This was an American Girl Doll party for Caroline, our now 8-year-old sweetie.
As you’ve seen, I go with a theme that reflects the birthday child’s interests at that time. Whatever it may be! (Last year we did a dog party for Caroline. But even now, it makes me smile to think that was her current passion.)
Then start collecting ideas and supplies. This was tricky. Outside of the American Girl Doll store (which would’ve broken my party budget), it’s tough to find items. I did find stickers at Michael’s.
I’m continually on the lookout for party decorations and other items. For this one, I used lots of red and stars, with hanging stars, red balloons (coupon so they were $.06 each at Party City), red table cloths. I have a bright balloon flag that goes out front for all the kids parties. And a Pottery Barn banner I got years ago that was worth the $29. It fits nicely between our pillars near our front door.
I made a 9″ x 13″ marble cake with chocolate icing. Added a mini-Am Girl Doll (her current fav, Kit, $22 at the AG store) and the tiny book and did a little with decorating icing. I used the additional cake mix to make cupcakes and decorated those with picks ($0.29 on the sale rack at Michael’s), adding stickers ($3.59 for a nice generous pack, also from Michael’s) to each side.
Invitations set the tone
We used notecards with bright colors that I’d found on sale ($0.69 for 8) and stashed away. Inside, we added a tiny little invitation (clip up a few other notecards) that said:
To: Your American Girl or other favorite doll
You’re invited, too!
We used bright markers to handwrite the invitations, and reminded her friends to bring their fav doll to the party.
I’ve always thought the most challenging time is as guests arrive. The activity for this party was some pre-teen girls (Caroline’s sister Julia and her friends, my heroes!!) who did a Doll Salon, brushing the doll’s hair and adding little barrettes (sale rack, Target, $1.27). We sent the girls home with their dolls’ new hair decor, too. That was quiet yet broke the ice and allowed everyone to meet each other–and their dolls!
We played musical chairs with the dolls. We played hide and seek (the girls exchanged dolls and hid them; then did “hot and cold” to help their partners find their dolls). We had a dance party with the dolls. We used certain music from each doll’s historical era, too. Waltzes, jitterbug, swing, 70s groove and of course today’s rock. We made GIRLS (Bingo) boards with the American Girl Doll stickers.
We did a pinata ~ even the dolls took turns with the little bat accessory!
We also played tag with the dolls.
Our little parting gifts were in a bright clear gift bag, and included a necklace, a tiny necklace for the dolls, bouncy ball, frog hopper and some pink gum and red tootsie-roll type treats.
You could also incorporate an American Girl Doll movie. I recommend Kit’s story.
And don’t forget to take lots of photos since the party times goes so swiftly. Then you can enjoy the smiles that evening over leftover cake!