Idea No.


Be A Dalmatian Party -5yr- Puppy Races



March 2001


Lilli in Montpelier VT


Dalmatian Party

Be A Dalmatian Party 5 year old

A good month before our son's birthday party, he picked out Dalmatian party supplies.  We bought the basics, the hats, cups, dishes, napkins and tablecloth.  His last two birthday parties had been at the movie theatre, so this time he wanted a party at home.  I had just finished planning our 7 year old daughter's carnival party and I wanted his party to be just as fun.  However, I knew that having 14 5 year olds is a lot different from 7 year olds.  I knew to leave plenty of room for improvisation.  

Prior to the party, I ordered stuffed Dalmatians and Dalmatian banks from a toy magazine, such as Oriental Trading Company, plus a Dalmatian pinata.  I made doghouses for the dogs by taking a square Kleenex box and cutting a door through the opening on top, and adding a roof out of poster board.  These did take time, so be sure to do these as far in advance as possible, and ask your friends for Kleenex boxes too.  I ended up having to store the tissues from 4 boxes in bags!   I went to a fabric store and bought Dalmatian spot fleece-type fabric, and made doggy ears for each of the kids.  I did this simply by cutting out strips of the fabric and ear shapes and glued them with fabric glue. No Sewing!  We would tie them around the kids heads when they arrived.   I took craft foam pieces and made dog tags for each of the kids. 

Since the kids were going to go on a puppy-hunt to find the missing stuffed puppies and they would keep one, I also made smaller matching dog tags for the stuffed pups. Most of these kids can not read, so I cut them into different shapes, such as square, circle, triangle, etc in different colors and wrote on different 101 and 102 Dalmatian doggy names for each child and a matching one for the stuffed animal. I used simple yarn to tie them around the puppies necks and the kids when they arrived.  Our kids helped me with this step.   On posterboard, I drew a Dalmatian puppy, "Domino" and cut tails from the extra spotted fabric for "pin-the-tail-on Domino".

At the craft store, I had also purchased spotted Dalmatian craft foam and since the Dalmatian blowers never arrived, I cut out circles with two holes each and slid them over some basic blowers.  That was very simple but really cute.  Prior to the kids arriving, our kids decorated the kitchen and basement play area with red, black and white Streamers.  My 7 year old daughter actually spotted the white streamers by tearing out and taping black pieces on them.  She twirled this around the stairway handrail.  We made a doghouse roof above the kitchen table, simply by making a triangle.  The table was set with the Dalmatian tablecloth.  I put all the doghouses in the middle with cutouts from the spotted craft foam, colored dogbone cutouts, lots of Dalmatian stickers, glue, tape and crayons.  

When all the kids arrived, our 7 year old daughter came out as Cruella, in a Dalmatian spotted coat (a hand-me down from Halloween).  While the kids screamed and booed her, I said that actually Cruella wants to help us find the missing puppies.  I asked them what we should do if we want to find them and pretty much on cue, my son said "be puppies".  So we tied the doggy headbands on the kids, and our daughter "Cruella" painted doggy noses on each of them.  I tied their doggy colors on each of them and then took a Polaroid of each puppy so we could hang missing puppy posters.  

Then we decided that puppies would come home if they each had a house, so they sat at the table and decorated their own doghouses.  They each wrote their puppies name on it, corresponding to their dogtags.  This was at most a 15 minute craft project. So off they went to the basement to find the missing puppies.  We had hidden them in a basket in the basement.  When the kids found them, they knew their puppy by matching it with their own dogtag.   At this point, knowing the kids attention span came into play and we let them play with the toys in the basement.  

After a while, we had puppy races where they rolled kickballs with their noses.  And then passed the doggy bones to "who let the dog out." When the music stopped the child with the doggy bone was out.  We had two groups playing this and because I didn't want the child losing to feel bad, gave them the doggy bank when they lost.  This actually backfired, because all the kids wanted the prize after the first two lost.  It didn't matter because the kids were having fun passing the bone and dancing to the "who let the dogs out" music.  Knowing that it's approximately 1/2 for presents, piƱata and cake, we followed up "pin the tail on "domino"" by giving each child a Dalmatian roll-up to eat while they watch our son open the presents.  This keeps all the kids sitting while he opened the presents. 

After we play pinata and each child had a Dalmatian bag to fill with the candy. While all this was going on, I had a friend glue the Polaroid's on each of the kids houses and put them on the table so kids could see their photos, plus she cleared the crafts off the table and set it with the napkins, dishes and blowers. Then it was upstairs for cake and juice.

The cake was a Dalmatian shaped cake with a "domino" dog tag and crushed Oreo's for the black ears with white kisses added to make the domino look on the ears.  

The kids were so excited being puppies and loved bringing home their puppies and doggy houses. Although this was actually a lot of prep-work, once the party began it was very easy, fun for the kids, and easy to be flexible on the activities.

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