Magic School Bus - Inside a Hurricane
Jeanne in Merrimack, NH
Magic School Bus My son loves Magic School Bus (MSB) and is also fascinated by Hurricanes. So, our theme for his party was easy, since there is a book in the MSB series entitled "Inside a Hurricane". We used the MSB party planning guide at www.scholastic.com which just happens to have party tips for an "Inside a Hurricane" party.
We printed out the invitations (color them yourself) and nametags from their site. But then, we did the rest of the party on our own. When friends came to our party, we had a chalkboard easel (decorated with paper cut-out "school" items like apples and pencils) by our driveway Adults to enter our home through the garage. Children were directed to enter our home by the front door where we'd placed a collapsible Playhut-brand school bus and a tunnel attached. Above the bus we had a poster that said "Take a Ride on the Magic School Bus". So, children opened our front door, went through the door of the bus, crawled through a tunnel, and were in our home.
Once in the home, we had "lab tables" (white clothes on our dining and folding tables) to complete activities. While everyone was arriving, children were encouraged to draw their favorite picture on a piece of paper (using fabric crayons). Then an adult would iron on their drawing the front of a t-shirt that we had previously designed with a School Bus (generic clip-art picture) and the words "Robert's Birthday Party 2004" on the back.
Once everyone had arrived and their drawings were finished (Adult helpers did the ironing-on for us while we proceeded with the party) we gathered the children together for a picnic and to read the book "MSB: Inside a Hurricane". Reading the book introduced Ms. Frizzle and gang to those who weren't familiar with MSB and set the tone for the rest of the party.
Snacks provided for our picnic/reading time were traditional "school lunch" foods: peanut butter and jelly sandwiches (make your own), apples, bananas, chocolate chip cookies, juice boxes, and snack-size bags of chips. After our picnic and book reading, we became scientists. By using a "tornado tube" toy found at teacher supply stores (around $2 per tube), water, and 2 empty 2-liter plastic bottles, each child made their own "Tornado", learning about vortex action.
Next it was a game of "Pin Ms. Frizzle on the Bus Door". Using a large picture of a school bus, and pictures of Ms. Frizzle, we had a design that fit the party's theme and allowed us to play a traditional birthday party game. The winner of the game took home a copy of the book, "MSB: Inside a Hurricane". (Great deals can be found on ebay or amazon's used book sections.)
After opening presents and cutting into the birthday boy's school-bus shaped cake, it was time for our last event... the pinata! Finding a school-bus or MSB pinata was not easy. So, we took a traditional (round, star shaped) pinata and put a photo-copied picture of the cover of "MSB: Inside a Hurricane" on each side of the pinata. Voila - MSB pinata! After the pinata was opened, it was time to round up our little scientists and send them home, via our School Bus at the front door, of course.
To take home, each child had: Party t-shirt Tornado toy Gift bag with small pack of crayons, MSB coloring sheets from Scholastic.com, Happy Birthday pencil, smiley erasers, school bus stickers (found at teacher supply store), candy bar with MSB wrapper we'd created on our computer/printer, bubbles (think: air, water), and whistles. (For gift bags, we used paper lunch sacks with the children's names on each.)