Idea No.


Tortoise Party -7yr- Steat Totoise Game



June 2014


Vida in Maribor, Slovenia

Special Mention


My son wanted to have a tortoise birthday party for his 7th birthday. This party was for his schoolmates.

INVITATIONS: I draw a tortoise and made another copy of it, so that we got two turtles holding with the tip of the shell: when the turtles were cut out and folded, we got an invitation with the turtle image on both side. My son coloured the invitations by himself.  The party lasted from 10 am till noon on Saturday.

DECORATIONS: There was a giant tortoise drawing on the wall that was later used for the first game. We also decorated the glasses with little tortoises and the children's names.

1. As we were waiting for the children to arrive, we played the game: pin some salad to the tortoise.

2. For a second game we had pantomime: I showed the child an animal (later on we told them some sea animals) and he/she had to mime the animal and the rest had to guess the animal. The one who guessed was that animal too.  In that way we got the pairs, but then we continued to play a little more as the children were really very interested. As we proceeded to the next game I reminded them for the initial animal pairs.

3. The sea animals in the sea. The pair of children with the same animal were spaced evenly around the sheet. They hold the edge of the cloth with both hands. First we practice making waves (raising the sheet to billow in the air). Then I called out the name of the animals. The two children ran through the waves to swap places before the wave collapsed.

4. When the little tortoises had enough playing they went to the sea shore to lay eggs. The children were divided into two teams. There were two baskets, each containing about 1 kg of potatoes and on the other side there were 2 empty baskets. One player from each team had to carry the total content of a basket (using their hands only) to the waiting empty basket. Any dropped potatoes had to be picked up before proceeding further.

5. The tortoises make a hole in the ground and put their eggs in and cover them again and leave. But our tortoise stayed on the nest and guarded the eggs. The children made a circle around the tortoise who sat blindfolded and very still on a wooden chair holding a folded newspaper in one hand. The children took turns to be the thief. The thief tried to get hold of the eggs (a box containing two marbles) which lied beneath the chair. If the tortoise heard the thief he was allowed one swipe with his newspaper. If he touched the thief then he had to return to his place and allowed the player on the left to be the thief. If the thief managed to evade the swipe and stole the eggs, then he became a tortoise and the old tortoise joined the circle. The game finished when everyone had had a turn as thief or tortoise.

6. When little tortoise come out of the eggs they start running towards the sea. They seem to be very fast, but as they are so little they are slow in fact. I draw little tortoises on the peanut shell and the children had to move the tortoises from start to the final point (the sea) only with their noses.

7. On their way to the sea there are a lot of predators waiting for little tortoises. One child was a bird (he got a bird cap) and the children played tag. Whomever the bird ate transformed into a bird himself.

8. And finally the tortoises arrived to the sea. We prepared two sets of over-sized flippers, goggles and Beach Pails filled to the top with water. The children were divided into two teams. The first in the line of each team put on the flippers and goggles. Each person had to run a designated line with the water filled bucket and then ran the same course back again giving the next team member the goggles, flippers and water filled beach pails. The winners were two: a team with the most water left in the bucket and the ones who came first.

9. As the children were tired we had another game before the cake: spin a bottle: we collected the birthday gifts, unopened, in a large basket as the guests arrived. For this game the children sat in a circle on the floor. I placed an empty glass bottle on its side in the middle of the circle with a little tortoise on it and the birthday boy spin it. When it stopped turning, the child to whom the neck of the bottle pointed could offer the birthday boy his gift to unwrap. 

CAKE: After an hour of games there was a tortoise cake with mint lemonade and rhubarb juice. 

ACTIVITIES: I prepared the template for turtles and tortoises. The children chose one and traced it on the thin foam. Then they coloured the nut shell and then glued it to the foam. As we waited for the parents to pick up the children, we played a giant board game, with a giant dice. I draw the spaces on the floor and each number had special meaning (for example, you miss the turn, go three places, return one place, stand on one foot until it’s your turn again.)

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