There is no doubt about it, people love their pets. While it is difficult to accurately assess exactly how many pet owners there are, according to the statistics on the Humane Society of the United States, close to 80 million Americans own a dog or a cat (other animal species like birds, fish or other small creatures were not included). That is approximately 65% of the Untied States population or almost 164 million households.
Owning a pet is big business. It is a 60 billion dollar industry, and it will continue to grow because people enjoy the unconditional love that a pet provides. There is no judging, no name calling, no hostility-only pure and simple affection. People celebrate their pets’ birthdays with parties, have groups that gather at dog parks for pet play dates, and they even take their dog or cat to malls and out for a walk in an animal stroller! Years ago that would have seemed odd, but for many pet owners, this is their “baby” and they treat it as such.
One question remains for those who are pet owners. What do their favorite animals do when they leave the house each day to go to work or to run some errands?
The latest Illumination Entertainment production (the same people who brought you the Despicable Me trilogy) are examine this very question in the summer release, The Secret Life of Pets.
What is the Plot of This Film?
This film is not just about cats and dogs. Birds and a bunny also share the screen. The main character, Max, is a happy dog who lives with his owner in a Manhattan apartment. Life as an only dog has its perks, but all of that is changed when Max’s owner brings home Duke, a dog from the pound. Life together has its ups and downs, but they come together when they discover a plot being devised by Snowball, a bunny who is putting an army of abandoned pets together and go after all pet owners and the ones they love.
The trailers of this film are nothing short of hilarious. The humor in this movie is for both adults and children, making it one of the must see films of the summer movie season.
Your child can be the first to have a Secret Life of Pets themed party. Here are some ideas for you to use.
If your family loves pets, then why not ask guests to bring to the party an item to donate to an animal shelter? If your child does not need any gifts, this is the perfect way to give back! You can email the guests your local shelter’s wish list and they can choose what item to bring to the party to donate. What a great way to think of our animal friends and help teach children empathy for others.
The Secret Life of Pets Party Invitations
Invitations set the theme for your festivities. If your child is old enough, s/he can help fill out the inside and address and stamp the envelopes. When your children’s guests open up this one, they will now at first glance what the party will revolve around. These invitations come in a set of 8 with 8 envelopes.
The Secret Life of Pets Party Supplies
Paper Plates, Napkins and More
Whether you are at a party venue or at your home, one thing that makes the table come alive are themed paper goods and decorations. Disposable plates and napkins make your job as the party host easier. Just use and toss! Clean up is easy and if you are having the celebration in your home, easy is exactly what you will need after having a dozen or more kids spend time in your home.
Depending on the color plate you choose, you can start with a basic yellow or blue plastic table cloth. If you choose to use both sets, then purchase a red tablecloth that will make the blue and yellow plate pop when they are set out. There is a red border on each plate so it totally fits in with the decor you have chosen.
While the components of the party package pictured above can be purchased separately, this one-stop shopping party package for 8 is really everything you need. Included are:
- Dinner Plates
- Dessert Plates
- 16 Napkins
- 8-white 9 ounce Paper Cups
- Red Plastic Cutlery (8 spoons/8 forks/8 knives)
- White 54 inch x 108 inch Plastic Table Cover
This really is the perfect package for your party!
Here are some different and colorful balloons for your party. The colors work for both boys and girls! They can be found on Amazon.
Games to Play at Your Party
The most important part of hosting a children’s party is to have no down time. When children are not actively engaged, they will find other things to do to keep them busy, and that may not be what you want them to be doing!
After the guests have arrived, it is time to play games. Be sure to have a variety of both indoor and outdoor activities planned in case the weather does not cooperate and you have to change your plans. Be prepared for everything, which includes overplanning.
You can download songs that are dog themed for a dance party. Then stop the music at various points and have the kids freeze in funny positions. Some doggy inspired ideas:
- Who Let the Dogs Out?
- Scoooby-Doo theme song
- You Ain’t Nothing But a Hound Dog
- Me and you and a Dog Named Boo
Pet Item Relay Race
Divide the children into two teams. At one end of the yard have a bucket of dog and cat items for each the team (these can be donated to a local shelter after the party). The kids have to race to one side of the yard, get the animal items, and bring them back to their side.
Divide the children into two teams. Have an adult for each team throw a bean bag across the lawn. The child runs to retrieve it and hands it back to the adult so s/he can throw it for the next child. The first team to complete all of their turns is the winner.
Your child can help you cut out bone shapes from neon colored card stock (this makes them easier to find). Have them hidden around the house or in your yard. Give children a paper bag to collect their bones and let them search!
Other games you can play that relate to this theme are:
Hot Potato (use a stuffed dog or car or both to make it doubly challenging)
Pin the Tail on the Dog or Cat
If your guests are old enough, you can have a fun craft for them to make.
One thing kids love to do is decorate cupcakes and cookies. Again, here is another party preparation idea for your child and you to do together that will create memories as you prepare for his or her special day.
Bake dog bone cookies together. Make sure to bake extra so that you can have a snack together when you are done cleaning up! Give each guest two cookies to decorate with white icing and dog bone candy. These can be wrapped up to be taken home as a party favor or served as part of the food being served. If the child is going to eat it at the party, be sure to label the paper plate s/he used with the name so everyone gets the cookies that were decorated by him or her.
Make a Charm Necklace or Bracelet
This is an easy craft for children who are ages four and up. Buy pony beads in assorted colors and elastic. Before the party, cut the elastic to the size you want and knot them at the end. This knot can be cut off before you tie the two ends together.
Place the beads in plastic bowls in front of each child. Give him or her a few of these dog charms to put on his or her necklace. When they are done, place them in a plastic bag with the child’s name on it in Sharpie or the child can wear it.
Make a Tote Bag
Kids can create their own party favor by decorating these canvas tote bags. They come in bulk-12 to a set. Use paw print stampers, fabric markers and animal shaped foam stickers for children to use to make their own personal creations.
Food to Serve
Once the games and crafts are over, it is time for you to serve your guests something to eat and drink. In keeping with the theme, there is a variety of dog shaped graham crackers and fruit snacks from Keebler’s Scooby Doo line of treats. There is also bone shaped candy that comes prepackaged and can be set out on each guest’s plate. Prepackaged goods insure that no one is going to hog all of the candy and cookies, leaving little for other guest to have.
You can also serve the cookies you had the kids decorate if they are not going home as part of their favors and of course, birthday cake!
The Secret Life of Pets Party Favors
The party is over and it is time for the guests to leave. If you are planning on giving your guests a favor, then make sure it is one that they will enjoy and the parents do not have to secretly throw out once their child is not paying attention. There are some great consumable favors like temporary tattoos and animal stickers that kids will adore receiving. Even a little bit of candy is a fine idea as long as you are not going overboard.
As a mother and a teacher, I have always believed that a book is one of the best gifts you can give a child. It will not break, it is useful, it is portable, and books are something that a child cannot have to much of! You can leave it in the car, in the travel bag, or by a child’s bedside to look at during rest time. After seeing the film, kids will love to relive their favorite parts when they open up the book.
Little Golden Books have been around for decades. These child-friendly versions of films help children relive the film over and over again, all while practicing their reading skills. Plus, they are an affordable favor to hand out to each child.
Creating the perfect The Secret Life of Pets party is both fun and easy!
Featured image from Pixabay and altered by the author in Picmonkey.