I was tickled to be asked to review Anni Daulter and Heather Fontenot’s new book, Naturally Fun Parties for Kids. Alas, I should have done so in a more timely fashion, as the book released earlier this year. But hopefully late is better than never. I’ve paged through this book dozens of times and I think it’s marvelous. Every time I pick it up I light upon a brilliant idea that hadn’t ever occurred to me before.
Daulter’s and Fontenot’s book is all about throwing parties with kid-friendly themes. As a huge fan of parties in general and, really, ANY excuse to dress up, I can totally relate. We all need celebrations and we all need to exercise our creativity muscles. This book is just the ticket to show what’s possible, with a little ingenuity, patience, and planning. A party for children doesn’t have to glorify a licensed media character! The book is organized into seasons and the authors provides three awesome party ideas per season. My favorites are the Summer Solstice Beach party, the Winter Solstice Party, the Forest Fairy Dress-up Party (Oh, to have girls!), and the Knights and Dragon Quest party.
The book offers “tips and tricks for making the parties green, natural, simple, and organic in style and content.” I like the emphasis on taking inspiration from nature and keeping it simple. The authors suggest thrifting, upcycling, borrowing, and making items from scratch to make the parties doable and special.
The book’s photography, by Tnah and Mario Di Donato, is simply gorgeous. Do NOT take my silly snapshots as an indication of the book’s beauty. I just wanted to give a little teaser. Their photos are vivid and inspiring.
What is kind of fun is how much the authors’ esthetic matches my own. Several of the projects in this book are ones we have done in the past, or ones that I’ve always wanted to do with my kids. I’m particularly intrigued by the beeswax ornaments (Winter Solstice Party), the upcycled sweater aprons (Community Cooking Party), and the grapefruit sugar scrub (Natural Spa Party). But there is much more.
Each party comes with a project and materials list, and a timeline for getting things put together in advance of the big party day. That’s just the sort of thing people like me need! I’m often full of ideas at the too-late last minute and don’t have time to execute them. These handy lists fix that deficiency.
Activities are provided for each party, too: games and crafts, and even a play! And the party themes are well chosen to appeal to kids, such as pajama parties, berry picking, art, egg-dying in spring.
The authors also provide plenty of delicious-looking recipes and, frankly, you don’t need to throw the party to make them. Herbal tea spice cake and mushroom and onion mini crustless quiches both sound like they’ll be visiting my kitchen soon. Furthermore, the recipes are geared toward kid palates. Nothing too fussy and plenty of fun: Italian ices; black bean, corn, and cheese quesadillas; grilled flatbread pizzas; Dutch oven apple-berry cobbler, etc. Now, where the heck does one find a donut pan for baking donuts? (The Internet, I suppose.)
Those who like to do paper crafts will love all the invitation making in this book. That’s mostly not my thing, to be honest. So I’d probably skip some of that stuff. Anyone with a flare for scrapbooking and stamps and stuff will dig it.
So, if you’re looking for inspiration for celebrating with children, check out Naturally Fun Parties for Kids by Anni Daulter with Heather Fontenot. I wonder if I could con my boys into a Forest Fairy Party? Well, maybe not that one, but definitely the Pancake P.J. Party. They’ll go for that!