Magical Adventure Story -5yr- Giant Book
Andrea in Brighton, MA, USA
Magical Adventure Story Party I am a storyteller and for my five year old daughter's birthday she wanted me to put her and her friends into one of my customized magical adventure tales. She chose her own role, flower fairy princess, and outlined some of the story. The rest would be a surprise. We had boys and girls coming so I made sure to appeal to both.
INVITATIONS were tiny books that I printed from the computer (1/4 size per page). The title page used an ornate font Lucinda Blackletter The Flower Fairy and the Stolen Sweets an original tale by [mom] The picture on the cover was of brightly frosted cupcakes and a small black print of a witch and her cat stirring a cauldron, all free from the internet. The dedication page read For [invited child's name] in the fancy font, then in a plain book font Agaramond a quote from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, I think I could, if only I knew how to begin. The story pages used the fancy font in large type followed by parenthetical notes in a plain font to give the practical details: Once upon a time (at half past 2 on Sunday the x of February, to be exact) in a land not too far away ([our address]) the flower fairy [our daughter's name] called upon her friends to join her in a magical adventure of birthday delights. Come as you are or as you wish to be and we shall write the ending together (until four o'clock when your parents take you home). Magical land passport control requests your response [our phone number] Each page had an elaborate illustration and we used flowers from a symbol font as punctuation.
COSTUMES The birthday girl wore a Disney flower fairy costume bought from Target (her birthday present from us) and pink ballet slippers. We cut off the icon that showed the character's face. I wore a flower print dress, a gold jacket, and an adjustable flower crown made from Great Pretenders costume company. For my husband, we bought a wizard and magician's kit that included a felt black hat and wand with stick-on stars and moons. The kids enjoyed making it for him for the party and now it's part of our costume stash. He used a LCD ball with green glitter floating inside for his crystal ball. Another daughter wore a kimono and Japanese slippers. Another played the witch-hag and dressed up at the proper time. Some children came dressed up as we expected they might. Part of the party was giving everyone a chance to have makeup or face paint and add to their costumes from our magical wardrobe, a box decorated with glittery stars and paper flowers.
DECORATIONS Outside the door we propped up a giant cardboard book which had been the box for a large painting. On the cover was the poem by Shel Silverstein, If you are a dreamer, come in. And a printout of a Shel Silverstein drawing of a boy holding a sign that says: For Kids Only. When the arriving guests opened the cover, there was a large picture of an enchanting path through a dark forest with stepping stones leading toward a beautiful light. I taped some large fabric flowers with plastic stems around the scene to create a three-dimensional effect. The box was tied lightly with silver organza ribbon for each guest to open as they came in. The rest of the magical land would not be set up until later.
ACTIVITIES The first thing the children did was enter into a papered over doorway marked To Page One which was the illustration department. There children were each given a thin wooden cutout of a butterfly, dragonfly, flower, palm tree, frog, or humming bird to decorate with tempra paint and gold glitter (the glitter dries right to the paint without glue needed). There were plastic jewels to glue on after the paint dried. While the figures were drying, they made giant paper flowers out of tissue paper and pipe cleaners. Then they moved upstairs to another papered room (our bathroom), PAGE 2, the character department. Children could choose to stay as they came or change into another character. My 9 year old daughter put makeup on them or painted their faces. They chose from capes, wands, animal ears, hats, tutus, knight's tunics, and scarves from the magic wardrobe.
Once a child had chosen, the fairy queen (me) came and anointed them with fairy dust (body glitter) to transform them into their character. Characters included Snow White, a tiger, a knight, and a ballerina princess. While this was going on, my husband and 7 year old daughter were downstairs frantically putting up decorations to transform the space into an enchanted storybook forest. He hung a large green canopy we've had as a plaything for years at the entry to the living room so the kids would have to pass through it to get in, and draped stuffed vines and snakes around it. The sofa and chairs were covered with flowered, green or brown blankets and throws. The floor was covered with a round green pad to make a forest floor and giant beanbag chairs shaped like pink flowers were set around it. He taped the kids paper flowers and wooden cutouts around the room. In the foyer, he put up a bare paper trees we had made in advance, and scattered stuffed animals beneath them for a ravished orchard. Under the animals he hid plastic jewels. He draped our rocking horse and giant stuffed lion with flower garlands and hung silver ribbons from the ceiling.
After the kids came into the living room, I decorated the stairs they had just come down as a waterway hanging blue and green cloth and pictures of fish, frogs, and air bubbles my daughters had made on the walls and railings and putting blue-green paper over every other stair. I hung two ominous signs lettered by my daughters on parchment with a quill in ink (from a Harry Potter kit from the Science Museum): Only The Brave; May Enter Here. On the landing, I hung another sign that read Pond of Fear and covered the landing with murky green paper finger-painted by the birthday girl. At the top of the stairs, a small round wooden table was turned into a giant rotting pumpkin by draping a black blanket with a tattered and worn orange towel over it topped with a stem made of a toilet paper tube stuffed with yucky" brown and black tissue paper.The witch hid underneath waiting for her part.
To tell the story I asked everyone what character they were and then narrated directing them as to when to join in the action. The basic storyline was that the flower fairy invited her friends to her birthday party. Each friend acted in character to greet the fairy and present their gift. She thanked them and told them about the wonderful sweets they would have. But I said dark times had come upon the kingdom for a witch-hag who lived in a pumpkin shell by the edge of the Pond of Fear had been stealing sweets until there were none to be found in all the land. The birthday girl asked who was brave bold and ready for adventure and after shouting resounding yes to each question we set off on a quest to defeat the witch and bring sweets back to the land. The story was long and dramatic and told in the classical style. The kids rode the rocking horse across a vast desert to the glass mountain where they had to make funny faces to attract the attention of the busy and distracted wizard (dad). He finally let them in and told them how to get to the witch.
They had to search for candies that had been turned into glittering stones (bag of aquarium jewels from PetCo) jump up the stones (blank stairs) to scale the waterfall creep through the Pond of Fear while holding their noses and singing a magic spell (because the stinky smell was so strong it could kill them) and try to make the witch laugh without touching her. The witch giggled a bit but then she got mad and tried to scare the children. So the birthday girl gathered up all the jewels put them in the wizard's hat and said silly words while waving her noisy wand. With some fumbling slight of hand I managed to turn the jewels into candies. The birthday girl ordered the witch to eat one and when the witch did her spell was broken. The witch gave back the paper fruit to put returned to the bare orchard trees and gave everyone candies. Then she began to cry because she never got invited to parties. All the children took turns teaching her how to behave nicely and when she learned her lesson the birthday girl invited her to join them at the party where they all behaved perfectly.
FOOD/CAKE The story ended at the dining room table now covered in a pink table cloth and set with plates and cups with enchanted scenes. There was a ceramic pumpkin in honor of the now good witch. In the center was a platter piled with cupcakes frosted like those in the invitation (we had lots of fun making the very bright colors and swirling up the frosting) red and green grapes pink yogurt (Trader Joe's strawberry) and mini colored marshmallows. Five of the cupcakes had candles in them and the birthday girl blew them all out.
FAVORS. In addition to taking home their flowers and wooden cutouts each child received a silver paper cup from the fairy topped with a paper flower lid. Inside was a glow stick body glitter candies and jewels.
THANK YOU notes were written as if from the fairy to the characters that her guests had assumed. She thanked them for their role in defeating the witch and for their present. We included a coloring page of a flower fairy at the bottom of the note for them to color in. After the party we supplied a printed version of the story on request as several children wanted to share it with their parents. "
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