MacGregor's Garden 6yr - Statue Game
K. C. in Tampa, FL U.S.A.
MR. MACGREGOR'S GARDEN PARTY.
DURATION: One & a half hours// AGE/SEX: This was given for my youngest daughter's 6th birthday and only girls were invited. This would probably work for children as young as four and as old as 8.
LOCATION: living room, dining room, and back yard.
HELPERS: The birthday girl's 8 year old sister helped, her father, and two mothers of guests stayed to help. There were six guests including the birthday girl.
DECORATIONS: The paper plates, a Mylar balloon & regular balloons crepe paper, and some ribbon were purchased from Birthday Express. When I gave the party (Oct. 1998), they had a darling Garden plate w/a cute bunny & lots of flowers on it. I recycled a construction paper flower and leaf garland that I'd used for my middle daughter's Buggy party the month before. I draped this garland around the front door. I clipped coffee filter and clothespin butterflies to it. It had some pipecleaner caterpillars also glued on leaves. On the chains of our front porch swing I clipped coffee filter butterflies and also on the large potted tree we have on the porch. Inside, on sidelights I twisted two shades of crepe paper streamers securing them w/masking tape at the top and bottom. I hid the tape at the top w/ a couple of the balloons that came w/the Birthday Express set. In the dining room, I hung cardboard cut-outs of a bee & a butterfly that I'd purchased from Party Store (& used in the Sept. Buggy party -- if you've kids whose birthdays are close together it can be very useful to coordinate themes so you can use stuff from one party in creative ways for the second) from the brass chandelier. I also had curling ribbon spiraling down from the chandelier. I clipped coffee filter butterflies in various places around the house. The cake was purchased w/a replica of the design on the plates on it.
THE BEGINNING: When the guests arrived, we took the girl's pictures w/a Polaroid camera in a Daisy headband that I'd gotten from Target. Then we had the girls decorate cardboard rectangles w/stickers and crayons to frame their pictures and stuck the Polaroid in the middle w/poster tape.
DIGGING IN MR. MACGREGOR'S GARDEN: When the girls were done w/their frame decorating, we herded them outside to dig in the "garden". The garden was a huge pile of newspaper strips on a piece of concrete patio. (You'd be surprised how easy it is to tear newspaper into strips while watching t.v. -- just put the strips in giant garbage bags to store until needed.) I had created a rectangle from those giant cardboard brick printed blocks. (If you don't have these blocks, outline the area with something the kids can kneel on w/out hurting their knees w/concrete or mulch-- such as garbage bags filled w/newspaper or folded beach towels. If you do this on the grass, it will be harder to clean up the newspaper, but the kids can probably kneel right in the grass.) Inside the block rectangle, I piled lots and lots of newspaper strips.
At different levels and all through the pile of strips, I hid favors. For each girl there was a : Dollar store beanie bunny, bottle of bubbles, butterfly pen, pinwheel decorated w/bug stickers, and a Dover Books Peter Rabbit Activity Book. I showed them a set of these favors and then they dug around in the newspaper and found them. I made paper bag baskets for them to put their stuff in. (Directions for paper bag baskets: Fold a collar down on a brown lunch bag as far as it will go. Open second lunch bag, blop some low temp hot glue on the bottom and insert in first bag. Fold collar on second bag down until it just touches the collar of the first bag. Repeat w/a third lunch bag. Then make a handle by cutting a strip of brown grocery bag wider than you want. Fold lengthwise, securing w/hot glue to correct width. Insert ends between first and second collars on the sides and secure w/blobs of hot glue. Also hot glue handle to side of basket. Write child's name (it looks good to use the dimensional fabric paint, but that's optional, of course) on the top of the handle. You can decorate the baskets w/construction paper flowers, or print some garden/bunny/flower/butterfly stuff off the computer and decorate w/that.)
STATUE GAME: We played music and had the girls dance around and freeze when it stopped. Each time we'd ask them to be something related to a garden -- such as a bunny, a frog, a butterfly, etc. We gave construction paper medals for "Most Rabbit-like"; "Most frog-like" etc. Everybody got a medal, of course. The girls liked this a lot and this game is nice because you can easily regulate how long it takes.
GARDEN THRONE: This is sort of like musical chairs. There are the same number of chairs as children. One chair is decorated (the garden throne). The children march around the chairs while music plays. When it stops they sit and try to get in the decorated chair. The person who does, gets to pick a wrapped prize. One chair is removed and the game continues until everyone has had a chance to pick a prize.
PIN THE TAIL ON THE BUNNY: I drew a big bunny and everybody had puffy tails w/their names written on them. You know how to play this.
THE END: We had cake and juice boxes. While the kids ate, the birthday girl opened her presents. The girls whose parents weren't there right at the end played on the swingset in the backyard until their rides came.
NOTE: The parents that stayed were very complimentary about this party. One parent that did not stay said that her daughter kept talking about what a fun time she had. I think, therefore, that this one was a success. My mother always planned elaborate (although not necessarily expensive) birthday parties for my brother and myself and even though I vowed it would be Chuckee Cheese forever for my kids, I can't seem to break free of the need to make memories for my children like my mother made for me.
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