Friday, February 3, 2012

RE-ceiving Guests: Dora the Explorer Party

THE BIRTHDAY GIRL AND HER BACKPACK PINATA.  When my daughter was 3, she loved Dora so we used that as her birthday party theme.  The Dora back pack pinata above was a gift from my parents for the party.  It was bigger than my daughter. LOL. A man from across the border in Mexico would make them and a party shop in our home town would import them for us.  With all the problems in Mexico and all the restrictions making it harder to cross the border, the party shop unfortunately stopped taking order for these pinatas awhile ago.  It's too bad because I though they were so pretty. The man who made them was an artist really.
We took this photo of our daughter to use for invitations like we did for her Peter Rabbit, Madeline, Hawaiian, Make Believe and Fairy Princess parties.  I loved the photo, but when I printed out the postcard invites, I ran out of ink with barely half done. It had taken awhile to format.  At the time, I was also still busy making party favors and game components and  I decided I was spending too long on this party task.  To make things easier, and to finish the invites faster, instead of going to the store for another printer cartridge, I bought some standard Dora invitations, wrote in the info, and pasted the picture in those. 

For the Invitations and Thank you notes, I bought personalized address stickers on ebay.  I didn't know about etsy at the time, but I would look there now for this product.

I also bought personalized candy wrappers from the same vendor on ebay.  Again, now I would look for this item on  I don't have a copy of ours to share, but the picture below is similar.
You can order these here: Etsy store

For a preschooler party, the bouncy house is pretty typical fare.  We got a Dora themed house and put up a white tent in the front yard which was much bigger than our back yard.  Also, it had a fence around it so kids could run around safely which worked for this casual party.

Does it look enormous?  It really was, but our daughter *LOVED* it.  It was hard to get her out of there to do other party games.

"Dora" was at the party.   My daughter's older cousin, Sara, dressed as Dora, and is about to surprise my daughter at the party above.  Sara was very sweet to do this for me as a favor. She came dressed in the red shorts, purple tee shirt and tennis shoes and I gave her the pith helmet and backpack to wear to be "Dora The Explorer."
Sometimes my daughter would forget "Dora" was there, but then I'd see her smiling at Dora and checking her out.  It helped make the party extra special even if my daughter wasn't entirely sure what to make of it due to her age.

BREAKING THE PINATA. The pinata was hard to fill for 3 year olds. I think I used raisins, goldfish, fruit rollups and one bag of pinata filler candy.
All the kids sitting down sorting thru the loot after the pinata was broken.  I think my daughter is reaching for a box of raisins.  The funny thing is for kids this young raisins and goldfish are as much a treat as candy.
The adults decided to help the kids fill their bags after awhile.  The kids were so young, they each got a few things and became fascinated with that, but there was still more loot to be picked up.  It took some prompting to keep them going. 

TREASURE HUNT. The next activity was a treasure hunt in the back yard using Map, Dora's friend who helps her thru each adventure.  I drew a map for the game and had one copy laminated for each of the kids.  I am sorry to say I don't seem to have one anymore especially because I was happy with how they came out.   I made "Crocodile Lake" from blue butcher block paper from a teacher supply place cut out in the shape of a small lake and I bought an inflatable crocodile to place on the blue paper lake for the kids to cross.  I put my daughter's talking Swiper the Fox doll in the yard and somehow we ended the game with the kids getting their favors that were hidden in our dog house.  Everything they got went into a favor bag I made for each of them from purple felt to look like Dora's back pack.  The favor bags are above. I bought one long piece of purple felt and cut strips so I could "sew" up the sides with purple yarn and leave a little extra on one side to be the flap to close the bag.  I also cut out 2 strips of felt to "sew" into the back with purple yarn.  My daughter says the treasure hunt is her strongest memory from this party and her favorite activity of any of the parties we've thrown her.

At the end the party and we ate cake while we watched a personalized Dora video I had ordered for my daughter's birthday.   The youtube video below shows what the personalized video was like.


I spent a lot of time working on the entertainment, so I didn't spend as much time on the food. I had a local restaurant called Papasito's cater everything except the 7 layer dip which I made.  I took everything out of the boxes and poured it into Fiestaware bowls my SIL, Yvonne, lent me. I also put all the chips in a jumbo stainless steel bowl and placed all the food on a long table with a Dora tablecloth as a buffet.

7 layer dip
Chicken & Steak fajitas
Rice & Beans
Chile con Queso
Salsa & chips
Snow Cones

DRINKS:  Bottled water & soda

CHARACTER BOARDS. In the right corner of this pic is a Dora the Explorer posterboard I made as a decoration. I recycled the posterboards I has used the previous year for the Madeline Birthday party.  Next to the Dora is a smaller poster of Tico, the squirrel.  At the end of the food line, there is a little bit of the Swiper The Fox board visible as it is propped against the pecan tree.  Nickelodeon has instructions how to draw Dora and Boots here.  I free hand drew and painted the other characters. It took a little bit of time, but it wasn't hard. I only used very basic art skills to make them.
The Swiper the Fox decoration is more visible in this picture.  The really large standing picture of Boots the monkey in a tree and Benny the Bull standing next to him I painted with cut outs for people to poke their heads into is slightly visible next to the tent.  I put out another long table with a snow cone machine and snow cone fixings, next to the food tables.
The Boots & Benny the Bull picture is slightly more visible in this picture.  I bought some colorful balloons and a couple Dora mylar balloons to make things festive.  I also saw some inflatable monkeys from Oriental Trading Company to  hang as decorations for $3 each when I ordered the candy  for the pinata and binoculars for the favor bags.  They still sell the them if you are interested. Link to inflatable monkeys
I used a small licensed Dora pinata as the centerpiece of the kids' table.  The long and low kids table was a find by my sister-in-law, Yvonne. It has a formica type top and isn't pretty, but, once you covered it with a tablecloth, it was perfect for kids' parties. Many, many friends with similar aged kids asked to borrow the table and chairs because they worked so well. On a tip from my friend, Martha, a major bargain shopper, I bought the white plastic chairs from Big Lots for a couple of dollars each. I used them for many birthday parties and play dates. They were a great purchase.  I thought the party turned out well, but the important thing is my daughter still says this was a favorite party and that made all the extra work worth it for me.


You might also be interested in a Peter Rabbit Birthday Party and Easter Playdate HERE

A Madeline Kids Party can be seen HERE

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  1. Eldarose...You guys just blow me away. I thought I did great parties when my kids were growing up but you outdo even Martha Stewart. Someone ought to be publishing your darling ideas. What child wouldn't absolutely love to come to this party. Hey I would love to come as I'm sure all the adults did. Its always such a joy to attend a function where time has been spent in making it such a huge success. It just makes the birthday girl/boy and ALL the guests feel so special. You two continually amaze me!!! Another great great party.!!!



  2. Wow these is beautiful. Following GFC. Happy weekend!

  3. Coolest birthday EVER! Way to go! I but she was one happy little girl. That pinata looks huge and I have never seen a Dora bounce house around here!

    Thanks for following. I'm following back. Very cute blog :)


    1. Very interesting with beautiful pictures. I am happy to become a Follower of your Blog. Take care and enjoy the rest of your weekend.
      Judy - JUDY H-J'S THOUGHTS

  4. Adorable Birthday party!! I am so glad to have you following me, thanks for stopping by today. I am happy to follow you back and look forward to lots of great stuff! Have a great weekend.

  5. cute party! Thanks for stopping by...i'm following you now!

  6. Very cute party! Thanks for stopping by my blog, I am a new follower :)

  7. Wow, soo cute. especially "Dora". And what's really great is you have an on-line memory of this to look back on years later.

  8. I'm visiting you back from the hop! I love your header! Hope you have a great week! Following! :)

  9. Your daughter looks so adorable! a little "Dora" herself! Such a loving story! You worked so hard to make your daughter's party a rocking success! I bet she had a wonderful time! The purple felt party favor bags you made look so cute! The personalized "Dora" video and the bouncy house add special touches to this fun post! That bouncy house looks huge and I bet the kids just loved it!Thanks for sharing this wonderful post and your loving memories. Loved reading the sweetest note you left me. I appreciate you taking the time to visit me. Meeting wonderful people like you makes blogging so special for me. Happily following you back!Hugs~Poppy

    1. Thank you for the encouraging comment Poppy.

      And you're welcome about the note. :D


  10. Thanks for stopping by and following me. I enjoyed your site an am now following you back.

  11. That looks like a fun & exciting b'day party. I just wished we had parties like that when I was growing up (smile). There are lots and lots of beautiful memories to cherish. Thanks for sharing.

  12. How cool is that?! Looks like a great time! THanks for visiting my blog and for your nice comment.

  13. So cute! I love a little girl's birthday party. My girl is all grown up now. I have boys so I miss the frills. Love how you had a real Dora at the party. Btw, the front exterior of your house is gorgeous.
    Thanks for the follow back!
    Have a nice day,

  14. Oh wow! That's incredible! I have never seen a pinata like that! And great job on the felt backpacks! That is the perfect favor bag! Thanks for sharing at my party!

  15. That was a nice and creative party. so beautiful.