Woody Toy Story -3yr- Howdy Marco Polo Game
Megan in Lincoln, NE USA
Our family doesn't have much money to spend, so I love to get creative for each birthday and make a great party for little to nothing at all!
INVITATION: Using Microsoft Publisher, I created a Cowboy invitation that said Howdy Partner" on the front with a picture I designed from scratch of a cowboy holding his hat up with his first finger. Then on the inside I used that same cowboy changing his hand to a thumbs up and wrote "Hot Dog! You're invited to a snake-pickin' boot lickin' good time at _________ (insert child's name) _________ (insert child's age) birthday (ie: Timmy's 3rd Birthday). Bring your howdy rowdy selves on over to _________________(insert address) on ________ (insert date) at ___________ (insert time) for fun games and all-you-can-eat pickins." Then the RSVP information. I also put driving directions on the back with a picture of my son "saying": I can't wait to see you there it encourages them to come :-).
DECORATIONS: To make a desert I cut open brown paper lunch bags (by cutting down one side on a crease from top to bottom and then cutting out the rectangle on the bottom) and layering them flat (with clear masking tape) along the wall to make sand. I bought green felt by 8x10in sheets at WalMart for 20 cents each and made cactus (A full cactus is accomplished by using 5 sheets: The first sheet cut the top rounded for the top of the cactus; the second sheet leave whole; the third sheet cut the bottom rounded for the bottom of the cactus; the other two sheets cut our the arms of the cactus. A half cactus to hide behind a couch or other is accomplised with 4 sheets: the first sheet rounded for the top of the cactus the second sheet is whole and the other two sheets are cut out for the arms. I also made little whole cactus of varying sizes to look like the desert was going away from you.)
Then I went online and found pictures of desert animals printed them off and put them in our "desert" with a sign that read "Can You Guess These Desert Animals?" and little papers by each animal with the answers inside. I also bought a pack of 5 gold larger stars from WalMart for $1.00 and put them up on the ceiling to look like we were in the desert under the stars. I also had a picture printed (from online) of a horse's face with a sign that read "Round of your horses here" for each child to put their horse when they arrived. A friend gave us a Buzz Lightyear banner that read "Happy Birthday" so to encorporate that aspect of Toy Story I decorated the dining room over the table like outerspace. I used different colored balloons as the first 5 planets and decorated them with permanent marker like the way they really look (by looking at pictures online). I hung them in a semi-circle to look as if they were going away from us (I didn't include earth because we're on earth looking out at the stars from the desert since the theme is cowboy for Woody).
Then I cut open a large black trash bag and put it behind the planets on the wall drawing the remainding 3 planets on construction paper and placing them in "space" to look like they too were getting further away. I also put construction paper stars up and printed off a picture of Buzz's spaceship (from online) and taped it to look like it was going into outerspace. I looked up interesting facts online about the planets and wrote it on a piece of paper and taped it to the black trash bag background so the kids could learn something cool.
ACTIVITIES/GAMES: First we played "Pin the Tail on Rex" (just like pin the tail on the donkey). I found a coloring-page picture of Rex from Toy Story online and expanded it on Microsoft Publisher to fit a poster size. I "cut" the tail and copied it on a separate sheet of paper (so they'd stay the same size) then printed off both and colored them with markers. We used double-sided tape on the backs of the tails for an easy stick. Then we made rattlesnakes using empty 20 oz. pop bottles dry beans constructions paper and double-sided tape. The kids filled the pop bottles with beans colored heads for their snakes and put it all together. Next using our rattlesnakes we played a game similar to Marco-Polo. The person "it" was blindfolded and every time they called out "Howdy" (instead of Marco) the other kids shook their snakes (instead of saying Polo) and the person it had to try to tag them by sound alone.
After that we did one last craft with potato stamps. To make a potato stamp take a large potato and cut it in half. Then trace (using a ball point pen works best) the design onto the first potato half on the white part. I drew a simple Mr. Potato Head design. Note: the ink will not show up its purpose is to make an "invisible" tracing by indenting where you push it into. Then use a sharp pointed knife to cut out the design pushing only about a centimeter down (just the top part of the knife). Next cut inward from the outside of the potato (only about a centimeter or two down)until your cut gets barely to the edge of the design (go slowly) you will be able to just pull the potato "meat" away and it'll make your stamp pop out. Use paint to stamp it onto the paper. Afterwards we sang Happy Birthday and opened gifts and the kids played.
COSTUMES: We used the most money here because we wanted our son to have cowboy gear for later since he really loves it. We found Woody cowboy boots at WalMart for $19.00 (they even have "Andy" written on the bottom just like on Woody's!) We put him in plaid red and blue shirt tucked into Wrangler dark blue jeans (WalMart for $8.00). We found a black cowboy hat (not plastic) in the toy section of WalMart for $5.00 and no cowboy outfit is complete without a belt. We went to The Fort Western Outfitters store and found an authentic cowboy belt with a big buckle for only $9.99! We asked all his friends to wear anything they could think of that looked like a cowboy/cowgirl outfit and to bring their "horse" if they had one (a stuffed animal horse large or small is great).
PARTY SNACKS: We had a plethora of healthy but fun cowboy finger-foods for the party: Ants on Logs (celery with peanut butter and raisins); crisp purple grapes; carrot sticks; Cheetos White Cheddar Puffs; CapriSun Roarin' Waters drinks; and we even "roasted" (already warmed) hotdogs over our "campfire" (a large three-wick candle put on a plate. The plate was covered with a brown paper lunch bag cut open flat and I used brown felt (WalMart for 20 cents each sheet) rolled up and glued to the bottom to look like logs sticking out). To "roast" them we used straightened cut and cleaned wire hangers.
CAKE: We got our cake from Russ's Market for $21.00. They had four Toy Story cakes to choose from and one of the choices was a just Woody cake using toy props on it (a Woody leaning on blocks by two fences and some grass). We added a toy cactus we had on it too. The message said "Hot Dog Partner it's your birthday! Happy 3rd ________ (insert child's name)."
FAVORS: We gave each child a brown paper lunch sack filled with anything we could think of that a character from Toy Story could use. For example play money for the Piggy Bank on Toy Story; slinkies for Slink; plastic sheriff badges (which at the party we gave each kid a paper homemade sheriff's badge with their names on it and stuck it to their shirts using circle velcro pieces) for Woody; a guitar-shaped bubble necklace for Woody; army guys for the army characters from the movie; etcetera. Each family also took home one potato stamp (which I made some with a Mr. Potato Head and others with a Mrs. Potato Head design) and decorated the bottom part of the potato as a Mr. or Mrs. Potato Head face. They also took home a small bottle of paint for their stamps.
Get creative and have fun! I believe that the sky's the limit for an awesome birthday party without spending a fortune! And I always love to include crafts and knowledge-builders because it makes learning and developing their skills (especially for the younger ages) much more fun! Also if kids and their parents can do things together it develops a lasting and closer relationship!!!! "