Idea No.


Magic School Bus -6yr- Solve Puzzle Games



March 2009


Kim in Los Altos, CA, USA

Runner Up

Book Reading Party

MAGIC SCHOOL BUS BIRTHDAY PARTY (6 YEAR OLD)   My daughter's favorite books are the Magic School Bus series of fun science adventures.  We decided to have a Magic School Bus birthday party for her 6th birthday.  The idea of the party was that the guests would become the class from the books, and go on various adventures in the school bus with their teacher Ms. Frizzle (mom).  There would be science questions & problems to solve along the way through fun activities/games (and maybe some learning, also!) 

INVITATION  We found school bus shaped paper (notes) at a teacher supply store, and wrote the party information on the side of the school bus and mailed them.   

DECORATIONS  Teacher supply store had several types of school bus decorations (for use on school bulletin boards) so we hung cut out school buses up in the room, using yellow and blue streamers.  Table cloth was yellow with more little school bus decorations laid on it.  The big decoration was that we created a school bus!  Outside on the patio we lined up 4 rows of 2 chairs each, to resemble seats on a bus.  We purchased cardboard display boards (like for a science fair) at a local craft store (already yellow), and set them up on one side of the chairs (held together with tape and brads), and drew/painted a school bus on them. When the children sat in the chairs, it looked like they were sitting on the bus. 

ACTIVITIES/GAMES - As the guests arrived, they sat down at the table and decorated backpacks (inexpensive fabric ones from Oriental Trading Co) using fabric markers.  They were going to be on school bus field trips and needed a backpack.  They then used the backpack for the various activities the rest of the party.  We also had school bus name tags (from the teacher store) and used those since not everyone knew each other.  The activities of the party consisted of several different field trips on the bus.  In the books, the teacher Ms. Frizzle always shows up at school with a different dress, indicating the theme of that particular field trip.  The mom of the birthday girl was Ms. Frizzle for the party (even had red hair!).  We gave an intro description of the Magic School Bus books to explain it for anyone not familiar with it.  We told the children that several things in science were confused or messed up and needed their help, and we would be going on several adventures to do that.  For each adventure, the children would go get on the bus outside, and Ms. Frizzle would arrive with a certain type of pictures on her outfit (clip art cut out and taped on), giving a clue about the upcoming science adventure field trip.  The bus would transform (in our imaginations) into various types of vehicles depending on the nature of the trip. 

1)Ocean  Ms. Frizzle appears with cut outs of fish, octopus, etc.  All the ocean creatures are confused about what they are, so we have to help them get straightened out.  We pretended the bus was a submarine, and then all the kids followed Ms. Frizzle inside to the living room.  (Decorate it all in blue streamers to look like it's underwater).  Each child got a picture of an ocean creature taped on their back and then they had to play 20 questions (yes/no questions only) to determine what type of ocean creature they were (octopus, starfish, crab, shark, whale, seahorse, turtle, dolphin, etc.).  After everyone figured out what their creature was, each person got a little snack bag (Ziploc back with school bus sticker on it, with some M&Ms and teddy grahams in it)  for energy for the next adventure.  They took the snack bag back onto the bus and ate it while they waited for Ms. Frizzle to reappear. 

2)Spac Ms. Frizzle appears with rocketships, planets, stars on her dressAll the planets are confused about what order they go in.  This will mess up the seasons if we don't get it straightened out.  We pretended the bus turned into a rocket ship, and then got off and went to the front yard where the students were met by a silly scientist (dad).  We then had 8 balls of different sizes (to represent the 8 planets) and the kids had to figure out which ball represented which planet.  (basketball = Jupiter, soccer ball = Saturn, baseballs = Uranus & Neptune, ping pong balls = Earth and Venus, super ball = Mars, marble = Mercury).  Each child got a ball after they figured out which planet was which ball.  Then we went to the street where the silly scientist had marked out a relative distance scale from the sun using chalk.  We had the kids remember the order of the planets and then each child went to stand on the previously marked spot on the street.  The last person was 4 houses down the street so the kids could really see to scale what the planet distances were!  The kids got little school buses (erasers, pencil sharpeners) as a prize after figuring out this puzzle.   

3)Ger Ms. Frizzle appears with cut o erms on her dress (sad/mad faces).  We pretended the school bus became miniature-sized so we could go into the human body to fight a germ war.  We then went to the patio.  Divided the kids into 2 teams for a relay race.  Each team had 4 germs on the ground in front of them (made out of paper, about the size of a small plate).  For the relay, one at a time the kids had to run down to the end, pick up a white blood cell (also made out of paper, small plate size) and using a straw suck in and hold the white blood cell (WBC) while they ran back to their line and put the WBC on top of a germ, thus beating it.  When each team finished the race, all participants got a small container of hand sanitizer to keep in their backpacks in order to defeat germs on their own. 

4)Bone Ms. Frizzle appears with a skeleton on her dress, and a stuffed animal of iz (the magic lizard in the story  we found an authentic Liz on eBay).   In the story about the missing bones, there are costumes of skeletons with some bones missing and the class goes to the factory to find the missing bones.  We pretended the school bus turned into a jet plane to fly to the factory.  We then went to the backyard where there were miniature skeletons (3 plastic, on keychains) hidden all over the yard. They went on a hunt to find the skeletons (would also be fun with glow in the dark skeletons at night).  Also there were bigger bones (cardboard) hidden and when all of those were found the whole group of kids came together to put the big bones together to make an entire skeleton, like a puzzle.  Then back to the bus for their final prize/FAVOR which was a Magic School Bus book for each child.   

FOOD/SNACKS - We celebrated the science victories by having cake and ice cream (cake was shaped like a bus, cut from 9x13 rectangular cake, yellow icing, using Oreos for wheels, black icing for drawing the windows/doors, and M&Ms for the lights.  We also served pretzels, goldfish, and juice boxes (appropriate for school-theme snacks).    The kids were really excited each time they got on the bus, wondering where they were going to be taken for a new adventure!

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