Internet? You failed me.
When E came home and announced she wanted a birthday party inspired by her favorite literary character, I Googled "how to throw a hamster birthday party" and came up with nothing.
Really, nothing. Nada.
Not one single post.
How can that be? Do I have the only kid on the planet who's obsessed with all things hamster? (OK, I probably do...)
Ninety billion hours on Pinterest, Etsy, Amazon and various and assorted craft websites later, I'm pleased to present the Internet's very first hamster birthday party how-to post. So if anyone else's kid falls in love with Humphrey the hamster and wants to party like a rodent? You'll be all set.
Hamster Party Craft
What you will need:
140mm clear acrylic fillable ball ornaments (available at Factory Direct Craft)
Small stuffed hamsters (we used this one from Amazon)
Hamster accessories: mini wooden blocks, miniature carrots, baby bottles, hamster snacks, miniature teddy bears
Baker's twine (we used purple)
Kraft paper hamster-shaped tags (check out these from Etsy)
Sharpie marker (for labeling)
We put everything into bowls on the craft table and let the kids create their own perfect hamster habitat. (Note: adult supervision is really helpful here, since the ornament balls can be a little tricky to close. Huge thank you to my rock star cousin Natalie, who was the best Hamster Station manner ever.) When the kids were finished creating their hamster balls, we wrote their names in Sharpie on hamster tags and used baker's twine to attach the tags and keep the ornament balls closed.
Hamster-themed birthday party entertainment was a tough one. I found these giant inflatable hamster balls on Amazon, but that seemed sort of not safe and maybe a personal injury lawsuit waiting to happen. So I begged our local puppet show guy to perform (he's amazing) and incorporate a hamster into his script. I provided the hamster puppet. The puppet show was a BIG hit with the kids, and E got to keep the hamster puppet at the end of the show. Double awesome.Hamster Party Snacks
For snacks, we went with stuff E thought hamsters might like, based on her knowledge of hamster from obsessively reading Humphrey the Hamster books. Knowledge which may or may not be accurate...but whatever, we went with it and it looked super cute! Pretzel sticks, popcorn, carrot and celery sticks...all easy stuff to arrange in mason jars so the kids could grab what they wanted. For both the craft and snack tables, I hand-lettered signs using purple paint and cardboard. We also did an "adult food" table and switched out the carrots, etc for a tower of mini purple and brown cupcakes (red velvet and chocolate-chocolate, E's specific request) when it was time for cake.
Hamster Birthday Gift
Confession: I may or may not be the worst mom ever for refusing to get E an ACTUAL real live hamster for her birthday. Which she really, really wanted. But with two jobs and two kids, not to mention a husband, a dog, and a whole lot of other things on my plate, adding a rodent was Just. Not. Happening.
So I did the second best thing I could: I made her the coolest faux hamster set up, ever. It's got a water bottle, a feeding station, a hamster wheel, plus all the cute wooden chew toys a (stuffed) hamster could want. Check it out!
E was really happy and excited about her "real" Humphrey and his hamster habitat...so much so that she's been "feeding" him, giving him water, reading to him, and sleeping with the whole thing right next to her pillow every night since her birthday. Which, if you think about it, is even BETTER than an alive hamster...because no way would she be sleeping with a rodent next to her pillow.