DIY Ocean Party

This post contains affiliate links, see my disclosure for details.

I had such a blast planning this Ocean party for my 5-turning-6 year old. At first he said he wanted a megaladon themed party. Then it was a dolphin party. Then it was a shark party. Finally I suggested we do the whole ocean and he thought that was the greatest idea since sliced bread. I’m here to share all the details from decorations and games to free printables and shopping links. I got ya covered!

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Ocean Party Invitation

Let’s start with invitations of course! I love how they turned out. It is sized at 5X7. If you’d like to order a personalized JPG file for $7 (payable via paypal or venmo @alia-partylikeacherry) you can send the details to partylikeacherry@gmail.com. Or you can use the blank template to create your own invitation.

Ocean party Invitation free template. Pin me!

INSTRUCTIONS ON HOW TO EDIT THIS INVITATION TEMPLATE:

  • Download the JPG file (all the free printables are available via a google drive link at the end of this post)
  • Open in any photo editing software. PicMonkey or Canva are great options.
  • Add text and save new JPG file.
  • Upload JPG file to wherever you would like to have your cards printed. Basic Invite makes lovely cards and has some really fun options like shimmer paper! Use code PARTYLIKEACHERRY to get a 20% discount. I also often print at Costco & Walmart. Since these are sized at 5X7 it will be cheaper to order them as 5X7 greeting cards rather than 5X7 prints.
  • If you’d like a step-by-step video tutorial I have a few saved to my Instagram Highlights.
  • Or if you want to skip all the hassle I can personalize this invitation for you! Just email the details to partylikeacherry@gmail.com and I will send you a JPG file ($7).

Ocean Party Decorations

As soon as we decided on the Ocean theme my head was exploding with ideas for the decorations. (Now the activities and games were more of a struggle to come up with.) The problem, was limiting myself to a manageable number of ideas ;).

Ocean Party Decor

As usual I turned our dining room into the “party room”. We turned the table into an ocean with a beach, the walls had seaweed growing up them and the ceiling was the ocean surface. We thought about leaving it up all summer long because it was just so fun! (we didn’t ok? I took it down like a responsible adult.)

Ocean Party Tablescape

The tablescape I dreamed up in the shower one day, and then got really excited to execute it. And then had to wait like three weeks until party day to actually put it together to see how it would look.

Ocean Party Tablescape

I started by covering the table with kraft paper. Turns out I had less than I thought and had to use scraps to get the whole thing covered (and so there are seams!). That did not make me happy but I also was not about to make ANOTHER trip to walmart the morning of the party. I used u-glue dashes to adhere it to the table. I ended up using them for SO many things for the party. They worked pretty great!

Use wrapping paper to add an ocean to your table!

I then used blue wrapping paper that I cut in a wavy pattern (just free handed it, if I can do it, you can do it) and adhered that to the kraft paper with the u-glue dashes as well. Once the “ocean” was on I crushed up some graham cracker for the “beach”. Then added green easter grass for a layer of “seaweed” and some shells from the dollar store. Lastly, I scattered crabs that I cut with my cricut around the table.

Shark gummies, wrapping paper, easter grass, sea shells, and graham cracker
make a great centerpiece!

In the Ocean we added a plethora of shark gummies. Basically, you would never want to visit this beach. Its shark infested, crab infested, and has a major seaweed problem ;).

Ocean party place setting

Each place setting had some goggles (safety goggles we pretended were scuba goggles), these cute paper products from Oriental Trading, blue Kool Aid, and oxygen tanks on the back of their chair. Oh and can’t forget the donuts! My son was very insistent we make chocolate donuts with blue frosting and fishy crackers. (I convinced him to substitute shark gummies and fish sprinkles for fishy crackers).

The final detail I added to the tablescape was a brilliant idea from my husband’s aunt! She said I needed an anchor hanging from the light fixture, and she was definitely right! I cut it with my cricut, but it was so floppy. I cut another one and glued them together and then it was a little less floppy. That cool nautical rope I had left over from our pirate party (and had originally purchased from Home Depot).

Ocean Party Wall Decorations

The wall we (by we I mean my 6 year old and I) covered with sea creatures, seaweed, and bubbles! It made a huge impact and was very inexpensive.

seaweed streamers

To make your own seaweed streamers you just need green streamer (two different greens works well) and some sticky tack! I always use this sticky tack when hanging streamers. Works so much better than tape on my textured walls. Just adhere a strip of steamers near the bottom of the wall, twist the streamer, and adhere it where the strip ends. I added some fish, sea turtles and sea horses that I cut with my cricut swimming around in the seaweed.

Use streamers to make a huge impact for very little cost.

One of my favorite elements of the decorations was the bubble balloons! I really loved how they turned out. I was worried when they came in the mail because they did NOT look clear. But once I blew them up they were perfect little bubbles. They key to a bubble balloon garland (well any balloon garland) is having a variety of sized balloons. I only bought 2 sizes, 5 inch and 12 inch, and then blew those up to varying “fullness”. And balloon garland tape is a must! It makes it so easy! (So does an air compressor by the way).

Clear balloons make perfect bubbles!

Ocean Party Ceiling

I have a thing about adhering plastic tablecloths to my walls and ceilings. If you don’t believe me check out this space party and this circus party just to name a couple. Like streamers, its just a really cheap way to make a huge impact.

This time I wanted really long strips to go across the whole ceiling so I bought it on a big roll so I could cut to desired length. The trickiest thing was how to adhere it to the ceiling. The uglue dashes ended up working the best of all the things I tried.

Ocean ceiling with plastic tablecloths

I then cut all the different animal shapes with my cricut with black constructions paper. I learned a new method using the slice tool which allows you to cut large images with different sections of the image on each paper and then you put it together like a puzzle of sorts. That way we could get some big sharks and one really huge whale.

But you could also easily freehand or trace images onto some poster. It doesn’t have to be prefect for this since you are just seeing the shadow. The key is to hang the tablecloths so they swoop down and let in light. If you hang them too tight to the ceiling you wont see the shadows very well. Apparently I only got one photo of this, which is insane! You’ll have to watch the video to get a better idea of how the whole room looked! I also have more details on this whole process saved to my Instagram highlights.

Ocean Party JAWS Photo Booth

DIY JAWS photo booth

I turned a huge piece of cardboard into a JAWS photo booth. I should have come up with a better way for them to each get their turn to go in and have their photo taken because that party was really chaotic and I could hardly get the kiddos back far enough for long enough for me to get just one child in the frame. Haha, but we did take their photos and sent them out with the thank you cards.

Turn a refrigerator box into a JAWS photo booth!

I just painted it white, painted on the shark outline (I free handed it looking at some photos online, if I can do it, YOU can do it. Trust me). Then I added the eyes and words in vinyl. Lastly my hubby cut out the mouth for me (the cardboard was too thick for my feeble arms). I posted more about it in my Instagram Stories saved to my Ocean Party highlight bubble.

Ocean Party Dessert Table

The highlight of our dessert table was the gorgeous cake my mother in law made and the banner from All the Embellishments. I really was so happy with it when it arrived. It fit the theme and colors perfectly!

Look at the detail on each letter, I love all the little ocean images and layering she did! Make sure you check out her Etsy shop to order your own custom banner (and she does so much more too!). Or send her a DM on Instagram to get the order started!

Shark Cake

Another confectionery masterpiece by my mother in law. And when we cut into it it all the layers were different shades of blue, it was so cool!

shark cake

I twisted streamers and adhered them (with sticky tac) to the top and bottom of the table to try to simulate waves. And I am rather mad at myself for forgetting to add sea shells scattered around the dessert table, dang it!

Ocean Party Dessert Table

One of my last minute additions ended up making me so happy- I had bought a lot of varieties of Easter grass when I was at Walmart, not sure what I was going to use it for but thinking “hey this looks like seaweed.” Then I got the idea to put it on the ledge of my wainscoting and having it hang down to look like seaweed. I thought it looked SO cool. I may have done a little happy dance in my dining room.

Ocean Party Activities

While I went to sleep dreaming up ideas for the decorations, the party games and activities had me more stumped. Especially since it was an ocean party in February. I mean it wasn’t like we could go swimming, do water balloons, or almost anything water related. The birthday boy had some strong opinions, so I ended up letting him plan most of it (with some tweaks, hah!).

DIY Oxygen Tanks

DIY Oxygen Tanks

To put the kids in character I knew I wanted them to be scuba divers exploring the underwater world. For that we needed goggles and oxygen tanks! I immediately thought of doing something similar to the jet packs I made for our space party. The problem, for me, is always collecting the soda bottles. We are not big soda drinkers around here so I had to enlist a lot of help to finally get the 20 that I wanted. I put together a quick tutorial video for you if you are wanting to make your own, hope that helps!

Scuba boy!

DIY Oxygen Tank Supplies

  • 2 Liter soda bottles (2 per person)
  • Elastic, I got some that was about 3/4 inch from the fabric section in walmart
  • Glue gun/glue sticks
  • Silver spray paint
  • Black duct tape
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I had them wear their oxygen tanks for most of the activities to get some good use out of them! For goggles we used safety goggles.

Create Your Own Sea Creature

The create your own sea creature craft was really just a “free crafting” time as a welcome activity of sorts. I like to have something for the kids to do at the beginning while we wait for everyone to arrive (or it often dissolves to wrestling on the floor). I just collected an array of craft supplies, made a few examples of things they could do with those crafts (jellyfish and shark), and told them to do what they wanted.

Create Your Own Sea Creature Craft

I debated forever whether to do this inside or outside. It ended up being a glorious day with no wind at all so we were able to do it outside. (I stuck a cooler full of Gatorade and cups out there as well for the kids during the outside portion of the party, learning my lesson from the Harry Potter party).

make a jellyfish out of a paperplate for an easy ocean craft

I put out things like: paper plates, ribbon, googly eyes, pom poms, markers, foam stickers, construction paper, foam paper, scissors, glue, buttons, beads, Popsicle sticks etc. Just whatever I had in my craft stash!

Save the Sea Creatures Relay

Once we were done crafting it was time to get into character as proper scuba divers (and put on their oxygen tanks and goggles) and start our Save the Sea Creatures Relay. This game was mostly a brain child of the birthday boy with some help from There’s Just One Mommy.

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I just filled a kiddie pool with water and put these sea creatures in there. We had 2 buckets and 2 shovels (one for each team). One person from each team runs from the start line down to the kiddie pool and has to scoop up a sea creature and make it back and dump it in their bucket without dropping it. To make it even harder we sprayed shaving cream (pollution) in the kiddie pool so the kids couldn’t see the animals. Now they have to save the sea animals from the pollution! If you are playing with a younger crowd I would skip that step, it made it quite a bit harder!

Scooping up sea animals for their team

Having them do the whole relay with their scuba tanks and goggles on was an added challenge as well! After all the sea creatures have been rescued, the team that has the most in their bucket wins!

Add shaving cream to the water to increase difficulty level

Shark Tag

Shark Tag was a combo of freeze tag and capture the tag. The Scuba Divers had to save the Sea Turtle (a stuffed animal) that had been captured by the sharks (birthday boy’s older brothers). If they got tagged by the shark they had to go to the Shark Tank until rescued by another scuba diver. But if they could get the sea turtle and make it back across the lawn with it before a shark got them, they win!

Explaining the rules to all my little scuba divers

We started with three sharks and had to tone it down to one because it was just too hard for the scuba divers. The Shark Tank was a repurpose from the Cops & Robbers party.

Freeze tag with scuba divers and sharks! Don’t get stuck in the shark tank!

Excavate a Sea Creature

The last thing we did before pinata and heading inside was to excavate a sea creature. This is just an easy and fun 10-15 minute activity that requires no prep if you get this kit. I definitely recommend doing it outside though! It gets messy.

National Geographic Dig Kit is an easy no prep Ocean Party game

Ocean Party Favors

On their way out they stopped by this table for a few fun things to take home.

Ocean Party Favor Table

A sweet ending to our gathering were these mini tackle boxes full of sweets and gummies. They had little dividers in them that you could remove to make the sections bigger. I included: gummy worms, fishy crackers, Swedish fish, and shark gummies. I then tied some bakers twine with a fishing float and this printable to complete the favors.

Ocean Party Favors Idea & Printable

I printed these favor tags on Avery 2/12 inch circle stickers and then stuck them on some cardstock I cut with the cricut. Then punched a hole in the top. These favor tags are available as a free printable, or if you’d like to have it customized with your child’s name like in the photo I can do that for $5. Just email the request to partylikeacherry@gmail.com.

Ocean Party Favors Free Printable

Then on the other side of the table they got to adopt a sea creature. I ordered this set of beanie baby sized stuffed animals. I had this flash of genius (If I do say so myself) to put the animals in a tank. Luckily I was able to borrow one!

Adopt a Sea Creature station

We had a few plastic animals left over from the cake as well that we threw in.

Ocean Party Shopping List

Ocean Party Free Printables

I can’t leave you without some free printables to help you pull your own Ocean Party together! Just pop over and follow me on Instagram before downloading, thank you!

If you want to customize these with your child’s name for $5 just email partylikeacherry@gmail.com
8X10 adopt a sea creature print
5X7 Invitation

I hope you find this useful as you plan your Ocean Party! Don’t hesitate to reach out or DM with questions. And don’t forget to share your party with me! You can email or reach out on social media.

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