Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Paper Bag Princess Party

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Scarlett's 4th birthday party was so much fun!

Originally, she asked for a "trampoline party", but the forecast called for rain, so we sent out princess party invitations instead...which left me with the question, "What does one do at a princess party?"  My girlfriend Kim threw a very sweet princess party for her daughter a few months back.  She sent the girls on a scavenger hunt for the missing glass slipper, had them sit on a pillow to discover the "pea" and therefore reveal their true princess nature, and they even received entrance into a "royal ball".

We played a few different princess-inspired games at our party, but the one thing I wanted to do more than anything was read the girls the story of The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch.  This fantastic storybook teaches that being a princess is about much more than wearing pretty clothes.  It's about who you are inside and what you do.  As you can see from the photo above, the telling of this story had our young party-goers completely captivated!

But before I get too ahead of myself, here are some elements from today's party that were really fun and easy to put together:

The fabric crowns were a big hit...

And the kids loved decorating them with little gems.

Somehow, the only boy at the party had the most sparkly crown!

Although I had games ready, the kids immediately started making up games of their own.

There was lots of hand-holding, which was so sweet.
What a good group of kids.

After a kid-initiated game of ring-around-the-rosie, we transitioned into some princess games that I found at the site dtk kids.  First we played "magic flying carpets" which was actually musical chairs with a "Jasmine" twist.  My good friend Cammie loaned me a large stack of kitchen towels, which the children used as magic carpets instead of chairs.

Then we had a mermaid race.  The children wrapped each other's legs up with crape paper, and then they hopped across the room to cross the finish line.  As you can see Scarlett took the first heat.  The kids wanted to play this repeatedly and asked for it again later.

Then we read The Paper Bag Princess and talked about what it means to be a princess.  If you have a little girl, you need to read this story to her.  The main character, Elizabeth, is a beautifully dressed princess who is going to marry Prince Ronald, but after a dragon burns down her kingdom and all her beautiful clothes, Elizabeth takes matters into her own hands.  She dons a paper bag--ironically, it's the only thing that didn't burn--and she goes after the dragon and saves Prince Ronald from the dragon's lair.  When Ronald sees Elizabeth, instead of thanking her for saving him, he tells her to come back when she "looks like a princess".  Let's just say, our paper bag princess knows who she is, with or without the fancy clothes.  She rides off into the sunset with her self-worth intact....and without Prince Ronald.

After the story, we played one more princess game:  poison apple/hot much fun!

After lunch, the sun came out, so the kids were ready to jump on the trampoline.

Family Fun gave me the idea for this cake.  I changed it from a sand castle to more of a princess castle by using candy pearls instead of graham cracker sand.

Scarlett blew out her candles halfway through the singing of Happy Birthday, because one little girl was encroaching on her candles.  Too funny.

I was super impressed with Scarlett during the party and all day long. 

As Steve put it, Scarlett was very "gracious" about all of her gifts.  She genuinely loved all of her presents and made sincere and lovely exclamations such as "Oh, how beautiful, thank you!" after each one...Made her mama proud!

Then came the time for our little princesses to "slay their own dragons" just like The Paper Bag Princess!  Here is Steve putting the finishing touches on our dragon pinata.

The kids divided the spoils and put them in their "paper bags" go with the story.

Thanks to my husband, who took the day off to be with our little girl on her birthday!

And thanks to my friends Kim, Leslie, and Cammie for helping me pull this party off!

We made lots of fun memories together!

PS - Two other books I would have read to the kids if we had time:
"Fannie's Dream" by Caralyn Beuhner and "Princesses Are Not Quitters" by Kate Lum
Tip Junkie handmade projects


  1. lovely...I love Scarlett's beaming face!

  2. It looks like a lovely party. I've never read the paper bag princess... but I'm adding it to my list of books to buy!

  3. This looks like so much fun and that is one of my very favorite books. Of course, the other one I like is called, "do princesses wear hiking boots?" I think every single girl deserves and needs to know that she is a princess in someone else's eyes. Love that you did this!!

  4. That is such a lovely party! I love the theme you went with. Not just Princess, but Princess-who-is-in-charge-of-her-own-life/capable-to-do-hard-things. What a wonderful message to send to those girls (and boy)!

  5. so much fun...everything looks like it turn out to be a hit. Happy Birthday are a true princess...hugs.

  6. Looks like Fun had by all. I absolutely want to read the book to my girls. You can never teach the lesson of inner beauty enough times. I love the way the crowns and the dragon came out and the games sounded perfect! I threw a princess pary two years ago for the girls and wish I had those game ideas...they're fantastic. All your hard work payed off, in many things. Great job JC!

  7. I love it!

    ps. If you like Fannie's Dream you will love Cinder Edna by Ellen Jackson

  8. what a great party-I love that book the paperback princess-good story!

  9. What an awesome party! I love The Paper Bag Princess and Fanny's Dream, so I'll have to check out Princesses are Not Quitters, too.

  10. I love Elizabeth. She has something that isn't readily taught! I hope that it sparks something for the princesses at your party and Prince Guy.

    Happy Birthday Miss Scarlett True!

  11. I love The Paper Bag Princess and Fanny's dream, I will have to look for Princesses are Not Quitters! What a cute cake I really love it and your crowns are just wonderful!

  12. I just might steal this entire party for my little one next year. It looks so wonderfully fun- and I'm sure little Scarlett knows how much her parents love her by all of the hard work they put into making her big day so special.

    I think I'll go order the Paper Bag Princess right now!

  13. I somehow made it through all my kids without ever throwing or attending a princess party. Looks like it turned out great!

  14. What a fun party...and a charming and gracious birthday girl!


  15. looks like fun but I think the Queen Mum needed a crown...after the event was over. Same with the King Dad

  16. Sounds like you had a great time! I love the mermaid race idea. :)

  17. What a fun party! I love that book- I read it to my girls often, and it was the book we donated to school at Christmas time for both preschool years and K- every princess needs to be empowered and get a chance to slay the dragon!
    My dear neice is turning 3 in a few weeks, I might just borrow a few of these ideas!

  18. looks like it was a huge sucess.

  19. What a fantastic party for your daughter! I love that you put time into it to make it special and gosh, I love those princess crowns, the cake and the dragon--so neat!

  20. Very cute party -- another winner for all. I love the dragon.

  21. What an absolutely gorgeous cake! All of your pictures make me wish I could do a princess party; maybe someday. Happy Belated Birthday!

  22. Love the pinata, especially that you get to hit it with a sword. Pinatas are sort of a tradition in my husband's family, and I haven't really ever gotten into it, but that dragon may find it's way into one of our family gatherings!
    The paper bag princess sounds like a great book. I need a good book for boys along this theme.