Plum turns seven today! Hooray! It’s such a fun age, and we wanted to figure out a fun way to celebrate (in a pandemic-friendly way) so we planned a backyard Build-Your-Own Barbie Birthday Party!
Build-Your-Own Barbie Birthday Party
The idea for a Build-Your-Own Barbie came from our trip to New York City for Christmas last year. My mom gifted each of my kids a gift card to F.A.O. Schwartz to find themselves a fun toy on our trip. Plum chose to build a Barbie at their exclusive Build A Barbie station in the store, which we had never seen before! We followed the basic idea from that experience for the backyard party: choose a doll, choose a couple matching outfits, choose a couple accessories, package everything in an easy-to-carry way.
Choose A Doll
We gathered a handful of Barbies from the fashionista line, which are the least expensive, and most diverse line of dolls. I bought them on Black Friday, which brought the prices to around $7 per doll. Plum and I took care to include dolls with a range of skin and hair colors, which was actually a little bit tricky because we were shopping in local stores (not shipping) and the supply was a little bit limited. Those we found represented a fun range of diverse women.
To choose the dolls, we simply went from youngest to oldest of the girls who attended. All four friends live on our block, and have been in our quarantine friend pod, so we felt safe inviting them to the yard (they are over several times a week!)
Choose A Gown and Mini Dresses
Next, we reversed the order and invited each guest to choose a gown and a couple minidress from the “closet” we had made.
Plum and I wanted a fun, visual display for the clothes and accessories so we made this store using a tri-fold foam board and Sharpie. Plum arranged the dresses and I drew simple hanging bars around them and used straight pins to affix them to the board.
We found this lot of inexpensive Barbie gowns and shoes online, and also included this smaller lot with minidresses, crowns, and necklaces. Between the two, we had more than enough clothes for each guest to choose one gown, three dresses with shoes, and one necklace and crown each. Plus, Plum ended up with a few bonus outfits and bathing suits (so maybe she’ll stop cutting her socks into Barbie clothes!!)
The folded sides of our closet were the perfect place to arrange Barbie’s necklace, crown, and shoe selections. We stuck the crowns straight through the board, taped the necklaces in place, and secured the shoes into pairs with mini hair elastics and then hung them on straight pins on the hand-drawn shoe shelf.
The girls all loved choosing shoes to match each of their dresses, and the necklace and crown took it all over the top. After everyone had chosen their doll and and all of her outfits, they had a fashion show and took turns showing off their favorite new looks.
*One thing to take note of if you want to host your own Build-Your-Own Barbie Birthday Party is that the shoes that come in these lots are all for dolls who wear heels, not for flat feet. Many of the Fashionista Barbies have flat feet! So, take care to choose dolls with heels if you want the shoes to fit, or buy a lot of shoes that include flats like this one.
Snacks And Sparkle Manicures
While the party got started, before the Build-Your-Own Barbie Birthday Party activity, everyone gathered around the patio table for pink and purple snacks. I found applesauce in pink pouches, all-pink starburst (did you know they sell it like that?), purple and pink kettle corn, pink juice, and even pink goldfish that I mixed in with some white sprinkle animal cookies for fun. Our party was between lunch and dinner, so snacks were plenty.
I made simple drawstring bags with cute velcro pockets and hand painted names for the Barbies to go home in. (If you don’t sew, these are a fun option!). The bags were at each place setting. While the girls arrived and got settled, they colored Barbie coloring sheets, and I went around the table and did sparkle Barbie manicures!
Backyard Barbie Birthday Party Success
I have truly never seen a child quite as in love with a toy as Plum is with her Barbies. It was really fun to help her celebrate with a couple good friends and share her excitement. I have already seen the neighbor friends running back and forth down the block with their Barbie bags and accessories. They’re a hit!
While we are very intentional with toys at home, we also really value celebrating and encouraging imaginative play. I have really loved watching Plum develop such a creative approach to playing Barbie! She takes them outside for camping trips, builds them houses and cabins from boxes, sets them up to watch family movie nights on Fridays with us, and even packs a Barbie suitcase full of clothes and accessories for her doll when we travel. I love supporting her obsession, as long as it continues to bring her such joy!