Planning a little kid’s birthday party magic? Look no further than the British stationery company—and our design partner—Meri Meri. Their playful motifs captivate kids’ imaginations while their stylish color palettes and illustrations get a thumbs up from parents. We spoke with the founder, Meredithe Stuart-Smith, to find out what dream party themes are current small fry favorites, and how to make them happen. Her go-to parties all involve the wonder of distant worlds and a sprinkle of make-believe: an Andes-inspired party with an abundance of florals, fruit, and llamas (go with it); a banquet for knights and princesses; and a maritime adventure fit for shell-abrating mermaids and swashbuckling pirates.
Who doesn’t remember acting out the enchanting tales of Queen Guinevere, Lord Lancelot, and mystical Merlin? There’s not much more magical than a medieval fairy tale. The entire royal court will love playing dress-up and frolicking in the realm of dragons.
Set the scene: Turn your living room or party space into King Arthur’s castle by attaching metallic shield plates or a cardboard coat of arms to your wall. A few pieces of painters’ tape will hold them in place and won’t leave a mark post-party. Create birthday banquet drama with pillar candles along the center of the table—no need to light them! Drape blankets and cozy throws over the chairs to create the feeling of a castle hall in a land far, far away. Get the kids into the spirit (not that it will take much coaxing) with a dress-up box filled with helmets and crowns.
And of course, residents of Camelot traveled from kingdom to kingdom by trusty steed. Luckily, it’s easy to whip up a “trusty steed” for lucky little lords and ladies to ride, no art degree required. All you need is construction or butcher paper, a hot glue gun, and wood dowels or cardboard tubes. Cut out the two head shapes, glue them together along the edges leaving the bottom of the neck open, and place the dowel or tube in the neck. Use glue to secure, decorate the face, and set them out in your stable for guests (you know, the hallway).
Party snacks: Even the food can be on-theme with a few creative snack names: tortilla chips make great dragon scales to be dipped in fire-breathing salsa. Stack wooden skewers with meat and cheese for swords. Little princes and princesses can wash it all down with royal punch (any fruity juice). Magical princess cupcakes make for sweet end-of-party treats.
“Sealed with a Shield” by Meri Meri. “Magical Princess” by Meri Meri.
Just llama have fun
Update a classic tea party with saturated florals, fruity fun, and a few (literally) wild and wooly touches like llamas. They’re a cheeky alternative to unicorns for kids inspired by Anna Dewdney’s beloved “Llama Llama Red Pajama” picture books.
“Alpaca Present” by Meri Meri. “Blooming Chandelier” by Meri Meri.
Set the scene: Brighten up any room with gold-flecked floral garlands or a paper chandelier and fresh fruit. Add a little flower power with a funky floral headband for the guest of honor and silly sunglasses for the crew.
Party glasses and palm leaf plates by Meri Meri
Activities: It’s not a party until everyone gets tattooed, so set up a station using a damp sponge and a mix of fruit and llama designs for everyone to ink up. A printable pin the tail on the llama is a twist on the classic party game.
Party snacks: Swap out cookies for colorful (and healthy) fruit kababs that can be made the day before. A melon-baller or small cookie cutters make quick work of watermelon and cantaloupe.
Tunes: The party geniuses at Meri Meri created a kid-approved playlist of chill music to keep things at a parent-approved decibel level. Bless them.
End on a sweet note: Help your mini-merrymaker thank guests for attending with these fruity note cards.
Consider combining two beloved kids’ birthday party themes for a pirates and mermaids party. It appeals to the wild-eyed swashbucklers, the Finding Nemo-fans, and those that would rather be under the sea and dreaming. Playfully and easily announce the day’s theme by sending your guests a pirate or mermaid invitation.
“Aweigh We Go” by Meri Meri. “Let’s Shellabrate” by Meri Meri.
Set the scene: Use a few household objects you likely already own to transform your house into a seafaring celebration. A tape X marks the party spot on the front door or mailbox. A cardboard box turns into a Jolly Roger (and the main event) with a little imagination and lots of tape. Pirates will adore clambering in and out, sailing the seven seas. Ship or not, prepare to navigate rowdy waters by arming yourself with plenty of pirate hats so every guest can get in on the fun from the moment they arrive.
Activities: Chocolate gold coins turn any container into a treasure chest, and blue construction paper instantly transforms the floor into the deep blue sea. Have kids walk the plank by trying to walk in a straight line to avoid falling into the treacherous waters below, which are obviously full of giant shark balloons. Give little pirates a “telescope” to help locate their beloved treasure by rolling up construction paper.
Snacks: Pirates bounty party cups filled with goldfish crackers become shark bait, pretzels become cannonballs, and a pizza becomes a treasure map. Mermaids will love snacking on shells and cheese and starwhiches.
Party like a mermaid: No under the sea soirée is complete without some fun for the mermaid enthusiasts. Add some variety to your decor by stringing up a “Let’s be mermaids” garland, or even slant the theme that way by using these enchanting invitations and mermaid temporary tattoos.
Whichever theme you choose, a few artfully placed decorations, imaginative activities, and a themed invitation will help throw some fairy dust (so to speak) on your very special birthday celebrant’s magical day.