My son recently turned one. Yes, my baby is now a one-year-old. He’s a speed racer on all fours, and I think he climbs the stairs faster on four than I do on two. He has a sense of humor; he thinks farts are absolutely hilarious. He is getting more expressive, both verbally and non verbally. (He makes this absolutely adorable grumpy face when his sister is really bugging him!)
To mark his transition from floppy newborn to freewheeling toddler, we threw him a birthday party. Since I didn’t want to base the party around farts, I had to find another theme he would like. However, most of his interests are of the whatever-my-sister-is-doing-now variety. He doesn’t really have a favorite food or show. Plus, I didn’t want to have a theme pulled from pop culture. I wanted to do something a little more timeless.
Then it hit me one day, while getting my son dressed for the day. He has a hand-me-down onesie from his sister that looks like a surgeon’s scrub top. I would do a Doctor themed party!
Upon arriving on my theme, I immediately started scouring Pinterest for Doctor themed parties. Most are med school or nursing school graduation parties, so I had to find a way to make it a little more kid-friendly. Also, I didn’t seem much for meal ideas; a lot of the ideas were snacks. His party was going to start after naptime, which meant that it would go over supper time.
So I hit the drawing board. I brainstormed with my mother, who is a pediatrician. I raided her clinic for broken otoscopes and stretched-out Ace bandages. I scrolled through pages upon pages of Amazon items and I came up with a pretty kick-ass party.
I wanted to set the tone for the party from the get-go, so I made invites that looked like prescriptions. A prescription for fun! I created a template for easy use; just enter the guest of honor’s name once at the top, and it will fill all the way through. Same with the address, RSVP info, etc. You can change the text of the prescription; if it’s for a med school graduation, you can change it to reflect that. I recommend printing it on grey paper, or paper that has a subtle pattern, looking like a watermark. Each page makes two invites. Click here to download the Microsoft Word invite template.
Each room of the house had its own theme. When you first get to the Doctor’s office, you go to the waiting room. So the living room, which is by the front door, was the waiting room. And what is a doctor’s waiting room without ridiculously old magazines? I went to St. Vincent DePaul (a local thrift store) and picked up the oldest magazines I could find. Like a Country Woman from 1992 and a Highlights from 1993. Pretty sure I did that Highlights at the pediatrician’s office when I was a kid.
The dining room was the exam room, so I set up an exam room themed centerpiece on the table. I had an otoscope, opthalmascope, stethoscope, latex gloves, and so on. I used borrowed tools from my mom’s office, but you can also use toy medical tools to the same effect. The jar with the tongue depressors is a vase from Dollar Tree. The other jar is from the thrift store and filled with marshmallows. And those labels? Left over from my Mimosa Bar. Grab any thermometers you have laying around and throw them in, too.
The kitchen was an operating room. I had the patient cake (see below) on a table with “operating instruments,” such as a knife, ice cream scoop and cake server. On the chalkboard painted cabinets, I made an x-ray of a broken arm (because the patient-cake has a broken arm).
The bathroom was the Laboratory. I used skinny vases filled with colored water, a busted toy microscope from the thrift store and some excess vials from my mom’s clinic. If you really want to go all out, get some dry ice to add to the larger vials!
Downstairs, in the den, I made a nursery. I wrapped a couple boxes in leftover baby shower wrapping paper and swaddled my daughter’s dolls in them. Cute, easy, and it doesn’t take up a lot of space in case you have a smaller room.
The backyard was labeled as the Doctor’s Lounge. I didn’t really decorate out there because there was the possibility of rain. But if you have another den to label, or extra rooms here are some ideas: offices, medical library, nurse’s station, or you can just throw a Biohazard sign on a door. That’s what we did with our room. It was a bit of a mess. There are only so many hours in the day and making a fondant cast was much more important!
The main meal item was the hardest. I had a lot of snack ideas, but this was the hardest to come up with. I was trying to think of a way to work with sandwiches or wraps… then it hit me. Ace Wraps. As in Ace bandages. Fill them with whatever your favorite cold cuts or wrap fillings, and decorate the space with an Ace bandage or two.
I rounded out the selection with a few other pun-filled foods. I had “Jell-O Shots,” where I sucked up liquid Jell-O into syringes, then let it set in them. I also served “Grape Chewables,” which were just red grapes, and “An Apple A Day,” which were sliced apples, soaked in pineapple juice. For munchies, I had “Well Chex Mix” and “Mike and Ike Medicine,” which was just Mike & Ikes served in dosage cups. I also served “Pretzel Thermometers,” which were pretzel rods, dipped in white chocolate and decorated with red chocolate. (I actually used this mini bag I linked to. I melted the candy right in the bag and cut a tiny tip for decorating. I didn’t wreck any decorating bottles with cooled chocolate, and I didn’t have to buy more than I needed.)
What is a birthday party without a cake? What is a doctor without a patient? I killed two birds with one stone on this one and made his cake the patient. A local cake supply store rents out cake pans, so I rented a Bob the Builder cake pan. I turned his helmet into a surgical cap and wrapped his outstretched arm in a cast. I made homemade fondant using Wilton’s Marshmallow Fondant recipe. So easy! When I was just about done with kneading the fondant, I split it into half, then took a small chunk out of one of those halves. I dyed the largest part scrub green using mostly green with a little blue. I used ivory colored dye to make the skin tone on the medium piece, and I dyed the small piece for the cast. That can really be any color you want.
I found these super cool “blood bags” on Amazon. How cool for a doctor themed party! You could fill them with any red liquid, like fruit punch or Kool-Aid. I opted for red Gatorade. A 64 ounce bottle will fill about 8 bags, so I filled the last two with water, to look like saline. I also put out urine specimen cups filled with — what else — apple juice. So cool! And for those too squicked out by blood bags and urine specimen cups, I also had a couple coolers outside with soda and bottled water.
It was a big hit! People loved the little extras in each room, and laughed about the drinks. It was so much fun and a unique theme. Perfect for the grandson of a pediatrician. Or any kid who thinks doctors are the real superheroes. ‘Cause they so are.
Featured Photo Courtesy: Chryssy Joski
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