This is my son, Henry. And he loves all things Peter Pan. When I asked what kind of party he wanted for this 3rd birthday, I was not at all surprised that he answered without hesitation, “I want a Peter Pan birthday!” So that’s what Mama delivered.
I have to admit, after a quick browse of Pinterest for ideas, I was extremely frustrated. I mean, have you seen the Peter Pan parties out there? They are so amazingly elaborate, a normal human being could never compete. And understandably so…there are so many things you can do with a Peter Pan/Neverland theme. After crying to my husband, he reminded me of my goal when it comes to events: to create beautiful, fun and affordable events. So I dried my eyes and decided to do just that. I DIYed literally everything–invite, printables, treasure maps, signs, goody bags, skull rock & crocodile paintings, the backdrop, banners, garlands, etc.
For this Peter Pan Neverland party, we invited our friends to join for us Peter Pancakes in Neverland (aka our local park full of nice big trees and a play structure that could resemble a pirate ship with a little imagination) as their favorite Neverland character. We turned the park into Neverland with stations to represent the various landmarks on the island. Each of these stations also hosted activities for the treasure hunt (see Activities & Favors section). Some areas were as simple as a chair and sign; others were more elaborate.
My son particularly likes pirates and Captain Hook, so I decided to make our dessert table pirate themed. It was probably my favorite part of the day! And the kids seemed to really like it as well. I made Captain Hook’s Canon Balls (Oreo truffles); Karen from Karen’s Custom Cakes made our pirate ship cake; the cupcake toppers were my splurge–I ordered them from Pirate Desserts on Etsy. I loved working with Tammie at Pirate Desserts. When the toppers arrived, some of the hooks were broken; she had replacements sent out the next day and they arrived just in time for the party. I highly recommend her and her amazing toppers!
We held our party in the morning so we could serve Peter Pancakes. The rest of our menu included items that represented various Neverland characters. I made sure to plan food that could be made ahead of time as there aren’t many cooking options at the park. The one exception was the pancakes for the grown-ups (I made dollar pancakes ahead of time for the kiddos); my hubby flipped those over a charcoal grill:
- Peter Pancakes
- Crocodile (Turkey) Sausage
- Nana’s Nasty Tonic (Maple Syrup)
- Mr. Smee’s Whipped Cream
- Wendy Darling’s Vanilla Yogurt
- Lost Boy’s Granola
- Tinker Bell’s Fairy Fruit
- Mermaid Lagoon Hard Boiled Eggs
Activities & Favors
Our activities and favors were combined. At the Indian Camp, the boys could make Red Man headbands to wear and/or take home with them. At Mermaid Lagoon, the girls could make bubble gum pearl necklaces. And the big finale was a treasure hunt that ended at Pirate Cove where the children had to battle a pirate to get their treasure/favors.
Red Man Headbands
The Red Man Headbands station was set up at the Indian Camp. The boys cut out their headband (I used this template), then could color it in, add feathers, and tape it on their head. We let the girls make them too because they were just so fun.
The Bubble Gum Pearl Necklace station was set up at Mermaid Lagoon. Yes, those are actual gum balls, and yes, I actually drilled holes in every single one so they would thread onto the ribbon. But they were so cute and fun and the girls LOVED them. What girl wouldn’t love them? I think some boys snuck in on this one too (can you blame them?) This was a great party activity!
I don’t know how the kids felt about the treasure hunt, but it was my favorite part of the party. It was husband’s idea (all my really good ideas are his) and was so much fun to put together! We outfitted the children with a map, a Tinkerbell or Peter Pan goody bag, and “telescope” and sent them to each section of Neverland where they had to complete a task in order to receive their next clue.
Our treasure hunt started off at the Indian Camp where everyone had to dance around the fire and chant.
From there, we ran to Hangman’s Tree, which is also the hideout of Peter Pan and the Lost Boys. And in typical Lost Boy fashion, each guest had use a sling shot to shoot a bouncy ball (which is much safer than a rock).
Next we swam to Skull Rock where everyone had to yell, “Hook is a codfish!” into an echophone. It was pretty epic listening to all of them shout into that thing.
After establishing the fact that Hook is indeed a codfish, we went to Mermaid Lagoon. Each child had to dive deep into waters (aka ball pit balls) of Mermaid Lagoon and retrieve a “pearl” (aka old golf ball from a box in my garage). They were also free to wade around for a bit if the urge hit.
Crocodile Creek was the next stop. The task was to toss a bean bag through the croc’s mouth. Or get your picture taken with your head in his mouth. Or throw a bean bag at your brother’s head in the croc’s mouth. Anything can happen with 3-5 year olds. And not to brag, but I DIYed this one. I didn’t think I could draw or paint at all, but apparently there’s a recessive gene buried deep down somewhere. I was just a little pleased with how this one turned out.
If anyone survived their encounter with the croc, they were to proceed to Pixie Hollow. There they could sprinkle some pixie dust on themselves and fly away on the swings. By the way, don’t ever sprinkle glitter in child’s hair. You will still find it weeks (and possibly months) later.
The final challenge was the greatest: to defeat the pirate defending the treasure chest (and the dessert).
Photo Booth & Neverland Characters
It was so fun seeing all the children come dressed as their favorite Neverland characters! All the fairies and mermaids and pirates were simply too adorable! We also had a photo booth (which ironically I had absolutely no pictures of and had to email everyone to try and get some photos) with some absolutely darling (no pun intended) props I found Etsy.
The Birthday Boy
Wishing my big boy a very happy 3rd birthday! Part of me never wants him to grow up. The other part is ready for him to move out so the hubs and I can go on lots of exotic trips and spoil grandkids.
Event Planning & Styling: Marigold Events
Photography: Emily Strawn Photography
Cake: Karen’s Custom Cakes
Cupcake Toppers: Pirate Desserts
Invitation & Printables: Marigold Mom Designs
Photo Booth Props: Upon a Time Designs