My son wanted a shark-themed party for his 6th birthday. We decided to save some money and host the party at our house. I wanted it to be special so I looked on Pinterest for some ideas. It was a lot of work but I love what we were able to do!
Shark Party Invitations
I designed the invitations myself using Adobe Photoshop Elements. I like the wording I came up with to incorporate the shark theme: JAWS-some, FIN-tastic, BITE.
(I now sell this invitation in my Etsy shop; I can personalize it with your information and you will receive the digital file to print where you like!)
Shark Party Decorations
This is where a lot of my time and energy went, but it was worth it for a complete shark wonderland (if there is such a thing).
I saw a picture of a shark cutout that I liked and did my best to sketch the same shark shape onto a big piece of cardboard. Then I used an X-Acto knife to cut it out and craft paints to paint it. I hot glued some triangle pieces of cardboard to the back to stabilize it. I also bought a red plastic table cloth at the dollar store, trimmed it, and hot glued it behind the jaws to provide a nice red background.
I used this shark cutout for three things:
- It was a great decoration itself.
- It served as a photo op. I took a photo of each child and my son in the shark’s mouth. I then used those pictures on the thank yous. It sounds like a lot of work but it was really easy.
- It also served as a game. We have a ball pit and I gathered the red balls to use as “chum”. The kids had fun tossing the balls into the sharks mouth.
Paper Lantern Shark Decorations
I bought a pack of blue paper lanterns, which came in three sizes, and then cut and hot glued poster board to the lanterns to form fins, eyes, and mouths. I used string and taped the string to ceiling fan blades (which I did not have on).
Shark Warning Signs
I made these signs in Adobe Photoshop Elements and then printed them on my own printer using bright yellow textured cardstock that I bought at Hobby Lobby. They turned out great! I used three in the lawn and one on the front door.
For the wood posts, I went to Home Depot and bought some long pieces of wood from their scrap pile (which is cheap). My husband cut them to a point. The trick to these is to pound them into the ground FIRST, and then use thumb tacks or nails to put the signs on the wood posts. I originally had the signs on the wood posts, but all the hammering in caused the signs to tear.
Want these signs for yourself? I now sell them in my Etsy shop! You receive the digital file and can print them on your own computer using bright yellow cardstock. Check out my shop, Drumming Mum Designs!
Shark Photo Banner
For some reason I always feel the need to make some sort of photo collage for my son’s birthday parties. I think I am the only one who really cares; I enjoy the process of finding just the right photos to show his growing through the years. With this shark-themed birthday party, I came up with the idea to put the photos on paper cut in the shapes of sharks and then hang them on a ribbon – to make a banner.
I couldn’t find a shark template so I ended up free-hand drawing one, sort of tracing one of my son’s shark toys. I made it the right size so I could fit two per page (8.5″ x 11″ cardstock, various shades of blue). My banner ended up having about 25 photos.
Fish Happy Birthday Banner
I followed the same principal as the shark banner when I made the Happy Birthday banner. I found a template of a fish and traced it on the various shades of blue card stock. Then I found a font I liked (called “Shark Party”) and printed very large all the letters I would need to spell the words for my banner. I cut them out from the printer paper and then traced them all on the blue card stock and cut them out again. Whew! Time consuming, perhaps. Worth it – I think so!
Shark Table Decoration
To decorate the table, I put a silver/grey plastic tablecloth on the table, then covered it with a white plastic tablecloth. Once it was lined up correctly, I used hot glue to glue the two together, along the edge of the table. Then I carefully cut out some of the white tablecloth to look like teeth. I used a blue plastic tablecloth as the table runner down the middle. (You can find some plastic tablecloths on Amazon.com.)
I used two shades of blue poster board to make the two layers of waves. I just drew a wave pattern on the poster board and cut it out – over and over. I folded the bottom edge under and taped it to the table. One layer of waves on the outside, another on the inside.
The giant shark in the middle was my son’s Valentine’s day box we made the previous year. Glad it got another use!
Other Shark Decorations That I Did Not Make
There were a few shark decorations I purchased on Amazon.com. I found these shark hanging decorations that I liked so I got two packs.
And I couldn’t resist this shark toilet sticker; it just made me laugh! I’m not sure anyone even went to the bathroom while at the party – at least no one said anything to me about the shark in the toilet!
Of course, I had a warning sign on the outside of the bathroom door!
I had “shark bait”, which was a bowl of gummy sharks. And I had “shark chum lemonade”, which was made by putting whole frozen strawberries in some lemonade (regular or raspberry).
For the cake I made a couple small round cakes for my son’s candles; I also made cupcakes. I thought it would be neat to make the icing blue like water, and have the cake be a red velvet cake like blood from a shark bite. But I used natural food coloring so it was nowhere near red (or blue). Oh well. I bought the shark cupcake wrappers, fin toppers, and shark cupcake pics at Amazon.com.
Shark Birthday Party Games or Activities
For an early activity, when we were waiting for all the guests to arrive, I just had a table set up with a bunch of Legos on it and let the boys play. That seemed to work well for the 10-15 minutes that we needed it.
Game 1: Fishy Relay Race
We have a ball pit and divided the kids up into teams of three. (You might not be able to tell in the photo, but I bought a set of three small inflatable sharks to have in the pool.)
Leg 1: One person from each team gets in the ball pit to find a small plastic fish – then pass that fish to their teammate.
Leg 2: Teammate 2 then put fish on belly and does crab walk across living room – then hands fish to 3rd teammate.
Leg 3: Teammate 3 then puts fish on head and walks it back to pond.
We repeated the game three times so each person on each team could do each station.
Result: Moderately successful. Some kids seemed like they didn’t really like it or have fun, but that could be just my own insecurities.
Game 2: Feed the Shark
I took red balls from the ball pit and they became “shark chum” which the kids tossed into the shark’s mouth. It was a free for all at first, then I let each kid go one at a time to let them do a special toss (backwards, eyes closed, etc).
Game 3: Sharks in the Water
Using pillows on the floor, one pillow for every player, I played the Jaws theme music (titled ‘Main Title and First Victim’ (which I purchased on Amazon.com). I played the “duh duh” music and when it stopped everyone had to get on a pillow. Then I drew sharks out of a “pool” (bowl in my hand) and whichever number shark I drew, the person on that pillow had to do something: their impression of a shark attack, or of a shark, or of a surfer. Sometimes it was “all play” sometimes it was several pillows. No one was eliminated and they LOVED running around and diving onto the pillows. Who knew this would be the highlight? They were so red and sweaty after this game!
Shark Party Favor Bags
I made the party favor tags and printed them on bright yellow cardstock. They say, “You’re a ‘JAWS’-some friend! Thanks for coming to my party! Hope you had a ‘FIN’-tastic time!” I now sell them in my Etsy shop! You receive the digital file and can print them on your own computer using bright yellow cardstock. Check out my shop, Drumming Mum Designs!
If you want some ideas, here is what I used to fill the shark party favor bags:
- One plastic shark toy. It was a nice quality one, purchased as part of a pack on Amazon.com.
- A couple sheets of shark stickers from this little book.
- Candy shark tooth necklace, which were so cool! (I also gave one to each person at the party to wear.)
- Shark tattoos
- Two homemade shark cookies, using a shark cookie cutter.
Shark Party Thank You Cards
And to finish off the party experience, I created very cute but very easy shark thank you cards! Using the shark cutout (mentioned above) I took a picture of each child at the party with my son in the shark’s mouth. I simply sent those pictures to Costco for quick printing. I took a piece of 8 1/2 x 11 blue cardstock and cut in half (for two cards) and then trimmed the photo and mounted to the card. Nothing fancy, nothing ‘crafty’. But very neat and personalized, I think.
I had my son write the thank you message on the inside.
I hope these ideas help you plan your child’s shark birthday party!
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Wendy – ParentingTips365.com
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