Teddy Picnic (2-4yr) Toss Bees in Honey Pot
Marlene in Monroe, CT USA
We chose the theme of Teddy Bear Picnic for our daughter's 2nd birthday. We had 14 children (ages ranged from 2-4...most were 4) As you will see I tend to spend my budget on the favors & prizes & activities (things kids like the most) so to save money where I can I do my party invitations thru email..I just used free clip I found online. There were pcitures of bears holding balloons & bears sitting with a picnic basket. For wording I said "someone beary special is turning 2" and to "please come & make a new friend & join our teddy bear picnic" You can certainly make invitations by making a teddy bear out of brown construction paper..use a bear shaped cookie cutter as your guide..or send a sheet of bear stickers & write the party details on the back. Another idea is at our local Parent-Teacher store they had large pads of paper that were teddy bear die cut shaped (all different styles)...you can write the party details on those & send out..they would be perfect. A pad of 50 sheets was only 2.99 & they were pretty large (these pieces of paper could also be used as placecards & as decorations)
For decorations we put teddy bears all around (use whatever you have already)..we tied red & white balloons to the teddy bear's arm . We had 1 HUGE teddy bear so I put him outside & tied a sign around his neck which said "welcome to the picnic" Outside I also had bear prints leading up our walkway & steps (made from construction paper & posterboard). I also set up our Little Tykes kid picnic table outside..I placed 4 stuffed teddy bears sitting at it & had a wooden birthday cake in middle of the bear table (is a toy by Melissa & Doug..we had it already, but you can get it at Toys R Us)..so it totally looked like the teddy bears were having a true birthday party at the picnic table & guests saw this as they walked into our house. You can also put party hats on the teddy bears .. this was a HUGE hit as everyone complimented me on it when they came in the house..so a big "WOW" facotr for zero dollars because it was using everything we owned already We used red & white checkered tablecloths to give the party a real picnic atmosphere..complete with plastic ants strewn about (no picnic is complete without ants, right!).
All of the paper plates & cups were solid red & cutlery was white (you can decorate the cups with bear stickers if you want kids to be able to tell cups apart from each other). I also recently saw bear shaped plates for $1 each at our local grocery store..they were plastic so could be something the kids could take home after the party. The napkins were red & white checkered..I had gotten them at an after Christmas clearance sale at Party City...I had all the plates & napkins in a picnic basket which was lined with a red & white checkered napkin..to continue the theme. As centerpieces on the tables I had baskets & just put some stuffed teddy bears in them..it looked like they were sitting in a picnic basket..or a wagon. I liked that we were able to make use of what we already had in the house..with 3 young kids here teddy bears are quite easy to come by :)
Due to the cooler weather here this time of year ( mid November in CT) we had the picnic indoors, but I wanted to bring the outdoor feel to the inside of our home..so we made a really big sun out of orange & yellow posterboard & hung it on the ceiling of the main party room ... we had actually used it a few months prior at our Bugs in the Garden party (I won for that entry back in April 2005 .. you can read the details of that party theme on this website if you want in "the winners' circle" section) I made green grass from construction paper & hung it up around the bottom of the walls. We also made flowers, bees & honey pots from posterboard and I found cardboard posters of flowers & bees at our local dollar store. I unfolded several of the red & white checked napkins & put them on the wall to be the bear's picnic blanket..then we made bears out of brown poster board & construction paper & set them on the napkin..all on the wall so it truly looked like a scene of bears picnicking outside on the grass. This was all very inexpensive since it was merely using construction paper, but it did take some time so I did this a few weeks before the party
You can have bear themed cartoons on tv in the background..like Berenstein bears (on PBS Sprout) or Little Bear (on Nick Jr)..or you can play Teddy bear music..there is a teddy Bear picnic CD sold on amazon.com which has all bear related songs..it costs under $6 Now for the best part..the games & activities & prizes & favors (I am a kid at heart!!) :) You can find free coloring pages of bears online..I printed a bunch out as something kids could color while waiting for all the guests to arrive. You could then make them into placemats by putting them on a vinyl solid colored placemat (have seen them at walmart)..then just cover it with clear contac paper after the kids color it & voila!! ..another takeaway for them
The 1st thing we did once everyone arrived was play bear bingo. I filled in the squares with various bear stickers (got a box of 100 bear stickers at the dollar store) & used them for the boards & calling cards…this was an easy & very inexpensive game to make. If you want to go the extra step you can have them laminated at kinkos. At our parties everyone is a winner & the prize for this game was bear lollipops (I got them on clearance thru orientaltrading.com) As the bingo chips we used large bear shaped stringing beads…these were found in sets of 15 in the dollar store. What was great about the beads is after bingo was over I then gave everyone string so they could then use their bear beads to make necklaces .. Another takeaway for the kids. If you don't find these beads in your local dollar store I have seen them sold in a large tub in various toy stores & Parent Teacher stores..they are usually in the educational toy section as they are traditionally used for color sorting, counting, etc… At this time the kids were getting a little antsy from sitting so I chose the next activity to be one where they had to get up..
So next we played Toss the Bees into the Honeypots. I got hackeysack type bees thru orientaltrading.com. As honeypots I just made use of things we had in the house…like blue beach pails, small blue plastic garbage pail, some blue plastic pots that came with the kids kitchen toy then I decorated these things with yellow paint pen & wrote "honey" on them & made it look like some honey as spilling out the top..and I used a few foam bee stckers on them & voila..another cheap & easy game!!! One could also use flower pots & paint them, etc Just use what you have around your home & be creative. Even for the bees you could use mini bags of raisenettes for the kids to toss or use yellow socks rolled up. The prize we gave for this game was a mini lunchbox tin filled with gummi bears I found them several months before the party at Target in their Dollar Spot section (this is why it pays to pick your theme several months in advance..you get some really good finds) At this point the kids had been up & moving around & I wanted to soon reel them in to eat & as you know, it isn't easy to get kids this age to want to sit & eat so to get them headed back to the table I did the "make your own bears" next.
I bought kits online for about $10 each thru ABC distributing company. They were really nice kits..each kit had the bear, the bean bags you use to stuff them (which made it easy for kids this age to do it themselves), it also came with t-shirt & markers, a birth certificate & a heart with a recording that said "I was made especially for you". I have seen similar kits at Kmart, Target & Walmart. If you had the space to do this you really could make stations for this activity..one for stuffing, then another area to color the t-shirts, another table to do birth certificates, etc If you find some cheap doll clothes you could have those available for the kids to pick from..or if you sew you could maybe make bear clothes..but I was afraid some kids would fight over the same outfit or something so I just stuck with the shirts that came with the kits
Now that the kids had made their new friends I served them a picnic lunch. I found paper lunch bags that were already red checkered (like the picnic tablecloths) so each child received one..in the bags (which I had prepared before the party) was a juice box, napkin, a cup of peaches & a plastic Teddy Grahams snack container (is bear shaped..they sell them in Walmart) with "teddy mix" (teddy grahams, mini marshmallows & honeycomb cereal). I had planned to do bear shaped PB&J sandwiches, but the reality is that kids all like different kinds of sandwiches, some can't eat PB due to allergies, etc.. So I took easy way out & ordered pizza which I knew would be easier across the board. Other ways you can serve the kids would be using small picnic baskets or using the green containers strawberries are sold in..line with red & white checkered napkin..OR use yellow or blue paper bags (like you'd find at party store)..fold down the tops & write "honey pot" on them After lunch we played some more games. We played "pin the heart on the bear"..we had made the bear on brown posterboard & the hearts from red construction paper..couldn't have been easier. As prizes I gave a blackboard & chalk set that had teddy bears on the border of it..a great find in a local dollar store Other games one could do would be "pass the bear"..like hot potato..using the music on the Teddy Bear Picnic CD..or maybe Musical Bears (like musical chairs..but instead of the kids sitting down maybe they have to race to put their bears on the chair. Or you an do a teddy bear toss where thre kids put their bears on a play parachute the kids all shake whosever bear stays on the longest wins Next we had dessert.
For dessert I baked sugar cookies with teddy graham cookies all around the outside of the circle cookie it sort of looked like the bears were in a circle holding hands it was simple & a huge hit. I also made cupcakes. I decorated some with the teddy grahams, but other cupcakes I had look like a bear paw print by using 1 large oreo cookie & 3 mini oreos to make the paw print. I couldn't find cupcake liners that were just teddy bears so I used ones with Care Bears..close enough :) You could also make a bear shaped cake ..just use 2 round cakes for the body..use 4 cupcakes for paws & then 2 as ears..ice it & use candy to decorate it,..maybe brown M&Ms as eyes, black licorice for claws on feet. We then did our final game..a bear hunt. I had bought a huge tub of foam 3D sparkly bear shaped stickers..I got them at Michaels (the tub was about $5). I had hid them all over the place..I then gave each child their favor bags & told them to go on a bear hunt..basically whatever stickers they found they were to put in their favor bag & keep. Another take on this would be to just make teddy bears from brown paper (like grocery bags) & hide those..or put bear stickers on index cards & hide those…you could tape small candy (like starburst or smarties or tootsie rolls) to the bears..then this can be in lieu of using a pinata (I have seen bear pinatas..not only a fun game, but can serve as a centerpiece as well). Our party was 2 weeks after halloween so I wanted to avoid the candy thing so that is why we just did the stickers The favor bags came out great & were so easy & cheap to make. We used regular brown paper lunch bags…I used brown construction paper to make a bear head, paws, & ears & glued it on the lunch bag…I used blue construction paper to cut out a honey pot & glued that on each bag..it looked like the arms of the bear were holding the honey pot..for the girls at the party I added a red bow on the bears head…writing about it here doesn't do it much justice so if you want to see a picture of them just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org..or another option as favor container would be small picnic baskets (sometimes they have them at Michaels) or even yellow or blue paper bags which are found at party stores…roll down the top & write "honey" on it as a honey pot Now at this point the kids already had the teddy bears they made, the bear bead necklaces they had made, the bear blackboard which had been a prize, the teddy graham snack containers which had been in their picnic lunch bags & the bear lollipops & mini lunchbox tin with gummi bears (prizes from games). In the favor bags I had snack size bag of teddy grahams, teddy bear bookmarks (were sold in set of 50 for $1 at local dollar store..a great find), teddy bear stacking pencils (from orientaltrading.com), journals with teddy bear on it (found at Dollar Spot section of Target..figured kids could use with the bear stacking pencils to just draw) & finally the bear stickers they found during the bear hunt. I had some more games in mind for the party, but ran out of time…I thought you could maybe have a race to dress your bear the fastest..or if you find a bunch of doll clothes, etc.. Then offer a pile for kids to choose from & maybe they have to dress bear the funniest..something like that out of all the silly things you provide…you can use pieces of fabric..they can be creative & use them to act as scarf for their bear..things like that..you can even go as far as making certificates before the party..and this way you have an award time & make sure all guests win for something Another idea I had was to have small boxes (like size of shoe box) for each child..cover in brown paper (like mailing paper) if the box had designs on it…then the kids can decorate the box as if it were a wagon for their bears. You punch a hole in one side & tie a string thru for them to use to pull their wagons..then you could have a parade with the kids pulling their bears in the wagons Something I did for the adults was a guessing contest. I had found two glass jars with teddy bears on them at the dollar store..I filled one with teddy grahams & another with gummi bears…I had the parents guess how many were in the jars & whoever guessed closest without going over won the jar. I also gave out to the adults teddy bear calenders (found at local dollar store)..they enjoyed getting a favor too well, I hope you have as much fun with this theme as I did.
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