Farm Party -3yr- Garden of Friendship
Jeanelle in Aurora, Illinois USA
For my daughter's 3 yr old birthday party, we decided to throw a farm party. The twist is that her birthday is in December and we live in a cold climate so, no outdoor activities. Please note, I did start planning her party about 4 months in advance so, that really helped me get all of my materials together and find some really neat prizes and decorations at a low cost. I hand stamped the invitations for the party with farm animal stamps. On the inside of each card, I included the following phrase/song (sing to "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" tune): Take me out to the barnyard, take me to (insert child's name) farm. Show me the cows, pigs, and horses too. I think I hear an oink, neigh, and moo. There's a party on the (insert date) of (insert month). If you don't come it's a shame. We'll play one, two, three games or more for (insert child's name) birthday.
Then I put the date/location/time/and RSVP information beneath. (You could probably just make this on the computer and print on cute paper rather than stamping it.) I did make one extra so that we have one on hand for my daughter's memory book. As each person RSVPd, I did let them know we would not have any actual hay (because people were afraid of allergy issues) but to dress as though they were going to a farm (facilitating role play and ensuring no one comes all dressed up and feeling out of place). About a week prior to the event, I sent out a reminder e-mail to all of the moms (of the kids planning to attend) thanking them for RSVP-ing, reminding them no actual hay would be involved but we would be pretending to be on a farm, and asking them to let me know ASAP if anyone had food allergies that I should know about.
To decorate, I used cleaned out glass milk bottles (we have a local dairy that delivers milk in glass bottles) with fake flowers inserted. I had balloons (my daughter loves balloons). Checked red and white tableclothes.
For the meal, I used the zoo pals paper plates (not an exact match to the theme but I thought it was close enough and I could use the extras at a later date), red and white checked napkins, and plastic spoons/forks.
For the adults, I used plain styrofoam plates and red disposable cups. I went to a local educational store and bought some farm bulletin board materials and placed those up on the wall with blue tack (often used by teachers because you can easily take down the decorations without leaving marks) they also sell.
Activities were as follows:
1. Creation of "flowers" for my daughter's garden of friendship.
2. Stuffing of farm friend to take home.
3. Pin the tail on the donkey (traditional party game).
4. Find the "egg" game.
5. Spoon and egg race.
6. Bozo buckets (traditional party game).
7. Find the prize in the hay.
8. Lunch and cake.
9. Opening of presents.
My mother made a banner on a long sheet of craft paper that said my daughter's name followed by "Garden of Friendship". There was grass on the ground and flowers that were large enough for each friend's handprint. Each flower was labeled with the guests name. As guests arrived, they made their handprint in the appropriate flower (with their mom/dad's help). After all the guests had arrived, we had a great decoration which was also a nice keepsake for my daughter. Once each participant made their flower, they got the farmer hat (bought on Oriental Trading) which "transformed" them into a farmer. (This also ended up making a great backdrop for some group photos toward the end of the party).
After combing the Internet, I found a vendor on eBay who sold unstuffed animals wholesale - so I bought enough farm-themed unstuffed animals so each kid (including my daughter) could make their own take home gift. I bought the polyester fiberfill at a local craft store while it was on sale. The vendor supplied a birth certificate for each animal. I saved so much money this way - to have someone come to our house or go to one of the animal stuffing stores at the more would have cost me a little more than twice as much money. I purchased a pin the tail on the donkey game at a local party store. After each child had their turn, I gave them a sticker as a prize. (Stickers were bought on Oriental Trading - got something like 100 stickers for $2). Kids this age love stickers and totally do not "get" winning/losing so on this, and all games, everyone won.
For the find the "egg" game, I hid "eggs" of silly putty around our living room and let the kids try to find them. To introduce the game, I let the kids know our chicken had gone a little crazy and laid her eggs all over the room. Each child was told to find one egg. The least expensive eggs I found were at WalMart (2 for 88ó). Spoon and Egg Race - This is a party game I purchased at a local educational toy store however, you could use actual spoons and something to balance on the spoons. Since the kids are pretty little, I defined a short space for them to balance the spoon and egg and divided them into 2 teams. After the game was over, I gave each child a prize I purchased at the dollar spot of a Target. (I did luck out because Target had a whole bunch of farm animal stuff on sale in their dollar spot - 4 for a $1). I really lucked out because a neighbor of mine had the original Bozo Bucket game so we used that to let the kids play Bozo Buckets. (Again, I was not a huge stickler on making the kids stay behind the line when attempting to get the balls in a bucket.) After each kid took their turn, they got another "prize" - one of my finds from the Target $1 spot.
For the find the prize in the "hay" game, I took a decorative container I had on hand and filled it with shredded paper (hay). Within the hay, I hid one prize for each kid. Then, each kid got a chance to find their own prize.
For lunch, I served mac and cheese (which I make with rotini noodles and Ragu cheese sauce) and fruit. For the parents, I had meatball sandwiches and pasta salad. Fruit juice boxes for the kids and soda pop for the adults.
For the cake, I got a plain cake from the grocery bakery that they sprayed green (for grass) and put some clean farm-themed toys on for toppings. Basically, my goal was to keep the kids occupied and having fun as much as possible - no real "down time" was fit into the schedule although I think opening presents is down time and I did have a farm party library book on hand in case we had a little time at the end and kids needed to wind down. And, kids were able to leave a little early if the parent wanted to by seeing their present opened and then going home.
Finally, by keeping them going - I lessened the liklihood that my house would be destroyed by 13 kids (mostly 3 - 5 yr olds) in need of an activity/direction. After my daughter opened her presents, it was time for everyone to go home. Full and worn out, I think they all had a great nap! (Lord knows I needed one!)
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