Super Shark Soaker 7yr - Sprinkler Freeze Dance
Margie in Los Alamos, NM USA
September 2005 Winner
Super Shark Soaker Party 7yr My son wanted a pool party this year, but we live in an area were, although the weather is still nice (mid- to upper- 70s), the outdoor pool we belong to is already closed for the winter at the time of his birthday (mid-Sept). So, I suggested to him that we do a water party in our backyard, which is mostly grass with a wooden swing/play set. He thought that this was a great idea. We decided to do a shark theme because he had recently seen the movie Shark Boy and Lava Girl and also because it seemed like a fun theme to do with water.
There are a lot of great ideas for shark invitations. One idea is to make a pop-up card so that when you open it the shark's teeth/mouth pops out at you. Another idea I had was to do a card that looked like a shark swimming up through the water, like the original Jaws posters, and then have a strip of card stock with all the party information that can be pulled up out of the shark's mouth. However, I found an adorable invitation of a Scary shark and scared crab. The top corner of the invitation looks like it has a bite taken out of it and there are bubbles all around. Since the rest of the party activities required a lot of preparation, I decided to order this card. The invitation said: IF YOU SWIM WITH THE SHARKS YOU'RE GOING TO GET WET! DANIL'S SUPER SHARK SOAKER BIRTHDAY PARTY! Then It listed the party information (date, time, location, etc.) It said, Lunch will be servedö in small print. At the bottom it said, Be sure to wear a bathing suit We guarantee YOU WILL GET WET!!! (I also got matching thank you notes from this same site.)
To prepare for the party I purchased shark party-ware (table cloth, cups, napkins, plates, etc.) from Birthday Express along with a shark pi±ata, teal and blue balloons, teal plastic flatware (knives and forks), and 2 mylar shark balloons. On the day of the party, preparation was a lot of work. It took us an hour-and-a-half to fill 400 water balloons! We put them in plastic garbage bags for later use. We filled the teal and blue balloons with helium for decoration. We also blew up blue balloons with regular air (the old-fashioned way) and put them in plastic garbage bags for later use. We filled 2 blow-up plastic kiddie pools (That I bought for $.50 each at an end-of-summer sale) with water. We also filled 2 large buckets that we own (we often fill them with ice and drinks at larger parties) with water. I bought a 2-way hose connector and hooked it up to our back yard faucet. We brought our front yard hose to the back yard and connected it to this 2-way hose connector so we now had 2 hoses in the back yard. We hooked one hose up to a slip-n-slide and the other to a sprinkler. Before the party, we put a sign on the front door that said, ENTER IF YOU DARE. The background of the sign was an underwater photo of hammerhead sharks swimming that I got off of the internet.
When kids arrived, I had them change into their bathing suits if they didn't already have them on. I also put sunscreen on those whose parents hadn't already done so. I had purchased really great water guns at an end-of-summer sale. They were marked down from $12 each to $2 each! So, upon arrival, each child got a water gun, which they started playing with. When everyone had arrived, we played games.
I) WATER GUN FIGHT: I told them what the rules were (no shooting at peoples heads/faces; the kiddie pools were base/safe; only 3 on base at a time; and refill their water guns in the big buckets of water) The boys spent 20 minutes running around with water guns! Some also dropped their guns to slip-n-slide during this time! It was great!
II) LEAKING RELAY: The kids divided into 2 teams. The first child in line for each team received a cup with holes poked in the bottom. When the relay began, they had to fill the cup from the large bucket, hold it over their heads (so water poured down through the holes onuo their heads), run down to the end of the grass, pour whatever was left in their cups into a bucket (each team had their own bucket), run back and hand the cup to the next player on their team. We went through the line several times. It was really funny to watch them try to run and hold the cup over their heads at the same time, all the while getting soaked! At the end, the team with the most water in their larger bucket won. But, this wasn't even important. The kids had so much fun just running and getting wet. No one even paid attention to which team had won..
III) SPRINKLER FREEZE DANCE: We put the sprinkler in a central location. The kids had to dance or run around the sprinkler while music played. Then when the music stopped they had to freeze. If they moved after the music stopped, they had to sit out 1 round. The catch in this game is that when the music stops, the sprinkler goes on! It was extremely funny to watch the kids trying to stay ôfrozenö with water spraying on them! IV) SPONGE TAG: This is played just like regular tag, except the person who is ôitö is carrying a large soft wet sponge (the kind you use to wash your car.) They try to ôtagö another player, by throwing the sponge at them. If you get hit, you're it and you get the sponge. (same rules, ie, hit below the head, etc.)
V) PINATA: At this point, we stopped the games and did the pinata. Before the party I made the kids treat bags out of plain canvas backpacks from OrientalTrading.com. I stamped sharks onto them and painted water ripples with various shades of blue of left-over fabric paints. I also used the eraser end of a pencil to make bubbles. My son and I filled the pinata with individually wrapped gummy sharks (Orientaltrading.com), shark pencils, shark notepads, flashing shark necklaces, small (2) shark-shaped water squirters, and shark stickers, After the pinata, the kids were feeling a little cold, so we sat on the grass in the sun and opened gifts.
VI) LUNCH & CAKE: Next we had lunch. Each child received a piece of bread and plastic knife. Before the party I had used blue paste food coloring to color plain cream cheese. The kids spread this onto their bread and then decorated it with rainbow goldfish crackers. We served blue Gatorade and apple wedges with their sandwiches. We joked about how their sandwiches must taste like ocean water (salty, sandy, etc). After lunch, we had cake and ice cream. I found a lot of great ideas for shark cakes on-line. I made a shark cake that looked like a shark was bursting/jumping out of the water. It was a large rectangular cake frosted blue. Then I carved a cake that I had baked in a bowl to look like the front half of a shark (freezing the cake makes it easier to carve.) I placed it in the middle of the blue rec+K32tangle cake and frosted it to look like a shark (shades of gray). I spiked white frosting for teeth around its mouth (frosted red). Then, I added more frosting around the base of the shark (were it was coming out of the water) in shades of blue and white, so that the water would look foamy, like it was splashing. I used 2 small blaci jelly beans for beady shark eyes. It turned out really great! <Another shark cake that would have been cute would be to frost a rectangle blue and cover the bottom with rock candy, nerds, and/orcrumbled graham crackers (to look like the bottom of the ocean.) Then cut green fruit leather into wiggly strips to look like sea weed and decorate the middle with gummy sharks. After cake, we had more GAMES!
VII) OBSTACLE COURSE: We filled one kiddie pool with regular air-filled balloons and the other with large (12-inch) plastic sharks. We turned the slip-n-slide water on again, and ran the other hose down our play set slide. You can make up any type of obstacle course, but for this one each child had to climb up the play set and go down the slide, do the slip-n-slide, sit on a balloon (floating in the kiddie pool) and pop it, crawl under a tunnel (made by lining lawn chairs up in a row), and put one of the large plastic sharks between their knees and run to the finish line. The popping-the-balloon-while-it-was-floating-in-water was the funniest thing to watch!
VIII) WATER VAULT: This is a little like reverse-limbo. You use your finger to form a stream of water with the hose instead of a stick. You start by holding the stream of water low to the ground and the kids line up to jump over it. Every time you go through the line, you raise the stream of water a little bit! (You could also do the limbo lowering a stream of water instead of a stick)
IX) WATER BALLOON FIGHT: Now it was time to use all those water balloons that we spent so much time filling before the party. We emptied out the 2 large buckets that had been filled with water and put the water balloons in them. The rules were that they had to aim for each others legs, or they could throw the balloons at an inanimate object. It took less than 5 minutes for the boys to go through 400 water balloons!
X) Finally, I had a craft project planned to help them calm down and dry off. I had purchased blue camouflage foam visors at a craft store. I know boys like camo and I also thought that it looked a bit like water. Before the party, I cut out various shark shapes from solid color sheets of sticky-sided craft foam. I used black, gray, navy, and burgandy. I got the shark shapes free off of Ebay! Believe it or not, there are a lot of shark decals (for cars, etc.) on Ebay. I copied the images onto a blank page of my home desktop publishing program and manipulated them down to an appropriate size. Then I cut these shapes out and used them as templates to trace onto the craft foam. I cut them out and voila! The kids just peeled off the backing and stuck the shark shapes onto their visor. I was surprised because several boys said that this was a cool project. In the past I've had trouble with boys not enjoying craft activities. But they really seemed to like the camo shark visor. Another fun craft would be to let each child make their own shark-tooth necklace (you can buy wired shark teeth on Ebay.). In the end, each child took home their shark canvas backpack filled with goodies from the pinata, their water gun, the 12 plastic shark from the obstacle course, and the visor that they had made.
Over the next few days, I will help my son write thank you notes to all his friends. Then we'll go to the post office to mail them. He will also take shark cupcakes and napkins to his class on his exact birthday. I plan to decorate them with blue frosting and edible blue flakes/sparkles (wilton.com). I have 2 tubes of small plastic sharks (about 1 each). I will top each cupcake with 1 little shark for each classmate to take home.
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