Webkinz Party -4yr- Gumball Machine
Tori in Owosso, MI USA
For my son, Tyler's, 4th birthday I had been planning a Winter Wonderland party for months in advance. My in-laws graciously gave permission to hold his party at their cottage on a lake an hour and a half north of our home. We had planned to sled and ice-skate. I had already purchased all of the party ware and decorations and had found directions to make a snowman pinata. We had planned all the theme related foods we were going to serve and my son had picked out his cake.
The day after I mailed out the invitations, my husband came home from work and told me that he had been encouraged by his boss to attend a social/work event the evening of the party. After a half-hour of going over our calendar and realizing there was no way to change the party to the weekends before or after, my almost 4-yr. old asked me for the third time that day if he could play on the Webkinz website. I asked him what he thought about having a Webkinz party at our house instead of a snow party, his face lit-up and I was saved!!!
INVITATIONS: I had sent adorable little invitations that showed children sledding down a hill with little cottages and trees in the background. It was perfect for our original party. Unfortunately, I had to call everyone and tell them that the invitation they had just received was now being changed to a Webkinz party at our house. Luckily, they were all very understanding.
DECORATIONS: For anyone who is unfamiliar with Webkinz, they are a stuffed animal line by Ganz. They come with a code that the child can use to start an account with their website. When the child plays with their pet on the website, the help it stay happy, healthy and loved. They can also play games and earn Kinzcash to buy things/food for their pet. Three of my five kids are VERY into Webkinz and I am embarrased to admit that, between the three of them, they have 41 Webkinz stuffed animals. We used them as our main decorations. On our foyer table, we placed a large basket filled with ten different Webkinz and tied red, yellow and blue balloons to the handle. Also on the table was a small gumball machine (dollar store) filled with gumballs and a sheet of paper that had a picture of a gumball machine on the top left corner and said - Operation Gumball - in the middle. On the right side was the Webkinz logo with the saying - Come in and Play (I copied it from the log on page of the website).
It had lines below for everyone to write their name and guess. I sprinkled three types of multicolored confetti (Happy Birthday, balloons and cake with four candles) all over the table. I used the game table in our living room for a gift table and placed red, green and yellow balloons attached to a blue balloon weight along with a chihuahua Webkinz in the center of it and more confetti. In our dining room we hung crepe paper streamers from the chandelier to the walls forming a canopy. I used two alternating streamers, one was solid blue and the other had giraffe, lion, ducky, bear, bunny, and cat faces on it (dollar store).
On one wall we hung a banner that said HAPPY BITHDAY and had monkeys, dogs, giraffes, cats and spiders on it. I placed a solid blue (Tyler's favorite color) tablecloth on the dining room table. I placed seven more Webkinz in a basket that we wrapped with a multi-colored star foil wire garland in the center of the table. We used our snack bar in the kitchen to serve lunch from and I placed blue plates and napkins there and a blue rhino Webkinz. I made three different posters using blue poster board. I hung one sign on the door to our basement (the Arcade) that said in different colors - Today in Webkinz World! Jan. 31, 2009 Today's Events: Head to the Pizza Palace!
Make sure to get your Smoothie Moves! (Strawberry-Banana or Tropical Colada) Did you remember to make your Operation Gumball guess? At the Arcade: Search for precious gems in the Gem Hunt! Play Zingoz Pop, our Game of the Day! Take a spin on the Wheel of WOW! Chef Gazpacho's Hot Potato! Get to the W Store for today's specials! Win fabulous candy at Candy Bash! Give the Birthday Boy a Gift! Eat some Cake with your special Webkinz friends!. Another sign said - W STORE - with 4 inch letters made from different colored paper and I attached blue and yellow balloons on the top corners. I hung this from the end of the snack bar in our finished basement. I also made a poster that listed all of the items for sale and their cost for the W Store. We placed Webkinz around the house on shelves, tables, the piano and even in the bathrooms. The party started at noon so we began with lunch.
FOOD: Fortunately, I had three Webkinz experts to guide me. Tyler wanted pizza for lunch and his brother told me that was the perfect choice. We served ham cheese, pepperoni, sausage and mushroom pizzas and breadsticks with sauce. My ll year old also told me that we had to serve smoothies for drinks because that was a very popular Webkinz drink. I was going to make my own but then I discovered that V8 sells fruit smoothie drinks that were cheaper than from scratch! We set up a bar area for smoothies (strawberry-banana and tropical colada) and soft drinks with blue cups and, of course, more Webkinz. I even had a pig Webkinz holding a picture of Tyler.
GAMES: We took all of our game ideas from the Webkinz website. I have to admit, I was a little frazzled when I realized I was going to have to come up with a completely new party theme, all of the games and supplies in less than two weeks. We ended up choosing these six games to try to replicate: Operation Gumball, Gem Hunt, Zingoz Pop, Wheel of WOW, Chef Gazpacho's Hot Potato and Candy Bash. Four of the games were played to win Kinzcash and two to win candy. The gumball machine I had placed on the foyer table was the prize for Operation Gumball, the guests just had to guess the correct number of gumballs and whoever came closest won it . The rest of the games were played in our finished basement. When we first went down to play, I had each of the kids pick a wallet to hold their Kinzcash. I made these by cutting colored paper in half and then folding the halves in half again and stapling the ends shut. The kids picked which ever color they wanted and wrote their name on them with colored markers.
Gem Hunt: I hid Easter eggs around the room. I had placed craft plastic gems that we had left over from my daughters' birthday parties in the eggs. We had the kids look in three different age groups (the kids that participated ranged in age from 1 to 20), so that the youngest could find the ones that I left out in plain sight, but the others really had to hunt. I used 15 circle gems worth $1 Kinzcash each, 7 triangle gems worth $2 Kinzcash each, 4 square gems worth $3 Kinzcash each, 3 heart-shaped gems worth $4 Kinzcash each and 1 oval-shaped gem worth $5 Kinzcash. Each kid was allowed to find three eggs and then bring the gems to me. I bought the gems from the kids for the appropriate amount. I found a really great link to some great Kinzcash that I could print from another party on this website at http://zirkel.com/blog/page/2/ (Thanks Leslie!!).
After this we played Zingoz Pop. I rolled up Kinzcash, in $1, $5 or $10 amounts, and slid them into the balloons and then blew them up. The kids had to pop the balloons, but they could not use their hands or heads to do it (we helped the younger kids). Whatever Kinzcash was in their balloon they put into their wallets until it was time to go to the W Store.
The next game was the Wheel of WOW. I used my kids' spinner from their Twister game. I cut a circle out of red paper and cut a slit with a hole punched in the center to slide around the spinner and cover where it says Twister but still show the color dots. I then wrote WOW with some black letter stickers on the red paper and taped it into place. We printed off pictures of four of the Webkinz that Tyler has and taped those over the corners that had left/right, hand/foot on them. It turned out very cute for the little time and no cost it involved. For this game the kids each took one turn spinning the wheel, if they got a yellow dot they won $1 Kinzcash, a red dot $2 Kinzcash, a green dot $3 Kinzcash and a blue dot $4 Kinzcash.
The last game to win Kinzcash was Chef Gazpacho's Hot Potato. We simply used a dalmatian Webkinz and played hot potato. I played a children's cd, when I stopped the music, whoever was holding the Webkinz was out. When a child was out they got $1 Kinzcash, until we got down to the last two. The child who came in second received $5 Kinzcash and the winner won $10 Kinzcash. After this I opened the W Store. I had set it up on the snack bar we have in the basement. I sold packs of Smarties for $1 Kinzcash each, pencils (either with dogs, solid blue or sparkly silver) for $2 Kinzcash each, different types of plastic fruit with candy powder inside for $3 Kinzcash each, gummi junk food (hotdogs, hamburgers and ice cream cones) for $4 Kinzcash each, punch balloons for $5 Kinzcash each, a gummi pizza for $6 Kinzcash and I had one grand prize - a package of Webkinz Trading Cards for $40 Kinzcash. I used small shoe boxes that had stripes or checkes on them to hold the items. The kids were so sweet, after they bought what they wanted; they all donated their left over money to Tyler to buy the Trading Cards because he didn't have enough Kinzcash.
The last game was Candy Bash, which we interpreted to be a pinata. I saved the pinata for after the W Store in case anyone complained about what they could buy. Tyler picked a seahorse pinata (yes, there is actually a seahorse Webkinz!). I gave each of the kids a treat bag that said HAPPY BIRTHDAY all over it and I wrote each of their names on them so that we didn't have any confusion. It was finally time to open gifts and Tyler was thrilled to receive, among other gifts, two more Webkinz!! We followed this with cake and ice cream.
CAKE: I had decided to use Webkinz figures on top of the cake as soon as we had changed themes. I had seen them at one store in my town before Christmas. Unfortunately, they didn't have any when we went in to buy them and I started to panic. I got on the internet as soon as I got home and found a group of three figures (cat, polar bear and pug) on Ebay. The auction was ending in 20 minutes so I bid and I won. I emailed the seller that they were for my son's birthday cake for his party in a few days and she said she would get them in the mail the next morning. Luckily we received them in plenty of time. I placed them on a cake I bought (1/2 off!!!) decorated with white frosting, edged in blue frosting with yellow, red and green frosting balloons on it. We used a rainbow colored #4 candle that matched the rainbow colored W symbol that is on every Webkinz.
I served the cake and ice cream on Zoo Pal plates that look a lot like Webkinz. They included kangaroos, rhinos, foxes, bunnies, rams, gorillas, alligators and moose. I would have loved to have used them for the pizza. Unfortunately, the plates were just too small for lunch plates, but they were perfect for cake and ice cream. Tyler had a great time and it was so much fun watching his siblings and cousins playing all of the games. The party was a big hit and he is already looking forward to his skating/sledding party for his 5th birthday (hopefully!!).
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