Archive for the 'Activities' Category

My Brush With Celebrity: Little Red Monster

The last post had me thinking about our Elmo party and I just wanted to revisit what a worthwhile adventure renting a costume was. I had found this place online (I wish I remembered which one exactly) for $150, they rented you a “Little Red Monster” costume, a music cd and a small gift for the Birthday child (it was a plastic Elmo mug). The costume arrived in a big box the Thursday before the party.

Yours truly had the honor of being an Elmo. We had made several trips to Sesame Place before this Birthday and we knew that our little one loved seeing the characters in person. She was absolutley amazed to see Elmo walk out into the backyard. I had purchased one of those oversized crayon banks to give to her from Elmo. Elmo-afficiandos out there know Elmo loves to doodle.

We had so much fun with it that we even had Elmo visit again Sunday night before we had to ship him back on Monday. Now, you may think $150 is a bit steep. But, this would be a great present for family members to give or go in for. Toys come and go, but Staffer #1 is now on her way to 8 and still talks about how Elmo came to her party.

Important note: Not all kids love these big characters. One of the attendees at the party was very disturbed by Elmo’s presence. Later, I had to tell her it was me. She looked at me aghast and said, “Why would you do that?”

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Party Blowers Part 4 (Pooper Barrio Mothers)

Yes, we did Elephant Party Blowers. And then Frog Party Blowers. And even Snake Party Blowers. And this Party Blower thing just keeps on giving — I give you the Party Blower that resembles the turtle/dragon thing in the popular video game that sounds very similar to Pooper Barrio Mothers.

Why am I being so cryptic? Well, I don’t want to step on any toes. I don’t need a multi-billion dollar company squashing me like a bug. (I mean I did have 10 views yesterday).

Staffer #1 loved Sesame Street when she was a little. We had a Elmo party for her — including renting a costume online.  This would be the “Little Red Monster” costume — so, I too, will play it safe.

But, I digress (as I often do), the Pooper Bario Mothers Turtle/Dragon Party Blower was a huge success. It gave 9 six-year-olds a break from tearing my house apart at a recent party. They were able to color it in any way they wanted and then assemble the blower (noiseless, of course).

There’s your covert party blower idea. I feel like a radical today — flying low under the radar (very low, because no one reads this blog). Got any sneaky Party Blower ideas send them in code….The Truth is Out There.

Bumbling onto Brilliance

I was looking for some visuals to liven up my last post and I came across these two cool links.  They would probably fall into the category of  “Why would you want to know how to do that?”  But, I say “Why wouldn’t you want to know how to do that!”

I’m a bit of a surviliast — you want to know how to do things in a pinch. 

So, if you are in need of messaging your own candy converstaion hearts, here you go…. 

http://blog.makezine.com/archive/2008/02/how_to_stamp_your_own_val.html

And if, shudder to think, you can’t get your hands on candy conversation hearts at all, make your own…

http://candy.about.com/od/valentinesdaycandy/ss/convoheart_sbs.htm

 Make your own candy hearts

Brilliant! The last time I found a gem like this is was Mug O’ Cake Recipe.

“Be Prepared” is my motto. It is this kind of thinking that has me stocked with 6000 mailing labels, 1000 paper clips and 500 twisty balloons. Got a tip, let me add it to my bunker.

Bingo with a Twist (or a stick)

Where to begin on this one…Well, how about a Valentine’s Day party at school and yours truly is the party helper in charge of games.  Need a little, somum, somun  for 22 1st graders. 

I checked out Kaboose.com and found this Valentine Bingo idea:  http://holidays.kaboose.com/val-party.html  I liked the idea of using the names of the classmates as the items to be called.  They suggested using a blank card with boxes and have the kids fill in their names.  But,  I thought that may be a little challenging for 22 1st graders — so we made name stickers.

Name stickers? Intrigued well, a year and half ago I bought mailing address labels at my local warehouse club — 6000 to be exact.  I have been justifing this purchase ever since.  Using these mailing address label sheets on my computer, I’m able to fit 2 names per label.  Nine label sheets later, I cut them into strips with my paper cutter and wah-lah — 22 name stickers for each of the 22 kids.

I made a blank card of 5 by 5 boxes a total of 25 squares. Now there are only 22 students so I filled in three random spaces on the cards with a free space, a tiger because it happened to be Chinese New Year as well and the Chinese symbol for “Love”. (Yes, it was a Valentine’s/Chinese New Year Party).  I gave each student a blank card with their name on it, 22 name stickers and conversation heart candies to use as markers.  I then had them pass their cards around and fill in other’s Bingo Cards with their name stickers.

This proved a bit chaotic.  I would definitely not do this part again.  I think it would have been easier (saner) to give each students name stickers for all their classmates and just fill in their own card.  That aside, the kids loved hearing there names called out.  We gave a heart-shaped lollipop when someone got bingo and then continued till all the cards were filled — so everyone got their name called. As always everybody wins a PartyMOMster game.

OK, that’s it and regarding my promise of shorter and more frequent posts — I have done neither. So, with “progress not perfection”, I press on still a little wordy and tardy.

LPM is Back and it’s Beachy!


I know you are all waiting for this week’s Let’s Party Monday’s (a.k.a LPM) party theme — uh, waiting two weeks in fact. Last week, the staff and I were at an off-site meeting at the seashore doing some intensive team building and sandcastle making. We are back — well-rested, inspired and ready to present to you…

A BEACH PARTY

Decorations

Get ready to get your MacGyver on (and join me as I unpack the mini-van after vacation). Take everything you take with you to the beach and throw it all over the place: beach towels, shovels, beach chairs, plastic buckets, sandcastle forms, and inflatable whatever. What about stringing a clothes line and hanging swimsuits? (Maybe not my big granny-suit, but the staffer’s suits are fun and colorful)

You may be thinking — ugh, that sounds like a big mess. Well, check out this classy pic from the May issue of House Beautiful where they put those Beach towels to work as a great (and absorbent) tablecloth.

You can also purchase shells at a craft store to sprinkle around. And depending on how brave you are, get a little sand from the craft store or playsand at the hardware store.

In college, I went to a party at a Frat House with beach volleyball on the third floor – that’s right a couple of inches of sand covering the entire third floor. Those boys knew how to throw a party. I don’t know how they cleaned it up, but those aren’t the concerns of a college party-goer.

A more practical solution would be spreading the sand in a couple cookie sheets with some shells to create a zen garden/mini-seascape for the table. (That seems so lame compared to full scale beach volleyball indoors. Is a Frat House really the standard I’m striving for? I’m really struggling with this one.)

Activity

This activity came to me as I was preparing for our trip to the seashore and saw two days with rain clouds assigned to them. I ended up not having to break out the crafts (YEAH!), but it was great to do post va-ca and perfect for this week’s theme.

Take a frame cut out of cardboard and paint one side with Mod Podge.(You could probably use white glue, I’m just digging Mod Podge lately.) Then take the sticky side and drag it though some sand – maybe take advantage of your mini-seascape decoration. Then have party guests arrange shells on the now sandy frame. While they take part in another activity, hot glue the shells to the frame.

The weight of the shells and the amount of white glue necessary to hold them will take forever to dry. Hot glue will ensure your guest can take their handiwork home, instead of standing by your door weeping with gooey shells lying on the floor before them. (Trust me on this.)

Game

Leaving the beach is always a feat of endurance and now it’s a party game! Create a “Packing It Up” obstacle course by spreading out all types of beach gear: blankets, sand toys, beach ball, hat, sunglasses, boogie board. The contestant has to collect and carry all the gear across the finish line. Think John Candy in Summer Rental.

At the finish line, you can take a picture and if you have the A-team of party helpers, that picture can then be printed and put into the beachy frame created earlier. I love it when a plan comes together!

There you have it a Beach party to squeeze in before the end of the summer, but could also be a real stunner in the winter – so unexpected!

I’d love to sea your beachy ideas in the comments – they’re great I’m shore!

(That last line was desperate, but did you get my A-team reference and quote? Anyone? Come on that was gold, baby! Someone is fresh from vacation.)

Camp Continues: The Tracking Game

Now, the much anticipated Tracking Game for the Let’s Party Mondays, Camp theme .

The staff has always had a love of animals and the outdoors. We are members of the local zoo and have made frequent trips to our nearby arboretum. These two favorite haunts inspired the Tracking Game – I feel like someone got chocolate in my peanut butter and I came up the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup of Camp party games. (Whoa, someone is a little full of themselves today).

Anywhoo, we received a small laminated tracking card of animals of the Northeast when we joined our local zoo. It has squirrels, deer, rabbits, etc. The staff loves to try to find muddy tracks along the wood line behind the house. (Let’s say that’s the “Peanut Butter”.) On our last trip to the arboretum, they handed out a sheet of paper with six boxes on it and a crayon. As you walked the trail, there were these informational signs and below the sign there was a rubbing plate with leaves one it. At each sign, you would rub the corresponding plate. At the end, all the boxes were filled in with cool leaf designs. (That would be the “Chocolate”.) So, I thought why not have rubbing plates with animal tracks and have the kids discover them as they search the backyard. (And there you have the “Peanut Butter Cup”.)

Using my tracking card as a guide, I created these rubbing plates which the staff helped me decorate. I tried two methods: 1) piling on glue as paint (which takes a while to dry) 2) cutting out paper and gluing (takes a while to cut out and doesn’t have as great of a raised effect). And if you don’t want your dishes and laundry to pile up while you are monkeying around with animal tracks, I found a great third option: buy them . They look great and you can have more of them – I could only squeeze out five on my own. I would still attach them to cardboard and decorate the board — it looks cool and the staff had fun decorating. I included a clue because some of the tracks look similar.

To play, scatter and hide the plates all over you backyard. Then give each participant a sheet (newsprint works the best because it is really thin and the rubbings show up very easily) with a space assigned for each animal. Here’s one way…

When they fill in their sheet, they can earn a prize or maybe a badge declaring they are a solid tracker. Okay, there you have it the Tracking Game – I’m open to a better name the “Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup of Camp Party Games” is a little wordy.

Gotta go, I have this overwhelming desire for candy.

Let’s Party Mondays: Hello Campers!

Hey, it’s Monday again — let’s party! Today’s theme is Camp!

As you know by now, I am loving Camp at the moment. The morning day camp the staffers attended was a big hit and it sent me into a nostalgic frenzy. (ahhh, Camp Arrowhead, Good times…) But, my love of camp has been taken to a new level this week — the staffers are attending Nature Camp this week. That is 4 1/2 hours a day Monday through Friday. And it couldn’t have come at a better time for — EVERYONE!

Besides giving all of us a break from each other, (I’m banking on “absence makes the heart grow fonder” all around) the staffers came home with great games, crafts and were so tired they had very little fight left in them — JACKPOT!

I’m not the only one loving camp at the moment. My favorite magazines have weighed in with some great ideas as well. So, here’s a little somunsomun I put together — welcome to Camp!

Decorations

Now is the time to drag out that dusty tent you may have or borrow one or at the very least hang a simple tarp. I found a very competent video that explains how to make a tent out of a tarp. If you make a tent happen — sit back, you are golden.

If you still want to take it up a notch, I say go for the campfire. Fire and kids seem a bit dicey for me — I’m looking for theater here. I would pile a few logs together and create a faux fire — maybe some orange and yellow tissue paper. I didn’t get to try this out yet, but I was thinking of a small fan with crepe paper ribbons attached to give the illusion of flickering flames. I’m not sure if that would work — if I can make that happen you will be the first to know. (Maybe the second, I may have to explain myself to the neighbors)

Cake

I don’t want to talk about cake — let’s talk S’mores. S’mores and Camping are like Peanut Butter and Jelly, Macaroni and Cheese, Captain and Tennille (Did anyone get that last one? Sometimes, I really am just writing for myself.) So, I offer several S’more options:

Activity

My Mom saved the August issue of Family Fun magazine because it had some great camp crafts. The Totem Pole was her favorite. You have each person create a self-portrait on a paper plate using markers, natural materials and white glue. When the glue dries, tape the plates to a large stick and set the stick into the ground – wahlah a Totem Pole. Nice work, Mom.

Game

Now, there are various iterations of tag and the staff has played quite a few of them at camp — to rave reviews I might add. Now, the Party MOMster usually shies away from tag because someone is “it”. Everyone runs away from the person that is “it” – it just feels wrong to me. But, those super smart camp counselors have teams of people being it – no one is left to be a pariah. Brilliant! I promise a sampling of the most-loved tag options from the staff by the end of the week.

I have got so much more to say including a great game that the staff and I started today. It’s drying overnight. (Oh, are you intrigued?) So, I’m calling it a night and just making my Monday deadline. We will have more Camp ideas for you tomorrow. But, feel free to pitch in a few of your own. (That whole Golden Graham thing has got me a bit down too — that Cinderella song has me all choked up)


Party Tableau from My Talented Staffers

Super Foolishness (According to Me!)