Beauty and the Beast 4yr - Rose in Glass
Sheryl in West Chester, OH USA
We had a lot of fun with a Beauty and the Beast theme for my daughter's 4th birthday.
Each invitation was attached to a real rose and hand delivered. (Remember to remove any thorns first!). To set the stage and make a special entrance, just before the party was to start we sprinkled rose petals on the sidewalk from driveway to door.
As guests arrived, they were greeted with a Bonjour and invited to work on the book they would be making to take home since Belle loved books. The book contained a page of Belle and the Beast to color printed from the Disney website, a word search based on Beauty and the Beast words, and a customized maze that directed them to help Belle escape from the dungeon and get to her friends. We put a sticker of Belle in the middle of the maze as the starting point and a sticker of Lumiere, Cogsworth, Mrs. Potts, etc. at the finish. You can create the maze and the word search for free on the website www.puzzlemaker.school.discovery.com.
Another page of the book utilized a picture I had drawn on posterboard of a large image of Belle in her signature yellow gown holding a rose but with a hole cut out where her face would be. The hole was sized to fit the face of my 4 year old. Each girl was invited to hold the picture up to her face and peek through while my husband took their picture with the digital camera. (Imagine each child's face on Belle's body.) On the back we attached Velcro, forming handles so that the girls could hold it up to their faces without any hands showing. They loved this and it was really adorable. The pictures were printed during the party so that they could be taped to a piece of cardstock with the caption underneath reading, Belle looks just like me! and that was included as a page in the book. You could also send the picture with the thank you note later if not able to print it out during the party. And if drawing it seems too challenging you could probably get it enlarged and copied at a copy center.
The girls' favorite part of the party was the Forbidden West Wing: the night before, my husband and I blocked off the dining room with plain bed sheets and push pins and decorated it to the max. Guests were told that they could go anywhere in the house but the Forbidden West Wing. When it was time for cake and ice cream, the girls were asked to find the key to get into the west wing. The key was just a piece of cardboard that I cut out and covered with aluminum foil. Each guest was handed a small stack of books and told that the key was hidden in one of the books reminding them again that Belle loved to read. Once found, the key was given to the birthday girl who used it to get past the sheet covering and into the west wing. Once we pulled back the sheets, the girls were amazed to see the room completely decorated with purple and yellow helium balloons (these were snuck in that morning since you can't get them the night before), the castle shaped birthday cake, purple tulle bows on each of the chairs, and best of all, a rose under glass (an artificial rose stuck in a piece of brown felt-covered Styrofoam that was topped with the dome of an anniversary clock.
A glass cake dome top would probably also work). B & B plates, napkins and tablecloth were also used, with red rose petals scattered on the table. It was a very dramatic way to present the cake. You'll get lots of oohs and aahs. After eating cake, the kids played two games that I made up.
One was a Rose Petal Hunt. With a box of artificial rose petals purchased from a craft store, I placed a sticker on the back of 12 of them (since there were 12 kids) and numbered each sticker 1 thru 12. I also had 12 prizes wrapped in gift wrap with roses on it, each one also labeled 1 thru 12. All the rose petals (the numbered and unnumbered ones) were scattered throughout the backyard. The kids were told to search for a rose petal with a sticker on it. When they found one, they brought it to me and won the prize that was labeled with the matching number. The prizes were in keeping with the theme: playdoh with a Belle figure on top, spiral bound notebooks with Belle on the cover, Disney princess soaps, Beauty and the beast cups. This was great because everyone was a winner.
The other game was Run From the Wolves. 4 stations were setup in the backyard. We used the sandbox, the slide, a bench and the deck. The children took turns riding a stick pony to each of the stations while the ôwolfö (me with one of my daughter's stuffed dogs in my hands) chased them, growling and howling. Once they got to a station, they were on base and safe from the wolf until you tell them to Go and run to the next station. I taped the wolf chase section of the video on an audiocassette and had it playing while we played the game. They loved this! You can really ham it up and have the wolf almost get them but not quite. Once they made it to the finish line of the 4th station they received a candy prize. After everyone had a turn, they continued this game themselves, with some of the "wolf" children chasing the others.
To keep things orderly for the pull-string Princess pi±ata and gift opening, I made 2 sets of cards with Beauty and the Beast characters on it or something pertaining to a 4th birthday party, like a balloon with a 4 on it. For this I used stickers when possible or just drew the image myself when I ran out of character stickers. We put one set of cards in a large teapot and had each child pick a card from the other set and hold it. Then I pulled a card out of the teapot and whoever had the matching character was to pull one of the pinata strings. This determined the order of turns with the pinata and the order in which my daughter would open gifts. At this age, they're very excited to give their gift. I'd been to parties where the birthday child was swarmed by kids each wanting her to open theirs next. This eliminates that. You pull a card out of the pot, and whoever has that matching card goes next. It made things very orderly and if you collect the cards from them each time, you can use it for anything you do during the party that requires taking turns.
The main party favors were plastic hand mirrors that I got from Big Lots for only a dollar which I decorated by gluing on tiny roses (from the bridal section of a craft store) and jewels with a glue gun. Also inside the purple favor bags were candy, dollar store jewelry, and B&B stickers. The bags were tied off with yellow ribbon. The girls also went home with their books, Rose Petal Hunt prize, and pi±ata loot, as well as a balloon. It really was a very fun and memorable party!
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