I've made a discovery basket of sorts about birthdays and birthday parties. It contains;
A selection of balloons
Soft play cake
A paper candle
Treat bags from party
Tea cups and spoons
Two card number 1s
I set the area up for a tea party using the disposable place settings which I ordered for the party food table. It comes on a roll which I used as a table runner but which can also be torn off for individual place mats, genius. I used two of L's current favourite toys as party guests, the pony and her new dolly who we have named Ginny because of her red hair.
L loves the tea set and the start of imaginative play is right there for us to see. She loves to stir her 'tea' and is now starting to feed others, like Ginny or us if we join in. She pretends to blow the candle. She pours the tea, sometimes out of the handle, but the idea is there.
Other things you could add to the discovery box include boxes for presents, streamers or party games for older children, a pass the parcel or pin the tale on the donkey. Bubble wands would also be popular with older children, I put on our new bubble machine if we fancy bubble parties.