Scooby's Poolside -4yr- Message in Bottle Invites
Laura in Burlington, Ontario, Canada
Scooby's Poolside Party My son is a fish in disguise, and he also loves Scooby-doo, so for his 4th birthday we rented the pool at our local rec centre, and also a party room for after the swim.
The invitations were sent in plastic water bottles (washed out), as a sort of "message in a bottle" from Scooby-doo. Inside is a paper with the scribbled words "relp Raggy!" and a paw print, as well as an invitation from "the gang" describing how they received this in the mail along with a ransom note that instructed them to meet in the foyer of the rec centre (includes time, place details, and request for swimming gear). This rec centre is one that houses several gyms, meeting rooms, party rooms, the pool and a library.
In the lobby we will meet and find the first clue--an old fashioned library card with a wet paw print and a call number, and a few puzzle pieces. Shaggy (my brother) will tell us how Scooby has been kidnapped and will we help him find his best friend? I will play Velma, thanks to our local thrift store. I put a hold on that book and made sure to plant it on the shelf, and leave my brother there to monitor it. The book is about sea monsters and their legends. Inside the book is a "newspaper" article in which the headline reads "Watery Villains Escape". Four villains (redbeard, the seashore slimer, Captain Cutler's ghost, and the Loch Ness monster) pictures also appear here (I photographed my husband and brother for two of them, and drew pictures of the others).
I put it together using word, but you can do it with and word processor that allows you to import pictures, or you can cut and paste and photocopy. A few puzzle pieces also appear with the article. The librarians have been warned we are coming and that our visit will be brief. The kids will be warned that they have to be extra quiet because it is a library, and also because we don't want the villains to know we are after them. I will also cut out paper "footprints" to lead the way and speed up the kids in their search. The library clue will lead us to the pool. In the pool we will have several games, including sink the pirate ship, treasure diving and doggy-paddle relay.
We have an inflatable "sea creature" (ebay purchase) that will sit in the pool as we go in (the is "Nessy") and during the games Captain Cutler's ghost, as well as Redbeard will make appearances. Lots of "seaweed" (ripped and tattered greenish fabric purchased in the ends aisle of Fabricland) will be scattered about, and "slime" footprints (green gelatin or cooked coloured cornstarch mixture on fingerpainting paper made with half or less the regular amount of water and allowed to set well), will lead from the hot tub back to the changerooms. These will be put out during the last game. They are my one "red herring".
The games: Doggy-paddle relay: this is a two-team relay race where teammates must doggy-paddle across the pool while pushing a ping-pong ball with their noses. Non-swimmers will be given a swim noodle to help out. This game will be first so I can determine the kids' swimming abilities for the later games. Sink the pirate ship: Kids will be divided into two teams. Each team will have a "ship" which is a large floating mat (most pool have them and use them in lessons) and a treasure chest which will sit in the middle of the mat. The treasure chests are plastic jewel cases I purchased at the dollar store and filled with kids' jewellery, and some "coins" I made out of frozen fruit juice can lids and decorated with permanent metallic marker to look like real (large) coins.
There are also some jigsaw puzzle pieces double-sealed in freezer bags that have made their way into the treasure boxes. One has a toy pearl inside. This is another clue to be found in the last game. It could belong to either the diver (Captain Cutler's ghost) or the pirate (part of his treasure). The teams must use their "canons" (hands) and shoot canon balls (ping-pong balls) at the other ship while attempting to steal the other ship's "booty" (treasure chest). The first team to capture the other team's treasure wins.
Treasure diving: The treasure chests are snatched by Captain Cutler's ghost and scattered throughout the pool as he is chased away by the kids. The kids must dive to retrieve the treasure. They can keep what they get, except for the puzzle pieces. This works well in this pool because one whole side of it has large steps, which will make it possible for those who don't swim underwater to collect treasure too. Alternately you could let non-swimmers use noodles or lifejackets, and ensure that some of the jewellery will float.
In between the games we will let the kids have their own fun. If we need to, we will play "Scooby-doo" which is a thematic version of "Marco Polo". (One kid keeps their eyes closed and must find the others by saying "Scooby" after which all the others must reply "Doo".) We will follow the footprints to the change rooms and change, then follow them again to the party room. The footprints are regular ones, not webbed, as the diver (Cptn. Cutler's ghost) pulled off his flippers so he could run fast and escape. This also ensures that the villains responsible are not Nessy or the slimer. In the party room we will first eat (after swimming, what else?!).
There will be a variety of Scooby snacks including cereal mix (like Chex mix), veggies and dip, etc. The cake will be a swimming pool cake. I used the idea in some of the other pool parties listed on this site (cake with jello water), but instead of white cake, I'm making it with cheesecake. Scooby will be in one of the donut-shaped candy life rings, and gummy bears in the others. A couple of gummy sharks will also swim in the jello. Since many of the guests are vegetarian, the jello will be agar made with white grape juice and a few drops of blue food colouring. The gummies are also non-gelatine based. I found a lime-green plastic table cloth, orange plastic cups and turquoise plates at different dollar stores. All are reusable and cost only $2 more in total than disposables. The birthday boy will get his food in a brand-new dog dish, Scooby-style. We are also ordering a non-dairy cake for those with dairy allergies (we have a lot of dietary concerns in our group).
Beneath the cake there will be some more puzzle pieces. We aren't allowed a pinata at the centre, so instead I am planning on making a large bone-shaped gift that is wrapped in layers. We'll play a hot-potato like game and when the music stops, the child who has it unwraps a layer. In each layer are some toys and candy, and a puzzle piece. The toys include toy magnifying glasses, small working flashlights, glow in the dark plastic sea creatures and some spooky-themed erasers. The game is played elimination-style so each child gets a layer, and the eliminated are asked to help put this puzzle together. In the last layer will be a pirate's eye patch, which will be the deciding clue. Or a diving mask (we're still decidingà).
The puzzle, when put together , is a life-sized Scooby-Doo puzzle (also purchased on Ebay). Once the kids have solved the mystery and put Scooby together they get to hear the confession. Pirate confession: It gets lonely on the seven seas, and my parrot flew away after I was thrown in jail. If it weren't for you meddling kidsà Captain Cutler confession: I could have become rich and famous with a talking dog like Scooby. If it weren't for you meddling kidsà If time permits, we will make oceans in a bottle. I have collected lots of plastic water bottles. Using a funnel, the kids will pour vegetable oil and water (coloured slightly blue with a few drops of food colouring) into their bottle, so that it is about 2/3 full in the end. They can add a pinch of glitter and a few metallic confetti fish I found at a dollar store. The top is glue-gunned on by an adult and the ocean is ready for wave-making. One again we are having two large parties within three weeks. Next year I am voting we combine the two!