Cool Penguin Party -6yr- Penguin Pile-Up Game
Christine in Kensington, CT USA
For her 6th birthday, my daughter decided she wanted a penguin party. This turned out to be a wonderful theme - there are so many possibilities, especially for a winter birthday! Because we have a small home and we had 20 children to include, we used the hall at the local fire department. The party was held from 2:00-4:00 on a Sunday in February. Every child invited was able to attend!
INVITATIONS: We purchased penguin-themed invitations (along with matching tableware) from Oriental Trading. The invitations said Come to a Cool Party!" By shopping for penguin- and winter-themed items such as these after the holidays and decorated the envelopes with mini-stamper penguins hopping across the front and back.
DECORATIONS: We purchased a large number of foil curlicue snowflake decorations again on clearance after the holidays. These were hung from the ceiling from window locks and in front of the "check-in" table. We used a combination of white and black tablecloths and alternated white and blue balloons on the backs of all the chairs and scattered a few around the room. We had 2 "igloo" tents from IKEA and a 3-foot inflatable penguin from PartyPalooza.
ACTIVITIES: When each guest arrived they had their hand stamped with a penguin stamp chose a black or white strand of beads and received a penguin hat. I purchased plain black baseball caps and used adhesive felt and some wiggly eyes to turn them into penguin faces. I used glitter glue to print each child's name on the back of her hat. (This was all done ahead.) The kids looked so cute in their penguin hats! Next they went to the craft table. We made footprint penguins with mom or dad's help: first child traced parent's foot on black paper with chalk. Then parent traced child's foot on white paper. Cut out feet and glue white on black; the bigger print is the penguin's head and body the smaller white print is the tummy. We made wings by tracing the child's hand on folded black paper (wrist on the fold); when cut and opened up the handprints looked like wings. Children cut out feet and beaks from orange paper and added some wiggly eyes. We taped up all the completed penguins on a blank wall for a penguin parade! Children took them home at the end of the party. After the craft children went to "centers."
We had four activities with 5 children at each:
(1) game table with "Don't Break the Ice" and "Penguin Pile-Up";
(2) penguin hopscotch game (paper "rocks" taped to floor in hopscotch pattern; use stuffed fish instead of the traditional pebble; kids had to hop on the rocks and catch the fish);
(3) play with inflatable penguins igloo tents balloons and blue crawl-through tube; and
(4) the HUGE HIT - 4 trays of "Insta-Snow." This is a powder that I ordered from SteveSpanglerScience.com. Just add water and poof you have a soft squishy white substance that is a lot like snow - it's even cool to the touch. We put lots of small plastic penguins out for snow play as well as small cups bowls and sifters. Everyone enjoyed this activity so much that we left extra time for a return to it at the end. During "centers" we hid penguin pictures for the penguin match game (see below).
GAMES: After centers we had all of the children come sit in a circle. We talked a little about penguins - that they are birds but they can't fly that the father sits on the egg and keeps it warm all winter and that it hatches just before the mother returns from months at sea. We did all of this by asking the kids questions and it was amazing how much they knew and how interested they were. At this point we handed each child a simple drawing of a penguin. Each penguin was colored in a different pattern - eg. Pink with purple polka dots. We told them this was the mother penguin who had just returned from the sea and she needed to find her new baby chick and the dad penguin. They needed to search all around the room and find the dad and baby that matched the pattern on their mother penguin. This was great fun! The ones who finished early helped the ones having a harder time finding their match. Everyone returned to the circle after they found their matching penguin and got a big round of applause. Then we did "pin the hat on the penguin." Last we split the kids up into two groups for a snowball race. The first person in each line had to put on a pair of mittens and quickly carry a "snowball" (big styrofoam ball) in large spoon over to one of the igloo tents. S/he should leave the snowball inside the tent run back to the line pass the mittens and spoon on to the next person who would run to the tent and collect the snowball and run back with it. This continued through the lines and the teams ended up finishing at about the same time. Great fun! After cake (see below) we had a pinata as our final activity. We used a pull-string pinata featuring Mumble from Happy Feet. I purchased plastic Happy Feet cups and had the children's names on them ahead of time for gathering their candy.
CAKE & PARTY SNACKS: After hand-washing everyone sat down for treats. The party was 2:00-4:00 so we did not serve a meal. We had ice cream cake from Dairy Queen beautifully decorated with penguins and snowflakes; their artist did a great job! I made penguin cupcakes ; these were cupcakes frosted with white icing but we used chocolate cookies mini chocolate morsels dried apricots cut into tiny triangles and decorator icing to turn them into little penguins. We also had Oreos (to go with the black and white theme) and for a healthy option I put three grapes each onto toothpicks and froze them for mini icy fruit kebabs. For drinks we offered assorted juice boxes and water bottles. FAVORS: My post-holiday order from Oriental Trading included paper gift bags with penguins on either a green or red background. We filled these with: Parachuting penguin figure (partypalooza) Penguin bubbles (partypalooza) Small bag of Swedish Fish candy; A peppermint patty ;A large penguin-shaped gummy individually wrapped and tied with ribbon ; A hand-made penguin magnet craft project ; I had intended this as a party activity but decided it was too hard so I pre-cut all the pieces typed out directions and put all into a baggie tied with ribbon) Of course the children also had their penguin hats and their piñata candy.
This was a great party! We are still receiving raves. Some of the children wore their penguin hats to school the next day. Having the party in a hall (free for us) combined the personal nature of a home party with lots of space that our home does not have. It was a lot of work but hopefully my daughter will always remember it fondly! "