So your little girl has decided that this year she wants an American Girl birthday party. Believe me, we’ve all been there.
You’ll quickly discover that one of the most frustrating things for many American Girl “parents” is the lack of birthday party related articles online. The first time we had to plan out an American Girl themed birthday party we spent days searching for party themes, recipes and decorations without finding a single definitive “guide.” While there were great tips sprinkled throughout the Web, with everything else we parents have to do the experience was downright frustrating.
With that in mind, we’ve decided to do all of the legwork for you and compile a handy list of some of our favorite recipes and tutorials in one spot to aid you in your quest for AG birthday party greatness! We’ve rounded up some of our favorite tips, tid-bits, and tricks for invitations, decorations, food, party games, and doll activities.
You’ve decided on a date and time for the birthday party, now it’s time to invite all of your guests. There are lots of invitation options available online, so you’ll need to decide how much time and money you want to spend on them.
If you’re on a tight budget, you can create and print your own invitations with online templates, or purchase pre printed, blank American Girl stock invitations from Amazon. You can also call around to craft and party stores (Michaels and Party City) and see if they have invitations available in-store. Of course you can also eschew the traditional invitations, and go the nearly free route by using social media, email, text messages, and good ol’ word-of-mouth to let people know about the party. While this may not get your daughter as involved in the process it is definitely the cheapest route.
If you have a little more money in your budget, want an individualized look, but don’t have the time to work on invitations yourself, your best option is to look into the many customized invitations from Etsy.
- American Girl Ideas: American Girl Birthday Party Invitations: Free Printables
- Etsy: American Girl Invitations
- The Pinning Mama: American Girl Free Birthday Printables
Make sure that your guests know that all 18” dolls are encouraged to attend the festivities. If possible, include the name of their dolls on the invitation, making for an ever more individualized feel. You may also want to ask each girl to bring her doll’s travel trunk with extra clothes and accessories, especially if you’re having a sleepover.
Decorating for an American Girl themed birthday party is actually pretty simple. The color scheme for most AG birthday parties is pink and red, and the AG star logo is typically used to tie the theme together. Assuming your little girl doesn’t deviate from this standard design and scheme, most of your time will be spent making a list of the items you want and dedicating a day or two to purchasing what you need. In fact, most of this can be done in a weekend if you know what you want.
First you’ll want to start with a list. From there, you can add notes and be more descriptive in what you want in terms of color and pattern. The best idea is to stick to a color theme and go build upon it.
Sample Decorations List:
- Wall decorations: streamers, paper lanterns, balloons
- Table covers
- Table settings: plates, cups, napkins and cutlery
Most, if not all, of these items can be found at the big retail and dollar stores, so you don’t have to worry about spending a small fortune decorating. And if you’re feeling extra adventurous, you can try the crafts below and create your own personalized decorations. These can all be done on the weekends leading up the party, and if you get the kids involved, that means less stress for you, and you’ll keep them busy at the same time. Having the birthday girl get directly involved with the creation of invitations will make her feel like the party is more her own.
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- A Bubbly Life: Glitter Letter Balloons
- A Pop of Pretty: How to Make a DIY Photo Booth
- Busy Budgeting Mama: DIY Streamer Canopy Tutorial
- Frosted Events: DIY: How to Make American Girl Doll Box Photo Prop
- Tammy Mitchell Designs: Make This: How to Make Mini Cake Stands
Aside from decorations, food and drinks will consume most of your party planning and budget. If you’re looking to save money on the cake, stick to a simple cake with a solid color fondant and then decorate the rest on your own with sprinkles or toppers. You can also have red or pink stars added to make it look more American Girl themed. The same can be done for cupcakes; choose a solid color for the icing that goes with your theme and then add little toppers as a decoration.
There’s a wide variety of snacks you can prepare for your guests. While there aren’t any specific AG recipes, there are some recipes you can serve to tie the theme together. A fun idea is to set up a food buffet, using a variety of containers in different sizes and shapes, and fill them with different candies and treats.
As we stated before, the red star plays a huge part in most American Girl parties. Try to incorporate the star when considering food items. Using a star shaped cookie cutter, you can transform sandwiches, cookies and cakes into party ready treats! As with the decorations, let the kids help out with these DIY snacks.
- Clumbsy Cookie: When You Wish Upon a Star
- Cookie Cutter Fruit Salad
- Eliza Ellis: Chocolate Dipped Wafers
- Food Network: Nutty Star Sandwiches
- Great Lakes Love: The Pink 7UP Punch
- How Does She: Oreo Cookie Sucker Tutorial
- How to This and That: Holiday Fun Star Shaped Rice Krispie Treats
- Martha Stewart: Basic Sugar Cookies
There are a few finishing touches you can add to your food and refreshments. These ideas would make for quick weekend craft projects.
- Celebrate Creativity: Stars and Strikes (and Polka Dots)
- Unusually Lovely: DIY: Glitter Star Cupcake Toppers
- Wit & Whistle: Formal Fringe: Duct Tape Water Bottle Party Labels
What’s a birthday party without fun and games? Cake and ice cream are great, but you want everyone to take part in the fun and get involved. If you have the room, set up a long table for crafts and games. If you’re tight on space, then make games and crafts an activity after everyone has had time to eat. You’ll want as much table space as you can so little elbows aren’t knocking into each other. If it’s a nice day, try to move the fun outside.
- Always Under Pay: DIY Flip Flops: How to Make Your Own Cute Flip Flops
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- Doll Diaries: Free American Girl Printables
Don’t Forget the Dolls:
Because your guests will be bringing their dolls, it’s a good idea to include the smallest guests in every aspect of the party. Create a separate table for the dolls, complete with their own table settings and decorations, some of which you can purchase online or in any of the big retail and party stores. Do a little research online if you’re planning on going to any of these stores or call around to make sure that they have what you need.
And when the girls are working on crafts, keep in mind that you’ll want them to take something special back for their doll. Doll crafts are a big hit at American Girl birthday parties, so find something the girls can make for their dolls. You may also want to work on some special doll goodie bags as a special “thank you” for coming to the party.
- Inner Child Fun: How to Make a Doll Clipboard and Pencil Set
- Karen Mom of Three’s Craft Blog: Birthday Party Loot Bags
- Make It Do: Doll Sized Party Hat Template
- Sew Adollable: No Sew Tutu
We hope this birthday guide helps you in preparing for your American Girl birthday party. If you have any ideas that you’d like to add, please feel free to comment and share with us. And if you’re looking for more visual party inspirations, check out some of the American Girl birthday party links below.