Ages 2-4

Invitations, Decorations & Activities

CD-Me Invite

Make color copies of your child's photo, or use your computer to create an invitation that stars your birthday boy or girl. Slip it into a CD jewel case, and add party details.


"Soul Train" CD Invite

Pump up the volume before the party by sending your guests a CD of favorite tunes.

What you need:

  • Blank CD with case
  • Solid and patterned paper
  • Train template
  • Scissors
  • Glue stick
  • Rubber stamps

To make:

Cut patterned paper to fit inside CD case. Trace enlarged train template to solid paper, cut, and glue to the piece of paper that will line the cover of the case. Cut a square from white paper, and write party information on it. Glue square to paper that will line the back of the CD case. Record party music on the CD, and label. Mail in CD-size box.

Rock-and-Roll Shakers

Single-serving potato-chip cans are just the right size for musical shakers. Roll canisters in construction paper. Cut the paper to fit, and tape down edges. Decorate with markers, stickers, paint, or paper cutouts. Fill with a few spoonfuls of rice. Guests can shake to the beat while they play a freeze-dance game to music.

Air Guitars and Savvy Saxes Goody Bag

Give each guest a child-size inflatable saxophone or guitar, available from party-supply stores such as Oriental Trading Company, at Kids will have a blast mimicking the cool moves of real-life musicians.

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Xylophone Cake

You'll strike the perfect note with this xylophone cake. Colorful bars, licorice trim, and two candy mallets add the perfect touch.

Prep and decorating time: 45 minutes

Bake time: 40 to 45 minutes

Yield: 12 servings

  • 1 box (18.25 oz.) yellow-cake mix
  • 1 can (16 oz.) vanilla frosting
  • 2 Black decorating icing
  • ½ box (24 oz.) white fondant
  • Assorted liquid food colors
  • M&M's Minis candy
  • 4 black-licorice wheels
  • 2 large marshmallows
  • Blue decorating sugar
  • 2 red Twizzlers
  • Red string licorice
  1. Heat oven to 350°F. Grease two 9"x 5" loaf pans. Prepare cake mix according to package directions, using pound-cake variation (add instant pudding and an extra egg). Pour into pans and spread evenly; bake 40 to 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Transfer to wire rack, and cool 15 minutes. Invert cakes onto rack and cool completely.
  2. With serrated knife, trim top of cakes to level them. Place cakes end to end, with short sides touching on serving plate. Trim a thin wedge-shaped slice off 1 half of long side of cake to form xylophone shape. Frost completely with vanilla frosting. Pipe black decorating icing around edge of cake top, down corners, and along base.
  3. Divide fondant into 8 pieces. Tint each piece with food coloring to make 8 bright colors. Using a rolling pin, roll each piece of colored fondant to an 1/8" thickness. Cut first piece into a 4"x2" rectangle. Make each rectangle slightly smaller than the previous one to shape into keys for the xylophone. Line up keys on cake, and place 1 brown M&M on each end of keys to look like nails.
  4. Press a Twizzler into each marshmallow to make drumsticks. Dip marshmallows in water and shake off excess. Dip in colored sugar. Place next to cake. Make a bow and pull string with licorice; fasten to end of xylophone.

Copyright© 2004. Reprinted with permission from the April 2002 issue of Parents magazine.

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