Dora is a popular animated character from Nick Jr.'s hit show, Dora the Explorer, and a perfect theme for throwing your child's next birthday party. Bilingual Dora, speaking English and Spanish, is an adventurous little girl with friends like Boots, a blue Monkey that wears red boots, and enemies like Swiper, a masked Fox who tries to interfere with Dora's travels. To block Swiper, Dora must repeat, "Swiper, No Swiping!" three times. Other less prominent characters include Tico the Squirrel, Benny the Bull and Isa the Iguana. Since Dora the Explorer has been on the air for many years, themed party items are widely and readily available. Decorations are available for purchase in most retail party stores or free when printed out on the Nick Jr. website.
Invitations should alert the guests to the theme, so have Dora front and center telling the guest about the adventures that await them. Some guests may not be familiar with the show or the character. Send invitations early so that those guests may familiarize themselves with the show or at least with the general theme. Print invitations out from your computer or purchase pre-printed Dora themed cards. Tie Dora or adventure themed balloons to the mailbox or nearby the party location so guests can easily locate the party. Play music from the show while guests arrive. Keep the music playing softly in the background or have a Dora the Explorer DVD set up on a repetitive loop of episodes. If you choose to play the DVD, make sure the kids are paying attention and engaging in party activities rather than watching the show.
Dora always carries around a magical backpack with her on each adventure. She uses the backpack when she needs something to help her and the purple backpack magically produces the item. Items can range from large latters to space suits, which obviously would not fit inside of a normal backpack. Host an arts and crafts activity for guests to decorate their own backpacks to take on adventures. Purchase small, plain backpacks or canvas tote bags at a wholesale or local crafts store. Provide guests with sequins, glitter, stickers and other crafting supplies, depending on your budget and how messy the project may get. If using paint, be sure to provide smocks to prevent guests from getting paint on their clothes. If smocks are not available, use trash bags to create makeshift clothing protection. Poke one large hole at the top and two on the sides for arms. If you would like, cut down the back of the bag, so when the child puts it on, the bag can be fastened in the back with a small piece of tape.
After decorating, leave backpacks to dry out of the way of the party. If they dry in time, have the guests use their newly decorated backpacks during activities, such as a scavenger hunt for treasure. Dora loves exploring the wilderness and a scavenger hunt is an excellent way to incorporate the theme into a fun activity. Hide treasure, like bags of candy or small toys, outside in the yard. If the party is indoors, toys may be scattered around the party space under or behind pillows and furniture. Remember where you place the treasure incase not all of the treasure is discovered and you have to retrace your steps to find leftover candy. Have guests fill their newly decorated backpacks will the treasure they find. Backpacks can also be used to collect candy fallen from a piñata. Purchase a Dora shaped piñata or get crafty and create one out of newspaper and paper mache. Patterns and paint ideas can be found online.
Black and white outlines of characters can be printed out for guests to color or purchase Dora coloring books for your guests. After coloring, have characters from Dora the Explorer come to the party in costume. Take photos of the guests with the characters and have them partake in or lead activities. Since Dora likes figuring out problems, have a table with puzzles the children can put together. The puzzles do not have to be Dora themed, but perhaps show landscapes of the jungle or other places travelers would want to go.
Incorporate Spanish words into your party. Have each child come away with new vocabulary! Write down Spanish phrases on flash cards for a repeat-after-me game. Since Dora speaks English and Spanish, incorporate both languages into the game. Once an adventure is successfully completed, Dora is congratulated by the Fiesta Trio, made up of a grasshopper, a frog and a snail. The three animals quickly appear for a few seconds of song. Ask your guests to make up a song like the Fiesta Trio! Give out small instruments like tambourines, maracas or triangles and have the guests celebrate their successful completion of a puzzle, scavenger hunt or piñata break! Guests can also sing the "We Did It!" song that Dora and her friends sing at the conclusion of each episode after successfully reaching their goal.
Cakes in the shape of Dora or Boots the Monkey's face can be made or purchased at your local bakery. Cupcakes are another fun idea that can be decorated with premade sugar shapes of Dora or piped with icing to create Swiper the Fox cupcakes, as seen on the Nick Jr. website. A cake with an icing treasure map would be appropriate too. Map, Dora's talking map that gives travel advice, is always rolled up nearby. If a map is not used on the cake, another activity would be for your guests to create their own treasure maps with markers on parchment paper.
When sending out thank you notes to your guests, personalize them by including a photo from the party! Include the photo that your guest took with a Dora costume character or one with the birthday child. With all of the fun activities, from puzzles to arts and crafts, your guests will surely remember their adventure time at your Dora the Explorer birthday party!