Space Astronaut Party -4yr- Pass the Meteorite
Isobel in Mystic, CT, USA
For my son's 4th birthday we had a space/astronaut theme.
We bought retro space rocket plates, invitations etc from birthdayexpress.com and I found a helium astronaut balloon from a website and paid a dollar to have my local supermarket inflate it.
For other decorations I bought shiny fabric and paper from a craft store and cut out large planet and rocket shapes and attached them to the wall and dangled them from the ceiling. As it was the week before Halloween, I let my son dress up in his Halloween costume for the party - a homemade astronaut outfit from a Vogue pattern.
For the table decorations we used shiny red tablecloth fabric and placed my son's collection of plastic astronauts and rockets all over the table, and also wrapped pebbles in aluminum foil and placed them randomly on the table like space rocks. Each child had a 3 inch square of silver cardboard - sold as a disposable ashtray in the party store for about 10c each - on his/her plate, with candies wrapped in foil and a small plastic astronaut holding up a name tag made from acolored cardboard star. I found funky foil noisemakers in the party store. Each child understood that they could take home whatever was on the 'launching pad' (ashtray!).
For food we served store-bought pizza on 'astronaut foil' then a rocket-shaped cake decorated with every candy you can imagine and ice cream. To ease the transition at the beginning of the party we placed a chalkboard outside the house saying 'come on in to Astronaut Ben's spaceship' so people knew to let themselves into the house.
We played a number of games:
1. freeze planets - cut cardboard or fabric circles about 8ins across and lay them on the floor, one per child. Turn on music (try Holst's The Planets) and when you turn the music off, children must stand still on a circle. Gradually remove circles so that there is always one circle less than there are children playing.
2. pass the meteorite - variation on the English game pass the parcel. Sit children in circle and have them pass around a parcel made of layers of aluminum foil. When music stops, child who is holding the parcel opens one layer, takes the candy or other small party favor out of that layer, and passes the meteorite on for next child as music starts. Make enough layers for the number of children playing and ensure each child gets to unwrap a layer. Have a slightly bigger gift for the last layer.
3. 'Astronaut Ben (or birthday boy/girl's name) says' - same as Simon says. Activity: Buy freeze-dried ice-cream (see NASA website for this and other great gift ideas) - one packet per four kids - and let them try it - they won't like the taste but it's a talking point and good as a time filler while the pizza is cooking. We had a space shuttle pinata (from a website - just searched overture.com for space pinata) which we filled with candy and miniature plastic space rockets. The rockets and other party favors and game prizes came from UStoys.com which has an unbelievable selection of inexpensive themed toys - also try the dollar stores.
For the pinata we did not do the violent baseball bat hitting (rainy day) but had the children pull strings to get the candy to come out. You can buy such kits at a party store or do it yourself - cut - and keep - a 3inch square out of the base of the pinata and attach to that strings or ribbon, one for each child. Attach only loosely with tape. Then re-attach the square lightly to the pinata with tape, in such a way that when one particular ribbon or string is pulled, the whole square will fall out of the pinata. Even if it doesn't work, you can fix it, and rest assured that by that time, in the flurry of candy you pull out of the square, no kid will fuss how the candy came out!
Finally, party favors. We ordered great plastic space helmets from Ustoy.com and used them as the containers for each child, the chin strap acting as a handle, like holding a basket. Into the 'basket' we put the astronauts and stuff from the table, a 'milky way' candy, a selection of space stickers, from the party store, some glow-in-the-dark stars for the ceiling and a rocket yo-yo from the dollar store. Oh, and each child got an inflatable (but not yet inflated) space shuttle, from Ustoy.com also.
This party was a hit and those parents who stayed to help (or hinder!) were impressed enough by the preparation to be very willing to help out with games and with the food serving etc. My son really appreciated all the fun things we did and will always remember his party. For help with the cake, email me at IsobMagee@aol.com
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