Charlotte's Web Party -5yr- Barn Yard Games
Beth in Warren, CT, USA
For my daughter's 5th birthday she wanted to have a Charlotte's Web" party. The theme was perfect since her name is Charlotte and we live in a rural area.
For the invitation I made mock newspaper page on my computer with an article describing a miraculous spider web that was discovered with the words woven in to it saying "I'm 5!" I quoted fictitious characters like Fern Arable (the little girl in the book) and a spider expert describing it as amazing. Another article was written as a press release announcing a public viewing of the web. This is where all the party information was given. I created other silly articles including one about Templeton being sited nearby and some that related to local events. I printed the "newspaper" page on newsprint from a kid's sketch pad and then tore two edges to look like it came from a full size newspaper page. I took a highlighter and circled the article about about the party and wrote "Hope to see you there!" I mailed them in plain envelopes with our return address. People were amazed at how real it looked and thought I had had them printed professionally. It really wasn't very hard but very effective as it played up all the press Wilbur & Charlotte received in the book.
We held the party in and around my parents big red barn. The set up involved hay bales topped with old pieces of plywood and red & white checked tablecloths red & white balloons fake spider webs lots of plastic spiders and silhouettes of farm animals on the walls. I also bought a 3 1/2 foot pre-made spider web sold as a Halloween decoration and wrapped matching thread within it so it read "I'm 5!" As children arrived the could see the "famous" web as I offered them a straw hat and a red bandanna to help set the farm mood.
We played lots of games including:
1. "Spider Web" For each child I took about 30 yards of white yarn and wound it around trees lawn furniture and stakes in the ground. At the end was a prize wrapped in red tissue. There were 20 kids invited to the party so all 20 lines of yarn criss-crossed and overlapped creating a huge maze or spider web. To play each child took the end of a string and had to wind it up on a piece of cardboard untangling the web as he or she went until he got the his prize. I was worried it would be too difficult for them but they LOVED it. A few needed a little help at times but it was a great transitional game that helped to calm and focus the kids. The prize was an inexpensive stuffed farm animal.
2. "Hot Rat" This was a variation on the game hot potato but instead of a potato we used a plastic rat we called Templeton after the rat in the book. When a child got knocked out of the circle they got a small prize. For this I created spider's egg sacks by winding more white yarn around a little plastic spider and a small piece of candy. It looked just like an egg sack and the children were happy to be out of the game because they could unwind the egg sack and discover what was inside. Before we started the game I reminded them about how Templeton had helped Charlotte & Wilbur by carrying the egg sack very carefully down from the rafters at the fair.
3. "Find the Animals" For this game I bought two 50 Lb. bags of cracked corn and put it a small kiddie swimming pool. I tossed in small plastic farm animals and plastic spiders. The kids were allowed to dig through and find 5 animals to keep. I chose 5 because it was a Fifth birthday party. This game was a great ice breaker for shyer kids and a great way to keep younger siblings busy the whole day!
4. "Animal Sounds" To start this game I reminded how the animals in Charlotte's Web could speak English. I asked them what it would be like to speak pig or chicken. Then I gave each child one of a pair of cards with a picture of a farm animal. The kids had to find who had the match to her card by making the sound of the animal. This was a short and silly game but fun just the same especially for the younger siblings. It also helped to set up the next game where we needed teams.
5. "Feed the Chickens" I broke the kids up into 3 teams and gave each team a plastic shovel. The object of the game was to fill a small bucket with cracked corn by running from the supply of corn to the team's bucket with corn in the shovel. This was a little chaotic but a great way to get some energy out. Everyone who participated got a little goodie. 6. "Pin the Fly on the Web" -a variation on Pin the Tail on the Donkey.
I decorated white bags in a cow pattern and gave one to each child to keep their prizes. This acted as their goodie bag at the end of the party.
Other activities involved a craft making spiders by putting a pipe cleaner through each hole in a four hole button and twisting it to make two legs (totaling 8) and then gluing on a pompom for a body and googly eyes. This needed a grown up to demonstrate but was perfect for the age group and the spiders looked great! We had coloring sheets with farm animals and crayons too.
Outside we had a rope swing over a big pile of leaves which was big hit and my father gave hay rides in his small trailer pulled by his garden tractor.
The party was from 1-3:00 so we offered just snacks and cake. I filled tin buckets with pretzel sticks sunflower seeds popcorn goldfish & candy corn. I had lemonade and apple cider to drink. I made cupcakes in the shape of pig faces and spiders on their webs. The pigs were made with pink frosting a round pink "Canada Mint" for a nose another broken mint for ears and nostrils and eyes piped with frosting. The spiders were made with a large gum drop that I poked 8 short pieces of black licorice into to make legs. I piped on eyes with frosting. This spider sat on top of chocolate frosting that I put a spider web pattern on with white frosting. The cup cakes were silly and allowed for kids to have either vanilla or chocolate without having to make two big cakes.
I spent just under $10 per child buying most things at Oriental Trader US Toy and Dollar Tree. The total money spent includes the rope swing which we're keeping the cracked corn which will feed the birds this winter and the 12 hay bales which we'll use as mulch. I got lots of compliments from parents and the kids are still talking about it. Best of all my daughter had a wonderful time. "