Midsummer Mayhem 5-8yr - Celtic Freeze Dance
Laura in Burlington Ontario Canada
February 2006 Winner
Midsummer Night Mayhem My two boys have birthdays three weeks apart and this year agreed to share a larger party. One is turning 8, the other, 5. The 5 year old is into Scooby and the 8 year old is into nature. Scooby and the gang are here as a result. The 5 year old is Scooby, I am Velma, and big brother is Shaggy. As we expect most of the parents to stay, and this is a combined party, we are planning for it to last all afternoon and into the evening. It could be shortened to fit in a 2-3 hour timeframe though by having just one thing to do with each element.
Invitations: Invitations are written on paper we made ourselves. To do this, rip up old scraps of construction paper and junk mail, etc., add water and let sit for an hour or so (longer is better), then pop it into a blender and pulse a few times. Add bits of dried flowers, etc. (we used old onion skins, dried flowers from the garden and lavender) then pour into a dishbin. Add water. Dip a piece of window screening (we stapled ours to a dollar store wooden frame) so that it is lightly covered in mulch. Invert the screen onto a dish towel, remove screen leaving the mulched rectangle behind, then place another towel over top and squeeze the water out. Lay flat to dry. An alternate invitation idea is to tear 3-4" wide strips from plain paper, write in the details leaving a wide border, then using a small twig on either side, roll it like a small scroll.
General décor (not including the activities): The upstairs is quite "normal" with mini lights at the stairs hinting of magical things beyond. Downstairs we have an L-shaped family room; in the first section of the L it is set up with a black light and magical flowers, trees, stars, etc. painted on black paper on the walls (we found florescent tempera paint to work as well as the more expensive specialty brands). We had these materials left over from our Halloween party. The rest of the L is blocked off by furniture and an old sheet (to keep out the light) such that the only way to go further is through a cave (made out of a refrigerator box). This is painted dark grey with random bits of sequins here and there to give a hint of crystal in the rock. Craft cones are duct-taped in place for stalactites and stalagmites. The room beyond is open to lots of daylight, and has lots of coffee filter and clothes pin butterflies (the kind you make with watercolour paint or markers). It also has different Celtic and Druid symbols on the walls. Outside the yard has white mini lights throughout the trees and bushes. Near the centre is a circle of toadstools adapted from another party idea on this site. Each child will receive a toadstool cap (clay pot painted with acrylic paint and spots) to plant their own fairy garden. These are inverted and become the caps that they find placed on solar garden light bases. They are told they may pick one each to help spread the fairy circle magic (see below). The other side has a pond (details below). In the middle of the yard toward the back and between two trees is a table elaborately decorated with a plain tablecloth, large crocheted doily, ivy garland around the edge, real fresh-picked leaves scattered about and toped with a dash of glitter. In the middle sits a vase of wildflowers with a battery-operated fibre-optic light arranged so that it looks like fireflies around the bouquet. The plates will be crisp flatbread, so we made contact paper placemats with pressed flowers for beneath them. Above the table are several yards of tulle (netting) of different pastel shades suspended by fish line between the trees. This makes a canopy for the guests.
Music: A variety of Enya, Celtic harp, Ashley MacIsaac, and Solitudes (Dan Gibson) music plays throughout the party. At the party: Kids are welcomed into living room to find their amulets which are mood necklaces (similar idea to the mood rings of the early 70's). I found these at the $ store, and they have various shapes including Celtic knots, dragons, serpents, etc. There will be a chart that describes the magical powers of different colours and shapes so the kids can figure out their magic. A small roll-paper colouring mural (hand-drawn) is on the wall in case there are latecomers that hold us up. When everyone is there, wizard (dad) takes out his spell book (an old textbook free from the local reuse centre-this has a "cheat sheet " inside for dad just in case) and reads to them some fairy lore, including a background story of how the Nothing (like in the Neverending Story, ignorance and lack of imagination / good ideas) is taking over the land, and how the fairies are becoming endangered. Each ancient element (earth, wind, water, fire) must be healed to restore balance to the earth and allow the fairies (gnomes and elves) to return. The Wizard asks if the children accept this quest, then each child takes an oath (Hurt No Living Thing poem), and follow the lights downstairs Downstairs is lit with black light like a magical cave (see description above). The walls are painted in glowing pictures of plants, flowers etc. and need to search for a crystal (nightlight). The kids are given small wooden flutes to play to charm the magic of the crystal. The light is plugged into a switchable outlet, so when the kids play "well enough" an adult will discretely switch on the light. Shaggy loves the psychedelic look, but both Scooby and Shaggy need a Scooby snack for the next part. The kids are offered one cereal mix (like Chex mix) to look like kibble. Shaggy and Scooby carry it with them. This room and the tunnel serve as a magical gateway into Fantasia. The kids must pass through the crystal cave, into the Celtic temple. The Wizard gives them a test of their magic: each child gets a pinch of pop rocks candy to see if it comes alive in their mouths. If it does, the magic is working (another great idea I found on this site!). Then the Wizard says their magic is reads to them about the magic of a fairy circle. They file out and find the toadstool ring.
Fairy circle: and play Celtic music freeze dancing game; as each child is eliminated they help find those who move. They may also pick a toadstood to help spread the magic of the fairy circle. Earth: kids go to middle of yard, and the Wizard, who has been growing glum as he looks around, excuses himself. Velma (myself) takes over with the magic book. Our lawn that has lots of bare spots which are the blight that has seized the land. The kids are asked to rejuvenate the earth by scattering their magic dust over the land (clover seed mixed with sand), then are given a flower (marigolds work well) to plant in their own pot (the toadstool caps). The group comes together again to test to see if their magic worked with pop rocks (and recite the magic chant 3 times as a group). On the way to wind, the kids must pass by the magic strawberry patch (another borrowed idea). Chocolate dipped strawberries are wrapped and placed throughout our real strawberry patch. The kids are allowed to eat theirs to keep up their strength. Shaggy notices (if the guests don't first) the Wizard's pouch (burlap bag with seed packets inside). Velma mentions that a wizard doesn't just leave that sort of thing lying around! Yeah, nothing could make him part with that says Shaggy. (hint!) I think we have a mystery on our hands
Wind: kids go to patio and make wind chimes Each child receives a 6 piece of wood dowel (sticks would also work well), and may choose four items from a pile we collected earlier. The pile includes 4 lengths of copper pipe, some old keys, some old large washers, fired clay pieces, a couple of paint can openers, large glass beads, etc. All were pre-strung with fish line ready to be fastened to the dowel. Each child also receives a length of cord with a loop for hanging once the other items have been fastened on. A dab of hot glue helps with sliding fish line. They can also make a pinecone bird feeder here as a special good deed for the flying spirits. Once finished with those, they are given some seeds that have been caught earlier in the spring wind (clover and wildflowers) to add and plant in their dish. (Velma reads these instructions from the book). When they are done, they get a ribbon stick to fly while they wait for the others ($ store or make your own with a short piece of dowel and staple a length of long, wide, colourful ribbon to one end). Together do the chant and check the magic again with pop rocks. On their way to water, they pass by the enchanted apple tree. Strung on the branches are candy apples for the kids that they may collect as they pass by. Shaggy and Scooby are suitably impressed, but Velma continues to worry about the Wizard, especially when his hat is found behind the magic tree.
Water: first we visit the pond. Using $ store bulrushes and an old shower curtain in a form we made from rocks and sand, we make an artificial temporary wetland/pond. A few fun-foam lily pads float on top, and the bottom has some river rocks and sand, as well as some glass half-marbles and shells. Alas, the Nothing has been here, as we can tell by the garbage floating on top. The garbage includes clean floating items (tetra packs, water bottles, etc.) enough for one or two pieces per child. The kids must use nets to fish out the garbage and clean up the wetland. They may also keep a couple of the jewels and shells from the pond for their fairy garden. After that we'll water the garden (sprinklers, etc. --let them run through if it's hot enough outside, otherwise just water plants), and add water dish / nutshell to dish (half a walnut shell, or a small seashell).Then out come the bubbles, regular and some catchables. When interest diminishes, have them catch a bubble hold it in their hands and do the water chant, then check for the magic with pop rocks.
Fire: We made hand-held luminaires from old pop cans we collected from our neighbours. Instructions are on the family fun website. We have lots of beeswax and citronella candles (some in torch shapes) around the yard (but out of the way enough that they are unlikely to be of danger). At this point, the sun is getting low. Each child chooses a candle to stand beside, and an adult comes and lights it. Some of the paper bag luminaires have been lit during the water station, and the rest are lit now (fill a paper bag 1/3 full with sand, then put a tea light inside and light it). The table candles are lit last. Each child is given a tea light to add to their garden. As we chant and check the magic again, my husband turns on the mini-lights in the yard. When the lights come on, Velma points out a trail of star sequins that lead to the garden shed. Inside is the Wizard. He expresses amazement that the kids have succeeded in their quest. It seems like the Nothing was getting him too. (Velma says this). Because no Scooby episode would be the same without it, we will record a wispy and weak voice saying I would have done it too, if it weren't for those meddling kids! And play it through the yard. The food comes out then, but first the kids must be seated. At their places they find tiny baby fairy or elf in their cups (teacups naturally). This is made from polymer clay and instructions can be found by Google searching Ann Gedes + fairy + polymer. The quest has been a success! These new little people will help save their species, but like the earth elements, they must be cared for. Luckily, they already have a home in each of the fairy gardens.
The food is all mini-sized items (but lots of them) including mini bagels and creamed cheese, mini pitas with hummus, baby veggies and dip, cookie cutter sandwiches (pb&j, egg salad, etc.), mini chocolate chip cookies, lots of berries fruit salad, mini pizzas (and other Scooby type food), fiddlestick breadsticks (Kids Magazine Summer 2005) made from frozen bread dough and formed into sticks with curls at one end; brush with egg and sprinkle with seeds (or cinnamon sugar) and bake watching closely until they're done. Display in a jar on the table. You can make meringue mushroom caps as well, recipes can be found online. The main cake is an angel food cake with one side carved out (remove a triangle of cake) to form a waterfall shape. Use drip icing (icing sugar with a tiny bit of water and food colouring as desired) to decorate the falls. Regular icing or more drip icing to frost the non-water part. Use pebble candy along the bottom etc. to embellish. Surround with toadstool cupcakes (Kids Magazine, see above). These are over-filled cupcakes. Use every other muffin hole in the pan and fill to the top with batter. Bake then cut off the tops, invert the bottoms, ice pieces together, then us a white glaze icing on the top. Add round cinnamon candy spots. The Scooby gang figurines will sit on top of the toadstools, along with a fondant caterpillar here and there. If we have time and the kids are inclined to do so, we may pull out glue guns and have them build an Inuksuk for their garden with their collected rocks and half-marbles.