We threw a Book Exchange/Swimming Party. I actually saw a similar party for adults with a theme like this (book exchange, not swimming) for Pinterest. Adapting it for kids seemed like much more fun. It seemed like a good way to encourage kids to keep reading over the summer. The concept is simple: Everyone brings a book (or two or three) they've already read and don't mind giving away. Everyone chooses a "new" book (or two or three) to go home with at the end of the party from the books the guests bring.
We went with an owl theme for the party. Owls were just beginning to get really popular then. I am such a sucker for a cute owl . I made a simple invitation on the computer explaining the premise of the party. She only had ten girls in her class, so we invited them all!
My daughter was so excited to get involved in the preparation for this party. There is nothing she loves more than a social gathering of any kind. That's one of the main reasons I was willing to do it. It kept her busy for a week. First she found an American Girl sewing project to do that we were going to use for the décor.
This guy (or maybe girl, yeah, it definitely looks more like a girl) went into the basket we used to hold the books that the girls brought to exchange. Fun fact: this was one of the baskets we purchased for my wedding to hold the rose petals people threw at us after the ceremony. I still have both of them and have used them numerous times.
I bought some wooden letters to spell "READ" at Hobby Lobby and let my daughter paint them to match the colors of the party. Then I tied the basket with an owl ribbon and stuffed the pretty little girl owl in the basket with the books.
Treats for the party were simple to make. Pinterest to rescue again! We made chocolate cupcakes from a mix and decorated them with Oreos and Reese's Pieces to make them into owls.
She got such a kick out of doing this.
We used some previously purchased accordion spheres and a Dollar Tree tablecloth to decorate the table. We also had mini fruit pizzas (sugar cookies with store bought icing, topped with strawberries, blueberries, kiwi, and grapes), Chex Mix, veggies and dip, and punch. So easy! Wish I had taken some better pictures of the spread! I obviously wasn't "blog thinking" yet!
A party's not a party without goodie bags. I did make these mostly on my own based on an idea from Pinterest. There were no directions with these, but it wasn't hard to figure it out from the picture. We already had the lunch bags, construction paper, and scrapbook paper it took. For the "bib" of the owl, I scanned some pages of two vintage children's books I have, Alice in Wonderland and Andersen's Fairy Tales.
Each girl got her own bag. I ended up making a whole flock of owls. Is that right? No, a quick search on Google confirms that it is not. It is a parliament of owls. Now doesn't that just seem right? I love it.
A Parliament of Owls - How dignified!
I wasn't looking to spend a lot of money to fill these. Here's what went inside:
The little tab on the top says, "Here is a bag of bookworms to eat while you read today."
A little reader's journal we made out of Dollar Tree notebooks, scrapbook paper, and 3-D owl stickers
and a bookmark my daughter made for each of her friends stamped with their names and made out of cardstock I already had on hand. Didn't take a picture of that one! Darn!
Oh, and of course, their "new" book they picked out went inside at the end of the party!
A good time was had by all. They swam and picked a book from the pile the guests brought. Many of the girls brought more than one book. Actually, maybe I should consider doing this for adults. Sounds like my kind of party.