Snow Day Party -6yr- Instant Snow
Andrea in Brighton, MA USA
February 2011 Winner
Snow Day Party We've missed a lot of school days due to snow in Boston this year, so for my daughter's February birthday we planned a Snow Day party. In case the real thing didn't fall, we purchased Insta-Snow from Steve Spangler to create an indoor snowstorm, and planned inside and outside activities. The outdoors was slushy, so we ended up with our indoor plan.
Invitations: We took a picture of a school bus stranded in a pile of snow off the internet for the front cover. We wrote Snow Day under it. Then we added the party date and: Canceled: Chores, Errands, Boring Stuff in the style of school cancellations on TV. Inside we gave the party details: Get snowed in at [child's] 6th birthday party. Parking ban on [our street] begins at 2 pm and will lift at 4:30. We have all the essentials, including a gallon of milk, at [address] so bunker down for art, dancing, storytelling, and cooking. We will play outside, weather permitting, so bundle up. My daughter glued bits of cotton all over the school bus and the piles of snow. We put a piece of wax paper over each invitation so they wouldn't stick to the envelopes. We have a lot of free address labels that we receive from various charities and it's fun to match them to a party theme. Our daughter chose white labels with blue snowflakes on them, which looked great on pale blue envelopes. She sealed each envelope with a snowman sticker.
Decorations: We created tons of paper snowflakes and taped them up on the windows and mirrors. We hung a blue foil curtain in the doorway for a magical entrance to our winter wonderland. We have a line of small hooks over one doorway and hung the kids' paper snowflakes from them as they made them. On the outside of the door we hung a big paper thermometer with measurements for outdoor and indoor temperatures. For outdoors we waited until the day of the party to color it in. The temperature categories were labeled with funny icons such as a polar bear mixing a smoothie, a swing set covered in snow (the kids know when it goes below 20 degrees it's INDOOR RECESS), a hula dancer under a sizzling sun. The indoor temperature broke out of the top of the thermometer with the words Hot Party, and a picture of our daughter. The table was set with a sparkly silver tablecloth and a basket of small Styrofoam snowballs (to be used later for games). The paper products were left over from my oldest daughter's bat mitzvah. They were square and diamond shaped with blue and silver rims.
Costumes: The family members wore short sleeves, wild prints, shorts and flip flops and then a winter hat or scarf. We gave the guests rub-on beach themed tattoos as they came in and inexpensive scarves.
Activities: The first thing we did was activate our instant snow by adding water to the dried polymer. I made it in small batches 2 cups at a time so different kids could have a chance to add the powder and water. As each batch was finished, I poured it out over their hands and heads and we shouted Snow Storm!" Most of the snow was used on a small table to play with toy cars and animals. They also filled pots and cups with it. It didn't form into shapes unless you added so much water that it got gross (we did that for some to enjoy the squishy slimy feel) but they had so much fun watching it expand sprinkling it about and playing in it that I had to make batches at three different points in the party. The snow was even cool to the touch (thanks to the cooling effect of ongoing evaporation we learned a little science while we played).
For the "official" activities we set up centers like they have in kindergarten. We had four centers and opened them two at a time. The kids broke themselves into fluid groups based on interest which worked much better than my initial plan of dividing them into "teams".
At the Creation/Art Center we had baskets of materials and supplies: crayons yarn buttons fabric scraps tissue paper chalk cotton balls scissors toothpicks glue. We had coloring pages with winter themes such as mittens a snowplow and a skating scene on which they could also add fabric buttons and yarn. One of my older daughters taught kids how to make paper snowflakes. I attached blue yarn to them and we hung them over the doorway. Before they took them home I showed them how to pull on the yarn to create a flying or spinning snowflake. Some used the chalk on dark construction paper to make "glowing scenes". Some built snow creatures out of the Styrofoam balls and toothpicks.
At the Dancing Station my oldest daughter a ballet student taught some basic moves played some Nutcracker music and then helped each group choreograph their own winter dance. Later the two groups put on a show for each other.
In the kitchen we had a Cooking Center where we made Rice Krispies treat snowballs. We rolled them into small medium and large and set them aside in three bowls for later. Upstairs my husband ran the Story Time Center. We had several snowy themed books chosen but he ended up doing a dramatic reading of a favorite folktale "Three Perfect Peaches". Not everything has to fit a theme. This center designed as stall time while I cleaned up the cooking mess was a huge hit.
We also had games including a snowball toss with the Styrofoam balls (which ended of course with a snowball fight) and an icicle catch where kids had to grab a marshmallow off a hanging string with their teeth. We had other games planned but the kids preferred making fake snow and doing the centers.
Snacks: Snacks were simple. We had popcorn white cheese carrot sticks (snowman noses) and raisins (snowman eyes) We were going to make smoothies but everyone was into the centers and I left well enough alone. We had milk and ice water to drink.
Cake: The cake was supposed to be an angel food cake decorated as a winter scene but last minute my daughter wanted just Rice Krispies treats (her brother had an all Rice Krispies treat cake at his recent party and she wanted the same). So while the kids were doing their dance performances I made seven snowmen out of Rice Krispies treat balls and toothpicks and arranged them on a silver platter scatted with mini powder sugar donuts. I put tiny candy dot eyes and mouths on them and a licorice piece for a top hat. Inside the holes of each licorice I stuck a candle. The "cake" was far more tippy than I had expected so we had to move quickly to singing Happy Birthday and blowing those candles out but it sure looked great. Then we brought out the small medium and large bowls of balls and white frosting and let each child assemble and eat their own snow creation.
Favors: The favors were in Chinese food boxes decorated with snowflake stickers. Each child got a bag of homemade cocoa mix from my famous recipe (you'll have to come over on a snowy day to get some!) a bag of mini marshmallows cocoa making instructions a homemade snowman kit of toothpicks and Styrofoam balls and some art creation items including stickers to continue creating on snow days at home. They took home their scarves and art also.
Thank You Notes: At my daughter's school the teachers send out a weekly K-News including photos over email so our thank you notes are going to be in the form of a "J-News" [daughter's first initial] including a personal photo of each child taken during the party. I was pretty sick of real snow days by the time the party happened but this one was a blast.