Sharks and Stingrays : An Under The Sea Party

My son has had an obsession with “sea animals” for most of his life, along with dinosaurs and cars.  He was the only 4 year old I knew that would tell you it wasn’t a “shark”, but a “lemon shark” or a “tiger shark.”  He picked a Sharks and Stingrays theme for this 4th birthday.  I think it was mainly because he couldn’t choose between the two!

I was also secretly excited, because we had just moved into our new house and had a pool!! We had the perfect theme for a pool party, and I planned to make the most of it.  We had originally planned to move into our new house right before my daughter’s first birthday. I had romanticized her first party in our “forever home” and had been pretty let down when the previous sellers delayed and pushed our move-in date 2 weeks past her birthday.  This party was my second chance, and I really wanted to start by getting some inspiration at the craft store.

The Birthday Banner

I wondered through the store and hit the jackpot in the gardening section!  There were bags and bags of seashells and a decorative net.  My banners were usually scrapbook paper letters strung together with a pretty ribbon and decorative accents.  The net gave me an all new idea and I scooped it up. I hot-glued letters, seashells, and outlines of sharks and stingrays to it.  We hung it high on the wall leading out to the pool. It is one of my favorite banners to this day and was honestly about half the work of the others!

Sharks and Stingray Banner

Net Banner with Sea Shells, Sharks, and Stingrays

My other super finds were fabric for the tablecloth and matching sand buckets.  I always feel like the color-theme reveals itself as my planning goes along. Finding the sand buckets in the same color as the tablecloth spoke loud and clear to me. This was a blue, yellow, and orange party!

Snacks and Decorations

New found inspiration in hand, I started my pinterest searches and planning for “my version” of the professional-looking party snacks and decorations.  I latched on to some posts with gummy sharks almost immediately and quickly feel victim to the “Customers who bought this item also bought…..” on Amazon.  Thirty minutes later, I had gummy sharks, gummy worms, and sea-colored rock candy all on the way.  I mean….I had 3 sand buckets, so I had to fill them all with candy, right???  Since everything came in pretty large quantities, I bought extra gift bags and made the sweet treats part of the gift. Everyone got to fill up a bag as they left which also helped me get rid of the candy I would have undoubtedly eaten myself……..


Sea-colored Rock Candy make great Coral

Sweet Treats







I’m always looking for ways to get my kids involved in their parties too. We found some great wooden signs at JoAnn’s that had a beachy feel, and I let James paint them himself. I added the names, but he literally told almost everyone one of his friends that he painted the signs.  I love giving him those little things to be proud of and show off!

Sea animal shaped sugar cookies rounded out the rest of the sweet treats.  Wilton’s Gel Dye is my favorite for making icing almost any color you want. Ebay is always my go-to for fun (and cheap!) cookie cutters.  James wanted chocolate and vanilla cupcakes so I relied on my favorite recipes from and the piping kit it had recommended so long ago.  The cookies were another great place for James to help with his party.  I loved watching him point out his favorite stingray or his favorite octopus to his friends.



It is sometimes hard for me to imagine that everyone doesn’t have the same sweet-tooth that I have, but I did have a moment of planning for those who didn’t want to gorge. I ended up with one of my favorite  snacks of the whole party.  Meet….The Red Pepper Octopus and his sea of Hummus:


While the pool was the main entertainment for the party, I unknowingly made my husband’s day with another Amazon find : a remote-controlled shark balloon. I found some amazing balloons on Amazon for much cheaper than the local party stores when I planned James’s first second birthday party.  You can definitely save some money by buying them online and having them filled up at the party store.  This shark balloon floated around our house for at least two weeks post-party, usually with my husband at the control and sneaking up on the rest of us!

sWhat It’s All About

We actually had a basket of sea animal cookies given to us that day, and although I normally would have had a slight feeling of disappointment that my cookies didn’t end up looking as good, I’d given up making “perfect cookies” that day and found something much sweeter.  My favorite memory from the whole party really came from watching James share his cookies with his friends and seeing the pride and excitement light up his little face.

I’ll take this:


Over this:


Any day!!

%d bloggers like this: