Wild and One – First Birthday Party Theme


Why buy it when you can make it? Faux chalkboards, punch boxes, prizes and treats – make them yourself for your child’s next party – and save some cash!

Faux Chalkboard:



Making a poster board chalkboard:

  1. Start with a foam core black sturdy board – Make sure the core (center part) is white instead of black, so your brighter paint/chalk colors don’t absorb and disappear – I got mine at the Dollar Tree
  2. Print or hand draw your templates on white printer paper
  3. Design your layout and center your paper template
  4. Using a dull #2 pencil, trace over your letters or designs, leaving a light impression on the foam board beneath
  5. Paint using acrylic paints, or use Sharpie Paint Pens for an even quicker result

The finished product should pass for a chalkboard. You can’t beat how lightweight it is, especially if you are hauling many items to a remote location. I am waiting to fill in my stats until closer to his birthday, but I started with some basics. I used white acrylic paint for the headings, then outlined in gold. It didn’t take as long as I had expected, once the template was down! I plan on using paint pens if I find myself in a time crunch in the week leading to the party, as I fill in his stats.

Please let me know if you tried this, I’d love to see your photos!

Punch Box

(An alternative to the pinata)


I created this for our age 3 – 5 guests. It was a hit!

First, find a box that suits your size/prize requirements. We knew we would potentially have 8 guests that may be too old to appreciate a stuffed animal (the other party favor).

We capped the punch box at age 5, because we have many adult kids in our family who would love a chance to swing at the kids pinata or get at the punch box, despite being thirty plus years of age. Though I’d love to give everyone a go at it, the favors had to appeal to a certain audience. So take your seat, Uncle Frank.

Making A Punch Box:

  • Unfold box.
  • Use stencil or template to trace your designated hole punches on the ‘wrong’ side (I used a cup) – Also, learn from my mistake – I traced the holes on the outside of the box to see if it would even fit 8 holes, before I ‘wasted my time’ opening it up and using the inside. Result: a slightly sloppy exterior.
  • CAREFULLY use a box cutter or hole cutter to remove your punch holes. Make sure to protect your work surface and remember that work gloves are your friend.
  • Cut out a few layers of tissue paper squares to cover your punch holes, use a strong adhering tape such as masking or duct tape to secure the paper taut, on the wrong side of the box (the side you don’t want to show).

We chose magic sand, some splat balls, a giant bug, play dough, and a purple motorcycle and placed them on the tissue paper.




  • Fold your box up to get an idea for the depth of your paper bags (unless you were smart enough to do this before you tore the box apart in the first place). Don’t tape quite yet.
  • Measure and cut your bag depth, leaving extra seam allowance to glue/tape your bags into place. I find hot glue or masking tape to have the best grip to cardboard, for the cheapest cost (duct tape may have better grip and be potentially faster than glue, depending on the width between your hole punches).


Punch Box

Party Favor Ideas for Small Guests

Adopt A Stuffy


Guests under age three got to ‘adopt’ a stuffed monkey which I scored from IKEA at a killer price: $2.99 for each fairly robust looking, small, non-dollar-store *stuffy. These guys really helped tie together the “Wild & One” theme.

*OMG I said stuffy. I’m officially a mom, if I wasn’t already. But since I can’t resist justifying myself: Lovies are special snuggle toys in our home – all other stuffed animals are just…stuffies!

Happy Birthday, Canyon James!


Other games, food and entertainment:

Pin the Tail on the Zebra

Bubble Station

Punch Box

Cake Smash

Guess the Number of Jellybeans

Dirt Dessert Cups

Fried Chicken, Cabbage Salad, Veggie Tray