If you know many girls between the ages of two and six, chances are you know a girl who loves the color pink, all things sparkly and playing dress up - Fancy Nancy.
At our house, we have two of those girls and they have friends who also love everything girly. When planning a recent play date, I couldn't help but look to Fancy Nancy, one of their favorite book characters. And, let's face it, she's my favorite, too.
Nancy is an outgoing, red-headed girl who believes she can make any situation better with the right accessories and well-appointed attire. She even speaks with a vocabulary that is brilliant, which is a fancy way of saying educational. The potential to learn such grand, new words is one of the reasons I love the books.
So, how do you plan a Fancy Nancy-themed play date quickly and on the cheap?
I looked at our play date as a mini party with a focus on food and games, which is what kids love the most. And, I cheated by letting the original book -- there is now a whole series -- inspire everything.
First, there is pink. Nancy's favorite color is the fancier fuchsia, but for simplicity I'll stick with pink. I covered our dining table in pink striped fabric, tied pink balloons to the chairs and wrote simple place cards on pink cardstock. Everything came from my stash of craft supplies, so no money spent in the decorating department.
Second, is a make-your-own accessory craft. For our play date, this was a beaded necklace, the bigger the better. Ironically, the material I chose for the necklace is the exact opposite of fancy.
The girls used cut up cardboard paper rolls strung on pink yarn.
Don't worry. They had plenty of stickers and markers and other sparkly add-ons to transform the humble tubes into pieces of jewelry worthy of the fanciest ensemble. (That's a fancy word for clothes.)
My experience is that making the craft is as much fun as actually playing with it. I usually end up throwing things away after a few uses. Since these necklaces are upcycled material anyway, there is no guilt in tossing them out.
In the book, Nancy dressed up the other members of her family using her box of accessories, so I let the girls have free reign with my daughter's dress-up clothes. The only rule was they had to dress each other up as fancy as possible.
Lastly, the fancy girls dined on ice cream. But, not just any ice cream. They had parfaits, just like Nancy's family in the book. Everybody chose between vanilla or strawberry ice cream served in big girl (i.e. breakable) polka-dot bowls. The toppings selection includes chocolate syrup, cherries, strawberries and lots of sprinkles.
It turns out being fancy isn't really that hard.
For only the expense of ice cream, we dressed up parfaits and dressed up girls, all of which made for a fanciful afternoon play date to celebrate one of their favorite childhood heroines.