Party Ideas

Girl’s Elementary School Dance – Beach Party Theme

School Dance Beach Theme

Have I ever mentioned that my kids go to the most awesome elementary school ever? The Parent Advisory Council (that’s the Canadian equivalent of the PTA) does so much for the kids it’s truly amazing and inspiring. One of the most anticipated annual events is the Girl’s Dance. Each year the PAC outdoes itself and with the help of many parent volunteers puts on a fabulous event that I could only have dreamed of as a child. This year’s theme was Cedar Drive Beach, and I wanted to share some of the amazing details with you.


First off, I want to give a huge shout out to my friend Kate, who was the mastermind behind this year’s amazing event. Kate is not only a very active, hardworking, and dedicated PAC member, but she’s also the mom to two wonderful little boys, Mitch and Nelson. I adore these boys, they’re sweet, smart, funny, and kind.


Mitch and Nelson were both born with Hemophilia, and little Mitch was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia in 2016. Through many hospital visits, sleepless nights, and more tears than any family should have to endure, Kate has been there keeping her family together, supporting her boys and making life as normal for them as she can.


In support of Kate’s boys and all the people in need of blood donations, I would like to ask everyone who is able, to please make an appointment with your local blood services. In Canada, you can make an appointment directly through the Canadian Blood Services website and in the United States visit The American Red Cross.


The Entrance


The dance is held on a Saturday, so all the windows are closed and it looks a little bleak from the outside. I wanted to get the girls even more excited than they already were when they arrived, so I wanted to create a tropical balloon garland.


balloon garland


Balloon garlands are super easy to create, they just take a lot of time. I probably used about 200 or so balloons. Kate’s husband was kind enough to bring his air compressor and blow them up for me while I tied them onto a fishing line.


Blow up balloons at random sizes, trying to keep them a bit smaller since the larger you blow them up the more oblong they become which can make it awkward to add to the garland, and they are also more likely to pop. Don’t think of a pattern or anything, these types of garlands are totally random and look better if they’re not so contrived.


Don’t try to tie on the extra large balloons, once your garland is done you can use a low temp glue gun to add the large balloons and fill in spaces with smaller ones. Then add some greenery or flowers using your glue gun. Super fun right? I love the dramatic pop of color it adds to the gray outer doors of the school. My daughter was so excited to arrive and see what her mom made.


The Gym

Here is where the transformation really happened. I still can’t get over how magical it is that in two short days a school gym can turn from an utilitarian space to a fabulous event location. Check out all these details that the parents pulled off:



How beautiful does this look? The lower half of the walls were papered (yes we recycled!) and covered with tropical beach scenes. Parents took home cutting projects so we had plenty of flowers, clouds, birds, and surfboards to go around the entire gym. The silhouettes were made using a projector to trace out the shapes on the wall and then cut.


Those sandcastle centerpieces on the tables? Those are actually covered in real sand and glitter, and underneath is cardboard. These were handmade by one amazing mom, can you believe it?? They were simply stunning, and each one unique. I think she made about 13 of them, I still can’t get over how cool they are.


If you’re looking to do a similar sandcastle project you can find the details here​.


My friend Queenie is one of those people who is beyond talented, yet humble. Every year she creates and hand-colors these figures for the dance, and they are unreal. Look at the details on these, I half expect them to jump off the wall and run off. I mean look at the hair on the lifeguard! I can’t even.


This father and daughter pair are so sweet.



Is it just me, or is that lifeguard giving me a meaningful stare?



I had the pleasure of decorating the ‘tiki bar’, which served up chips and cold water to the girls and their guests. I had so much fun creating this look, and it’s super easy! You can recreate this look for your own luau-themed party, I will be making and posting a tiki bar for a home luau party made out of free wooden palettes.


The roof and bar were simply made with adult-sized grass skirts, you can find these at party stores or many dollar stores. To extend the roof out I covered a cut open cardboard box before covering it with the grass.


The leaves were from various dollar stores. Tropical leaves are trending right now so you should have no trouble finding them on the cheap.


An easy and inexpensive way to add to color to a luau party is honeycomb pineapples! I love these so much, there is just something about honeycomb decorations that I can’t get enough. You can incorporate them into any aspect of your party decor to take it to the next level.



I recently bought a light box, and they’re so much fun! If you’re using them to add decor to a party just search for signs or memes under the Images tab and you’ll find hundreds of ideas to use.



I made this tiki bar sign from bamboo pieces from the dollar store. It did take some time but was a really enjoyable DIY project and I’ll be using it again soon. Stay tuned for a DIY post soon. I saw a similar sign on sale for $70. Mine cost around $15 to make.


tiki bar sign


The dance was a hit as usual. The girls danced the night away. My daughter is already telling me she can’t wait for the next one. Does your school do something similar?

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8 thoughts on “Girl’s Elementary School Dance – Beach Party Theme

  1. What a great dance! We don’t have anything like this. My daughter would absolutely love it. Your balloon garland and tiki bar turned out so well. I know I need to try a balloon entrance finally. I’ve been putting it off.

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