Teddy Bear Party -3yr- Bear Hunt
Andrea in Nacogdoches, TX USA
After finding this website, party planning has become so much fun. There are so many ideas to pull from. For this party I was able to get ideas from this site and teacher thematic theme websites (there were many). I had always wanted to do a teddy bear party and it turned out to be the perfect theme for my daughters 3rd birthday.
Invite: I made mini coloring books. I wanted a unique shape so I cut the paper to 8 x 10 and turned it horizontal. On the first page I drew a dancing bear and added the words, Amy loves to dance. On the second page, I drew a bear holding a tall cake with three candles with the words, Amy loves to eat chocolate cake. The last page read, Amy loves to play with you, and I drew two bears hugging. Then I printed all the party info from the computer, which read (Amy would love for you to celebrate her 3rd birthday with her. There will be bears, bears, everywhere. Teddy bears from all around will gather at __ on__ at 6:00. Please call mama bear and say that you’ll come ###-### Don’t forget your favorite bear.), cut it down to size and mounted it on pink cardstock. I then cut a page protector to 8 x 10 and a piece of purple cardstock to 8 ½ x 11. Fold 1 over on the long end of the purple cardstock. Layer the purple cardstock, color pages, and page protector- the page protector will be a pocket. Fold the short end of the purple cardstock over all pages, and sew down the middle with a sewing machine with pink thread. Combine 3-4 crayons and tie with cute ribbon. Add little bear stickers- Mrs. Grossman’s- are perfect. Put the card and crayons in the pocket made from the page protector. I also found the perfect bear CD on Amazon called Teddy Bear Greatest Hits by Bill Shontz. It was inexpensive but has great songs of very good quality. There are 11 songs on the CD including Bare Necessities, Teddy Bear’s Picnic, and House on Pooh Corner. I also included the CD in the invite. It fit perfectly in the page protector. I also found bubble mailers 12 for $3.00 at Staples. I thought they would be expensive to mail out, but it only cost $1.25 each to mail. The CD really helped build excitement esp. for my daughter who still loves to listen to it. I couldn’t help but try to do every idea I found on bears because t is so easy to find bear items and the ideas are all easy. Also, I did not limit the party to a bear tea, or picnic.
Decorations: I used bulletin board paper to paint seven 4 x 5 teddy bears of all colors brown, blue, purple, green, and pink. The pink one was our favorite. I sticky tacked them to the walls of my living and dining rooms. (I took down all artwork and moved out all the furniture) Some held hands, and some held hearts. I decided to add hearts into the theme. I cut out about 40 12 hearts of all colors and hung them from the ceiling and chandeliers. (A simple thing that makes a huge impact.) I also painted ladybugs and bumblebees that I also sticky tacked to the walls. After I began painting I could not stop because it is so much fun to do kindergarten art- it really was easy!! You can make a bear from ovals and circles. I then found the best tables for $20.00 each at Family Dollar. The tables are also available at leapsandboundscatalog.com for $40.00. They are child sized folding tables. I made tablecloths for them from gingham material. I used blue, pink, yellow, and purple. I faux hemmed them by stitch witching grosgrain ribbon around the edge. The cloths wanted to slide around on the table so I found mini clothes pins a Hobby Lobby, and my daughter found tiny stuffed bears in the check out line at Hobby Lobby for 25 cents. I tied ribbons on the bears and attached them to the clothespins, and then I just gathered the material at the corner and pined it with the clothespin. It really keeps the material from moving around on the table. I also printed out signs on the computer for each station I set up: Bear Books, Bear Puzzles, Bear Bead Necklaces, Bear Name Tags, Bear Hats, Bear Painting, Bear Puppets, Pin the Heart on the Bear, Bear Hunting, Bumble Bee Toss and Bear Snacks. I also put out helium balloons everywhere. I found that it is so easy to put balloons in the yard by tying the string to a nail and just pushing it into the ground. I put out about 50 dotting the yard. Do not put several balloons together when staking them out in the yard- they just tangle. I also used sidewalk chalk to write Happy Birthday Ashlyn and draw hearts all over the driveway.
Activities: When the children arrived they got to decorate a bear hat. I glued 3 circles together face and ears then I glued the face to the middle of a sentence strip (a piece of heavy tag that is precut to about 3 x 24 and easily found at a teacher store or Hobby Lobby). The children glued on eyes and a nose, and drew a mouth with a crayon. Then an adult sized it to the child’s head and tapped the ends to make a crown hat. My daughter wore hers for a week after the party.
Then the party guest moved to another station where his bear got a nametag- like a dog collar. I saw the idea in Real Simple. I found metal-rimmed tags at Staples and cute plastic bear charms at Hobby Lobby in the cake decorating section. I then used metal rings used for scrapbooking to attach the tag and charm just like on a dog’s collar. Later, we threaded the tags on to a grosgrain ribbon. I cut lots of ribbon lengths and bundled them up individually; taping them with a piece of paper so they would not tangle. The child got to choose the ribbon and charm. An adult wrote the bear’s name on the tag and tied it on the neck of the bear for the child.
Then the guest moved to the puppet station where I had cut out huge bears from brown craft paper glued 2 together around edges with hot glue. The child then dressed the bear with shirts that I had precut as well as bow, buttons, and hearts. Their little hand was the perfect fit for the puppet. I could not resist cutting out poster board bears for the children to paint. This was the most fun individual activity for the children. I use a ½ piece of poster board per bear. The poster board was perfect because it did not get soggy from paint. I let the kids color and paint the bears with dotter paint- from the teacher store. Bumble bee toss- from this site- paint a flower pot to look like Poohs hunny jar and make bumblebees from pompoms- I glued a penny in the middle so they would be a little heavier and fly better also I added sheer ribbon for wings.
Bear Bead Necklaces: Use the mini glad ware cups (they have a tight fitting lid- that you can decorate with bear stickers and a label) - fill with pony beads and bear pony beads- easily found- I have learned not to ever put beads out in sacks, children just pour out the sack. I also found some new pony bead necklace string. It is soft and round. (Hobby Lobby) I tied a bead to the end of each string so that as the children started stringing the beads they would stay on then I wrapped them up individually so they would not tangle.
Bear Hunting: I set out a large Rubbermaid container filled with packing peanuts and bear cutouts with a sucker taped to it. The smaller children love this activity- expect to have peanuts everywhere but the fun is worth the mess. Bear
Snacks: I put out pretend strawberries in my daughters little kitchen for the bears to have their own snacks. The book The Big Hungry Bear and the Red Ripe Strawberry is one of our favorites.
Pin the heart on the bear: I also found the best idea for getting this game ready ahead of time from this site. I premade the hearts and taped the backs. I covered a poster board heart with wax paper. The hearts came right off and were ready to go.
Food: I am lucky enough to live close to a basket factory so I bought peach baskets for each child. Later, I saw the same ones at Hobby Lobby for the same price. Just watch for the half price sale. I set up a picnic in the living room. I put a big quilt down and sat all the filled baskets around it, put a huge stuffed bear in the middle of the circle and tied some balloons to his paw. I filled the baskets with Skippy peanut butter sticks, little glad ware cups of fruit salad, sealed and a heart stuck on top for a label. I also rolled up turkey and cut cubes of cheese that I pushed onto a wooden skewer topped with a baby carrot and cut the point end off with scissors, wrapped with plastic wrap.
I found another idea in Better Homes and Gardens Kids Parties to serve trail mix in ice cream cones, so I filled sugar waffle cones with a trail mix that included teddy grahams. I put the cones into Wilton disposable icing sacks because they are cone shaped. Tied these with a ribbon and a cute heart label. I labeled the baskets with hearts, too. I was lucky to find the best drinks in the Mexican treats section of the grocery store. Bear shaped bottles filled with fruit punch and sealed with a metal top. I knew that lots of drinks are thrown out at parties because no one knows whose is whose so I made labels. I cut a slit at the top and bottom of a heart and threaded the straw through the heart and wrote the name on the heart. After the child chose the drink they wanted I poked the straw into the metal top. It worked well.
I also provided mini water bottles with a pop-top. They are hard to find but Dannon makes a little one that advertises they has fluoride added. For the adults I purchased chicken strips and Quiznos subs. I was serving dinner so I also had crescent dogs, crackers, dips, vegetables, and cute mini fruit pies. I also put out a large glass jar of trail mix and another huge jar of jumbo chocolate chip cookies. I always appreciate a party when parents can eat too. After most everyone was finished eating we headed outside.
To gather everyone together we sang a little chant- Teddy bear up, Teddy Bear down, Teddy Bear dancing all around the town, Dance Him on your shoulder, dance him on your head, now tuck him into bed. Encourage children to move their bear up, down, etc. (song is actually Tommy Thumbs up- from kindermusic- I just changed the words a little) also we did Teddy bear, teddy bear turn around. Teddy bear, teddy bear touch the ground. Teddy bear, teddy bear go up stairs, teddy bear teddy bear say your prayers, etc. Then we put all the bears on a tablecloth, got every child to hold on to the side of the cloth and we bounced them around. This is simple, but toddlers love this.
Next we headed on a bear hunt. I was so glad to get this idea from this site. It was really from a Dora party, but it was perfect for this party. I announced that there was a bear picnic somewhere, but we didn’t know where; however, Ashlyn had a friend named Dora who would know which way to go. I then passed out backpacks I got from Oriental Trading. I tagged the backpacks with hearts. I said Dora says say backpack, etc. We found our map. I made maps for each child with pictures of a barn, caboose, and picnic with bears. We called out where we needed to go and decided we needed a tractor to get us to the barn (we live close to friends who let us go over their land). My husband had set up a hayride for us. Oh no we didn’t have the key to the tractor- well of course everyone had a key in their backpack-it was a good thing because only one could find theirs. (My husband had the real key but played along). You can get old keys from a locksmith for free.
After we all got loaded up and going we had to stop at the gate to the pasture- but we couldn’t get in because a lion was guarding it. Cousins had given us a huge stuffed lion. My husband helped me rig a big box with a pulley and rope so when I pulled the lion fell into the box. I told the kids they’d have to scare him away. They had whistles to blow in their backpack. They also had binoculars, scissors, sunglasses, flashlights and candy. (I should have added hand wipes and those little personal fans- it was hot.) When the children blew their whistles I pulled the rope and the lion went away. It was hilarious, but even better as we were going through the pasture a longhorn bull got after us. He was harmless but kind of scary. We had to blow our whistles at him too. We were having fun now. I had thought all the children would get off the hayride at each stop, but this was too difficult so I got off by myself. When we got to the barn I had to use a flashlight borrowed from a child to go in to look for the bears. They left us a clue (like Blues Clues) I painted a paw print on a sack and in the sack were bear ring pops (O.T.)- We passed them around. And kept going.
The next stop was an old caboose where the clue was all tangled up on the railing so I had to borrow one of the children’s scissors to cut it loose. Then they could cut their own treat off which were sacks of care bear gummies- the fruit chew kind. The next stop was the picnic by the woods -of course like the song. I set out a bear for each child on a big blanket. Each bear had a big swirl lollipop (my daughter asked for these at her party because she had gotten one at another birthday and loved it) tied to the bear’s hand with elastic and a mini party hat that I made for each bear. The children got off at this stop and picked out a bear. Then we headed home. When we returned we had a Dora Piñata- requested by my daughter. (Have an ice chest outside for more water and drinks- going in and out of the house is distracting) I thought it was too much to do all this at one party but it worked out perfectly. Everything moves so fast with 3 year olds anyway. Then we went back inside for cake.
Cake: I found the best cake book on Amazon called 50 easy party cakes by Debbie Brown. I used her idea to make a basket cake filled with bears, bumblebees, and ladybugs. Most of the cake is made from fondant so I also made individual heart cakes for each child. I found small heart pans at Wal-Mart with the regular aluminum pans they came 3 for $1.50. I made plates by adding an oval head and paws to a regular party plate with hot glue. The plate is the body and the heart sits in the middle of the plate, which is also the middle of the bear- very cute.
Favors: Well, they had quite a load from their crafts, backpacks, and bear so I painted grocery sacks with more bears- this cost nothing and was fun to do. I put large name labels on the sacks so that during the party items could be collected in the sacks. The sacks also made cute decorations lining the entryway on both sides. I tied a balloon to each one for a little something more. I know you think I am crazy by now, and I agree. I love kids parties. My daughter made each child a card that said thank you for coming and I made another book that I had used when I was a teacher called Bears, Bears, Everywhere that we put into their sacks before the party began. The book was very simple with one sentence per page with a picture. I see bears in the day. I see bears in the night. I see bears in a cave. I see bears in a zoo. I see bears everywhere. I also didn’t want to send the parents away without a treat.
So I made chocolate bear treats with the moldable chocolate from the craft store and a candy bar with a special made wrapper, which said thank you for sharing Ashlyn’s birthday with us. Hope you had a beary good time. My sister handed these out to the adults as they left. The adults were surprised to get a treat, and I think they liked it. Bear ideas are everywhere and very easy to do. Additional info: I loved this party, but it did take us weeks to come down from the sugar high. Also, we had 11 three year old guests with my daughter making a total of 12- I’ve learned that most things come in a package of 12 so unless you can afford to purchase an extra doz. 11 makes a great limit. My daughter was very active in planning the party from the shopping, painting, decorating, etc. She really loved it! She talks about it all the time. We did not even give her a birthday gift. The party was enough and the memories will outlast any toy. Also this party was more for the girls- the boys just wanted to play with tractors not bears- but did enjoy the hayride.
Party tips: Do not open family gifts at the party of a toddler- save them for later it is too overwhelming and takes too long. Put a toddler up on to a table to open gifts- sitting on the floor is not a good idea- the children over crowd each other. Keep toddlers busy and always get them involved when they walk in the door even if it is just giving them a special toy like a ball or pinwheel.
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