Snow Party (10-14yr) Cotton Ball Relay
Tracey in Smithville, Ohio, USA
My nieces ages 10 and 14 were able to come spend their Christmas break with us this year, and we threw them a combined birthday party for their recent birthdays. The guests were all family members, and all the kids ranged from age 10 to 14. There was not a lot of common themes that they would both enjoy, but since they are visiting Ohio from Nevada and love the snow, I decided on a snow themed party! We did not have any party snacks as this was a dinner party.
INVITATIONS: I made snowflake invitations. This took some planning to get the text to fit in the center of the snowflakes, but after they were complete I simply folded them back up and put them in the envelopes!
DECORATIONS: Snowflakes lots and lots of snowflakes! All of the snowflake garlands were on sale at our local party store. I also cut out snowflakes to hang along with the store bought ones. I made a few fancy snowflakes out of the girls’ names! Their favorite colors are blue and purple, so I also used crepe paper in these colors and it turned out so pretty! We also set around snowmen decorations. I took poster board to make signs for each birthday girl and then made glittery blue and purple snowflakes around their names.
GAMES: We started off the party with some games. These were mainly for the kids, but the adults liked them so well that several of them joined in the games as well!
Game 1: I had all the players sit at a table and gave them all a large bowl full of cotton balls, a straw and a plastic cup. The object of the game was to move the cotton balls from the bowl to the cup using only the straw. My first thought was that they would use suction to move the cotton balls, but one player surprised me by thinking outside of the box they folded their straw in half and used it like chop sticks and won!
Game 2: I had everyone dump their cotton balls back into their bowls, and gave them each a spoon. Then we blindfolded everyone with bandanas. The object of this game was to be the first to spoon all of the cotton balls into the cup. We had several spotters to help in case a player dropped some on the table, and they would just put the dropped cotton balls back into the bowls for them. Because the cotton balls are so light, many of the players couldn’t tell they were spooning empty spoonfuls into their cup!
Game 3: This game required a partner. I gave each team a string that was 3 feet long, and had a large marshmallow tied at each end. To start, one partner had to hold one of the marshmallows with their mouth and it was their job to get the other marshmallow into their partner’s mouth by swinging it at them. Once this had been accomplished the first person had to let go of their marshmallow and then their partner would have to get the marshmallow back into their mouth.
Game 4: Our final game was for the kids only. I had them wear the bandanas on their heads to cover and hold back their hair. Each player was given a pie pan and told to place 4 gummy worms in their pans. Then I gave them a bowl of brownie crumbs and had them cover their worms in dirt, and because it is winter time we added snow (whipped cream) to cover the dirt! The players then had to race to dig their worms out using only their mouth and put them into their cups! Even after the race was over the kids kept eating!!
ACTIVITIES: After the games I decided to do some science with the kids to keep the older ones interested. Most of our experiments were messy, so I made sure that everyone had a tray to make for easy cleanup. Dancing Snowballs: I gave everyone a jar with a lid, and told them to fill it ¾ full with water, add some blue food coloring and 1 teaspoon of baking soda. Then I gave them each a baggie with 6 mothballs (these must be the old fashioned mothballs – the new ones will not work). Everyone experienced the smell of mothballs for the first time! I had them drop 1 of the mothballs into their jar, just so they could see that it sank to the bottom. Then I had them add 1 teaspoon of citric acid to their jars. (This makes it bubble up like Alka-Seltzer) After the fizzing died down they put in the rest of the mothballs. All of the mothballs were now floating and spinning from the bubbles. I had them put the lids on the jars to get rid of the odor and we watched them dance around. Now I have to admit, I was a little disappointed. When I saw a video of this on the internet, it showed the mothballs diving up and down and kind of looked like a lava lamp. We found out later that they DO do this after about an hour and a half. Instant Snow: I did not tell them what our next experiment was, I just gave them each a little cup and told them to put 1 scoop of a white powder into their cup. Then I told them to fill another cup (same size) with water and add it to the powder. No one had ever seen Instant Snow before and they all really enjoyed doing this over and over again. I gave them food coloring to add to the water so they could make colored snow!
Hot Ice: I had a lot of trouble with preparing the last experiment but it was so cool it was definitely worth it! I made up several batches of hot ice ahead of time. To do this, I put 1 tablespoon of baking soda in a microwave safe bowl, and slowly very slowly poured and mixed in 1 cup of vinegar. I microwaved this for 15 minutes, stopping every 5 minutes to stir. Then I continued in 1 minute increments until it began to crystallize around the edges and I could see a thin film on top of the liquid. The idea is to boil out all of the water to create a sodium acetate solution the same thing that is found in reusable hand warmers. Once the water is boiled out you will be left with about one tenth of what you started with. As soon as the film formed on top, I immediately poured it into a small cup, covered it right away to prevent evaporation and placed it into a pan of ice and water to super cool it. The bowl that I cooked this in was left with white crystals that I scraped into a container for later. Once the solution was super cooled, I placed it into the refrigerator for storage. I should mention that this is very smelly to make probably not something you will want to do around company! So at the party, I gave each kid a cup of the solution, and another small cup with a small piece of crystal that I had scraped off of the bowl. I told them to pour the solution onto the crystal. Now I was expecting it to freeze but it did not. So then I dipped my finger into the crystals and tapped on the solution and it began to freeze instantly! It was so cool looking that I forgot that the solution was freezing on my finger tip as well, until it got too hot! So since that did not feel too good, I had the rest of them dip a toothpick into the crystals and tap their solution with it. They couldn’t believe how hot it got! Snow Globes: Our last activity was only done by the girls boys were not interested in it at all! I bought the round Coke bottles and washed them out for snow globes. I gave them glitter, sequins, snowflake confetti and some snowflake shaped beads. They added glycerin to the water to make everything a little more buoyant, and food coloring. They all looked so pretty!
CAKE: We had a chocolate and a white cake for each birthday child that was iced white, decorated with blue snowflakes. I used a cookie cutter as a template and made the snowflakes with blue sugar.