Idea No.


Upside-Down -9yr- Backwards Musical Chairs



Sept. 2003


D. in Naperville, IL, USA

Special Mention

Backwards Party

BACKWARDS & UPSIDE-DOWN 9th BIRTHDAY PARTY  My daughter and I were looking for something fun to do for her 9th birthday.  Trying to delay a sleepover birthday party for at least another year, I decided it was time to turn on the creative juices and I proposed a Backwards & Upside-down party theme to her.  She loved it! 

We made our own invitations on the computer. By using the "flip vertical/horizontal" functions on a card-making software package (these functions can also can be found on Powerpoint), we were able to create invitations that had to first be turned upside-down and then read in the mirror (A small "right-way" hint was added to the bottom of the invitation to tell the guest how to read it.) We decorated the envelopes by writing each girl's name upside-down and backwards, drawing upside-down balloons, and adding an upside-down pretend stamp.  The invitations were handed out personally.  We asked the girls to come wearing their clothing backwards. 

We decorated the house by hanging air-filled (not helium) balloons from the ceiling, taping party streamers to the floors around the perimeter of each room, hanging "exit" signs to the the entrances of our house, and hanging an "attic" sign on our basement door.  Some of the girls, on their own idea, walked into our house backwards. One girl came with her clothes AND earrings backwards!  We greeted each guest with a "Thank you so much for coming, we hope you had a good time.  Good-bye now!"  We must have been too convincing because one girl thought she actually missed the party!  The look on her face was priceless! 

While we were waiting for all the guests to arrive we had each girl write their name backwards on a name tag and we tried to call her by that name all during the party.  We had them guess how many candies were in a jar. (The winner of the jar, who was announced at the end of the party, was the person who guess the farthest from the actual number.  However, since my husband and I love math too much we also rewarded the closest estimate with a bag of candy, too, as a consolation prize!) We also had the girls do a scavenger hunt throughout the house where the clues were written backwards.  The last clue led them to their small goody bags of candy. 

When all the guests finally arrived we first opened presents.  Some of the presents followed the theme where they either had backwards wrapping paper or the gift bag was turned inside-out.  My daughter thanked each guest with a "uoy knaht."  Then I passed out the words to the song "Happy Birthday" backwards ("You to birthday, happy!..."), and we sang it to her while the cake was brought out. The cake was a chocolate bundt cake that was flipped over, with the words "Happy Birthday" written backwards on it, and had 9 trick candles.  My daughter enjoyed blowing them out!  Our games were outside. 

We played "Backwards Charades" where I taped a paper to each girl's back with some kind of action or activity written on it.  A girl would turn around so the rest of the guests could read what was written on the paper.  Then the guests would get together and act it out - either individually, in small groups, or in one large group, and the girl had to guess what they were doing (e.g., riding a roller coaster, going through a car wash, eating spaghetti).  It was tremendous fun! 

We also played the toilet paper mummy game and a popcorn transfer game - the girls divided into 2 lines and the first person wore cups on their feet secured with rubber bands.  Another person in line filled the cups with popcorn. The girl then had to carefully walk down to one of two identical boxes and dump the popcorn into the box and run back to the next person.  When everyone had a turn, the box with the most popcorn (measured in inches) won! (We first tried walking down to the box backwards, but it was way too hard - all the popcorn spilled out before reaching the box.)

Another game we played was "Pin the Donkey on A Tail" where we hung a poster board with several tails drawn on it and handed out small paper donkeys to each girl. The girls had to try to pin their donkey onto one of the tails, blindfolded of course - the closest donkey won! 

Finally the girls played a version of "Backwards Musical Chairs."  Chairs were set up for one less than the number of players.  Once the music stopped everyone sat down, even if a player had to sit on someone's lap.  Then a chair was removed but all players remained and we started again.  This continued until two chairs were left and everyone was sitting on top of each other.  Everyone was laughing so hard - we stopped the game when two chairs were left because we didn't think a single chair was going to make it in one piece!  We let each girl pick out American Girl(R) Grin Pins as prizes (everyone got at least two for the charades and musical chair games). 

After the games we served pizza and soda in the dining room.  A party table cloth was set on the floor underneath the dining room table and the chairs were lined up along and facing the walls.  The girls sat on the floor under the table to eat their pizza.  We served them each an upside-down can of 7-Up soda pop with a straw.  They found this quite amusing.  We then took a group picture of the girls facing backwards but with their head turned toward the camera. When it was time to go my daughter gave each girl a small "birthday gift" - all wrapped up and with a backwards name tag.  The gifts were beaded chokers my sister-in-law makes.  We said "Hello! So nice to see you! Happy Birthday" to each girl as they left.  This party was so much fun to plan and do! Everyone had a great time. To roundup the party theme we made thank you notes using the group picture and writing "Thank You" at the top - backwards and upside-down, of course!

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