Today's focus is on the games, crafts, and other activities. Last year, I wasn't really concerned with having any activities. I knew Gv would be fully occupied with sitting on the lap of guests and soaking up all the extra love, along with wandering around the party site and exploring the everyday things she found there. I did make sure to include some paper and markers last year, because I knew that her older cousins would appreciate having something crafty to do for the party's duration.
This year, I knew that even though Gv would still be soaking up the love and exploring, she would also enjoy some games and activities with her friends. I thought about other birthday parties we'd attended in the past year and how even though they were all for older children, Gv was always excited to join in on the fun, even if she needed my help to do so.
I spent quite a bit of time pondering what games would be fun for a wide range of children (18 months to 13 years), as well as appeal to both boys and girls. All the kids seemed to have a blast, so I think I did pretty well in achieving this goal. I also liked the way I was able to relate these activities back to my favorite rainbow theme!
Here's what we did:
Rainbow Scavenger HuntI thought about all sorts of scavenger hunts, but finally realized that I needed to figure out a way to keep this simple enough for the smallest guests, but still fun for the older children. I cut strips of construction paper (an inch wide and going across the width of the paper, then I cut each of those strips in half) in each of the rainbow colors so that each guest would be able to find a complete set. I also cut out little white clouds.
Next, I scattered all the paper strips and clouds around a well‐defined area of the party space (there were several trees that created a perfect boundary line). I mainly scattered them all out in the open (like you do for a toddler Easter egg hunt), but I placed a few behind trees and under bushes, as well.
I told the kids to go find a cloud and the six colors of the rainbow, then bring them back to the craft table for the next step.
|Searching for their color strips and clouds|
When they came to the table, they chose a sheet of construction paper (first ones back got first choice of colors ‐ although I had plenty of light blue for everyone, since that made the most sense to me). They then created a little rainbow of their own, coming out from a cloud. Besides glue sticks, I had plenty of markers for them to add whatever decorations they wanted.
They were able to take these home with them.
Pin the Cloud on the Rainbow
I thought about all sorts of ways to go about doing this one, but then realized the easiest was to simply draw a rainbow onto a dry‐erase board we had and then cut out more of those little clouds from white construction paper.
I had each child write their name on their cloud and then come to me for their loop of tape.
I blindfolded each child when it was their turn (unless they didn't want their eyes covered, which was fine) and spun them around however many times they requested before pointing them in the right direction to add their cloud.
|Our smallest guest (blindfolded) getting a little help from an older friend|
Gv and I had made these as part of our St. Patrick's Day fun and she really had fun pushing down on the stapler, so I figured it was a good choice for another little take‐home craft for the kids.
Not all of the kids were interested in making one (there was so much nature to explore, after all!), but that was okay. It was a good activity for those friends who weren't in the mood to race around in all the heat.
Even G joined in on this activity, although Mr. Math made a Möbius strip instead:
This was the final game and one that was surprisingly new to many of the guests. I taped two pieces of construction paper to the now‐erased white board and then handed each child a strip of paper in one of the rainbow colors along with a loop of tape for the back. There were two strips of each color given out, which is how the teams were chosen. Each side had one person representing every color of the rainbow (so the kids picked the color they wanted and didn't really know which team they would end up on).
Then we ran it like a regular relay race, with each child adding their stripe of the the rainbow to the team's paper. You could obviously have more than one team for this, if you had more guests running the race. There were several children who had planned to come, but didn't make it, so I had added clouds when I ran out of colors and then planned for the final runners to not add something to the paper, but just run to get it and bring it back. As it turned out, however, we had just enough runners so each team could make a full rainbow.
It was lots of fun and we all cheered when each team had completed their rainbow (because winning wasn't really the point for this age group).
Gv received this tunnel the year before and we'd discovered that besides being something fun to pull out occasionally at home, it was a perfect addition to our camping adventures. I figured it was worth having out at the party and it ended up being a big hit! Not only did the smaller children enjoy crawling through it, but the older ones had fun "wearing" it and seeing how many friends could fit in it at once.
|How many kids can fit into the tunnel at once?|
I feel this party had just the right amount of planned activities, while still allowing for plenty of natural free play and exploration. I think the families all enjoyed watching their children have fun ‐ one mom even made the comment that she couldn't believe how the time had flown by ‐ two hours had passed and it felt like they'd just arrived!
I think this also goes to show that even if you don't have a big budget, you can throw a really fun birthday party!
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