The fun thing about children's birthday parties are the games & activities that go on - after all, when you think back to your childhood, the most memorable parties are the ones that had a theme and you can remember what you wore and what fun you had. Maybe thinking back to age 4 is a stretch for 30 something's but in this age of technology, at least our kids will be able to re-live everything on video/DVD as if they were actually back there on that very day. My mum says I missed my calling and I should be a pre-school teacher because of some of the ideas I have but like all good ideas, they come from lots of research ie reading and web surfing. For starters, at my parties I always have 3 areas in the entertainment department - a craft making session (so the kids have something to take home), a team building game (to encourage participation and self esteem) and of course, the annual Daddy activity - quite simply just for the entertainment of the women & kids, the sillier the better. For the Disney Princess theme, I decided to do 6 activities, all named after each of the Disney Princesses. I got a beautiful idea off one of my party sites to give each little girl a lovely keepsake from the party. You will need beading wire, 6 different coloured beads and one initial bead for all the little girls attending. They are given the beading wire with the initial bead already attached in the centre before we start the games and after each game, a new bead is given to be threaded onto the wire. The idea is that instead of giving prizes only to the winner of games (and I am not a fan of Pass the Parcel for this reason as most kids miss out), the little girls leave with a necklace of 6 pretty beads plus one with their initial on it. If they are anything like my Gigi which most of our little friends are, they LOVE jewellery and because they helped make it, it is even more special. Now you might ask, what about the little boys who attend? Well, in my experience, and I have created similar piece-by-piece keepsakes for boys, most of the little boys lose interest really quickly and prefer to run around or play in our toy room so I usually just have on hand a few little party favour things eg blowers and toy cars etc to give to the boys so they don't feel left out. So, without further ado, my six activities were as follows:
- Cinderella - Take me to the Ball - Put simply, I played the theme for Cinderella ("A Dream is a Wish your Heart Makes") and introduced all the children one by one, as mentioned in Part 2 on theming & costumes, and took a photograph of each child. The idea was also to use this photograph on personalised thank you cards (refer Part 5 in my series). It was also a good way of introducing families that were new to our circle of friends, for example new pre-school friends of Gigi. Each little girl was also given their first bead - a BLUE one for Cinderella. Top Tip: download all the relevant music for your theme party to your Ipod and create a new folder so that music is in order and at the ready so you can just press PLAY and off you go!
- Aurora Magic Wand - Since the story of Sleeping Beauty involves Fairy Godmothers casting special spells to reverse bad spells, our objective was to create our own fairy magic wands out of wooden spoons and glitter pens & stars. Each little girl was then given their second bead - a PINK bead for Aurora. What do you think about our efforts:
- Snow White Pass the Poison Apple Game - I am not a fan of Pass the Parcel, having seen how upset kids can get when they miss out (ahh, yeah that is usually my child ha ha) however this is a variation on it using an apple. As the story of Snow White goes, she bites into the poison apple and falls into her deep sleep, awaiting her prince. Using a lovely Andre Rieu version of "Heigh Ho", the kids passed the apple around and when the music stopped, the child with the apple took an imaginary bite and then pretended to fall asleep. When there was eventually only one child left, that child had the job of handing around the third bead - a RED one for Snow White
- Ariel Pin the Fin on the Mermaid - A game I am a fan of is pin the tail on something. We don't make a big deal of the winner in our version, instead the laughter this game generates when someone pins a red nose on a clown's foot or a tutu on a ballerina's head is priceless. I had planned to make my own Ariel but ran out of time - instead we had one of those mega colouring-in books so Gigi & Lulu (and Daddy!) helped colour-in the picture of Ariel and then I bought some lovely frangipani stickers and the kids had to pin the flower on Ariel's hair. Most kids get close to the mark so it looks really cute and we still have the poster stuck to the toy room door where we actually did the game on the day. Of course they also got bead number 4 - GREEN for Ariel
- Belle - Make your Own Edible Tea Cups - In "Beauty & The Beast", Belle befriends the Beast's servants - Lumière, a maître d' turned into a candelabra, Cogsworth, the head of house turned into a clock, and Mrs. Potts, the head of the kitchen turned into a tea pot. Related to this kitchen/tea theme, I saw this gorgeous recipe on one of my favourite websites - Kidpsot - and I had a trial run tea party with my lovely next door neighbour, Pat and of course with Gigi & Lulu and decided it would be a great idea for the kids to make (and eat!) at the party. The kids had a great time making their own tea cups out of lollies (a marshmallow, half a musk Life Saver, a Tic Toc biscuit and a chocolate Freckle) and though the preparation of the icing mixture (to stick everything in place) was a little bit fiddly, the outcome was worth it. The 5th bead for Belle was YELLOW
- Jasmine's Musical Carpets - This game is run like musical chairs (of course using "A Whole New World" from the movie Aladdin) but instead of chairs, use tea towels or something similar as "magic carpets", as in the story of Aladdin. Sometimes this can be a bit unfair, as someone misses out but the way to turn things around if you have a child that gets upset if they are out (ahem, yes, my kid again!) turn it into a dance game - still stop & start the music but give everyone a magic carpet and when the music stops, ask one of the kids where they want to take their magic carpet this trip and for example, if they say Australia, get everyone up and hopping like a kangaroo. You can make up your own rules - the kids are just happy to role-play. After this game, the children receive their final bead - PURPLE - for Jasmine and this competes their necklace keepsake from the party (the kids then proceed to mum to tie off the ends). Top Tip - if you have the time and the budget, buy proper necklace clasps from a beading shop and have them secured to the ends prior to the party. The kids were just as happy otherwise to have a necklace tied together and popped over their head.
- Cinderella Pumpkin Run - We all know the story of Cinderella and the relevance of the pumpkin - I made the Dad's put a butternut pumpkin between their legs and ran a relay so everyone had a turn - the first team to finish got the first point. Check out out photo below - how funny do they look? Just to give you a perspective, our front yard is around 10m wide by 10m deep so we are not talking about a particularly large area..
- Aurora Slay the Dragon Egg & Spoon Race - using toy swords, and real eggs, a traditional egg and spoon relay - a recipe for disaster when you drop eggs, as they often did!
- Snow White Charades - I gave each Dad a piece of paper with a name of one of the 7 dwarfs on it. They had to act out for the name on their piece of paper so the women and kids could guess who they were. One classic example - one of the Dad's yelled "when are you gonna stop making the Dad's play stupid games every year!". if you didn't guess, he was Grumpy! And he was also not kidding - he is a regular participant, but one who always hides to get out of it first ha ha. We still love you Uncle Ian!
- Ariel Fish Tail Relay - each Dad had to jump with both feet together - as if they had a fish tail on - to complete their relay
- Belle - Pass the Tea Cup - The Dad's had to stand in a line, equally spaced out - and starting at one end of the line, hold a tea cup under their chin and then pass it along the line, also under chins. There were many close kissing moments ha ha!
- Jasmine Magic Carpet - this was the best ending to a fun relay. Each team had to choose their heaviest Dad. They were given a blanket and told that on my go, the heavy Dad had to drop to the ground, be rolled in the blanket and then carried across to the finish line by the rest of the team. Let's just say, Uncle Greg & Uncle Paul are not little! One ripped blanket and a few bumps and lumps later, both teams tied and it was a fitting ending to a fun day of activities. We are so lucky to have fun male friends who were happy to play the games to the delight of the children. It is now a highlight of our parties and our guests always wonder what I have in store for them next year
I hope you have enjoyed reading my party games & ideas - we certainly had a ball at Gigi's party this year and if you can't tell, I had a great time hosting. In the final part of my series tomorrow I will be showing you how to create a lovely personalised thank you card as well as summarizing some helpful tips for planning a successful party ; )
Related Posts: Part 1 - Invitations, Part 2 - Costumes & Themes, Part 3 - Food & The Cake
Content in this post is for the most part created by gigi+lulu - Copyright 2008