Idea No.


Snips/Snails Party -11yr- Cardboard Box Maze



January 2009


Sherry in San Jose, CA USA

Honorable Mention

Fear Factor Party

When planning my son, Ben's, 11th birthday I searched this website and used some of these ideas along with some of my own. Here's what I came up with:

1) Invitations stated: Snips and Snails and Puppy Dog Tails... That'w what boys are made of." Then I put Ben's photo and stated "This Pup is inviting you to his 11th Birthday Party!" then the usual stuff (date etc) and ended it with "Get ready Get set Get Dirty! Like boys do (and some girls too)!" (as a warning to the parents).

2) After the kids arrived I told them that they would have the chance to earn points throughout the day and the winner got a $10 Target gift card. And that they did not have to participate in any event that they didn't want to ('cuz it could get gross).  

Fun and Games (in no particular order) included:

A) Dig in the sandbox for hidden (plastic) bugs - 1 point per bug 

B) Teamed potato sack race (winning team members each got a point)

C) Toilet paper toss (hung a new toilet seat & purchased individually wrapped rolls of toilet paper from Costco) the kids got a point for every "Basket" they made (three tries each).

D) Deep Sea Diving. I put coins in the bottom of a bucket then put in several (real but dead) baby octopus (and I used squid also but next time would stick to only the octopus). The kids had five seconds to reach into the bucket and pull out as many coins as they could - - one point per coin. Then we'd throw the coins back in a swirl it around so its ready for the next child. I had soapy water and towels nearby for the divers to clean up.

E) Barf Buffet. I had five delicacies (actually six) they could choose from: Sea Weed (wet or dry) Boiled Quail Eggs Limberger Cheese Caviar & Garbanzo Beans. They got one point for each item they tried (they could spit it out in the bushes) and two points if they actually swallowed it. A couple of children chose not to participate and a couple of children ate all 5 items! They're braver than I am.

F) Doggie Race. There was a small plate full of dog biscuits (wheat flour type) for each child on one side of the yard. The kids goal was to pick up a biscuit with their mouths (hands behind their backs) and carry past the finish line then go back for another. The kids scored a point for each biscuit dropped past the finish line. This event was timed (time it according to the distance from start to finish line). 

G) We also did a "who could keep a lemon slice in their mouth the longest" but that didn't work - - because they all could keep it in there indefinately (I guess they weren't sour enough).

H) We had a pinata too. But everytime I have a pinata I wonder "why?" But Ben wanted one so we did. Like usual caos. But the BEST part was the MAZE!

While kids were arriving and between games the children had a huge cardboard box maze to crawl through (17' x 17'). I designed the maze so that there were four dead ends. At each dead end there was a game on a poster like a maze or a word game "Can you make all (X number of) words using the letters: snips and snails" or "What other word can you make from these words:" (then use words like "read = dare or dear" etc  and a little box with dice "You must roll a seven before you can move on." The maze is a bit of an endeavor so beware that it took me about 20 hours to put together (and I've made several cardboard structures before) plus cost about $40 in duct tape. I suggest you have an engineering / mathmatical type of brain to take this project on.

If you choose to do this here's how:  Step 1) Go to your local appliance stores and ask them if you can have their discarded boxes (refridgerator oven and washer/dryer boxes are best). I also had a friend bring me some huge "pallet" boxes. 

Step 2) Go online and find a basic maze to work from (a starting point). You will then use a pen to write over their maze and design your own according to your box measurements (i used a different color pen for each different box).

Step 3) Measure the height and widths of your boxes and make a list of each boxes dimensions. When measuring the boxes identify each box by marking a different letter on each box (the list should reflect the letter identification also). FYI: Most boxes will end up laying on their side because their widths will usually be 32"-35" (this is plenty high for the kids to crawl through).

Step 4) Design your maze - this is the hard part. Remember you can cut holes (use a box cutter or utility knives) in the sides of the boxes for a door or passage. Use the boxes letter identifications so you can remember which boxes you've used and how to put them together. Remember its easier if you have the same height (which will often be the boxes original side/width) boxes next to each other. In other words put most of the boxes that are 35" in width end to end the ones that are 32" next to each other etc.(it makes taping easier).

Step 5)  Start cutting and taping. After you have placed the adjoining boxes together tape the edges tops and bottoms of where the boxes come together. Overlap flaps when possible it will make the structure stronger. Sometimes you'll also tape a door in place. Also you may want to build the maze on a tarp so that you can more easily move it. One last note: I had made the maze in about 4-6 separate sections prior to the party then it took us about 1-2 hours to get the sections onto the grass and put (taped) together before the party. Good luck! 

For food:  Worms (Cheetos) Dirt (crunched up Oreos with gummy worms on top - - in a small dixie cup) Sticks (pretzel sticks) Cake & Ice Cream (and sodas)  For the kids parting gifts: I used old mason jars removing the hard inner-lids and screwing a piece of netting fabric in its place. I then placed a sticker on each with the childs name on it "David's Bugs" We then let a bunch of crickets loose on the front lawn and let the kids catch them and place them in their jars (along with some grass).  

We also wrapped Hershey bars with a "Thank you for coming to my party!" note.  Also don't forget to hand out the Target Gift card prize (like I almost did) for the child with the most points.   Total party cost $100 - $150. (14 boys and 2 girls attended.) Oh and I suggest having 4 or more adults on hand to help as needed."

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