Idea No.

3043

Home Beach 4yr - Decorate Picture Frame

Award

Date

January 2002

From

Shelly in Danville, California  USA

Runner-Up

Beach Party

To celebrate my son's 4th birthday, we had an "at home beach party". 

For invitations, I got some cute beach themed stationary from the Scrapbook store.  I printed the invitations using my computer and they read: Cowabunga!!  Tyler is turning 4!  Surf's up at Firebaugh Beach and you're invited to catch a wave and hang loose with us!  We'll have a totally tubular time!  Wax down your surfboard and paddle on over to: (our address) (date, time, RSVP) Be sure to practice your limbo, think of a song for Karaoke and come chill with us at Tyler's Beach Bash!  Later Dude! 

For decorations, I purchased inexpensive bright colored poster boards and painted "beachy" sayings on them like: Beware of Sharks!, No Lifeguard on Duty, Life's A Beach, Hang Loose and Surf's Up Dude!  I also purchased a few inflatable palm trees, hang loose banners and tissue paper suns from Oriental Trading Company.  I hung these decorations all around the yard and driveway.  I also taped large pieces of butcher paper together and sponge-painted waves on them.  I hung up the "poster" on the garage door.  I also lined the driveway and front lawn with large, bright colored sand pails.  Each pail had a child's name written on it with a black marker.  I hung 3 hula hoops from fishing line from trees.  I also purchased 9 bright colored inflatable swimming rings and inflated them, tied them together with yellow ribbon, and layed them on the lawn like a big tic-tac-toe board.  I had many inflated beach balls on the lawn as well for both decoration and play. 

As the children arrived, I had them decorate their own photo frames on tables set up on the driveway.  I purchased inexpensive, bright colored foam frames that came with bright colored adhesive shapes.  When the kids finished this project, the games began…  Our first game was a treasure hunt. The first step was for each child to find the sand pail with their name on it. Then, on the grass I had 2 large inflated kiddie pools and filled them with "beachy" items:  sunglasses, gummy sharks, bags of goldfish crackers, bubbles, plastic shovels, gold coin chocolates, and small beach balls. I covered the items with strands of blue tissue paper to make them look like they were filled with water.  At the start of the game, I told the children what "treasures" they were to find.  They had a ball searching through the tissue finding all of the items. 

The next game was "Pin the Surfer on the Wave".  Prior to the party, I purchased a couple of Surfer magazines and cut out the larger pictures of surfers surfing.  I put a strip of double-sided tape on the back of each.  Each child chose a surfer and then we blindfolded them and had them stick their surfer on the poster of the waves that I painted.  Because the entire poster was waves, each child was a winner and received a prize.  Next we played "Beach Ball Tic-Tac-Toe-Toss".  Using the game board that I created out of inflatable swimming rings, the children took turns throwing small beach balls and trying to get tic-tac-toe.  Each child won a prize for trying and the kids who actually got tic-tac-toe won an inflatable raft. 

The next game was "Beach Ball Toss Through Hula Hoops".  Remember those hula hoops that we hung from trees for decorations?  Well, the kids took turns throwing the beach balls and tried to get them through the hoops.  The kids found it hard to wait their turn and we soon had balls flying everywhere but it was a lot of fun!  After that, we played surfing music and did what was supposed to be the limbo.  Imagine if you will the 4 year old rendition of this classic!  We also purchased a relatively inexpensive children's microphone and stand and set up a stage using the inflatable palm trees and other decorations.  The children took turns getting up and singing their favorite songs.  They had a ball doing this and many of them wanted more than one turn.  As they sang, I took their photo with a polaroid camera and taped it inside their decorated frame.   

For the birthday cake, I made a sunshine cake and a snorkeling boy cake.  I saw the photos for both in Family Fun magazine.  They were relatively easy to decorate and turned out absolutely darling (if I do say so myself!).  They got rave reviews from everyone!  After the cake, my son was ready to open his gifts.  To try to alleviate bombarding him, I had the kids form a large circle.  I played surfing music and had the kids pass around a beach ball.  When the music stopped, the child holding the ball gave Tyler his/her gift.   

At the conclusion of the party, the kids took home their sand pails, treasures, and photo frames with their photos as their favors.  Everyone had a totally awesome time!  One added plus was that since we had our "beach" party at the end of the summer (in November actually), I was able to purchase many of the items that we used for decorations and prizes at 50% off or more!  The main thing though was that my son and all of his friends had a lot of fun!

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