Way back in July, Delaney celebrated her 8th birthday with a 50 States Party. A few years ago, The Scrambled States of America became a favorite read-aloud. Since then, Delaney has been fascinated with learning all about the states. So, a 50 states party it was!
I kept the decorations pretty simple. The late July timing was perfect – I was able to pick up flag napkins on clearance at Target and red and blue striped paper straws at Sur La Table.
I had some adorable state fabric in my stash, waiting for the perfect project. I made Delaney a party skirt, plus had enough to cover a canvas for decoration. The girls have it hanging in their playroom now. The fabric is This Land is Your Land by Alexander Henry – check Etsy if you’re looking for something like it!
We hung a large fabric U.S. map on the wall. It’s a fabric panel that my mother-in-law quilted and gave to the girls. I made two long buntings with squares of patriotic fabric to hang across the dining room.
I also printed out the super-cute free state graphics from The Vintage Lemon and the girls had a blast taping them all over the walls. (I printed them smaller – four to a page on card stock.)
Using the same squares of patriotic fabric, I made mini patchwork placemats which I sent home with the kids as part of their favors. I have 12 white melamine plates (Target) and 12 clear plastic cups (Ikea) that we use for our parties. I label the cups with removable file labels, so all the kids can keep track of their drinks throughout the party.
There are so many directions you could go with the menu for a 50 states party. Delaney pretty much planned the menu all by herself. She had a list of all the states, where she took notes as she looked through various books about the states. She chose foods that she likes to eat, but you could certainly serve just about any foods and find states to match them.
- Wisconsin Cheddar Cheese and Macaroni
- New York Bagels and Cream Cheese
- Arizona Tortilla Chips and Salsa
- Indiana Popcorn
- California Grapes
- Hawaii Pineapple
- Georgia Peaches
- Washington Apples
- Maine Blueberry Muffins
- Florida Orange Juice
- South Carolina Sweet Tea
We combined two of the girls’ favorite games – HeadBanz and Scrambled States - into our own 50 states party game. (You can read our review of the Scrambled States game here.) Kids and grown-ups had such fun playing this – it was a blast!
We decided to use the state cards from our Scrambled States game. I made headbands using sentence strips, cutting two slits to make a little holder for the card.
I made color copies of the map from the Scrambled States game, so everyone had maps to refer to while they asked questions about their states.
When it was time to play, I fit everyone with a headband and secured with tape. Then we put cards in the headbands and the guessing game began!
The basic rule of the game is that you can only ask yes or no questions to figure out your mystery card. If the kids got stuck, we encouraged them to ask questions like:
- Is my state touching water?
- Does my state start with ___?
- Does my state touch Canada?
- Is my state in the west/east/north/south?
When all else failed, the kids just started narrowing things down by color, since the colors on the map match the pictures on the cards. We played multiple giggly rounds, just changing out the cards as the kids figured our their states. Delaney was hard to stump – that girl knows her states! This was such a fun game, and could be adapted to just about any theme.
We sent our guests home with license plate bingo games and colorful dry erase markers (the kind with erasers on the caps). I downloaded the license plate bingo from The Dating Divas and laminated them for lots of use. (I love my little laminator!) They also took home delicious Pennsylvania Hershey’s chocolate bars. I’ve heard that our friends are really enjoying their license plate bingo games on car rides!
Delaney requested cupcakes, so we decorated them with blueberries and strawberries, then arranged them like a U.S. flag. Cute and simple!
It was a super-fun party for a special 8-year-old!