Well, I thought I had my soon-to-be-three-year-old's party all figured out. But his recent obsession with U.S. geography has me considering other options.
This all started in June, when my husband and I took our first trip without him, to Florida for our friends' wedding. My mom watched him for part of the time, and she bought him a Melissa and Doug U.S. map puzzle to help him understand where he was (in Tennessee) and were Mommy and Daddy were. By the time we got home, he knew about ten states on the map. Two weeks after that, he knew the name of every state and where it went on the map (he may have, ahem, corrected my placement of a couple states), then the state flags. Now we have moved on to capitals, of which he's learned over a dozen. Did I mention he's NOT YET THREE YEARS OLD? Okay then. (I'm genuinely not bragging--well maybe just a tad--I'm more bewildered than anything.)
Anyway, he now has a giant atlas, two diferent map puzzles, and state-specific flash cards (all at his request--I am the opposite of a pushy mom when it comes to things like this).
I fooled around in Publisher and made a draft of a mappy invitation, above. I thought it might be fun to try a map-themed party, which sounds a lot easier than it is. Try googling "map party" or similar terms, and you'll be met with a deluge of pirate maps, wedding maps, and a host of other unrelated mappy things. I broadened my search to school supplies, vintage and repurposed maps, and map textiles and that's when I hit the jackpot.
I'm hoping to score one of those giant globe beach balls for a game for the kiddos. I have a paper bunting project in mind involving state flags. I'm envisioning a "pin the state on the map" game, instead of a tail on a donkey, map fabric or wrapping paper as tablecloths, and maybe some of those globe punching balloons for favors.
This idea just popped into my head a couple hours ago, so the planning is in the early stages to say the least. I'm getting really excited about it, though, and I think Graham will really love it, so it may be the theme we stick with. I would appreciate any map-related (especially United States maps) ideas anyone can offer!