Three Little Pigs Party -4yr- Activity Stations
Kathy in Glenview, Il
THREE LITTLE PIGS PARTY, FOUR YEARS For my daughter's fourth birthday we had a Three Little Pigs theme. I chose this theme because she likes pink and she also likes building houses" so I thought that we could go with the Straw House Stick House Brick House idea. We held the party in our yard and had about 14 children mostly ages 4 to 6 but with one toddler sibling and two older kids (one sibling and one cousin).
INVITATIONS: For the invitations I cut long rectangles of cardstock (red for boys pink for girls). I folded each rectangle in quarters to make an invitation that unfolded in four sections. That was the background. At Joanne Fabrics I found scrapbooking paper in a brick pattern a straw pattern and not a stick pattern but a wooden "barn fence" pattern which was close enough. I made a template for a very simple house shape (a square with a peaked roof on top) and cut out a straw house a stick house and a brick house for each invitation. Each house had a flap cut in it to be a "door" that could open. (No windows though --too much work!) On each four-folded invitation I glued a straw house on the first part a stick house on the second part a brick house on the third part and a rectangle of white paper with the party information printed on the fourth part. Inside each "door there was a pig sticker, so that each house had a pig living in it. I would have liked to put one wolf sticker on each invitation along with the three pig stickers, but I couldn't find any. The text of the party information read I'll huff and I'll puff and I'll blow those candles out! Please come to my Three Little Pigs birthday" and then the date time etc. The invitations were mailed in red or pink envelopes to match the cardstock.
DECORATIONS: We mostly just had pink and red balloons and one fancy mylar pink pig balloon on the birthday girl's chair. The food table had a red and white checked cloth and the plates cups napkins etc. were red and pink. For a centerpiece I bought three plastic pigs from the dollar store (actually bubble gum dispensers). I grouped them on the table with a little bundle of real straw next to the first pig a little bundle of real sticks next to the second pig and one real (clean!) brick next to the third pig. I also added a wolf sock puppet that my daughter already had.
ACTIVITIES: As the children arrived they could get a costume which consisted of ears (pink felt hot-glued on a headband) and a curly tail (made of pink wired ribbon). It turns out I should have used pink curling ribbon for the tails because the wired ribbon did not hold its curl once the kids started running around. My daughter asked about having pig snouts but I figured that that would involve some kind of mask thing held on with elastic and that the kids wouldn't really like it. After they got their ears and tail the kids could play at three "stations which were Art, Cooking, and Free Play.
At the art station, the kids could decorate a plastic piggy bank (from the dollar store). We had foam stickers, paint, and glitter glue. I gave each child two dimes to put in their bank, just so they could hear something jingle.
At the cooking station, we made pig houses." I borrowed an idea that I have seen done in elementary school classrooms where they have the children make mini gingerbread houses out of those little school milk cartons. I saved up small cartons (from cream etc.) opened the tops up ran them through the dishwasher to get them really clean let them dry thoroughly in the sun and stapled the tops closed. Then you let the kids cover the carton with icing graham crackers and candy. The carton provides a stable base so that you don't have to try and stick the edges of the walls together with icing to make the house stand up. We had coconut which I had tinted yellow for "straw pretzels for sticks mini Twizzler bits for bricks and assorted other candies for trim." But each child could only do one house. I couldn't save enough little cartons for them each to do three houses!! Each child's house was made on a small paper plate and then covered with plastic wrap to take home.
At the Free Play station I laid out all of our building toys. We had Megablocks regular Legoes Tinker Toys Lincoln Logs wooden blocks and those big cardboard blocks in a "brick" pattern. We also threw in a few construction helmets and a wooden tool kit. Finally the Free Play area also had a few bales of real straw. Of course the kids couldn't really build houses with that but we pulled it apart into a haystack and set up my daughter's Little People Farm set in it for the kids to play with. We figured they would also enjoy just throwing the straw around and rolling in it! And we were right --the straw was a HUGE hit! Daddy was there rolling around in it with the kids the older kids wanted to be buried in straw our neighbor came over and played basketball in the straw because it was under the basketball hoop…I bought the straw last autumn (around Halloween when the stores sell it) and carefully saved it in the garage all winter because I knew it probably wouldn't be available in the spring. I'm glad I did because it was the hit of the party! At the end of the activity time we gathered the kids in the straw and read aloud the Three Little Pigs story.
LUNCH: For lunch we served Pigs in Blankets (mini bagel dogs) Trader Joe's veggie corn dogs red yellow and green apple slices watermelon slices and three trays of snacks. For the trays I bought disposable foil oven liner trays (dollar store) and my husband cut them with and re-crimped the edges to make simple house shapes with a peaked roof instead of just a plain rectangle. I filled one "house" tray with matchstick potato chips for "straw one with pretzel sticks and one with cubes of red jello jigglers for bricks." To drink we had chocolate milk or strawberry milk.
GAMES: After lunch we had two games. The first was a beanbag toss. I made "wolf" beanbags out of black knee-high nylons (2 pairs for a dollar at Walgreen's or 25 cents per nylon much cheaper than black socks). Of course the nylons were too thin but since they were also longer than I needed I filled each nylon with about two thirds of a cup of dried beans twisted it closed pulled the extra part of the nylon back over the beans twisted it closed again and pulled the extra nylon back over the beans again. This used up the whole length of the nylon so that I didn't have to cut off any and it meant that the beans were covered with three layers of nylon which was thick enough. I fastened the end with a rubber band and then a black ribbon to cover the rubber band. Then I glued on black felt ears pink felt tongues black pompom noses and googly eyes. These beanbags were later given out as party favors.
For the container to toss the beanbags into I covered a cardboard box with red wrapping paper and painted white lines on it to make it look like bricks and that was the "chimney." We weighted it down with real bricks inside so that it wouldn't tip over when the kids were throwing the beanbags at it. The second game was Musical Houses. It was like Musical Chairs except instead of chairs the kids stood on "house" shapes cut out of paper. We made about two-thirds yellow houses (straw) one-third brown houses (stick) and one single red house (brick). As kids were eliminated we removed the "straw" houses first and then the "stick" houses so that the kid left standing on the single "brick" house was the winner. I was planning to play the tag game "It's Midnight Mr. Fox" except of course we would have called it "It's Midnight Mr. Wolf but we ran out of time.
CAKE: I made pig cupcakes and wolf cupcakes. For the pigs, I made cupcakes with the batter dyed pink so that they would be pink all the way through, with pink icing and pink cupcake liners. Each pig had eyes made of chocolate chips, a snout made of a pink Dots candy, and ears made from a pink Starburst candy cut in half diagonally to make two triangles. I grouped four of the pigs in the middle and gave them tails" made of pink spiral-shaped birthday candles. I had to buy four packages of those spiral candles to get four pink ones! The rest of the pigs were just faces with no tails. The wolves were chocolate cupcakes with chocolate icing baked in red cupcake liners (I couldn't find brown). Each wolf had chocolate sprinkles for fur eyes made from white frosting and chocolate chips a snout made from a mini Tootsie Roll and a tongue made from a pink or red jellybean. For the ears I bought chocolate bars marked off in squares cut the squares apart and then cut each square in half diagonally to get two triangles of chocolate. I had to look to get the right chocolate. Hershey Bars are marked in rectangles not squares! I finally found that Cadbury bars are in squares. Besides the pig and wolf cupcakes we had vanilla and strawberry swirl ice cream cups and pink lemonade.
FAVORS: After the cupcakes my daughter opened her gifts (sitting in her chair with the big mylar pig balloon). Then she handed out favors. Since the version of the story that we read aloud had pictures of the pigs carrying their possessions in cloth bundles on sticks we decided to have these "hobo bundles" as our favors. Each bundle was a square of red and white gingham with the edges cut with pinking shears tied onto an 18-inch dowel rod. I was originally thinking of using bandannas but they were too expensive and the red and white gingham turned out to be very cute. Each bundle contained a wolf beanbag a candy bag a wooden pig magnet (I added magnetic tape to wooden pigs from the craft store) and a mini photocopied Three Little Pigs coloring book. The candy bags had red pink and white M'n'M's pink malted milk balls and some cute gummy pig faces that I found at World Market and they were tied with pink curly ribbon.
The bundles were premade except for the wolf beanbag and after the beanbag toss game my husband quickly stuck the beanbags into the bundles and tied the bundles onto the dowel rods. Each child also got a brown paper lunch bag decorated with brick stick and straw houses made from the leftover paper from the invitations. These were to hold the gingerbread house and the piggy bank and I also threw in a red and white striped curly drinking straw that would not fit in the "hobo bundles." Pink straws would have been better but red and white was what they had at the dollar store so I figured that was close enough. I originally was going to use pink gift bags for this but then I could not find the cheap kind that are made like lunch bags --I could only find the expensive glossy kind with handles. So then my mom said to just use the regular brown lunch bags and I thought of decorating them with the extra invitation paper. The kids also got to take home their pig ears and tail.
THANK YOU'S For the thank you notes I plan to have my daughter make pink thumbprint pigs on white paper matted on pink cardstock. The pink thumbprints can be the bodies of the three pigs and I will add the heads ears legs and tails with pink marker."