This weekend we celebrated Lola's 5th birthday with a birthday party with a very specific theme: Lola's Metal Detector and Penny Finding Party! Lola came up with the theme herself and I have to say that despite it sounding kind of weird, it was one of the most fun parties we've ever thrown.
Wondering how such a party theme came about? Well, Lola is kind of obsessed with finding pennies. It's amazing just how many she finds when we're out and about. She's so good at finding pennies that she refers to herself as a "penny finding machine"! That said, quite some time ago she decided that an actual penny finding machine (ie. a metal detector) would help her find many more pennies. I have no idea where she got the idea about a metal detector from (presumably tv), but she has been asking for one for her birthday or Christmas since she was two! I figured she was a little small for a metal detector back then and told her she'd have to wait until she was at least five. Well, she didn't forget and when it came time to start planning her party this year she came up with this wonderful theme. Of course, that meant that a shiny new metal detector was unwrapped on the morning of Lola's birthday!
In the past we've almost always hosted our parties on our building's roof top deck. For a metal detector and penny finding party, however, we needed somewhere to search for hidden pennies. Our roof deck didn't really fit the bill (I could see all of the pennies falling through the gaps in the decking!) so we held the party at a nearby playground where there was plenty of grass and a sandbox for hiding pennies.
I set up tables decked out with penny themed food and decorations. The birthday cake was a giant penny featuring Lola's face, just like the invitation above. The round serving platters I used were copper colored like giant pennies. There were sugar cookies decorated by Ava and Lola with fondant, copper coloring and edible markers to resemble pennies. And, my favorite, there was a large ornamental copper colored number five covered in pennies. (I'll have more posts about some of these coming soon). The girls and I even had matching penny colored nail polish for the party!
And of course, there was plenty of penny themed fun when it came to the activities. First up the kids lined up to take turns using Lola's new metal detector. Originally I had planned to bury all of the pennies in the sandbox but seeing as there were lots of other kids in the playground I ended up just sprinkling them on the grass in a corner of the playground. This actually worked really well as the pennies were still fairly hidden but easy enough to find. The kids loved playing with the metal detector and it kept them occupied for ages.
Next up we played Pass the Parcel, an Australian party favorite but little known game here in America. For those of you not familiar with Pass the Parcel, here's how you play it. The kids sit in a circle and pass a parcel around while music plays. When the music stops the kid holding the parcel gets to unwrap a layer. This continues until you get to the middle of the parcel which contains a prize. I also like to include enough small prizes (like packs of gummies) throughout so that all the kids receive something, not just the winner at the end. Anyway, the kids enjoyed the game and the winner at the end received a small penny collecting purse filled with chocolate coins.
Our next penny themed activity was the pinata which I had made to look like a penny with Lola's face on it. When Lola first came up with the idea for a Metal Detector and Penny Finding party she asked for a pinata filled with pennies! When I told her that it might be a little dangerous to have pennies flying everywhere she said "That's ok, you can just fill it with paper money instead". Ha! Well, I didn't fill it with paper money but I did go for the next best thing: chocolate coins.
Then it was time for the cake. Unfortunately the poor cake was looking a little worse for wear by now as the wind had blown the tablecloth up making it land on top of the cake. When the table cloth was moved, the piping gel around the top of the cake stuck to it and came off the cake. Oh well.
As always, there was too much of a breeze to successfully light all of the candles and have them stay lit while we sang Happy Birthday. So instead I lit just one candle after we'd finished singing and Lola blew that one out. Lola cut then cake and made a wish (for a rainbow unicorn, as always) and then I removed her paper picture from the top and cut the cake to serve it.
At the end of the party Lola gave out penny themed party bags containing chocolate coins, money stickers, Seed Money (paper coins infused with wildflower seeds) and a roll of pennies from the bank. Each party bag featured a Lola Penny thank you tag.
Lola's Metal Detector and Penny Finding party was a huge success and I'm so glad I went along with Lola's crazy theme! It seemed like it might be a tricky theme to pull off at the start but it worked out so well.
Happy birthday to my big five year old!