Barnyard Bash -4yr- Barnyard Boogie
Adriana in Mansfield, Texas USA
My daughter loves animals so I wasn't surprised when last August (5 months before her birthday) she announced that she wanted a Farm Animal theme for her 4th Birthday Party. Though I had plenty of time to plan this party, the ideas can all easily and inexpensively be replicated even on short notice. Her Birthday is in January so I kept the weather in mind the whole time I was planning the event because all of the activities and games had to be done indoors.
INVITATIONS: The invitation was a Red Barn with farm animals dressed in party hats on the front that I bought at a discount paper and party supply store. The Barn doors open to display the party details inside. We asked all of our guests to Wear their favorite jeans or overalls and join us for a 'Barn Stomping' good time!"
DECORATIONS: We set up two long tables in our living room for the children to sit at all together. We covered the table with some 'barn red' colored fabric my mom found at Wal-Mart for $1/yd. She had also found a complimentary checkered pattern in the $1/yd. bin which she used to make simple yet functional chair covers for the metal folding chairs we used. I found a wooden planter shaped like a pig (Hobby Lobby) and I filled it with red and white tissue paper and attached red and white balloons to the tail and we used it as a centerpiece for the kids table. For the gift table I used an inexpensive red plastic table cover. We filled a large white basket with all of my daughter's farm animal stuffed toys (sheep pig and cow). I tied some balloons to the basket and used it as a centerpiece. I also tied balloons to various farm animal stuffed toys (again my daughter's) and we placed them throughout the house as decoration.
ACTIVITIES: Since I had so many months to plan this I was able to get some great deals on party supplies. After Halloween I bought a bunch of black canvas tote bags at Michael's for 10 cents apiece! I took 8.5x11 self-adhesive sheets of red felt and cut them in half. Out of each half I cut a barnyard shape and attached it to a canvas bag. We used white felt for the barn trim and even attached a wooden chicken to the bag to look like it was sitting in the barn loft window. As each guest arrived they were given their "BARN BAG" to decorate with farm animal foam stickers (Oriental Trading). The kids loved doing this and we tried to reinforce their creativity by telling them that they were all farmers and had to decide what animals etc. would be on their farm. We later used the BARN BAG to hold all their party loot.
FOOD: Since the party was from 12-2 we opted to have the children eat first before beginning all the games. My daughter had a blast naming all of the items on our Barnyard Buffet. For the kids we had "Chicken Littles" (chicken nuggets from Chic-Fil-A) "Hay Piles" (Mac & Cheese) and a "Farmers Market Platter" (Fruit and Veggie Platter). For the parents I made a pasta salad that we called "Pig Tail Pasta Salad" (spiral pasta mozzarella cubes cherry tomatoes) and a few other dips and appetizers. My favorite was the spinach dip which my daughter decided to call "Cow's Cud"!!!
GAMES: The first game the children played after lunch was "Barnyard Bingo". I made my own bingo template using clip art and printed on regular white paper. I cut the top to look like a barn and then glued the whole thing to a piece of red construction paper. To play we called out three clues for each picture (i.e. which animal can swim can fly and says 'quack-quack'). The younger kids loved trying to guess the animals and the older kids had fun helping the younger ones. When the bingo card was full (each card had the same animals but all in different orders) they all yelled out "Barnyard Bingo!" and each got an animal stamp (Oriental Trading) as a prize for participating.
The second game we played was "Feed the Horse an Apple". This game is similar to pin the tail on the donkey. I bought a large cardboard cutout of a horse (Oriental Trading) and stuck it to the wall. The kids tried to get the apples (apple cutouts I found at a teacher supply store) as close to the horse's mouth as possible. Again everyone got a prize (coloring books and colors from the Dollar store) for participating. The third game was my favorite. We called the game "My Prize Pig" and it was really more of an activity than a game. I had ordered gingerbread cookies in the shape of pigs from a local bakery specializing in Mexican pastries and desserts (really inexpensive 5/$1 and absolutely yummy). I spread store bought white icing on each cookie the night before the party. To preface the game we told the children that as they were all farmers for the day they had to prepare themselves for the County Fair to which they were all going to take their Prize Pig. We gave each child a pig cookie and passed all kinds of pink candies and sprinkles around the table that they could use to decorate their prize pig for the fair. Once they were all done decorating their Prize Pig my husband walked around and judged each of the pigs and awarded each entry with a medal. The kids absolutely loved this game! They also got to take home their Prize Pig to snack on later.
The final game we played was actually two games combined out of necessity. The first part of the game was the "Barnyard Boogie". I entertained all of the children by having them put on animal visors (Oriental Trading) and sit in a circle. I told the kids that when the farmer goes away the animals on the farm have a big party with dancing and music and such. I would shout "The farmer is gone...let's party!" and my mom would turn on the music and they all would get up and dance. When I yelled out "Oh No! Hear comes the farmer!" My mom would turn off the music and all the 'animals' would freeze. The kids had a blast with this game. Little did they know that it was all a ploy to keep them entertained while my husband hid plastic Easter eggs all over our house for the second part of the game. The second part of the game was called "Poor Mrs. Cluck has Lost Her Eggs". As soon as the last round of Barnyard Boogie was over I told the kids that during our animal party a fox had come into the barnyard and taken all of Mrs. Cluck's eggs! It was their job to find the eggs and return them to Mrs. Cluck. Before I had even finished explaining the game they were all off collecting the plastic eggs which we had filled with farm stickers and squishy horses (Oriental Trading). At the end of the game Mrs. Cluck (my mom) graciously divided all her eggs amongst the children as a prize for finding them.
CAKE: We ended the party with cake and ice cream. I made the cake myself and used a farm themed cake topper to decorate it.
PARTING GIFT: About a week before the party I happened upon the cutest farm shaped boxes of animal crackers at Walgreen's for $1 per box and decided to use them as a parting gift instead of the standard candy bag. With raffia I attached a card to each box of crackers that read Thank you for joining us for a fun day on the farm to celebrate __________'s birthday! My daughter had a wonderful time at her Barnyard Bash and so did her friends!"
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