Idea No.

5767

Raggedy Ann 4yr - Tea Party & paper Dolls

Award

Date

Feb 2003

From

Lois in San Jose, CA, USA

February 2003 Winner

Raggety Ann Party

It all started when I bought a copy of The Raggedy Ann Stories by Johnny Gruelle at a garage sale  My four-year-old adored the book so much that we bought The Raggedy Andy Stories and Marcella as well.  We started reading one story each night, and when we’d finished all three books, she insisted we start over again.  When she saw the Raggedy Ann and Andy partyware in the Birthday Express catalog, her fifth birthday party theme was instantly decided.  Because of the partyware, I was surprised not to find more Raggedy Ann and Andy party ideas on this website.  I hope our ideas will be helpful to someone else.

INVITATIONS:  I was very excited to find the www.raggedyland.com website which has everything a Raggedy Ann lover could wish for, including a nice selection of invitations.  I ordered thank-you notes at the same time.  My daughter’s party was from 1:30 to 4:30 on a Sunday afternoon.  On the invitation we wrote there would be a tea party at 3:00, so everyone knew to eat a small lunch before coming.  We also asked our guests to bring their Raggedy Ann and Andy dolls if they had them.  To mail the invitations we used Happy Birthday stamps; the thank you notes had teddy bear stamps.  I bought the Raggedy face rubber stamp from the www.raggedyland.com, and to decorate the back of the envelope I used two tiny stamp pads to ink it red and black.  Very easy.  My daughter wanted the invitation that showed all the dolls in a row, so the stamp made it more obvious this was a Raggedy Ann and Andy party. 

DECORATIONS & SET UP:  I always worry there won’t be enough seating for everyone when it comes time to eat.  I told the parents they could do drop-off, but for some reason no one ever wants to at our parties, so we knew we’d need places for about 40 people.  We had seating for 10 adults and 13 children indoors.  Adult seating that wasn’t at tables had T.V. trays available.  When it turned out the weather would be good enough to be outdoors, too, we set up tables for another 10 adults and 11 children outside. I borrowed from friends five kiddie tables and with matching chairs. We set out chairs for the adults near all the different activities, and I noticed they got a lot of use while the children were playing.  As for decorations, we kept them simple.  Our color theme was red and medium blue.  My daughter’s birthday is four days before Valentine’s Day, so we had lots of options for the I Love You heart theme as well as Raggedy Ann and Andy.  I ordered the Raggedy Ann and Andy balloons from Raggedyland, and my local grocery filled them for .99 each.  I placed the Raggedy Ann and Andy shaped ones on two pillars by our front door and the heart-shaped one by the food table. 

Red mylar heart balloons were on sale for .49 each, so we got one for each child (22) and just let them float separately on the living room ceiling after curling the strings.  It looked very festive, thought the strings were a little annoying at first until guests walking through them floated them to more convenient places.  The big Pin-the-Heart-on-Raggedy-Ann game brightened up the inside of the front door, and we had a fancy little tea party table set up with my daughters’ four big Raggedy Ann and Andys sitting in the chairs just inside the front door.  Their small Raggedy Ann and Andy were out in the playhouse and play kitchen (more on that later).  My mom brought flowers from her yard, and we made a dozen little bouquets for tables inside and outside the house.  The food table was a sheet of plywood resting on top of our dining table, which we knew would not be big enough for all the food.  The plywood was covered with damask tablecloths.  Everyone who brought Raggedy Ann or Andy dolls set them along the back of the food table, and just before the 3:00 tea party they told how they got their dolls.  One little girl brought her mother’s doll, and two moms brought their own from when they were little girls.  

ATTIRE:  My daughter has a red velour jumper with an embroidered Raggedy Ann in a heart on it ($3, garage sale).  I bought a pair of Raggedy Ann socks (Raggedyland, again) to go with it.  A child could wear the full costume ($25) or there are iron-on transfers and appliqués available (Raggedyland) so you could make your own Raggedy t-shirt, dress, jumper or sweatshirt for the party.  The Daisy Kingdom brand has a beautiful Raggedy Ann fabric if you (or Grandma) are really ambitious.  I saw some of these dresses already made on Ebay. 

ARRIVING GUESTS:  When we greeted the families at the front door, we showed them a little table with a sign on it listing all the things to do at the party.  The sign had the activities and a color Xerox of Marcella at a tea table with her dolls from the very first Raggedy Ann story.  Both papers were trimmed with scalloped scissors.  Between them on the sign was a white paper heart doily accented with clear glitter glue. There was a stand to make the sign stand up.  On the table were also nametags for everyone, parents too, as the guests didn’t all know each other.  The name tags I made on the computer with sheets of address labels.  We scanned in the illustration of Raggedy Ann and Andy’s faces from the beginning of Doctor Raggedy Andy in The Raggedy Andy Stories.  The faces were on each label next to the person’s name, which was printed in blue (Raggedy Randy or Raggedy Lisa for example).         

ACTIVITIES:  To think of ideas I went on a few party game websites, checked Ebay, looked at the things available at www.raggedyland.com, and of course thought about what Marcella and the dolls do in the books.  Here were our activities. 

1) Raggedy Ann and Andy tea party.  This was our neighbor’s sweet wicker tea party table with four chairs, an embroidered white cloth and a pretty rose painted china tea set ($3, garage sale).  The Raggedy Anns and Andys needed to sit two to a chair so the table looked inviting, not occupied.  I wish I had taken a photo of my daughter in her Raggedy outfit sitting at this pretty table with her dolls before the guests arrived! 

2)  Raggedy Ann and Andy paper dolls.  These were die-cuts from the Raggedyland website ($3 each), so all I had to do was open the packages and put them in baskets no cutting required.  Many of the children had never played with paper dolls, and their moms had so much fun sitting at the little table with them dressing the dolls. 

3)  Play dough. I made a nice, soft red play dough with glitter in it (quadruple the recipe for traditional cooked play dough at www.teachnet.com).  I put out rolling pins and a few generic Playdoh toys (nothing themed) along with all our heart-shaped plastic cookie cutters and a pair of Raggedy Ann and Andy cutters I bought in the 70s.  You can get the Raggedy cookie cutters on www.ebay.com.  The play dough was very popular and all seats at the table were always occupied. 

4) Raggedy Ann and Andy puzzle.  The 24 piece puzzle was only $4 at Raggedyland. An inexpensive activity. 

5) Raggedy Ann tic-tac-toe.  I was going to make a tic-tac-toe with a plain flat board and playing pieces of wooden hearts with Ann and Andy’s face decoupaged on.  Then when we were at the craft store, my daughter found tiny Raggedy Ann and Andy painted wooden figures (.25 each).  I bought a square plaque with a 9 wide top surface, painted it with red, blue, white and black acrylics, then spray-varnished it.  The set was so tiny that few people found it on its little table, but I noticed some of the grandparents had fun playing while they chatted.  Making a big one on a painted canvas square with laminated paper Raggedy Ann and Andys would be a good idea for a floor-sized game.

6)  Color Raggedy Ann and Andy.  Two coloring pages from the website http://www.pineblossomswebpages.com/raggedyjanet/directory.shtml with a basket of crayons on the coffee table. 

7) Raggedy Ann and Andy concentration.  I had the game on this website up on the computer http://raggedyvill.topcities.com/games.html.  Only one boy found it, but he enjoyed it. 

8)  Guess how many candy hearts.  We always have a guessing game which people play throughout the party.  This time it was 545 small conversation hearts ($4) in a ruffle-edged round vase (.50, garage sale) covered with rose cellophane.  The ballots had black and white illustrations from the Raggedy books along with places for name and guess.  The winner got the vase and all the hearts.  The game ended when the first guests were leaving.  These were the indoor activities.  The first six activities listed each had their own child-size table; the first four also had child-size chairs. 

Here were the outdoor activities:
9) Playhouse and play kitchen (in The Marcella Stories Marcella has a play house with a little kitchen).  We borrowed a little wooden kitchen from a kindergarten (my husband had reconditioned it for them this summer).  It was set up on the front porch with the play house just down the stairs next to it on the driveway.  A kiddie table, three kiddie chairs, a doll high chair and a set of play dishes and play food were the accessories.  The birthday girl did all the indoor activities before the party began and spent her party outside in the play kitchen.

10) Beanbag toss.  We made a board with different sized cut-out hearts all over it.  I painted it red, varnished it and decoupaged a Raggedy Ann and Andy heart in the center with glitter Modge Podge (heart was from the dedication page of The Raggedy Andy Stories).  We ran out of time to make a stand, so we just leaned it against a piano bench with a basket of beanbags on top of the bench.  Very popular.  We also set out our teeter-totter, small trampoline and a wooden rocker for four children on the front lawn.  I was worried there were not enough activities for energetic children.  Of course it was my three-year-old daughter who spent the whole afternoon on the trampoline!  I thought about also having Raggedy face painting, which would have been very easy, but we tested it before the party and decided that it wouldn’t work with the supplies we had (the paint was either too hard or too easy to get off the face). If you had just a few guests, another activity would be to get the Raggedy costumes, have each of the guests dress up and take individual pictures. 

Back to our party after one hour of activity time, we had two organized games.  The first was Pin the Heart on Raggedy Ann.  I bought the I LOVE YOU heart rubber stamp from Raggedyland and stamped it in red on Make Your Own Stickers sheets ($12 per pkg. at any office supply store 3 sheets made 26 stickers).  These I cut out along the edge in a heart shape and made sure the backings had slices across them for easy peeling.  The Raggedy Ann I made was one from the sticker sets (Raggedyland, of course) holding a lollipop.  I enlarged her by 800% and Xeroxed her onto a transparency.  Then I used an overhead projector to trace her onto butcher paper.  She had to be just under 22 wide to fit through a laminating machine (some copy places have 30 wide laminators).  I painted her with acrylics, which took about 3 hours; the lollipop was rainbow colored.  After she was laminated, I put one sticker heart on her chest for a target, but make sure the children don’t feel for the heart with their free hand!  I used painter’s tape to apply Raggedy Ann to the front door; we moved her to the outside of the front door to play.  Before we started, I undressed one of the Raggedy dolls enough to show the children the heart painted on her so they’d know what the game was about.  Not all the children played, but the ones who did enjoyed it; some were still too busy with the other activities.  The prize was a $5 tin bank from www.raggedyland.com.   By the way, the Raggedy Ann makes a nice decoration for my daughter’s bedroom door. 

After that game we had a cakewalk on our neighbor’s front lawn.  We played The Teddy Bear’s Picnic as all the children marched around a circle of paper plates with red hearts glued on.  The hearts were numbered 1 through 25.  These took about 15 minutes to make the morning of the party.  When the music stopped, all the children jumped on a plate.  There were more than enough plates for everyone, and no one was left out.  We called out a number, and the child who was on that number won a little box of candy conversation hearts (.33 each).  Everyone kept marching and playing, even after they won, and of course every child was a winner.  When the games were finished, it was 3:00 and time for the tea party.  I had asked a few friends to clear off the activities from the indoor tables so they’d be ready for the children to sit down and eat.  

FOOD:  I wanted to keep it easy and have only cake, punch and ice cream, but my husband insisted we have food.  He’s taken his turn reading the stories, so he suggested a tea party.  I said, Okay, then you do it and he agreed!  My cousin from Indiana had brought us Raggedy Ann’s Tea Party Book by Elizabeth Silbaugh.  My husband looked in the book for menu ideas then he called a hotel where he used to work and had them make the tea party food for us!  (I think he’ll be in charge of the food for every party now.)  The hotel made three kinds of fancy finger sandwiches, tiny fruit tarts, miniature éclairs, a variety of little cookies, giant strawberries double-dipped in white and dark chocolate, and four different types of scones with little jars of double cream and lemon curd.  Lovely tea party food, though Marcella never had any of it except the cookies!  I just added a big bowl of grapes, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches on white bread (cut in triangles with the crusts trimmed off) for the children and two more kinds of sandwiches made on Pullman loaves colored pink and blue, sliced lengthwise so they could be rolled.  All the bread was frozen the white so the jelly wouldn’t soak in when the sandwiches were made ahead and the colored bread so it would roll up without breaking the colored bread just needs to be thawed before rolling.  I would have liked to make a pan of gingerbread it would have made the house smell so nice for the party--but I ran out of time.  We served everything on crystal, silver and china serving dishes, all lined with white paper doilies, and made sure to have footed ones or platters set up on top of upside-down bowls for a variety of heights.  It was all finger food, so no one needed spoons or forks.  It looked and tasted fabulous, and was so pretty.

The hotel was supposed to charge us $170 (worth every penny, in my opinion), but when my husband tried to pay, they refused to take it.  My husband made the lemonade from scratch with Meyer lemons.  For the tea we used the extremely delicious Harney & Sons Chocolate Mint (www.harney.com or 1-800-TEA-TIME) and served it with real cream and sugar cubes, not loose sugar.  The one thing I would do differently is not put the strawberries out until the last minute and then have someone stand there making sure each person took only one.  The kids got into them as soon as they were placed on the table and polished them off  like they were bread as my mother said.  

CAKE:  I made the very cute Raggedy Ann cake from the www.birthdaypartyideas.com website.  It was super easy.  A few differences:  I could not find the Pull-Apart Twizzlers--until after the party, of course--so I just got two packages of regular ones, cut them in half lengthwise and then cut them in pieces for Raggedy Ann’s hair.  It looked like twisted yarn, so that was great.  I didn’t trust the melted canned frosting idea since I’d never done it before and didn’t have time to experiment, so I made a double recipe of buttercream frosting (www.wilton.com).  I also don’t like frosting as filling, so I made filling (1 pkg. Jello Americana custard pudding made with ½ the milk and, when cool, mixed with 1 tub of thawed Cool Whip my sister-in-law’s recipe).  The cake then needed 4 toothpicks to hold the layers together.  For the black eyes, my husband discovered that we could take the black centers out of licorice all-sorts, easily roll them into balls and shape them into nice round eyes.  He discovered this after my 3-year-old ate the black licorice eyes I’d made.  We also bought from a bakery a delicious round chocolate cake for the adults so we’d be sure to have enough cake.   P

ARTY GOODS:  For the tea party the children had the red and blue Raggedy Ann and Andy plates, napkins and cups (Raggedyland or Birthday Express) while the adults had pink glass plates, white damask napkins, pink glass tea cups and saucers and silver spoons to stir their tea. For the cake we had plain small red plates and used the Raggedy napkins until they were all gone.  Then we used medium blue beverage napkins decorated with Raggedy Ann and Andy stickers.  The flatware was red plastic forks and spoons.  

PINATA:  A friend of mine who is in the health care field previously mentioned our piñata candy was a choking hazard (too hard or too chewy for the little brothers and sisters).  Since my daughter’s birthday is in February, when I saw lollipops and chocolate Christmas candy ½ off in January, I got $10 worth enough to fill up the entire piñata.  I checked the wrappers very carefully to be sure it didn’t look like Christmas candy before buying it.  Of course it still tasted great one month later.  For bags, I had plain red and blue ($2 for 20); I wrote the children’s names on their bags and my daughter decorated them with Raggedy Ann and Andy stickers (Raggedyland, again).  For the piñata itself,  we could’ve gotten a Raggedy Ann shape, but I’ve had a thing against piñatas in human or animal form ever since the princess party where the Little Mermaid’s head flew off and half the guests had hysterics.  We bought a plain red, blue and yellow Happy Birthday pull-string piñata with a pretty confetti-and-balloon border ($10).  Then I color Xeroxed onto 11 x 17 paper two Raggedy Ann and Andy pictures, one for each side ($2.17 each).  I cut an 11 circle from each paper and use spray adhesive to stick them on the piñata with the confetti-and-balloon border still showing.  I could have also bought a circular Raggedy Ann balloon (www.raggedyland.com) and used it on one of the Make Your Own piñatas our local party store has.  There was a little leftover space at the bottom of one of the Raggedy Ann and Andy pictures on our pinata, so I wrote my daughter’s name in red and blue glitter glue.  She loved that!  And since it was a pull string piñata, no one hit Raggedy Ann and Andy.        

GIFTS:  Raggedyland had nice gifts for my daughter.  I also bought a Raggedy Ann and Andy ornament to give her this Christmas.  We had gift opening at the very end of the party after the piñata.  Guests who were ready to leave could, and those who wanted to stay for the gifts could.  Our friends have a good gift-unwrapping strategy which we use, too: the birthday child sits on a bench, and the person whose gift she is opening sits next to her.  The gift giver feels special and can help unwrap if it’s okay with the birthday child, and the birthday child knows clearly who is giving the gift.  A bench or large chairs are needed in case it’s more than one child or an adult who’s giving the gift.  We made sure the Pin the Heart on Raggedy Ann game was in the background for a nice clear Raggedy Ann theme in the video.  After the gifts it was time to go home but as usual many families stayed and played long after the party ended at 4:30. 

TREAT BAGS: There were many Raggedy possibilities, but unless the children knew Raggedy Ann and Andy, they would be meaningless.  How could we help our little friends know the Raggedys?  Then I hit on it--the book, of course!  The only problem was that the least expensive original Raggedy Ann (a beautiful hardback copy of the 1918 book with color illustrations) was $8.99.  I’m kind of a treat bag fanatic they have to be great so we decided to bite the bullet and go ahead, but we’d put almost nothing else in the treat bag and give only one book per family.  I ordered the books from a local independent bookstore that wraps for free, so they were all wrapped in a nice plain red paper with red, blue and white ribbon.  I surveyed the invited families a month ahead of time to see if they had the book.  Families with only boys or who had the Raggedy Ann book got the Raggedy Andy book  The one family that had both books got the Raggedy Ann watering can ($13 from www.raggedyland.com).  The treat bags were plain red with handles (.59 each).  I tied on little tags I’d printed on the computer that had the illustration from the invitation and the children’s names Raggedy Ethan and Raggedy Melina, for example, in blue.  Also in the bags were a few coloring pages and pairs of stick-on heart earrings (.10 per pair). 

The last thing in the treat bags were giant heart-shaped sugar cookies, about 5 across.  I like the Betty Crocker sugar cookie mix that’s often on sale 2-for-1.  I frosted the cookies with smooth white dipping frosting (Wilton brand but you could probably use a thin Royal Icing), then after they dried overnight I drew a red line around the edge and wrote I LOVE YOU on each one in edible red marker (Wilton again).  They looked like a Raggedy Ann doll’s I LOVE YOU heart.  These were wrapped in Saran, and there was one for each child in the treat bags (cost: about $1 each).  Each child also took home a red mylar heart balloon, their little box of candy hearts and their piñata candy.  Six days after the party one of my friends called to say her children were begging for a Raggedy Ann story every night and had already asked to start the book over again when they finished it.  May many more generations of children come to love Raggedy Ann as we have!

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