Archive for the 'Activities' Category

Mark you calendars for "Let’s Party Mondays!"

Mondays are hard. Before I was blessed with my little staffers, I hated Mondays. They were the first day back to the grind after the free-wheeling good times of the weekend. Now, Mondays are my foe for different reasons.

Everyone in the household is free from jobs, school and weekly obligations on the weekends. They are trolling the hallways looking to have some fun. Let’s do something. What are we going to do today that’s fun? So, Saturday — fun! Sunday — fun! fun! And Monday — everyone is back to their respective jobs, school and weekly obligations and I feel like the clean up crew after Mardi Gras.

After a day of regrouping (i.e. cleaning and mediating disputes between overly tired staffers), the Party MOMster is looking for some fun. And nothing is more fun than Parties! So, from this day forward I proclaim Mondays to be: Let’s Party Mondays!

Mondays will be dedicated to one Party theme which everyone is welcome (encouraged!) to join in and build on. I’m not as ambitious as Coolest-Birthday-Cakes, creating the WORLD’s largest resource. I aspire to my Junior High School Spanish teacher’s comments, “adequate, makes a capable effort.” Gracias.

Today’s theme for “Let’s Party Monday” is Dinosaurs! I figured after seeing my Dinosaur cake, many of you were saying to yourselves, “Ouch, I feel sorry for the poor kid that got THAT cake.”

But, I did redeem myself. To start, we made dinosaur hats out of foam visors. Our resident Dinosaur expert classified this as an Apatosaurus. And this is a constant favorite in our dress up bin. Three years later and this dinosaur shows no signs of extinction (That’s right I said extinction — come on, give it to me.)

We then changed roles from dinosaurs to Paleontologists (or what we called “Dinosaur Hunters”) in search of dinosaur remains. To prepare, everyone worked on their spotting scopes. We had toilet paper rolls covered in green paper and a mess of dinosaur stickers. As you all know, the more stickers used in decorating the better the scope works.

While we worked on our spotting scopes, a sneaky party helper hid pieces to an over sized T-Rex puzzle (a dinosaur lover must-have). When our equipment was ready, we began the search.

As the hunters collected the pieces, we began putting the the puzzle together. And it all comes to a very satisfying conclusion — a large ferocious T-Rex. In a word: DINO-mite (oh yeah)

These are just some bare bone ideas — let’s hear your ideas and build a Dino Party that is Pre-HISTORIC! (I’m done, that last pun made me a little queasy.)

A Loom, A Shredder and Some Eggs…

I am so charged about “Put Your Cards On The Table Week”. But, it’s not for the faint of heart.

Inspired by a childhood memory of my sister and I weaving potholders like sweatshop workers (Hey, doesn’t that sound like fun?), I thought — let’s try that with cards.

So, I run around the house digging up stacks of old cards. I have to admit there are some I can’t bear to re-purpose and tuck them back away. But, a few seem like prime candidates and run to the shredder.

Yes, I said the shredder. I haven’t used the shredder in a while, but I thought it would slice through the cards like a pasta maker — turning my cards into colorful paper fettuccine.

“Hey guys, watch this.” I feed the card into the shredder and it spits out confetti. Not quite what I had in mind. One staffer is speechless studying the card remains. The other turns to me with wide eyes and says plainly, “Why did you do that?”

Not everyone is on board.

Plan B. The staffers are busy on their own projects. They don’t seem to have the stomach for this. So, I pull out my paper cutter and begin making my colorful paper fettuccine. Now that the cards are unrecognizable and the craft table is a big mess, the staffers want back in. We begin to weave a bookmark.

Somewhat skeptical at first, they see the pattern take shape and are thrilled. The Party MOMster’s cool quotient is rising steadily. Earlier instability is now seen as genius. The staffers can only be described as “stoked”. (Is a Mom of three allowed to stay “stoked”? Does anyone say “stoked” anymore? Am I wicked dating myself?)

Moral: You gotta break a few eggs to make an omelet.

“Put Your Cards On The Table Week” continues….

Father’s Day Gift Idea

Well, the Party MOMster and staff are on high alert in preparation for Father’s Day. I purchased cards today and OUCH! that really adds up. We will likely be making more of our own cards in the future. Especially after the staff added their personal touch to today’s posh purchases — they are barely recognizable.

But, enough regrets — the staff and I created a nifty card keeper to keep those little slips of gold in as a Father’s Day Gift a few years back. We used a photo box bought at the craft store and covered it with pictures of Mr. Party MOMster and the staff. Mr. Party MOMster is very sentimental and couldn’t image tossing out his beloved cards, so now he has a safe place to keep them.

Now, if your staff is a bit young or heavy with the glue stick, you can also use Full Sheet Ink jet Printer Labels at an office supple store. You can just print out your pictures, cut them out and stick them right on. It looks nice and neat and the pictures are less likely to curl or pop off. I love these label sheets. We have used them on goody bags, presents and invitations.

For those of us that are a little less sentimental and want to get a bit more mileage out of our pricey bits of paper, I have started keeping a small scrap box of old cards. The staff can take bits to make other things — like cards (I should have remembered that earlier), place mats, bookmarks, art, etc.

Have any handy Father’s Day gift ideas? Please share. We love to spoil our Dad, Grandad, Poppy and Great Grandad on Father’s Day.

Off to meet the wizard…

When the usual suspects arrive at Party MOMster shin digs, they promptly ask, “Is the Wizard coming?”

As I mentioned in my earlier post, Party Game “Who Am I?”, there are no losers at a Party MOMster party. I like everyone to feel good and have fun. Life lessons of winning, losing and being a good sport are fine, but not on my watch. Come on — it’s a Birthday Party!

Yes, but who is the Wizard? Well, it started back a few years ago at a Princess Party. We had done “hunts” in the past (think, Easter Egg hunts) We’ve hidden stuff: animals, pictures, puzzle pieces, plastic figurines. But, our crowd was getting a bit more sophisticated, so we rose to the occasion. Our hunt now involves clues.

The initial premise was a bit complicated. The Wizard had captured the Magical Unicorn (The Pinata) and the guests needed to help rescue it. The first clue was just laying on the floor in the open. It read “You want your unicorn? You’ll have to use your head. Find your next clue under the pink bed.” The guests would then charge to the pink bedroom with the pink bed and discover the next clue. And so on and so on till the “treasure” is found.

I usually have at least on clue for each participant. For this Princess quest, the “treasure” was a bunch of keys cut out of foam at the end. Each key had a guests name on it. On a closet door we had a over sized keyhole cut out of black paper. Blindfolded they tried to put their key in the keyhole (think, Pin the Tale on the Donkey). The one that got the closest to getting their key in the keyhole got to open the door and rescue the pinata. And they all lived happily ever after.

Now, it doesn’t have to be that complicated. Our Wizard has now become known as a trickster and a troublemaker. He has hidden goodie bags, games and presents. The guests don’t seem to need a lot of back story on the Wizard and at this point are not too fixated on the treasure at the end. They seem to really enjoy the quest.

Which reminds me of a quote I used in Deep Thoughts By Party MOMster: Success is a journey, not a destination. The doing is often more important than the outcome. – Arthur Ashe. Enjoying the journey — how’s that for a Life Lesson!

There is only one caveat: A lot of preparation goes into planning, creating and hiding the clues. I usually start where I hide the “treasure” and work backwards. And for all your work, the hunt goes by very fast (think, opening presents on Christmas morning). But, it is always well-received and guests are so proud that they figured out the clues: Take that Wizard — foiled again!

If you try this or have tried this, please share (think, I’m done).

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.

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.,,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!)

Balloons with an Attitude

Two close personal friends of mine (I’ve known them since birth), reminded me of a fun party activity/decoration. We once got these cool stickers with a helium tank and balloon kit. We decorated them before the party and then used them as decorations.

But, I think this could be a great activity for party guests if they are waiting to be served. You could tie a balloon to each chair and then have stickers on their place setting.

The decorated balloon could then serve as a type of name card if they get up from the table and get back. I’ve noticed that younger kids are somewhat territorial. If you can get them to be happy with where they are sitting once. Just have them repeat — any change seems to be very unsettling.

So, I found these stickers from Oriental Trading.

They don’t have to be faces, any stickers could be fun. But, I think you take that balloon by the string and say, “Just don’t float there do something.”

Party Tableau from My Talented Staffers

Super Foolishness (According to Me!)