Molly turned 11 in January and requested a small party at home. I started my research a couple of weeks before, searching pinterest for ideas for a fun tween party. The requirements:  party was at home, couldn’t be girly (no make-up/spa/manicure/glittery/pop-music themes) and it had to be indoors since it was January in New England (snow, brr!). Most ideas that I found fell into the girly or outdoor activity categories. Since she’s a big reader  I thought it would be good to have a book/reading party but quickly found that theme is mostly geared toward little kids so I had to wing in on the activity front. I did find LOTS of awesome decorating ideas however – book paper crafts abound!

My biggest inspiration came from the blog “Me and My Insanity” – she threw a book club birthday party for her daughter’s 11th birthday- she made a spectacular cake among other things. I focused on decorations and party games since that’s what the kids seem to notice more.

Decorations:

I  was inspired by a tutorial for an interchangeable book page wreath and created one for the party (I switched out the center later for Valentines day). I set it on a plate stand on the mantle flanked by letters that spelled READ.

bookwreath

I purchased the A (and @ sign) and the D, but my husband and I made the R and E. The R was cut from an old book and the E was made from a cereal box and some paper mache (that was quite a messy project!):

mantle
I also had Molly’s favorite books standing up around the room as decorations. I got a little carried away with the book page projects – there’s so much inspiration out there! I made a couple of garlands with punched paper and a sewing machine – quick and easy:

bookgarland

Molly wanted brownies and ice-cream rather than cake so I made little flags for the brownies from book paper (I did mention that I got a little carried away, didn’t I?) :

bookflags

Activities:

I searched for some age-appropriate activities for the parties and came up with a few that sounded fun. First they did a craft where they decorated fabric book bags with stamps, fabric markers and buttons. The first had lots of fun with this:

bookcraftbagdecorating jillian

The next activity was a yankee swap book game – based mostly on this post. I collected a number of second-hand books and wrapped them in brown paper so nobody would have any idea of what they were getting. I had enough books so that each girl got to go twice. They had lots of fun stealing books from each other – the books they ended up with went into the decorated book bags are they took them home as their party favors.

wrappedbooks

After the brownies and ice-cream and singing happy birthday, the girls were ready for the final activity – a scavenger hunt! I wanted to do a book-themed hunt but given that I didn’t know if all the girls had read specific books we decided to go with more generic clues. They had a lot of fun trying to figure them out and dashing through the house to find the prizes.

huntgirls

Each clue was associated with a specific girl and she was the one who got to keep the prize so they all worked together. The prizes were books cut into the shape of the initial of their first name. My husband really got into that project!

girlsletters

The girls all had a great time and it was an inexpensive and fun party!

 

 

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