Storybook invitations: Cut a rectangle from colored construction paper and fold it in half, making the front and back covers of a book. Write the name of the story on the front cover. If you like, personalize the title, such as "The Three Little Pigs and You." Fold the rectangles of white paper and insert into a folded cover, making pages. Write party details worded as the story. Illustrate the book yourself, or cut up an inexpensive storybook and glue the pictures on the cover inside. Staple the pages and the cover together and mail to guests.
Buy inexpensive storybooks and cut out pictures of the characters. Tape them to the walls at a child's eye level in a storyboard setup, connecting all the characters to one another with speech balloons.
Set out picture books featuring favorite stories, and dolls and animals from various storybooks.
Photocopy book covers and use them as placemats.
Form a table centerpiece using storybooks, dolls and animals.
Offer guests accessories from various storybooks: red hoods and capes ("Little Red Riding Hood"), pig snouts and wolf ears ("The Three Little Pigs"), goat horns ("The Three Billy Goats Gruff") and so on.
Find the Three Little Pigs: Hide three pig dolls or pictures cut from the storybook in the party room. Ask guests to find the pigs before the wolf comes! Have another adult from another room say, "Hurry the wolf is coming!"
Follow Red Riding Hood's Path: Create a path from cut-out wolf prints for Red Riding Hood to follow throughout the party house or in the back yard. The prints should lead to Grandma's bed. Along the path place little items from Red Riding Hood's basket, such as snacks, candies or flowers. Give guests small baskets to collect the goodies as they find them. When they reach Grandma's bed, have them pull down the covers to find their prizes.
Tramp over Billy Goat Bridge: Have a troll (an adult helper) lie face down on the floor. Cover the troll with pillows to make a bridge. Have guests climb over the bridge before the troll wakes up and catches them. (Tell the troll to pretend to wake up once in a while to keep the game lively.)
Storybook Play: Make a storybook come to life. Dress guests in costumes and accessories, and create any props appropriate for the story. Then read the book aloud and have the children act it out as you read.
Storyteller: Have the party guests take a seat on the floor and ask a parent to read a popular story to the kids.
Make-a-Story: Have the kids make up their own story. Have everyone sit in a circle. Begin a story yourself then ask the next player to tell the next part of the story. Continue around the room until everyone has contributed!
Make Little Red Riding Hood Goodie Baskets: Fill baskets with finger foods, such as packages of cut-up vegetables, pieces of fruit, crackers, small cheeses, chips, tiny sandwiches and cookies.
Make Hansel and Gretel Houses: Spread frosting on the sides of clean, empty, individual-sized milk cartons. Press graham crackers to the frosted sides. Spread frosting on the tops of the cartons and let the kids press cookies into the frosting to make roofs. Let kids decorate their cookie houses with frosting and sweets such as gumdrops and jelly beans.
- Bake a sheet cake following a favorite recipe. Cool.
- Cover the top and one side of the cake with colored frosting and the remaining three sides with white frosting. Line the bottom edge of each white side with a thin strip of colored frosting. Your cake should look like a closed book with a colored cover and white pages.
- Draw thin horizontal lines with dark frosting on the white sides of the cake to look like the pages of the book.
- Write the name of the birthday child on top as the title of the book (for example, "Liya's Story").
Hand out popular storybooks
Let guests have some costume parts and props used in the storybook play.
If you like, design your party around only one particular story. For example, if you choose "The Three Little Pigs" you can build a house, run from the Big Bad Wolf, sing "Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?" and have a pig-shaped cake.
Visit your local library's story time.
For ideas for your storybook party, check out books from a library.