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Under the Sea Party

Inside The Fish Tank -5yr- Food on the Beach




Sue in Chincoteague, VA, USA


June 2010


Special Mention

For my twin's 5th birthday, I struggled to come up with a theme for a boy/girl party.  I finally decided on an under the sea theme, to combine the mermaid and pirate factors together.  Researching this idea, I decided to change the idea to Inside the Fish Tank.  We had a basement that was in dire need of some help that I wanted to change into a playroom for the twins.  It was rectangle, and the perfect place to have an Inside the Fish Tank party. 

For invitations, I made postcards that said on the front Greetings from the Fish Tank.  There was a drawing of an underwater scene that I photo shopped my children on, waving.  It looked really cute.  On the back it said: The weather is cold, but don't you whine, cause inside the fish tank, the water's fine!  Katie and David are turning five, so join the adventure, are you ready to dive?  We're shrinking down at one, when the party's begun, and we'll resurface at four, to grow big once more.  RSVP, the fish tank's small, let us know, so we can fit you all! 

To start on decorations, I went fish tank shopping.  I bought a rectangle tank, natural sand for the bottom, a treasure chest, a fake plant, and a fake coral covered rock hiding hole for the fish.  Then I went room shopping.  I rented a bubble machine.  For the ceiling of the basement, I put up some plastic wrap that kind of looked the way it looks when you're at the bottom of a pool looking up.  I bought one bag of sandbox sand from Home Depot to spread on the tiled floor lightly.  I also hung plush fish from the ceiling. 

To mimic the fish tank I bought, I got a fake fern from Michael's.  I took the twin's toy chest and added some fake leather strips and large metal buttons to give it a treasure chest feel.  For the coral covered rock, my husband built a small wooden platform to fit in the corner of the room.  I attached PVC pipes to form two half circles on top, one smaller than the other.  After coating the entire thing in gray paint, I attached large coral and yellow tulle circles, small green tulle circles, brown refrigerator tubing tubes, and starfish, among other things, to make it look like the ornament I bought for the fish tank.  It was the perfect size for a 5 yr old.  I also set up a table along the wall. 

The whole area looked like the fish tank I bought.  For the finishing touch, I traced a face onto a large piece of paper, which I colored in with blurry watercolors and hung on the wall.  Now a face was looking in at us.  Then next to it I hung a little sign that said Please Don't Tap The Glass, backwards, like you were looking at it through a mirror.  I hung a mini sign like that on the fish tank that I bought to replicate the room, forwards.

I covered the table with a blue table cloth from and dusted it with sand.  I placed two pillars filled with colorful shells and two bowls with goldfish inside on the table.  I got it all from the dollar store.  I hung a sign that said Fish Food on it.  I would put the food on that table during the party.  There would only be snacks since the kids would have already eaten lunch, and a 5 yr olds attention span is short. 

On the day of the party, guests walked in the front door and to the opening before the stairs down to the basement.  I had laid out a blue carpet so the guests knew where to walk.  At the top of the stairs, I has covered the entrance with black crepe paper. 

By the door was a table with the fish tank I bought, with pictures of the twins waving that I had laminated and stuck inside the tank.  I had a sign that said Shrinking Portal: Shrink yourself so you can party in the tank with Katie and David!  Once the guests went past the crepe paper they were in the stairway.  I had wanted to keep the lights off and add a strobe light, but I thought that it would scare the young guests.  So I just made signs on either side that said stuff like Warning: you are shrinking, and fish Tank Ahead.

When they got to the bottom of the stairs, they grabbed a pair of flip flops (from michael's) from a basket I had laid out, and a shark fin hat (which was like a party hat, but with a fin)  The kids played on the coral rock structure and popped bubbles until everyone came. 

Then I announced that I was Madame Mermaid, and I would be in charge, since I was letting Katie and David have a party in my tank.  I had worn a mermaid costume I had found online along with aqua eyeshadow and my hair in an updo.  I had used some turquoise mascara to give me blue hair streaks.  We started off by playing Pin the Tail on the Whale, and Feed the Fish.  Feed the Fish is throwing a beanbag through the cardboard fish's mouth. 

Then we played Shark Attack.  One kid was the shark, and if he got a kid, than that kid became a shark too.  Then we divided into two teams.  One team went beachcombing while the other went fishing.  For beachcombing, each child got a box, and had to find all the shells in the sand.  For fishing, they fished for a prize behind a sheet.  We used clothespins. 

After all that it was time for cake and snacks.  I had seen this really cute idea in Family fun called squid dogs .  Basically, you cook hotdogs, cut them into about five circles, and stick a few pieces of uncooked spaghetti through them.  Then you boil them to cook the spaghetti.  The kids loved them.  We called them squids. 

Then we had sandwich boats, which was a piece of toast with a pretzel stuck through it and a cheese sail.  The cheese had a pretzel stick support in the back to keep it up.  We had sushi, mainly for the adults, that was made out of lunchmeat, and bowls of chips and whales the saltier alternative to goldfish. 

To drink, each child got a glass of blue Hawaiian punch with vanilla ice cream and Swedish fish. 

The cake was a fish tank, with an octopus on top.  I had made two layers, which I stacked.  Then I put a smaller egg shaped cake on top for the octopus body.  I covered the tank in blue fondant, and the octopus in orange fondant.  Then I made fondant fishies that I stuck all over the tank. 

I bought candy pearls that I used to put on the edges of the tank.  I made the octopus tentacles out of the same orange fondant, that I hung off the side of the cake.  I dotted it all over with light orange icing to make the suction cups.  I stuck a dowel through it to keep it in place.  The whole thing was on a base that I wrote on with icing Happy 5th Birthday Katie and David!  It was really easy if you have the right pans and fondant. 

After the cake, we played Beach Ball Toss, which is basically what it sounds like.  Then we went on a treasure hunt, to find little beanie baby type marine creatures I found at Oriental Trading.  At the end, I opened up the treasure chest and each child got their party favors- a beach ball, an ocean animals silly band, and a candy sucker shaped like a starfish, all in a mini plastic fish bowl.  Then they all went up the stairs which had been redecorated with signs that said, you're getting bigger!, and Did you have fun in the fish tank? 

All of the kids had had fun in the fish tank.  If I had done anything differently I would have probably spent less attention on decorations.  The kids didn't really care (although they looked really cute).  They had enjoyed the bubble machine and coral covered rock plaything a lot though.  We kept the plaything and the kids play with it almost every day.  They love their ocean basement playroom!  If you want to have a fun party for your kids, then I highly recommend an Inside the fish Tank party.

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