This was the first year that Lydia's birthday party guest list included friends from school. We always have about twenty family members and friends of the family, some of whom have kids, but they are all older than Lydia. This year, we were expecting about five preschool students.
Up until now, we have just had some independent activities, the buffet, and some adult beverages hidden in the kitchen. Suddenly, with five or so four year olds in addition to our usual group, I felt the need to plan some group games.
The first game involved balloons. Anytime I throw a party, I tend to skip the helium and just scatter regular balloons on the floor. Without any prompting, kids seem to gravitate to throwing, kicking, and catching the balloons. So I came up with a game that was basically musical chairs with balloons. (For our party theme, I related it to a fabulous and girly bubble bath.)
Gather your group and have one less balloon than kids. Start the music and have the kids bounce the balloons in the air. When the music stops everyone grab and hold a balloon. If you don't have one you are out. I wish I had bubble bath to give the kids but I bought the prizes long before I thought up the games. So the prize for this game was a small bottle of nail polish.
Next we played "Pin the Sunglasses on the Superstar" using the Marilyn print and a sunglasses shape that I printed and cut out. The plan was to put a loop of tape on the back of the glasses and then each kid's initials on the front. (It took too much time to deal with the tape and the initials as each kid came up for a turn, so plan ahead on this one and get that part ready early!)
The prize for this game was a small pair of sunglasses. I then had a table full if stickers so each child could decorate their own pair of glasses. This bought me a little time to get the next game ready.
The last game was the Eiffel Tower Ring Toss. I actually saw a painting (john Singer Seargent, maybe?) where kids in the early 1900's were throwing rings at a souvenir Eiffel Tower statue. I thought it sounded like fun, but did not want to buy a replica tower.
Instead, I made two towers out of paper! (tutorial coming tomorrow) I was worried that they might fall over because they weren't weighted, but they were wide at the bottom and so it wasn't a problem. Because I made two towers (I'm a sucker for symmetry) We had two lines of kids playing the game. The rings were a couple of those glow in the dark plastic necklaces.
We gave each kid 5 tries and just counted how many times they got the hoop on the tower. I suggest a helper if two kids are playing at the same time. I also suggest tape lines to keep the kids from standing too close. The prize for each kid in the ring toss was a ring pop candy.
For each of our games there was a prize just for playing and then I gave out the cupcake wrapper awards to the actual winner. I only had one kid break out crying and that happened mid game. Other than that, the kids who were out were happy to select their treat and move on.
The last group activity was opening presents. There has to be a less chaotic way to do this, but I haven't figured that our yet! The little kids were so excited to see what toys Lydia got and to have her to open their gift next. Lydia still wants to open a gift and play with that toy right then. I was trying to keep up with who gave her what, but that was hard because she kept getting up and moving and then tearing into packages. Gift wrap, tissue paper, cards and gift tags all went flying. Maybe next year I will figure out a better way..... but there I am, in the midst of the chaos, 8 months pregnant, on the floor, in a skirt and heels, wearing a feather boa. Craziness, I know!