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Birthday Party Planning Guide

Exclusively at BirthdayExpress.com


The Sharks Party theme brings an ocean of excitement to dry land! Our party planning guide offers a wave of activities and satisfying seaside snacks for sharks of all ages. So get in the water and take your guests on a great white adventure!

Party Checklist

4-6 Weeks Before the Party

  • Select Date:



    Plan a safe, inviting place for kids to have fun. Set time to 2-3 hours for young children, and 3-4 hours for older kids.

  • Create Guest List

    Just fill out the handy list in this guide!

  • Order Sharks Party Supplies, 
Sharks Party Favors

    BirthdayExpress.com is the place! You'll find over 150 party themes, with party pack options for all of them. Expecting more guests? Choose our Pack Add-On option

  • Order Birthday Costume/Outfit & Gifts

    BirthdayExpress.com has lots of fun choices. Look for our costumes, T-shirts, hats and special birthday gifts designed to match our party themes.

  • Book Entertainment (optional)

2 Weeks Before the Party

  • Order Cake

    Schedule to pick it up one day before the party.

  • Mail Sharks Invitations

    Let the birthday child help by adhering the stamps and putting the invitations in the mailbox.

  • Create List of Parent Phone Numbers

    Keep on hand in case of emergency.

  • Plan Party Menu

    Check out the recipes in this guide. Ask parents if kids have any food allergies.

  • Choose Party Games & Collect Party Supplies

    This guide has ideas that match your party theme!

2-3 Days Before the Party

  • Prepare Cameras

    Check batteries. Charge video camera. Buy film or video cards. Get Birthday Message Cameras for the kids to use.

1 Day Before the Party

  • Make Food & Drinks, Bake/Get Cake, Buy Ice

    Set out chilled/heated foods just before kids eat.

  • Childproof & Decorate Party Area

    Remove breakable items and objects that could prevent guests from moving freely. Decorate with balloons, crepe paper, and other items included in your party pack.

  • Set Up Party Games, Fill Favor Boxes & Piñatas

    Invite your party child to help!

Party Day!

  • Fill Birthday Balloons with Helium

After the Party

  • Send Birthday Thank-You Notes

    Include party photos!


Shark Attack


  • 1 stuffed shark toy
  • Jaws movie soundtrack CD

This fast-paced game begins by seating all of the players in a circle. Start the Jaws theme music and use the shark toy as the "hot potato". The object is to pass around the shark, but to not be the one left holding the toy when the music stops – this player is out. Continue game play until there is only one child remaining.

Feed the Shark


Before the party, paint a piece of 20" x 30" foam board blue. Either draw or paste a printed image of a shark onto your game board. Carefully cut out a hole near the shark's mouth. Prop up one end of the game board to create an angled playing surface. Use small sea animal toys (Pro-planner tip: test the game before the guests' arrive, ensuring that all of the toys easily fit through the hole) for the shark's "food". To play, let each child have a turn tossing the toys into the game board hole. The one that is able to feed the shark the most "food" wins! As an added bonus, the game board can double as a themed photo prop.

Fin-tastic Photo Booth


  • Beach Towels
  • Clothes Line
  • Sand Box (optional)
  • Turquoise Balloons
  • Balloon Weights
  • Shark costumes
  • Props (Shark Fin headbands, bitten surfboards, warning signs, etc.)
  • Camera

Begin setting up an outdoor photo area before the party. Hang beach towels from a clothes line to set the backdrop. (Pro-Planner Tip: To add even more ambiance, use a sandbox to create the illusion of an "ocean floor"). Tie together two chains of turquoise balloons (the "bubbles") and place them on either side of the towel backdrop (remember to anchor them with balloon weights). Once your ocean dwellers arrive, let them select their favorite shark props, costumes and accessories. Take a few snapshots of each guest and send the best one in their thank-you note!

Fishing for Favors


  • 1 – 36" dowel (3/4" diameter)
  • Fishing line
  • Glue
  • Paper clips
  • Fish-shaped stencil
  • Card Stock
  • Magnetic washer
  • Scissors
  • Kiddie Pool
  • Prizes/Bags

Before your shark party, use the stencil to create fish shapes on pieces of cardstock. Cut out each fish, write a number on the back and glue a paper clip near the mouth. To make the fishing pole, tie a piece of fishing line from the wooden dowel, adding the magnetic washer to the opposite end of the string. Put together a prize bag to coordinate with each number on the back of the fish. Upon the arrival of your party fin-atics, fill the kiddie pool with the fish and give each child a chance to catch one! Present the coordinating prize bag as their take-home favor!


Sushi Sammies


  • 1 – 8 oz. tub of whipped cream cheese
  • White bread
  • Mozzarella cheese slices
  • Sliced turkey deli meat
  • Cucumbers, de-seeded

To prep your work station, place the ingredients in the order they will be used (bread, cream cheese, meat, mozzarella and cucumbers). Your de-seeded cucumbers will need to be cut into 3" long matchsticks, and each slice of mozzarella should be split into 6 even strips. Remove the crusts of each slice of bread, creating a square shape. Spread the whipped cream cheese over each piece of bread and begin to assemble the "sushi" pieces. To the cream-cheese side of the bread, add a piece of turkey, a strip of mozzarella and a cucumber matchstick. Roll up the bread, securing the ingredients inside (using more cream cheese at the seal to help it stick, if needed). Slice each roll into bite-size pieces and place on a serving tray. This kid-friendly snack is sure to be a hit with all of your hungry sea creatures!

Fish Food


  • 2 cups cinnamon squares cereal
  • 2 cups toasted oats cereal
  • 2 cups honey nut toasted oats cereal
  • 1 1/2 cups pretzel twists
  • 2 cups fish-shaped cheese crackers
  • 16 ounce bag of Swedish Fish

Combine all of the listed ingredients together in a large storage bag. Shake the mixture until well blended. Pour the contents into a bowl and serve. Perfect for poolside snacking!

Chum Punch


  • 1 cup lemonade concentrate, thawed
  • 1 – 2-liter bottle of cherry soda
  • 1 – 2-liter bottle of ginger ale soda
  • Ice
  • Fish Gummies


  • Punch Bowl
  • Ladle

Mix together all of the ingredients, including the fish gummies. Allow to chill for at least 2 hours before serving in a large punch bowl. Let the guests "fish out" their own punch with the ladle.

Shark Aquariums


  • 2 boxes (3 ounces each) blue raspberry-flavored gelatin mix
  • Shark gummies
  • Whipped Topping


  • Clear plastic cups

Prepare the gelatin according to the package directions, and pour into plastic cups (about 2/3 full). Refrigerate until cool. Before serving, add a "wave" of whipped topping and shark gummies to the top of the gelatin cups. Your little sharks won't hesitate to gobble up these tasty treats!

Glance through the list below to see if you're missing any important items. Many can be found on the party theme page.

Print This Party Planning Guide Now

Open this free party planning guide as a PDF document for printing. Keep it handy to help make your party planning easy!