Backyard Beach Party

A beach party can be a festive way to celebrate a summertime birthday. When the birthday is for a baby or toddler, however, the beach may not be the most practical place to host a bash. For those times when you can’t get to the beach, why not bring the beach to you? Celebrate the occasion with a beach party that brings the sand, sun, and surf right to your own backyard!

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    Summer Fun. Cora Rosenhaft / Getty Images

    Most party supply stores stock a selection of beach-themed invitations that can easily be filled out and sent to guests, simplifying the invitation process. If you prefer homemade invitations, however, there are a few ideas that are also simple to make​ and offer that personal touch.

    Postcard photos are a favorite way to personalize’ party invitations. For the postcard photo, snap a photo of your children in beach attire, such as a bathing suit and sunglasses. To stage the photo, you can take your kid to an actual beach, put him in a sandbox, or simply have him pose with a shovel and pail.
    Other suggestions for beach party invitations:

    • Inflate a beach ball and use a permanent marker to write the party details on the ball. Deflate the balls and send them along with a note for recipients to inflate the balls upon receipt.
    • Tuck a note that outlines the party information into a seashell. This style of beach party invitation is best delivered by hand.
    • Use colored cardstock to create invitations in the shapes of beach-themed items such as surfboards, starfish, sand castles and shovels and pails.
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    Backyard Beach Decor

    The sandbox. Inti St. Clair / Getty Images

    Bring the beach to your own backyard with some of these staging and decorating ideas:

    • Sandboxes: Depending on ​the number of kids, one large or a few small sandboxes should provide enough sand for everyone to dig in and play.
    • Baby pools: Bring in the water aspect of the beach with a couple of splashing pools.
    • Beach pails and shovels: Think of these as not only toys for play but as decorative props. One fun idea for using beach pails and shovels as both decorative and functional is to fill the pails with party food and use the shovels as serving spoons. Another idea is to fill them with sand, top the sand with seashells and place them as centerpieces.
    • Swim toys: Use swimming items as decorations when you prop boogie boards along fences and scatter inflatable rafts and sea creatures around the party space or hang them from trees and deck rails.
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    Fish sticks. Steven Robinson / Getty Images

    The idea of beach party food might conjure visions of a bonfire clambake, platters of shrimp and buckets of crab legs. But what are the chances that toddlers are going to eat any of that? Suggestions for a beach party menu they will actually eat, while keeping with the ocean theme includes:

    • Fish sticks
    • Fish-shaped, cookie cutter sandwiches
    • Seashell pasta
    • Fish tacos
    • Fish shaped crackers. Serve these as a party snack, toss them in a salad in place of croutons, or use them to put the crust on things like chicken fingers
    • Gummy fish in cups of blue gelatin
    • Watermelon carved into a boat, shark or beach pail, and filled with fruit salad
    • Cupcakes topped with blue frosting, a cocktail umbrella, and a fruit leather “beach towel”
    • Beach birthday cake
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    Considering a dip. Rebecca Nelson / Getty Images

    When it comes to toddlers, you don’t need a lot of structured kids’ party games. They will be happy enough to dig in the sandboxes and splash in the baby pools. Throw in some bubbles and you’ve pretty much nailed it. If you want to incorporate a couple of games for older kids or so you can give out prizes, however, try some of the following ideas:

    Continue to 5 of 5 below.
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    Beach Party Favors

    Beach gear. Tony Cordoza / Getty Images
    • Beach bucket and shovel. You can personalize them by painting on the children’s names and fill them with trinkets or any of the following ideas for beach party favors.
    • Beach towels
    • Sunglasses
    • Seashells
    • Flip flops
    • Inflatable swim toys