Teddy Bear Breakfast - Pajamas and Teddy
Lois in San Jose, CA, USA
November 2005 Winner
Teddy Bear Breakfast Birthday (or Christmas) Party My daughter's birthday is December 28. Usually we give her a halfie birthday in June so we can be outdoors, but last year she asked for a birthday party on or near her real birthday. With Christmas so close, it had to be a very easy party for us to give and for the guests to attend, or it just wasn't going to happen. So we came up with a Teddy Bear Breakfast Birthday Party. It was really easy and lots of fun, and would be great for a Christmas party, too.
INVITATIONS: With a computer drawing program, I made a bear face out of a large circle with two small circles for the ears. The face was on the bottom half of an 8 by 11 paper size. The two ears would touch the center fold when the paper was folded in half. Inside the bear face I typed the invitation info beginning with, Please come to Catherine's Teddy Bear Breakfast Birthday Party. (You could do this all by hand instead of on a computer.) I printed one invitation, then Xeroxed it onto different colors of cardstock. Each cardstock sheet I folded in half and cut along the edges of the bear face. Now I had the bear-face-shaped invitation, folded, with a front and back. The back was attached to the front at the fold along the ears, with an open space between the ears. I then used the invitation as a pattern to trace onto the back of some brown fake fur, cut out the fur and glued it to the front of the invitation, covering the entire front. I thinned the glue a little with water and just painted the glue onto the cardstock front. The glue dried overnight. Next day I hot glued on plastic google eyes and a black leather nose, then drew on a mouth with shiny black fabric paint and let it dry overnight again. Note: Be sure to put the eyes low, 1/2 way down the face, for a cute baby bear look. The invitations were mailed in 8 x 5 inch pastel envelopes from Office Max, matching the cardstock colors inside the invitations. I happened to have all the supplies for the invitations at home, so I didn't have to buy anything but the cardstock copies and envelopes; you could adapt this idea to whatever you have around your house such as burlap or corduroy instead of fur. These were the cutest invitations I've ever made, and lots of moms said their children loved them so much they carried them everywhere before the party! TIME: 8:30 to 11:30 a.m., a three hour party. DATE: We gave the party on December 21 so the house would already be decorated for Christmas, and my daughters' friends would still be still in town.
ATTIRE: The invitation asked the guests to wear pajamas and bring a teddy bear. We figured three hours of free daycare four days before Christmas without even having to get the child dressed would result in a good turnout, and it did! Even our friends who live out of town were able to comeàthey had dinner, dressed the children for bed, drove down, stayed in a hotel, arrived at the party right on time, then drove home. All they had to pack was toothbrushes! NUMBER OF GUESTS: 15 children and 3 adults attended.
DECORATIONS: The only thing we added to the our Christmas décor were two dozen giant 18 inch 3-D paper snowflakes (the kind you unfold and fasten with a metal clip; you see pumpkins, Easter eggs, party centerpieces, etc. made like this). We still had them from a previous artic-themed party. We taped the snowflakes to the ceiling in the living room and dining room for a little extra festivity.
PARTYWARE: I got two different patterns of Christmas plates, cups and napkins at Dollar Tree, one for the breakfast and one for the cake. They were only $8 for all of them (20 place settings of each pattern), but you have to shop early. They sell out fast at Dollar Tree.
FURNITURE: We removed our dining set from the dining room. I borrowed two long tables and 16 little chairs from an elementary school. We covered the tables with red plastic tablecloths and put some red and blue curly ribbon down the center of the tables with some gold stars on wires running through it. The cake was on the front table when the guests arrived, because moms in our area like to show the cake to their children. MUSIC: Christmas CDs, of course.
SCHEDULE OF ACTIVITIES 8:30 guests arrived and played in the living room. Play stations: 1) Bear hospital with doll beds, doll blankets, a little rocking chair and medical kits 2) Bear cave made of a kids' Playhut tent lined with a blanket 3) Teddy bear picnic with plastic dishes and fake food on a blanket on the floor. 4) Teddy bear tea party on a little wooden table set with a pretty tablecloth and my older daughter's china Pooh Bear tea set. We did not buy anything for these activities. We just creatively used things we had on hand. The guests loved playing with their friends and their bears at the various stations. The hospital and the cave were the most popular.
At 8:45 we had BREAKFAST. First, the children put all their bears in a pile in the living room so they wouldn't get sticky. Breakfast was very simple: the children ate cut-up fruit and drank hot chocolate with plenty of marshmallows while they waited for their teddy bear shaped pancakes. The teddy pancakes were easy to make, but I did practice ahead of time. I just formed an oval body, a round head and two small ears, line arms, legs with turned-up feet. The pancake mix I like best is Krusteaz. It is good to have something to use to squirt the batter into the pan. My husband found a portion pourer plastic container with a tube at the top for $5 at a restaurant supply store. It worked really well. The kids could choose maple syrup, thawed frozen strawberries or whipped cream to have on their bears. Redi-Whip in cans was 2-for-1 at the store, so I bought about 8 cans, and they used it all! Can you imagine how much fun the children had squirting faces, buttons and just piles of whipped cream onto their bear pancakes? Meanwhile, my husband and one of our friends were hiding the children's bears around the living room for the children to hunt after they'd finished eating and washed their hands.
The children found their bears and played again until all had finished eating. At 9:15 or 9:30 we began the Three Bears Theme segment (in the living room): First Mama sang a three bears song with the guests, then Papa put on a three bears puppet show, then the birthday girl played a different three bears song on the piano and everyone sang along. My husband did the puppet show with puppets borrowed from the same elementary school that had the tables. We used a theatre made from a big box with a remnant fabric curtain. My husband is very funny, so the puppet show was silly and the children laughed a lot. Meanwhile, my friend and I cleared the tables, wiped down the red tablecloths, took them off to dry, and set up two more activities. At about 10:00 the last song was over and the children came back to the dining room to do 1) Red glitter play dough with Playdoh tools and teddy bear cookie cutters (recipe for traditional play dough at www.teachnet.com, just add 1 tbsp. glitter to the flour) and 2) Sandpaper bears cut out of sandpaper and glued onto small matboard rectangles (free at a frame shop) to rub with cinnamon sticks. The Mexican section of our grocery has really inexpensive cinnamon sticks. The cinnamon bears smelled great, but the smell only lasted a day or two. It would probably be good to package each sandpaper bear with a cinnamon stick to take home in a plastic bag.
At 10:15 we had the Teddy Bear's Picnic segment back in the living room. I read a picture book of the Teddy Bear's Picnic. It's also a song. The book I have is from Green Tiger Press; your public library will probably have a different one. Then we played The Teddy Bear's Picnic record by Bing Crosby and marched all over the house with our bears, singing. Back in the living room again, we played Teddy Bear Hot Potato, using the same song. My friend had told me about soft, colorful teddy bears for $1 at Dollar Tree, so we had one for each child in a big basket. We sat in a circle, passed a bear around, and when the music stopped, whoever was holding the bear was the winner. Of course everyone was a winner, and we tried to give each child the bear color he or she liked best. The last activity before the cake was to go outside with all the bears and stand around a parachute. The guests put all their bears on the parachute, grabbed the parachute edges and jerked madly up and down. This flung the bears into the air and eventually off the parachute. The children laughed so hard, they could have played this for an hour! When we came indoors, at about 10:40, the tables had been set again with the red tablecloths.
CAKE: The cake was made with Wilton's Stand-Up Cuddly Bear Pan #2105-603, available at www.wilton.com. You can see a picture of the cake on the Wilton website in the on-line directions for the pan. This cake is time-consuming but really easy and so cute. The bear is 3-D and sits up, the frosting looks like fur, and the bear holds a real balloon. For the balloon, I slid a knife under the paw and threaded some ribbon through, holding it on with a new hairpin. I attached the balloon to the ribbon the morning of the party, but of course you have to thread the ribbon through the cake before frosting. The fur looks difficult, but it's super easy. You practice a little while with a #233 decorator tip, and once you are happy with the frosting fur you are making, you just put it all over the bear. My only hints would be to make chocolate buttercream frosting according to the recipe in the cake pan box (do not use store bought it will not hold the fur shape). The buttercream frosting is very easy to make, no cooking required. And make the frosting a medium brown, as it will darken when it dries. The black eyes and nose on our bear cake barely showed. As the cake pan directions suggest, I did bake a cake core and put it back in the bear for extra sturdiness (you'll see what I mean if you get the pan.). This cake was unbelievably impressive. Several of the moms were looking for the cake to show their children when they first arrived, and even when I said, It's there on the table, they couldn't find it. It was on a footed glass cake plate, but they thought the cake was a real teddy bear and kept looking for the cake! 11:05
PINATA: My daughter and I couldn't find a teddy pinata we liked. We only use pull string pinatas, so that limited us. Finally I bought a hot pink, heart-shaped Swan Lake Barbie pull-string pinata and covered the heart-shaped sides with some Christmas teddy bear wrapping paper we had at home. I cut the wrapping paper into the correct size heart shapes (Lay a piece of newspaper on the pi±ata and scribble with the side of a pencil point until you find the edge of the pinata paper design, then scribble all around the pinata paper edge. Cut around the line you'll be able to see in your scribbles, and you'll have a newspaper pattern for the wrapping paper). Then I attached the wrapping paper hearts to the pinata with spray adhesive, exactly covering Swan Lake Barbie. A preschool teacher friend taught me how to do a pull-string pinata so no one cries: Tell the guests, No one pulls until I say pull, Be sure they understand. The children then gather around the pinata and every child grabs a string or two. When you are sure everyone has at least one string, give the signal, Pull! No more tears. At 11:15 it was time for GIFTS: We have a little gift tradition we learned from friends. We place two chairs next to each other, one for the gift-givers and one for the birthday child. Guests give the birthday child their gift, then sit in the gift-giver chair as the birthday child opens the gift. My girls always remember who gave them what, and I think it's because the child is next to them when they're opening. If you have siblings or grown-ups who'll be giving gifts, you can use big chairs or a bench for the gift-giver chair.
At 11:30 it was time to go home, and we gave the guests their TREAT BAGS. The treat bags were teddy bear Christmas paper gift bags from Walgreens, 5 for $1 or some such price. Inside were Teddy Grahams cookies, gummi bears candy, bubbles, star stick-on earrings, a Christmas pencil and a Christmas Fashion Polly Pocket doll set (Happy Polly-Days it's called www.pollypocket.com ). I had gotten the Pollys 75% off at Toys R Us after Christmas last year, thinking to use them as gifts, and fortunately I had enough for the treat bags. Boys got 3 Hot Wheels cars, also purchased on sale, instead of Pollys.
Well, that was our easy Teddy Bear Breakfast Birthday Party. As you can see, we bought very little and just used what we had on hand so it was inexpensive. The effort was mostly in the creativity, not in the actual preparation. The preparation consisted mainly of going through the house, basement and garage collecting whatever we needed. The party consisted mostly of the simple joys of childhood such as play dough, singing, marching, listening to a story and playing with friends, yet all the guests had a super time, and no one wanted to go home. And I wasn't even tired afterward! I hope you have a little boy or girl who will like this sweet little pajama party for Christmas or for any time of year.
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