Is your birthday kid enchanted by the story of Tiana, Prince Naveen and their adventures in the Louisiana bayou? Disney’s The Princess and the Frog has captured many young hearts, and the movie’s rich details make it perfectly adaptable for a birthday party theme.
Here are some ideas for throwing a Princess and the Frog party for kids.
Princess and the Frog Invitations and Decorations
Make kiss-shaped invitations by cutting red construction paper in the shape of lips that fold closed.
Seal the kiss with a frog (or other) sticker. Or, send everyone a set of red candy wax lips (compare prices) connected to a royal-looking invitation.
Decorate the party space with green streamers to mimic the foliage of the bayou. Attach leaves cut from green construction paper to the streamers with glue or tape.
You could also use the colors of Mardi Gras--green, purple and gold--in your decorations, since a Mardi Gras masquerade ball plays an important role in the movie.
Also use green construction paper to make lily pad-shaped placemats and place shallow bowls of water on the table with white flowers floating inside.
If you’re up for a challenge, try drawing the New Orleans city skyline on large pieces of butcher paper and attaching the scene to your walls. You might be able to find a Princess and the Frog coloring book with good, simple images of southern mansions, French Quarter buildings and trolleys.
Use an overhead projector to trace those pictures then have your kids color in your drawings with paint. Don’t forget to draw a building that looks like Tiana’s Place, the restaurant the future princess dreams of opening one day.
Another quick idea to give your home or backyard the bayou look: hang glow sticks or no-flame candles from the ceiling or tree branches.
Your child will feel like she's following the fireflies to Mama Odie's house, just like Tiana and Naveen did in the movie.
Food and Cake
Food plays a supporting role in Disney’s Princess and the Frog movie. If you like to cook, you could have a lot of fun re-creating the dishes mentioned in the story.
One of the movie’s first scenes shows Tiana perfecting her family’s recipe for gumbo, which is a great meal to make if you’re feeding a crowd. Children might not like spicy gumbo, though, so tone down the spices to make a mild, kid-friendly version of the popular Louisiana dish.
At different times, the characters in the movie also mention or eat the following foods:
Here are some other favorite foods in the south:
- Fried chicken
- Fried shrimp
- Po' boy sandwiches
For drinks, you could serve iced tea or a green punch (lime soda plus line sherbet, perhaps) that you could call "Swamp Sippers" or "Bayou Beverage."
Colleen Graham, About.com's Guide to Cocktails, suggests one of these green mocktails from her recipe collection (just alter the names to fit the swampy theme):
- A combination of bright-green juice (such as from the brand Bug Juice) served over ice with lemonade and either a splash of ginger ale or club soda. Since The Princess and the Frog is full of bugs, though, even just serving bottles of Bug Juice would probably be a hit.
By the way, Disney sells a Princess and the Frog cookbook called Tiana's Cookbook (compare prices) that might help with your menu planning.
The cake could be shaped like a princess’ skirt with a Tiana doll in the center. Or, give each child a cupcake-sized cake that’s shaped like a firefly using a special backyard bugs baking pan (compare prices).
If you prefer a sheet cake, ask the decorator to cover it with green frosting vines to look like a swamp. You could also make two standup frog cakes, placing a plastic tiara on one and a crown on the other.
Are three-dimensional cakes a bit daunting? Cover some cupcakes in green icing and place two candy eyeballs (compare prices) on top and you'll get froggy cupcakes that are much easier to execute and just as effective.
If you're playing up the Mardi Gras theme, serve what's called a king cake. It's tradition to hide a trinket inside the cake, such as a small plastic or ceramic doll, and the person who is served the cake slice with the trinket inside wins a larger prize. This can be a choking hazard, though, so think carefully about the age of your guests before hiding something inside the cake.
Games and Activities
Disney’s The Princess and the Frog is set during the 1920s in New Orleans. Encourage your guests--adults included--to come wearing clothes from that era, such as flapper dresses for the females and fedora-style hats for the males.
Hold a contest where the kids must race across the lawn wearing grownup-sized suits and dresses (over their own clothes, of course). Make it a relay race by dividing the kids into teams and telling them they must take off the outfits after each team member finishes their leg and then quickly dress up the next team member in the same clothes before they take off across the lawn.
Instead, you could turn cardboard boxes into trolley cars ahead of time and have everyone compete in the relay race while running with the trolley boxes around their waists.
Set up a craft table where the kids can decorate Mardi Gras-style masks (compare prices) with paint and plastic jewels.
After the masks are decorated, have the kids participate in a "second line," or parade set to the music of brass bands. Have the kids form a "krewe" (a term for social clubs that march in Mardi Gras parades) and put the birthday kid in the lead. Give the kids horns and noisemakers and let them march down the street or across the park. Instead of 1920s-era clothes, the guests could come in Mardi Gras costumes, which would add a festive touch to the parade.
Here’s another craft the kids could make: give each child a white coffee filter and set out watercolor paints.
Tell them to paint the coffee filter to look like a bug's wings. Give the kids glow sticks and have them crack them so they light up. Attach the painted coffee filters to the glow sticks with pipe cleaners and--voila!--they’ve each created their own little Raymond the firefly, one of the most beloved characters from the movie.
Magic also is key in The Princess and the Frog. Ask a friend to dress up as a fortune teller and set up a tent for her where the kids can enter and have their palms read or fortunes told, perhaps with the help of a Magic 8 Ball (compare prices).
Set the tone for the party by playing the movie’s soundtrack (compare prices) or other jazz favorites in the background.
Gifts and Favors
Wondering what present to give a Princess and the Frog birthday kid? How about a cooking-pan set and a kids’ cookbook for your budding restaurateur, such as Disney's Tiana's Cookbook mentioned above? Or give her a piggy bank where she can save her money, like Tiana did.
For favors, fill goodie bags with gummy frogs, waxed candy lips, glow sticks, Mardi Gras beads and tiaras.
The Princess and the Frog teaches kids important lessons about working hard, being true to yourself and valuing others regardless of their financial circumstances and backgrounds. It's also full of romance, great music and giggles. It's no wonder so many kids want it as their birthday party theme.
Special thanks to a reader named Beth, who lives near New Orleans, for some of the ideas in this article.