activities, there were 4 different activity stations:
– Hear: audio version of “Brown Bear” and a few other titles from the series, ready by Gwyneth Paltrow, for the kids to listen to
– Read: a basket of books by Eric Carle, most of which we had in our library already, for the kids to read, although I did buy a sound version of “Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear?” that the kids had fun making noise with
– Color: I set up our kid’s table and chairs with loads of coloring and activity pages that I printed from the Eric Carle website with crayons for the kids to color with. To protect the table, and make it festive, I ordered Brown Bear fabric from the Eric Carle Museum’s website and made a table cloth.
– Play: I found a Brown Bear puzzle online for the kids to play with (along with all of the hundreds of toys we have in our playroom!)
I tried to incorporate the different animals in the books and use a lot of the colors too. The party was late morning, so we served brunch. Our menu included “Brown Bear French Toast”, “Green Frog Fruit Salad (on a stick)”, “Black Sheep Bacon and Sausage” and “Birthday Girl Cupcakes and Ice Cream”. To cater to our younger guests, I created a “Sip and Snack Bar” which had “Yellow Duck, Red Bird and Green Frog” snacks – puffs that I kept in the containers and just took the label off of. The centerpiece for the kid’s snack bar was a large Goldfish Bowl that I of course filled with goldfish crackers and served in orange and white striped cups. The Bowl was a DIY project that didn’t come up quite as expected – I had etched “Goldfish, Goldfish, What Do You See?” on it and it looked lovely, but the letters disappeared once it was filled, so I had to come up with Plan B, which was to stick vinyl letters on instead (much more visible). I purchased Take and Toss cups, bowls and utensils for the kids and had a variety of fruit juices for them to drink. I purchased colorful ice cream cups off of Etsy, which came with lids and the most darling wooden spoons stamped with “I <3 ice cream”. This allowed me to scoop the ice cream ahead of time and just set them out on the dessert table for guests to serve themselves. For the same reason, we served cupcakes instead of cake so we didn’t have to slice cake. I found fondant cupcake toppers with the Brown Bear characters from Lynlee’s Petite Cakes and knew they would be perfect for the party. I ordered plain cupcakes and a plain round cake from Whole Foods to use with Lynlee’s toppers. I bought water bottles from Whole Foods, took off the labels and replaced them with ones I had printed using labels from Print Your Party‘s shop. I also bought paper straws in all of the party colors from Cupcake Social, which came with adorable paper flags (one of the only things I didn’t do myself!).
My favorite moment from the party was at the end when Caroline and her cousin (born 3 days apart) took turns blowing out the birthday candle again and again and again!