Archive for the 'Children's Books' Category

Let’s Party Mondays: School is in session!

Hey, it’s Monday — it must be “Let’s Party Mondays”. Thanks to our Pick A Party Winner, Sqkecleen, today’s theme is: Back to School

Just going back to school is a reason to celebrate. I know I will be having a Back to School Cocktail Party, myself (that is, party of one). But, if you have a late August or early September Birthday in your family, the staff and I found it to be a theme with a lot of possibilities. If you have preschoolers or kindergartners that are new to school, this is a great way to get them worked-up about this exciting milestone.

Decorations

I would score some of those bulletin board cut-outs that Teacher’s use. We have a store called Becker’s that sells all sorts of classroom supplies — they have a website as well. Get your MacGyver on and grab any school theme toys you have around the house to place in festive spots. I don’t think I’ve met a family that doesn’t have a School Bus. Wah-lah you’ve got your centerpiece.

Cake

As I suspected, Coolest-Birthday-Cakes does not disappoint. There is a great selection of school bus cakes to inspire. I had a brainstorm for a Chalkboard Cake. If I have a few minutes, I might try to pull it off. (The MOMster likes her cake.) I’m picturing a rectangular cake with dark green icing, graham cracker pieces lining the edge as a frame for a chalkboard. Maybe, half a candy apple sitting on the bottom right corner, like an apple for the teacher resting on the chalk ledge. Chalk pieces made out of pretzel rods dipped in white chocolate. I don’t know, just a thought. (Yeah, this is what I daydream about. It is a sickness.)

Game

The staff and I put the most energy into the game. Never discouraged by my failures (i.e. Cootie Clown) , we created the School Bus Obstacle Course.

This can begin as an activity. You need to have kid cut-outs on white paper and a mess of crayon, stickers, googly eyes, etc. You should have a table dedicated to this. Ask the guests to make a student. It can be them or not — whatever they want. They just need to decorate the one side. When they are finished, they bring their student to you. You need to have sticky back Velcro and put the prickly Velcro on the back of each student. Then the real fun begins — the School Bus needs to pick up the kids for school.


The paper students that were decorated earlier are scattered all over the backyard or through the house or at a park. The “School Bus” is a child wearing a yellow felt tunic (A yard of yellow felt with a hole cut through the middle for their head.) We added a foam visor that we made — we always like to kick it up a notch. The “School Bus” rushes to pick up all the students for school by sticking them to the felt and finally running across a finish line.


YOU HAVE TO HAVE A FINISH LINE. This is an obstacle course must. Red crepe paper held by two people must be broken through — it is the only satisfying way to end. I don’t time it or make it a race — they just have to finish. You can give them a sticker, a stamp on their hand or a dollar store medal to commemorate their triumph. The staff and I thoroughly tested this idea — no student was left behind!

Book

I always love to have a book to tie-in with the theme. It can be propped up as a decoration or have the guests sign the inside of it. Or depending on the audience, you can have a story time. My favorite Children’s Book Blog, the Book Nosher, who has come through for me in the past , was gracious enough to provide some quick picks off the top of her head:

  • I Love You All Day Long by Francesca Rusackas (preschool)
  • Mrs. Bindergarten Gets Ready for Kindergarten by Joseph Slate (kindergarten)
  • The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn (preschool/kindergarten).

She also promised more selections on her blog as Back to School approaches — stay tuned to The BookNosher.

Alright that is my offering for “Back to School”, I know there is more, so please feel free to weigh in with your comments and ideas. All this party testing has caused a bit of a backlog in my housework. Right now my kitchen is like school on Saturday — no class.

And with that Fat Albertism, I am outta here. (Na na na gonna have a good time. Hey! Hey! Hey!)

A MOMster Birthday Greeting!

Maurice Sendak turns 81 today. Happy Birthday, Mr. Sendak!
(Who, by the way, is no stranger to this Blog. We mentioned a celebrity birthday party inspired by his book Where the Wild Things Are in You Got A Book In My Party. You Got A Party In My Book)

In honor of this classic book and its vanguard author (His fanged monsters were new territory in the land of Children’s Books at the time. Hard to believe with our Sesame Street friends today), I’m feeling very bookish!

No news here: I am always looking for great Children’s Books. I think they make great gifts and great activities. Here’s the news: I found a new blog that is a great resource The BookNosher. This lady knows her stuff with a very impressive background in Family Literacy programs. Upon visiting Picture Books For Your Graduate, I found out about this lovely book Only One You by Linda Kranz, which I promptly went out to buy.


And the BookNosher was kind enough to indulge my request for a book to pair with our Snake Party Blowers. She suggested Verdi by Janell Cannon, the same author of Stellaluna.

Hmmm, I wonder what kind of part Mr. Sendak is having? Well, if he makes snake party blowers, tell us how it goes and don’t forget the book!

Party Favors That Leap Off The Page

I had the pleasure of being a surprise guest reader for a preschool class this past week. I thought this would be a great opportunity to test a party favor as well. I saw this Elephant party blower craft on the Family Fun website a while ago and have been itching to try it.
http://jas.familyfun.go.com/arts-and-crafts?page=CraftDisplay&craftid=11434

Now, I did make a few adjustments. I didn’t use craft foam. I’m sure it is sturdier, but I was making 20 of these cuties and cutting craft foam is a bit more involved. Instead, I used construction paper. And with the help of my printer/fax/copier combo, I was able to make quick work of this. You can fit two templates on a sheet of 8 1/2 x 11 sheet of paper, so that speeds up the process as well.

The most time-consuming bit is cutting them out. But, it is the perfect activity to half-watch T.V. I finished off with self-stick google eyes and Dollar Store party blowers. Three episodes of Paranormal State later — I was done.

Oh, but what about the book?! Well, I chose Seven Blind Mice by Ed Young, which has really bold, colorful images. It is about seven blind mice that encounter “something”. Each goes to explore and comes back with an idea of what it is. In the end, the different parts turn out to be an….ELEPHANT (cue the trumpeting elephants). So, I pull out my elephant party blowers and pass them around. And I am like a ROCK STAR!!!!! (It is about the kids isn’t it? This one is a toss up.)

Of note, I used noiseless party blowers. They are cheaper at the Dollar Store and I have a thing about giving noisemakers to the little ones. To me, that is like giving matches to a pyromaniac. I once went to a Birthday Party where the pinata was filled with candy and an assortment of whistles. That would be the equivalent of gasoline and matches.

But, I digress…

The staff and I were so enamored by these pack of pachyderms. We were inspired to try something on our own. We thought frogs would work very well with the party blowers. So, here is what we came up with.

There is an opportunity for kids to personalize these and take some ownership. You could give them the paper cut out and let them color it or add sticker dots for spots as well as the eyes. You will have to help thread the party blower through. I know my staff loves to add their own personal touch to things.


The perfect book pairing for our blowers is The Wide Mouth Frog by Keith Faulkner. It is a pop-up book that starts with a wide mouth frog that eats flies. It meets other animals who tell it what they eat, ending with a alligator that says it eats wide mouth frogs. The frog makes a big wet exit — SPLASH! This book is a sure thing.

The staff and I believe a snake would be another ideal party blower pairing, but we haven’t worked out the logistics. When we do, you all will be the first to know.

Have some great book suggestions, let’s check them out!

You got a Book in my Party. You got a Party in my Book. Two great things that go great together….

I love books, especially Children’s Books, and books can be a great theme for a Birthday Party. If you are not convinced, then here is a celebrity example. Christina Aguilera had a “Where The Wild Things Are” First Birthday Party for her son, Max, earlier this year. http://www.people.com/people/article/0,,20253528,00.html

And even bigger celebrities, like yours truly, has pulled off a book party or two.

One thing I love about a party that is tied to a book is the amazing keepsake the book then becomes. The guest of honor will always have great memories tied to that book, which will be triggered every time it is taken down from the shelf.

Now, the book can become the theme as Ms. Aguilera did. Or the book works with a larger party theme, like jungle, polar or princess. It can be displayed as a decoration — maybe guests can sign the inside of the cover or leave a message. A staffer received If I Ran The Circus by Dr. Seuss at their Circus Party. Inside was a poem their clever Grandmother wrote, needless to say it is one of their favorite books.

And reading a book can be a great party activity, especially for toddlers and preschoolers. At a Safari party for preschoolers, we read Sitting In My Box by Dee Lillegard. It is a cute story about a bunch of animals that join a boy in a cardboard box. We had a cardboard box and animal puppets which we used to act out the story.

Coming soon, more book suggestions and ways to bring them to life at your party. And if you have a great book to share — please post!

PS (Did anyone get my homage to the classic Reese’s Peanut Butter commercial? Come on give it to me!)

Party Tableau from My Talented Staffers

Super Foolishness (According to Me!)


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