Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Under the Sea Birthday Birthday Party!

Planning a Little Mermaid or Under the Sea Party? Here are some ideas:

  • Have a jar of goldfish crackers or shells sitting out and have the children and/or adults guess how many are in the jar. The one who comes the closest, wins the jar of goodies!

  • Serve goldfish crackers in small fish bowls. Serve cheese with a fish cookie cutter and serve with boats (crackers).

  • Make blue jello in clear plastic cups and when it is almost ready to set, stick a gummy fish in it and then put it back in the fridge to set the rest of the way.

  • Party favors: Tackle Box: Use small plastic containers with lids for the box. Print labels that read "Tackle Box" to stick on the box. Fill with your party favors. A few ideas for party favors: water balloons, beach balls, individual packets of Goldfish crackers, water guns, fish stickers.

  • Decorations: Put blue table cloths on the tables. Put sand and seashells in the middle of the tables. Use blue utensils, cups, plates and napkins. Use clear helium filled balloons to look like bubbles. Blue and green streamers look like seaweed. Rummage through your summer/beach toys and use all of that for decorations/games/table decor, etc.

  • Food: Make PB & J/turkey/tuna fish sandwiches and cut them with a fish cookie cutter or splurge and buy the fish shaped bread.

  • Pinata: Make your own pinata! Pinatas can be so expensive! I have been making my own since my kids were little. This way, I am always guaranteed to have a pinata to fit my theme! Making your own pinata saves you money and it is also a fun project that the entire family can get involved with. It is messy, but fun! For an Under the Sea party, I would make either a beach ball or an octopus! Get a "round" balloon for the beach ball or a regular balloon for the octopus. (I will post a step by step on how to make your own pinata). The basic supplies you need to make a pinata are: balloons, newspaper (cut into long strips) and flour and water. Blow up the balloon to the size you want and tie it. Then, mix flour and water to make a glue-like consistency. Then, take your newspaper strips one at a time and dip them in the flour/water mixture, take off any excess "glue" and then wrap in on the balloon (make sure you leave a small space at the "tie" of the balloon, without any newspaper, so you can fill the pinata there). You keep doing this until your balloon is fully covered. Once it is covered, let it dry and then repeat the same thing for at least 2 layers so it is sturdy enough to hold the goodies. (To dry it, I hang the balloon upside down on the laundry line with a clothes pin). It will take a few days to dry so make sure you are doing this ahead of time. Once it is dry, pop the balloon. It will shrivel up inside and then just take it out. Now, you can paint the outside whatever you want. For the beach ball, paint it with the beach ball pattern and for the octopus, paint it brown or gray and add eyes. For the tentacles, glue streamers at the base. To hang the pinata, make two small holes at the top and thread through string, fishing line or whatever else you have. When the paint is all dry, fill the pinata. Patch up the hole with tape or a piece of construction paper the same color of the pinata (I like to use clear packaging tape for this). Making your own pinata takes a little time and makes a bit of a mess, but the money you save and the memories you make doing it, is more than worth it!

  • Games: Fishing Game - paint an appliance box blue and add some sea creatures on it. Have someone sit inside the box and have the kids throw their fishing pole over the box and catch a surprise. To make a fishing pole, just get a stick and tie some string and a clothes pin to the end so the surprise can be pinned on to it.

These are just some things we have done at our parties that I thought would be great to share with anyone else out there trying to throw a special party without breaking the bank!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Monkey Munch Game!

This game was a huge hit with my kids this summer and it was so simple to make! I wanted to come up with a fun game that incorporated letter sounds and "Monkey Munch" is what I came up with. To make the monkey, I took an empty cereal box and wrapped it with brown construction paper. I cut out a half circle at the bottom of the box for his mouth. I used a lighter brown paper for the eyes, ears and bottom portion of the monkey's face. For the ears, I cut out the circular part of the ears, but I left a longer "tab" at the base of the ear so I could use that to glue to the side of the box. This enabled the ears to stick out. The eyes are just 2 circles - a bigger circle cut from the lighter brown paper and then a smaller one cut from white paper is glued on that. Then, I just colored in the black pupils. I glued all of these pieces on using a hot glue gun. The nose of the monkey was not glued because that gave me the perfect place to set my alphabet flashcard (see the top picture).
How to Play "Monkey Munch": Each day, put a different letter flashcard on the monkey's nose and then say, "Monkey Munch Time!" The kids see what letter is on the monkey and then they have to go around the house and find things that start with that letter. Once they find something, they put it in the monkey's mouth (so he can munch on them). If the item was too big, I just had the kids set it next to the monkey. So, for instance, if "F" is the letter, they could feed the monkey a frog, food, fruit, flower, fox, etc. Once they were done looking, we would all sit down and I would take each thing out of his mouth and the kids would tell me what they were. I would repeat what they said with emphasis on the letter sound at the beginning of each word.
There was not one day this summer that my kids didn't ask me, "When are we doing 'Monkey Munch'?" or "What letter will be on 'Monkey Munch'?" I loved this game because they were learning the entire time, but had no idea because they were having so much fun! A win-win situation!