Western Party 4yr - Game Trading Post
Milele in Durham, NC USA
For our boy/girl twins 4th birthday we had a Western Party.
The invitations were assembled to look like a parcel from the Pony Express. I used brown craft paper cards. I folded the ends of the card to the middle score line. On the top flap it read, Ponies, Lassos, Boots and More and the bottom flap read \*\*\*\*\* and \*\*\*\*\*\* are turning 4! Once the flaps were opened, the inside upper flap read Howdy pardners, two deputies in town are having a hoe-down! And the bottom inside flap read So saddle up yer filly and mosey on over fer some rootin' tootin', boot stompin fun. On gold parchment paper I printed a black and white picture of the twins in their western outfits.
Under their picture were the party details: December 4, 2005 Three passed high noon (3:00pm) \*\*\*\*\* Ranch (\*\*\* \*\*\*\*\*Clubhouse) Give us a Yee-Haw at \*\*\*-\*\*\*-\*\*\*\* by December 1st Don't forget to dress for the West. Ya hear? The wording was a western font from http://members.memlane.com/gromboug/fontpage.htm. I burned the edges of the parchment paper and glued it in the middle of the card. Closing the flaps shut, I tied the card with jute twine. The cards were stuffed in brown craft paper envelope with a pony and the words Special Delivery from the Pony Express printed on it. The postage stamps even had a western theme, the Rio Grande Blanket stamps. Everyone loved the invitations.
We used our subdivision's clubhouse as the party site. The clubhouse has a balcony in the inside, several decks outside as well as a playground area. The entrance of the parking lot was flanked by clusters of cowhide print balloons with a single colored balloon with Happy Birthday and a cowboy on a bucking horse. The outside entrance of the clubhouse had a jointed cowboy holding the same balloon cluster, two bales of hay, a wagon wheel and a sign in a western style font reading \*\*\*\*\* Ranch. From the entrance door hung a saloon door curtain and a Saloon sign. To keep with the western theme we decorated the room with lassos and bandanas instead of streamers. Lassos and bandanas draped the balcony. Straw cowboy hats were scattered around the room on coffee tables. One on cocktail table, I placed a small bale of hay with a red bandana tied around it. The outside decks were decorated with a jointed cactus, hay bale, lasso rope with bandanas and cowhide balloon clusters. Signs for the outhouse (bathroom), trading post, watering hole (drinks table), and grub (food table), all in western fonts, were hung. The food table and the children's tables were covered with gingham print tablecloths. I borrowed tables and chairs from the children's daycare so that they would be an appropriate height.
The food and punch tables were decorated with flowering cacti with bandanas tied around their pot. For background music, we played a CD of country western children songs performed by the St. Clair Kids. The whole family was dressed in western gear--jeans, cowboy hats, bandanas, and boots. Even the twins shirts was western inspired. Many of the guests came in western gear as well. As the children arrived, each child was allowed to pick out a cowboy hat and bandana. Assorted cowboy sheets are available for the children to color as they waited for all the guests to arrive. We began the party with a craft session. I cut out western vest with fringes from paper bags. The children had crayons, glitter pens, markers, stamps and stickers to use to decorate their vest. Also a deputy badge was attached to each vest.
Once the children were all geared up, we moved into our activities section of the party. Four activity areas, Ride Em Ponies, Gold Rush, Lasso a Filly, and Round Em Up, Knock Em Down, were staged on the various decks. Each station was labeled with a decorative sign. The children rotated through each activity.
The Ride Em Ponies sign had a saddle under the curved words Ride Em Ponies. We rented two ponies from a local farm for rides. Each child had a chance to ride the pony as well as have his/her picture taken with the pony. Parents were also able to ride the larger pony. This was good for children who were scared or too small to ride by themselves.
For the Gold Rush station, the words were printed using a gold rush font printed in gold and large gold nuggets were made out of glitter. A galvanized tin tub was filled with sand in which gold nuggets were mixed. Each child used a tin pie pan with holes to pan for gold. Any gold they collected they put in their paper bag satchel to trade for Hershey chocolate nuggets.
For the Lasso a Filly station, rope was used to spell out Lasso in cursive. The rope wrapped around the word Filly, which was written in brown. To make the lasso for the game, a hoop was wrapped with rope. The end of the rope was allowed to dangle from the hoop. Each child tried to lasso a filly by tossing the hoop over the head of a rocking horse. The children were given chocolate or bubble gum gold coins for accomplishing or at least trying this activity. The last station was a shooting gallery, but instead of guns, the children used beanbags to knock down silver painted soda cans. Soda cans were spray painted with sliver paint and a red and white bull's eye was glued on to each can.
For the sign, Round Em Up, Knock Em Down was printed in a western font. Three silver-painted soda cans were glued to the sign at an angle. Again each child was given chocolate or bubble gum gold coins for his/her efforts.
Once the children rotated through all the stations, they were allowed to visit the Trading Post. At the trading post, the children were able to pick out a western-based gift (beaded bracelet, snake pen with star notepad, or plush horse with cowboy hat and bandana). While the children visited the stations, the parents had an opportunity to complete a western trivia quiz (questions pulled from several Cowboys & Indians Magazine monthly Trivia Challenge) and guess how many western foam shapes were in a jar. The winners were given one of the flowering cacti from the food table After we finished all the activities, it was time to eat.
The grub was served in pie tins. We also had gray colored silverware and silver colored paper cups (I wanted to get tin cups, but could not find them so silver colored cups had to suffice). The menu included hotdogs, baked beans and BBQ potato chips. Cactus juice (limeade, pineapple juice and ginger ale), root beer and ginger ale were served as drinks. The cactus juice was served in a punch bowl with cactus shaped ice cubes. I printed a Cactus Juice sign in a cactus font to label the punch. Condiments for the hotdogs (catsup, mustard, relish, chili, cheese, and onions) were served in upside down plastic mini cowboy hats. Trail mix (peanuts, raisins and M&Ms) was also served in mini cowboy hats and the BBQ potato chips were in large plastic cowboy hats.
For the cake, we had two cupcake cakes. The first was arranged to look like a flowering cactus and the second was a horseshoes. The candles were western boot candles. We finished with the twins opening their presents. I even used craft paper tied with raffia to wrap their gifts from us.
They thanked their guest with western inspired goodie bags containing a Jolly Rancher sucker, a mini Twix, trail mix, harmonica, western stickers, and western shaped (boot, horse, or cowboy hat) chocolate sucker which I made. The goodies were packaged in a small paper bag tied with jute twine and labeled loot. For thank you notes, we mailed the picture of each child on the pony with a crafted western photo magnet. For the family and friends who could not attend, we emailed pictures from the party with this narrative. We had a rootin' tootin' boot stompin' good time!
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