Jul 29, 2010

Simple/Last Minute Birthday Party

My sister and I threw together a super last minute un-birthday celebration for our boys. All I did was go to the Dollar Store and get a Happy Birthday banner... ...and a flag banner that I was going to cut up. I also got a few pieces of poster board and some noisemakers. I taped the flags from the banner to squares of poster board and put a clue on the bottom of each which would lead whoever read it to a hiding spot for one of the noisemakers. We played that game kind of like a cake walk only I just called out someone's name when I stopped the music. But I did have to remember which pieces we'd already gotten clues from!

Then I put together a scavenger hunt leading the boys to their presents. Simple but always fun!

And lastly, my sister brought cupcakes and frosting and everyone got to decorate their own cupcakes!

It was so simple and easy to put together but the kids had just as much fun as if we'd spent weeks planning it!

Jul 22, 2010

Butterfly Playgroup

For playgroup we had a popsicle day! One of the moms brought popsicles for all the kids and I planned a craft to do with popsicle sticks!There was a little preparation involved. Before going I had to hot glue the pipe cleaners onto the popsicles sticks. The picture is a little dark, but you just fold the pipe cleaner in half and only glue about an inch onto the stick.Then, all the kids colored their "butterfly wings" (coffee filters). After the filter is colored, you pinch it in the middle and lay it on top of the pipe cleaner, fold the un-glued part over the wings, and twist the top of the pipe cleaner together to make the antennas!
Before we made our butterflies, the kids drew flowers on the sidewalk with chalk. Then, all the butterflies got to fly around exploring the flowers!
I was also planning on having some facts about butterflies so we could talk a little bit more about them and learn a few things, but I didn't have time to put that part together. None of the kids minded though, they just had fun playing!

Jul 17, 2010

Space-Themed Birthday Party

For my son's 4th birthday party I planned another space-themed party. This one was more about "astronauts exploring the universe."I made astronaut necklaces for each guest to wear. Once the kids had them on they were ready to explore!We went on a scavenger hunt and discovered all 8 planets in our solar system. I had hidden all the clues outside and the kids had to figure out where each planet was hidden. We started with Neptune and worked our way back to...The sun! And not just any sun, a massive pinata sun! I spent all week making this paper mache pinata out of a punching bag balloon. It was huge! And it turned out to be too solid for the kids to break apart (I put three layers of newspaper on the balloon)! It eventually fell off the string and the kids just ripped it open while it was on the ground.Next we played Meteoroid Toss! Two of the dads held up hula hoops and the kids had to toss water balloons through the hole. I told them that the hula hoops were the rings around Saturn and they had shrunk in size so we had to throw the meteoroids (water balloons) through the rings to help build them back up!

After we helped Saturn return it's rings to their normal size, we played Moon Rock Relay. I found some foam balls at the Dollar store and ripped them up into rock size pieces (it was harder than it sounds!). Then, I got four buckets, split the kids up into four teams and they were supposed to, one at a time, pick up a moon rock and place it in their team's bucket. Whatever team had the most moon rocks in their bucket once all the "rocks" were gone, won!The only thing left for our astronauts to do was discover the moon. I made this moon cake by putting half the batter in an 8" round pan and the other half in a glass oven-safe bowl. It stacked perfectly!
To make the inside more fun I did rainbow cake batter. It didn't turn out exactly how I wanted since I bought a yellow cake instead of a white. I'll know better next time!

Jul 12, 2010

Castle Card

As a small gift for one of my son's friends, I made this castle card. The castle is actually glued onto the front of a white cardstock card and the doors open and close.

Jul 7, 2010

Space Camp Playgroup

I think I may have mentioned my son's interest/obsession with space, so I planned a whole playgroup based on space. It was so much fun and the kids loved it!I made these NASA "badges" for all of the little astronauts to wear.

The first activity we did was How Do Rockets Fly? Unfortunately, I didn't get any pictures of the actual demonstration, but it was so awesome! All of the kids freaked out, I really want to do this one again!Next, we played Musical Planets. I've done this one before at a birthday party and it's always a lot of fun. I have a CD that plays songs that talks about the sun, the moon, and each of the planets. When I stop the music, I ask one of the kids to identify which planet they're standing on. Then, using one of our many space books, I show an actual picture of the planet and tell the kids several interesting facts about each planet. The game ends once we make it through the whole solar system!After that we played Pin The Astronaut on the Moon. We have a young group of kids in our playgroup, so I made this game pretty simple. I drew an outline for each of the pieces that I had and then, taking turns, the kids had to find where each item was supposed to go. We ended up having a few more children than I thought we would so I didn't have enough pieces, if I did this again I would also have the moon itself be a piece to play with!
Last but not least, a fun song to sing with everyone:
Four Little Astronauts (Hold up fingers as rhyme indicates.)
Four little astronauts winking at me,
One blasts off, now there are three.
Three little astronauts with nothing to do,
One blasts off, now there are two.
Two little astronauts afraid of the sun,
One blasts off, now there is one.
One little astronaut alone is no fun,
He blasts off, now there are none!

Jul 2, 2010

Nature Walk Playgroup

For a fun summer playgroup activity, a couple weeks ago we went on a nature walk. During the summer we usually just meet at a park for playgroup, so this mixed things up a little without having to stray too far from the norm.We made construction paper binoculars by cutting a piece of construction paper in half, rolling it up and taping it, then taping the two rolled up halves together. Then, using a hole punch, we made one hole on each side and tied a piece of yarn through each hole. I had printed off a nature walk check-list and we went on a walk and the kids had to use their binoculars to find all of the items on their check-list. The kids really enjoyed it and it was nice for everyone to stretch their legs on the walk!