Idea No.

23309

Firefighter Thank You -4yr- Freeze Dance

Award

Date

November 2011

From

Andrea in Brighton, MA USA

Runner Up

Fireman-Fire Truck Party

Firefighter Thank You Party  Of course little kids love fire trucks and it is common for families to send treats after the local fire station helps out with their party, but my son wanted to make the thank you’s the main focus of his party. Since he and his friends know the Jewish term mitzva for good and helpful deeds, we actually called this a Firefighter Mitzvah Party.

INVITATIONS:  We sent out a flyer with a picture of a fire truck and a great perspective of a 100-foot ladder extending out away from the viewer. We filled the text with puns: We don’t mean to ALARM you, but [child]’s age is getting UP there. With his 4th birthday RACING toward us, we’re on RED alert. So, we thought we’d PULL OVER some friends for a HOT Fire Fighter Mitzvah Party. We included three thin white stickers and suggested to the parents that they write three
helpful deeds their child had done recently, place them along the ladder rungs and bring it to the party. At the party, we read them off and kids got to call out me too! For ones they had in common and help build a good deed ladder.

DECORATIONS:  We covered the living room ceiling in crisscrossing streamers of red, orange, yellow and blue (colors my son identified by looking at the flames on our gas stove and lit candles). The effect was wonderful. He said it looked like the ceiling was on fire. We hung a sparkling foil curtain between the living room and dining room that the kids loved to crash through. We hung some Caution tape on the kitchen doorway. The tablecloth and cups were red, plates orange, napkins yellow. 

COSTUMES:  My son dislikes the cheap plastic fire hats (they fall off) so each guest was given a badge my daughter printed out from our computer onto photo paper (so it would be shiny). My son wore his fire truck rain boots. Since we warned people we would be cooking, two kids brought their own special aprons to wear.

FOOD:  The main part of the party was making food to bring to the fire station, and we got to eat what we made as well.

ACTIVITIES:  While waiting for everyone to arrive, we did some rounds of Freeze Dance. We tied orange streamers to the kids' wrists to make it more fun and scattered some pillows of various sizes (big bean bag pillows, small decorative ones) to jump over, run around, and fall on. We then we made our good deeds ladder and sang a song to the tune of If You’re Happy And You Know It about making *other people* happy. To make someone happy, Give a smile/ To make someone happy, Shake their hand/To make someone happy/ Shout a thank-you  Then one of my older daughters lead the kids in a bunch of easy games Hot Potato, more Freeze Dance, and a variation on Duck, Duck, Goose called Truck, Truck, Fire, in which the chaser made siren noises and put out the fire by catching the chasee.   For our last round of Hot Potato, as kids got out" they were sent into the kitchen to add ingredients and help run the electric hand mixer for the pumpkin muffins we were baking for the fire fighters.   As they finished their turn cooking they went into the dining room where an art table was set up with various types of paper sticky-backed foam foil scissors that cut in funny patterns stickers stamps hole punches in shape of hearts and stars crayons and the words "Thank You" printed on photo paper. We made all sorts of creative cards!  

Meanwhile with the muffins baking and the kids creating I made my famous from-scratch whisked hot chocolate. I poured small cups for each of the kids then filled a large metal carafe for the firefighters. We left the carafe with them as a donation.  Then I packed up the party supplies goody bags and cake for the highlight of the party - delivering the muffins hot chocolate and cards to our local fire station to thank them for helping keep our community safe.  Since the weather was unusually warm for November in Boston we decided not to do any of our other planned indoor activities (a relay with rain coats and eye gear; Stop Drop and Roll; and driving matchbox cars through paint). Instead of riding the bus we walked to the local fire station - which given that the children decided to run for a good deal of it while making fire truck noises of course didn't take much more than 15 minutes.  I drove ahead to make sure the trucks were in while my husband and older daughters ran with the kids. We were in luck - the firemen had finished their morning jobs and were just finishing breakfast when I arrived at our historic and recently renovated station.

The four men stationed there were quite excited to receive the goodies the kids brought. They showed them around the kitchen taught them the difference between a ladder truck and a pump truck showed them all their gear including letting them hear what a face mask sounded like (Darth Vader!) let my son operate a high power fire extinguisher (water based) and try to hold a heavy hose turned on the flashing lights explained the different types of calls they get talked to each other through the walkie talkie system so we could hear what an incoming call sounded like and of course let the kids into the pump truck to take turns being the driver commander and pump operator. The kids were mesmerized. Even those who had visited fire stations before were totally enthralled. These guys were great! None of this was planned in advance by the way other than finding out what might be good times to stop by. We checked with the PR office of the main fire company about whether we could drop by our local station and they told us firefighters love these sorts of visits and would probably let us on to a truck. We got so much more than that.  We served the kids each a muffin sang Happy Birthday with the firemen showed off the cake (to see how much it looked like the real fire truck) and ate it right there in the fire station. Perfect ending. 

CAKE:  We made a 3-D Rice Krispie Treat cake. Instead of frosting we mixed food coloring into the marshmallows as we melted them making the truck red on the bottom and yellow on top with black wheels. We used colored mini marshmallows for the lights and made a ladder and hose out of string candy. It was built by my 11 year old daughter who looked at pictures of cakes on the internet and adapted them to the Rice Krispie treats.

FAVORS:  We filled little buckets with matchbox emergancy vehicles mini bubbles shaped like fire hydrants and a double portion of homemade hot chocolate mix with mini marshmallows (to share!). Then we tied plastic bags around them with red orange yellow and blue ribbon and attached little cards that said Mitzvah Hero  Thank you for helping make our community a happier place to live.  When parents came to the fire station for pickup they got to have a muffin and see the trucks too. Everyone had a great time firemen included and my son's choice to focus his party on giving to others at age 4 really made us proud. The kids talked about sharing all through the party (sharing stickers at the art table saving muffins for their parents sharing goody bags with siblings). It was very special."

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