When it comes to celebrating my kids, I can’t help but envision the most exciting and playful ways to make them feel special. Fortunately, I am grateful to have many talented friends in the event industry who love to work collaboratively so that these visions can be transformed into realities. It’s not a surprise that we took my son Mason's 7th birthday party as the perfect opportunity to bring our A-game and get creative with a playful theme; all by bringing his favorite things to life!
These days, Mason can’t stop talking about sharks. So I kicked off my creative process by painting and planning a shark filled party that would bring the kids right into the ocean. With the help of some amazing creatives, we were able to take the typical backyard party to the next level!
When the kids arrived at the party, they were transported into the ocean by walking through a bright blue seascape tunnel lined with several shark illustrations. Modeled after some of the most popular aquarium's glass tunnels, we wanted to bring 180-degree views of underwater life from the minute you stepped inside. (We totally DIY'd the tunnel by the way!) After one quick trip to Home Depot and Party City, we were set. 5 archways held up the plastic table covers we used as the entrance for our under the sea scene. After coming to the other side, a life-size “Jaws” inspired photo booth was displayed, created from one of my hand painted illustrations. The kids loved posing inside of the shark’s jaws and playing around with the idea that they were actually in a shark attack. Who knew you could have so much fun inside a shark's jaws!
The party featured lots of fun activities for the kids to stay engaged and excited about the shark concept. I set up 5 stations for guests to visit: "Walk the Plank" complete with a maze of wooden boards, "Feed the Sharks" with cornhole sets and fish-shaped hackysacks, customize your own shark tooth necklace with beads and string, a shimmering photo booth with plenty of shark-themed props, and decorate your own cookie with colorful edible ink markers and treats by Eleni’s New York. Each activity was marked by its own Ceci New York touches, including custom signage with hand painted imagery.
One of the favorite activities this year were the sets of trading cards we gave to every kid. Each card featured a different hand painted shark. The goal was for each kid to eventually get a full set of the various shark cards by trading them around with one another. The kids also had a chance to color into our custom coloring pages (now available for complimentary download!) that outlined all of the different sharks that Mason loved. And of course, the game “Sharks and Minnows” was almost too perfect for this event. Easy and fun things like this always bring the most entertainment to kids this age! There's no need to complicate the activities (when there are too many rules, it kills the party buzz).
Next, Mason and his friends had a chance to jump into the water, because what’s a shark party without some swimming! After playing in the pool, the kids dried off using their adorable shark-shaped, hooded towels by Yikes Twins. This was the perfect way to make the kids feel like they could even be the sharks themselves! Dressed in their new outfits, they jumped into a game of water balloons in the backyard and certainly worked up an appetite. The kids enjoyed visiting the snack station where they could choose from plenty of shark treats. Complete with a watermelon carved shark filled with fresh fruit inside of its jaws and a breathtaking shark cake modeled after one of my paintings. Mason and the other kids were ecstatic about this cake made by none other than Cake Power. I mean come on, how stunning!
The adorable swag bag gifts brought the shark theme all the way through so that the event's fun didn't have to stop when the party ended. Art 2 The Extreme provided amazing shark head crayons and personalized blue marbled letters that spelled out the names of each kid. We also incorporated custom shark cups and Ceci New York stationery painted with different types of Mason's favorite sharks.
Throwing a party for any occasion in our lives, small or large, is a gift like none other. Life is made for celebrating and for sharing in these special moments with family and friends! Take this as a chance to be imaginative, make something different, playful, and out there. Even little adornments like my "Mason" necklace by Tiny Tags and shark tooth necklace by Kate Davis Jewelry, or Elle's sweet shark dress from Smiling Button make it fun for everyone to get involved. For me, I think of it as a chance to inspire creativity in myself and others. Every experience can be elevated into something that is memorable and unique. Whether it’s with the help of creative professionals or just some DIY detailing, make your kid’s next birthday party one that won't be forgotten!
Love what you see? Take a peek into our design process and invitation suite for this event by reading Swim Into The Ocean With This Shark Themed Birthday Box Invitation.
Invitation Design & Event Branding: Ceci New York
Custom Watercolor: Ceci New York
Photography: Sara Kauss Photography
Cake: Cake Power
Shark Cookies: Eleni's New York
Personalized Names and Shark Head Crayons: Art 2 The Extreme
Linens: Nüage Designs
Shark Towels: Yikes Twins
Elle's Dress: Smiling Button
Ceci Shark Tooth Necklace: Kate Davis Jewelry
Ceci "Mason" Necklace: Tiny Tags