Stuff a Bear at Home - Bear Obstacle Hunt
Kristin in Long Vally, NJ USA
My daughter loves stuffed animals so we decided to throw a stuff a bear" at home party. We had it at home instead of a chain store because many of the chains don't have a party room to do a game/craft or have cake.
For the invitation I went to a teacher supply storeand found bear cut-outs. On the back I wrote the details of the party. I looked on line and found many sites for buying unstuffed stuffed animals. The least expensive place I found was at www.adollysworld.com. They had a great selection to choose from.
I also bought white t-shirts for the bears from the same place. There bears were very good quality and came with a birth certificate and a wishing star to put inside. The first thing the children did when they arrived was to pick out a handmade necklace to wear. The necklace was a print-out picture of the bear we would be stuffing along with a symbol I super-imposed on its belly.: blue circle purple diamond etc. This was all done in Publisher. These would be used later on our "bear hunt"
Next I had them decorate the shirts. I inserted pieces of cardboard into the shirts to give it some rigidity. I had markers stamps and even iron-on decals that I made at home off my printer. This was a good use of time while waiting for everyone to arrive. You can buy iron-on paper at Staples or Wal-mart. I downloaded images of things I knew my daughter and her friends liked: princesses stars flowers. We started to iron on the transfers but it was taking too long so the t-shirt went in the goodie bag so a parent could iron the images on at home. If you do transfers remember that all the images are backwards when ironed on so I suggest doing it in Publisher or somewhere that allows you to reverse the image.
The next thing we did was go on a bear hunt. There is a children's book by Michael Rosen called "Going on a Bear Hunt". We love this book which is about a family that goes on an exciting adventure and through obstacles to find a bear. I recreated this adventure in my yard. I read the story as we followed the bear prints (clip art)I left on the grass.
FIRST obstacle was 'tall grass'. For this I hung hula skirts between trees that the kids had to walk through. On the other side of the "grass" there were pictures on the ground that matched their individual necklaces. They had to find the one that matched their necklace.
SECOND obstacle was 'mud'. For this I watered down the sandbox and they had to go through it and find their bear's picture on the other side.
THIRD was 'a cold stream." For this I filled the baby pool and they had to walk through it to find and collect the bear picture.
FOURTH was a 'dark forest." I put the bear pictures in a clump of trees.
FIFTH was a snow storm. At first I was going to rent a bubble machine to be the 'snow'. But then a friend told me she had a 'snow' machine. It actually uses bubble solution and forces it through a filter making the bubbles foamy and stuck together. It really looks like snow. I highly suggest renting one of these if you can. It was really a hit!
LAST in the story is a tunnel and cave where they characters in the book find the bear. For this I set up a play/crawl-through tunnel leading into two play tents that we had. One at a time each child (birthday girl first) crawled through the tunnel into the cave. There the child found the actual unstuffed bear wearing the same necklace that he/she had on. What was really great and unexpected was that the child felt immediately attached to THEIR bear even though they were otherwise the same as all the other bears.
We then stuffed the bears. I made stuffing tools with a wood dowel and glued a cap on top of it. They were too small to be useful so I would eliminate this next time. I bought stuffing from Wal-mart which is quite cheap.
We had pizza and snacks (teddy grahams). I made cupcakes and decorated them like bear faces. I piped eyes and a nose from writing icing I bought at the supermarket. I used cut marshmallows for the ears. I used a second cupcake for the belly again using cut marshmallow for paws. There was a bear 'face' for each child and the adults got the 'belly'. Birthday girl got a full bear. I couldn't find a bear pinata so I converted a Curious George pinata into a bear pinata. It actually looked real good.
In the goodie bags I put a lot of bear stuff that I found at Oriental Trading. Of course the bear is probably enough of a goodie bag. It was a great party and my daughter wants another one just like it. I hope that this is helpful to you in your party planning. "
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