Sometimes I have truly NO idea where the inspiration for a birthday party comes from – that is, where my children are concerned. I always leave it up to them to choose a theme (and yes, there is ALWAYS a theme). Following that, their imaginations collide with mine until we brew a wonderfully whimsical broth of magical ideas for the big day.
So when our soon-to-be three year old decided (some months out) that he was having a ‘Prog Party’ we put on our best flippers and thinking masks to come up with a truly frogified celebration.
I always try to indulge every sense imaginable for our little people…be it the throbbing sound of dusk by a lilypad, the taste of underwater magic, the smell of pond life (actually I decided to give this bit a miss), or the soft touch of mossy lime-hued stones. And so as each frogget hopped their way across cut-out lily pads to arrive at our frog sanctuary, they were greeted by the blurred croaks of various frog species hiding in the undergrowth (provided once again by i-tunes sound effects and a secret ipod). To be honest, the constant blerking of frogs was at times a little tedious (especially for my father in law) however once our own little froggets wound up they quickly drowned out the flurry of frenzied freycinetis, the crooning caeruleas and citropias, the audacious aureas and the every-so-dainty, ever-graceful gracilentas.
We decorated our sanctuary with our ubiquitous party flags (made from the toss-away remnants of blue gossamer for our wedding, and present at every gathering of note since), along with green and blue balloons tied in bundles and lily-pad like nasturtium leaves gathered in abundant clusters. I actually threw a few nasturtium seeds about the garden a few months prior (the benefit of having a decisive toddler), and given they are the easiest and fastest growing plant I know, we had no shortage of lily pads on the day.
Beyond creating the sense of life in the undergrowth, three year olds really don’t need a plethora of intricate games to keep them happy. A few cut out foam frog masks with large unwanted buttons and silly paper smiles (to glue atop) kept our froggets busy for some time. And once they were decked in their fanciful froggy creations of rainbow bulging eyes and lopsided croakers, they moved on to the next pond to colour in crowned frogs and pleading princesses – using juicy, fat crayons.
But little tadpoles get hungry (as do big mama and papa frogs), and I did say that taste is a big go-zone for all our parties. Personally, I think every good frog party deserves a generous sprinkling of pond water (served chilled with slices of bobbing strawberries and oranges) along with bulbous-eyed cup cakes with froggy grins, watermelon fronds curled over lilypads (oversized nasturtium leaves are once again perfect for this – and actually edible) and of course a brightly squatting frog cake to top it all off.
Our birthday frogget still talks about his ‘prog party’. Everyone who came helped us to weave a magical frogified day for him and his friends…although he never did find that frog in the lavender bush.
Keep it on a shoestring tips