Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Let the Games Begin

Whoops! Did you guys know today was Wednesday? 'Cause I totally thought it was Tuesday until just a little while ago. I got all thrown off by Presidents' Day, I guess. Ah well!

I mentioned last week that it's birthday central around here, right? Thought so. Well, last weekend we had Max's 5th birthday party. I'm a super lucky mom in that Max's idea of the perfect party is having his two best buds over to our house for games and cake. This is the birthday party he requested last year and again this year, and both were huge hits. Last year was all about Thomas the Train and Curious George, this year it was Bob the Builder and trains in general.

The party games in particular are a big hit, and it seems lots of people are on the lookout for kids' party games, especially for little ones, so I thought I'd share some of our successes. The first 2 are from last year, when they turned 4; the second 2 are from this year's 5th birthday party.

Fill the Train
For this one, I made each kid a train engine out of a Kleenex box and a soda can, taped together and painted. For the game, there was a big tub of black pom-poms to be the "coal" set on the other side of the room from the trains. Each kiddo got a cup to use as a scoop, then they ran back and forth with scoops of coal. The first kid to fill their train wins! Except, at our parties, everyone gets a prize. Then, the kiddos get to keep the game prizes instead of gift bags. Winning just meant that kiddo picked first.
Those trains ended up sticking around for a lot longer than I expected. And I'm still finding black pom-poms!
Musical Presents
First, get a bunch of little gifts. Things like Silly Putty, bubbles, tiny stuffies, and stickers are great. Wrap each gift in several layers of wrapping paper or tissue paper. It works best if the layers look very different, and don't use too much tape. Get all the kids and any willing adults to stand in a circle. We prefer to have the same amount of presents as game players. Then start the music; everyone passes the gifts in a circle. When the music stops everyone unwraps one layer of whatever they're holding. Then the music starts again and everyone keeps passing. Eventually someone will unwrap a present all the way; that present is theirs to keep! They then leave the circle with their present and the game continues. At the end, everyone will have a present and there will be wrapping everywhere!

Treasure Hunt
This year Max requested a treasure hunt at the last minute. So, I took index cards and drew clues on them, like a picture of the fish tank, or the fridge. The last card had a picture of a treasure chest and meant they could all come claim a prize. This one was a huge hit. Max has requested more treasure hunts at least once a day. If anything I think I could have made it harder and longer, 'cause all three kids rocked it!
Conferring on the clues. 
Spot the Animal
For this one, the prizes were a bag of little plastic animals. Think tub-toys. The 3 kids stood in the middle, and 5 or 6 adults stood in a circle around them. When the music started the adults passed the animals around the circle. When the music stopped the adults hid whatever animals they were holding in their hands. The kids took turns guessing who had which animal. If they got it right, they got the animal. Then the music started again and we repeated until they had all the animals. (I think there were 8 or so). The first round was a little confusing, but then the kids totally got it and were carefully tracking the animal they wanted most.

We capped out this year's party by playing with slime. Or rather, ooblek. Just mix cornstarch and water and add the food coloring of your choice. This one is the easiest to clean up and safest around little ones. And super fun. Don't forget super fun.
Last but not least was this year's cake. Max was changing his mind right up until the last possible minute about what he wanted. He finally settled on yellow cake, chocolate ganache filling, marshmallow icing, with Bob the Builder decorations.
Max's masterpiece! 
I made the bricks and caution cones out of modeling chocolate using a Play-doh mold. Max was very proud to help make it; he mixed the ganache, spread the icing, and placed most of the top decorations, including building a nice structural wall.

I hope some of our fun times help you with yours! More birthdays coming soon!


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