When my 2-year old son took a liking to the Octonauts television show, I was excited to throw him an Octonauts-themed party for his 3rd birthday. Although the images you’ll see below are geared specifically towards that Octonauts theme, they can easily be adapted for any ocean party theme, including mermaids or just simply “Under the Sea.”
If you’re wondering if I crafted that super cool “Gup A” in the featured image above, the answer is YES! It’s a good-sized box covered in light blue duct tape with a working light so my little Octonaut can see his way through the dark waters of the deep blue sea. It took a while to make, but it was totally worth the effort. Just look at that happy little boy!
Explore! Rescue! Protect!
This is the Octonauts motto, but it could easily be converted into a “Happy Birthday” banner. Tip: when I construct banners like this, I usually have to search the internet a bit to find adequately-sized images. Smaller image files will appear blurry when printed out to this size.
Doesn't he look smart?
Studies show that the octopus is actually pretty intelligent compared to other creatures with similar brain sizes. Although this octopus is modeled after Professor Inkling of the Octonauts, it could be any octopus in the deep blue sea. A large balloon and pink streamers partnered to create our floating octopus. If you want him to look book-smart, add a monocle made from craft wire!
Now all we need are some Peanut Butter Fish!
These elegant jellyfish are made from colored paper lanterns, streamers, disposable tablecloths, and ribbon. They did take a while to construct, but the effect was very cool, so much so that my kids wanted to keep them up for several weeks after the party.
Beyond the coral reef
My coral patches were made using pastel-colored tissue paper (they’re on the floor on either side of the sliding door). I had hopes of designing a larger reef system…something that would be more permanent…but I had a very limited amount of time to prep for the party so as to surprise my son when he woke up from his nap. There are plenty of design ideas online for coral reef decorations, but I’m thinking a reef made from felt might be more sturdy and stand out better.
The “ocean wall” was made entirely of streamers. I have since developed a curtain made from tulle and flannel that looks really awesome…and can be reused.
Who’s there? Kelp. Kelp who? Kelp me, I ran out of time to finish my decorations!
But I did manage to make a couple adorable paper plate crabs for the ocean floor…
I had fully intended for this kelp forest to extend beyond the one wall, but time didn’t allow for that. If you do something like this for your own party, be sure to allow plenty of time for set-up. Twisting all those streamers just right is a much more lengthy process than one might think!
I found lots of great ideas for ocean-themed snacks for our party, including goldfish (easy), kelp cakes (corn muffins), shark teeth (mozzarella cheese), and kelp kabobs (green grapes on skewers). Add a little jellyfish juice and some cute, fishy cupcakes, and our sea snack table was complete!
If you’ve read any of my previous posts, you know by now that I don’t do “normal” when it comes to games or activities for my parties. As this was a party for a 3-year old, I knew I couldn’t get too complicated.
So, I decided on Bingo…ocean-style!
Rather than just having everyone sit around marking off their bingo cards as I called out random letters and numbers (which wouldn’t work that great for the younger kids anyway), I decided to create a bingo game in which the kids had to find their markers. I bought a bunch of small, plastic ocean critters from a local party supply store, photographed them, and then created bingo cards with the ocean critter photos in place of the numbers. Then I hid all of the critters around the house, handed out a bingo card to each kid, and set them loose. The first kid to find 5 critters in a line (that matched the photos on their card) was the winner!
One bit of advice: if you have a mix of older and younger kids at your party, make some of the critters easier to find than others and ask the older kids to leave the easy finds for the little ones.
I hope you’re inspired by these ocean-themed party ideas. Most of the photos above are linked to their original sources (unless they’re mine), so be sure to click on those and check them out. Below are some additional party supplies you may find appealing (these are affiliate products, and I receive a small commission for any items you purchase through these links). Feel free to contact me with any questions or comments.