Sunday, February 24, 2013

Just Dance Party

My son wanted a Dance party for his 11th birthday. The problem was coming up with a party that was fun, yet not too grown-up. I wanted it to be cool, but not like a high school dance party. We made sure to have games because the kids were still in elementary school. I invited 50 kids, and we had 25 that came to the party.

INVITATIONS: I wanted the invitations to be like VIP passes so I ordered lanyards and badge holders from ebay.  I created the invitations on scrapbook max, printed them at Walmart as 4 x 6 prints, them cut then in half and slipped them into the badge holders. My son handed them out at school. The kids loved them.

DECORATIONS: There were several things my son asked for: a disco ball, black lights, and a piñata. I chose to create a red carpet to make it look like a VIP Dance club and velvet ropes.

Lighting: We already own several black lights and my mom has several mini strobes that she uses in her class. We hung these up. We found the mirror ball on clearance at Taipan Trading after Christmas.  
Red Carpet: We used red gossamer and duct taped it to the ground. I have ordered the Red carpet kits before online and that is basically what it is, but the gossamer, doubled over worked better. Red Ropes: My mom sewed red velvet into tubes, and then we stuffed them with cotton batting. We made tassels from gold embroidery yarn and I hooked them to our microphone stands.

Strobe Area: My mom created this wall that she puts up every year for her classroom party-so it was already pre-done and perfect for this party.
 It is simply black plastic stapled to a long 2” wide board on one end. She took crumpled tinfoil and cut into stone shapes and spray-glued them onto the black plastic. It makes a great wall, but also an amazing effect when the strobe lights reflect off the tinfoil. She carefully takes it down and rolls it onto the board to save it and use it year after year.
Black Light Area: My mom uses these circles in her science class. She printed them onto neon paper and we just put them on the wall. They look so cool under the black lights.
 Piñata: I usually buy the piñata, but with 5th grade boys, I wanted to make sure it would withstand them. We took a punch ball balloon (3 for $1 at the $store) and blew it up to the size we wanted. I covered it with a flour/water paste and newspaper strips, and tied yarn around it to make a way to hook it up.
 I did 5 or six layers. Then we spray painted it silver. We cut a hole and added the candy.  We then cut squares of tinfoil and spray glued them onto the piñata.
 Hard Rock Dance Club Sign: My mom free-handed the sign and painted it. I punched holes and added chasing Christmas lights around it.
Balloon Drop: We took a light blue piece of gossamer and tied it up to the celling to make a large bag. We filled it with 200 neon balloons. We took a string from the center and ran it to the DJ table, to release at the end of the party.

ARRIVE: When the kids showed up they got to walk the red carpet and enter. They had to bring their lanyard VIP Passes to get in. My brother, a large man, wore a black t-shirt and was the bouncer and had a clipboard with the kid’s name on it and checked to make sure that they were on the VIP list. I had printed the Hard Rock Dance Club and Birthday Event of the year onto iron-on paper and put them onto white T-shirts. I got 5 packs of Hanes T-shirts at Walmart.
 Once they got there they got to get to choose 2-3 colors of glow sticks.
 I cut them open and flipped them onto the kids shirts. The shirts glowed really cool under the black lights.
(Sorry it is sideways, but you can see what it looks like)
ACTIVITIES: The kids went into the dance club area, where there was the piñata disco ball, the strobe lights, disco ball, and black lights.  We had a DJ booth set-up my brother-in-law was the DJ for the party. We also had our Wii and Projector set-up and the kids play Just Dance on the Wii. We did the Limbo, Cupid Shuffle, Gangnam Style, and Macarena. They also did the conga line and got in a big circle and kids took turns doing dance moves in the center.

We took a break once the pizza was delivered and we also served cans of soda pop. After they ate they did more dancing. The DJ did lots of funs things and we gave inflatable guitars to the kids who did dance offs. Then we did the piñata. After the piñata, towards the end of the party we did the balloon release. It worked perfectly. The kids played with the balloons and then popped them all. Then they ate cake pops and opened presents. We then took all the kids to the red carpet and took group pictures (we were the paparazzi!) while we waited for the parents to arrive.

This was a crazy fun party. The only hiccup was when the pizza was 45 minutes late. The kids thought they were starving! But it was so much fun! Rock on!

Search & Win

Dora/Diego Party (second time)

This is my second time doing this party. I had to change some of the games and create a few news ones since I was doing this party inside since it was winter, but many of the things are the same as the 1st party. We did this party for my 4 year old son and 3 year old niece. We held it in our performing groups practice rooms. We had about 20 children at this party.

 EARLY PREPARATION: We downloaded Dora and Diego music beforehand to play through-out the party. My husband downloaded it to his iphone and hooked it up to speakers. I bought white backpacks from Oriental Trading Company and dyed them with rit dye, purple and orange, for Back Pack and Rescue Pack. I printed their faces of Back Pack and Rescue Pack onto Iron transfer paper (Ebay 10 sheets for about $7) and ironed them onto the backpacks. We handed these out at the beginning of the party and used them to collect their prizes and goodies. I also made video watches for the boys. My dad cut little square pieces of wood, I spray painted them black, and the mod-podged an animal onto the front. I hot glued them onto yellow ribbon and then added Velcro so they would stay on.
 For the girls we made bracelets like Dora’s. We used yellow pony beads and elastic, and a pretty flower.

For the Map I printed the 6 places we were going and glued his face onto it. I rolled it up and it looked just like Map.
 I printed 1” round pictures of the characters and hooked them onto toothpicks for the cupcake picks. I ordered the cupcakes to save time.

INVITATIONS: I made backpack invitations for the girls and rescue pack invitations for the boys. I used a template that was found online typed the party information onto that template and printed them onto purple or orange paper. This invitation involved a lot of cutting, as I cut out the mouths, eyebrows, and backpacks. I hot glued googly eyes on them.


ARRIVE: Dora and Diego theme songs are playing. I printed the template for the  star pocket from the Nick Jr. website.


We had markers and stickers for the kids to decorate their stars.

 ADVENTURE BEGINS: Music plays baby tiger cry for help. We had pre-recorded a tiger cry and we told the kids that an animal is in trouble. I said, “Oh no that sounds like an animal is in trouble. We need to find out who it is.” I asked the kids, "Who can help us find out which animal is in trouble??" They respond, "Click the camera"(the kids say) We play the Click the Camera Song. I pulled out a Click the camera I had printed. On one side it was zoomed in to show just the fur of an animal.

 I said “we need to Zoom out to see which animal needs our help.” The kids yelled "ZOOM ZOOOM!" and I turned it over and it clearly showed the picture of baby Tiger.

"Now we know what animal we are going to rescue, but we need to get ready for our adventure. (We hand out back-packs and rescue packs, video watches for the boys, and Dora bracelets or the girls.There were mini flashlights, telescopes in their backpacks) Play rescue pack and backpack songs while we get ready.) Tiger cries again. ‘Oh no we need to hurry baby tiger is so scared. Oh wait a minute we don’t know how to get there." I say, "Who do we ask for help when we don't know where to go??" and the kids say, "The map!" (I play the map song I then pull out a map that I created that show the way to go, 6 places, and we go over it.


The 1st place we have to go is Lollipop Field. We walk around, and the kids follow me. I say “I see something, but what do we need to help a see far away?" and the kids say, "A telescope" They all pull out their telescope, which was in their backpack, and we look over the fence. There is the Lollipop Field (I have the Lollipop, Lollipop song playing.) For this area I bought a 100 pack of bamboo sticks at Walmart for $1. I took straws and pushed them onto the sticks about half way and taped them on. I then spray painted them green. I printed some leaves, cut them out, and stapled them on. We had large Styrofoam blocks that we covered in green butcher paper. We then stuck them into the green covered styrofoam and then put small dum dum suckers into each straw top. I painted the stick of one sucker blue. I had my niece and nephew dress-up as the bobo brothers and dance around the lollipops and pretend to mess with them. When the kids saw them through the telescope, I cried "It is the Bobo brothers we need to stop them?" and all the kids yell, "Freeze Bobo Brother Freeze!" The Bobo brothers looks up and say, "oh, sorry" and run off. We are now at Lollipop Fields and I explain to the kids that we need to find the lollipop with the blue stick because that is baby tiger's favorite and that will make him feel better once we find him

After the kids find the blue stick. I pull out the map and say, "The next place we need to go is the Grumpy Old Troll Bridge. We created the bridge using 2 benches pushed together and we used 2 x 4 rails to make it safe.

As the kids approached the bridge, I started playing the grumpy old troll song and my sister (who had been hiding) jumped out, dressed as a troll, and pretended to sing while dance around to the song. After the song she read them the riddle that they must answer in order to cross his bridge. The riddle was super easy because they were 3 and 4 years old. The riddle was: What is a yellow treat that monkeys like to eat? After they answer the riddle then the adults help the kids cross the "bridge." When they get to the other side, I pull-out the map again and say, "We have been to lollipop fields, we have crossed the troll-bridge, now where to we need to go???"
CATCHING STARS: "We have to go to the Bear Cave" But along the way we see the stars hanging from the clothesline. I say, "We need to stop and catch stars along the way." I had printed stars from the Nick onto bright colored paper, cut them out, put googly eyes onto them, and attached them to curling ribbon with a paperclip and tied them to the ceiling.

I played the music for catching stars and the kids reached up a grabbed the stars. They came right off and they put them in their star pocket, they had made at the beginning. Catching stars song

BEAR CAVE: We then saw the bear cave. To create the bear cave we took 2 fridge boxes (got them from Sears) and duct taped them together. We covered it with black plastic sheeting. We made it so it was dark, but so they could walk-bent over through the cave, in one end and out the other.

 I peek into the cave and say, "Oh, it is dark in there! What can we use to help us see in the dark??? The flashlights, Right!" They all pull out their flashlights and peek into the cave. We had a large stuffed bear laying inside. I said, "There is sleeping bear. We need to go past the sleeping bear without waking her up. Sleeping bear likes the song twinkle, twinkle little star, so is she starts waking up, then we need to sing her back to sleep." As the kids walk through, my husband reached in and started moving the bear, as if she was waking up, The kids start to sing and the bear goes back to sleep. (Some kids were too scared to walk through and walked around it instead. After the bear cave, we pull out the map and say "now where do we need to go?" "To the Silly Snake pit"
SILLY SNAKE PIT: As we come upon the snake pit, we see there are no snakes in the pit. Silly snakes are our friends. Just then the kids spot Swiper the fox, trying to swipe all the snakes. We try to stop him, but we are too late. (Swiper the fox plays) We say ‘Swiper, no swipey,” My oldest son was dressed as Swiper, and said, “You are too late. Swiper throws all the snakes over a wall into the other room where we had lots of green balloons blown up. The snakes fell and were hidden under all the balloons. The kids got to rescue a snake and take one home. (I got a dozen 14” snakes for $6 on Amazon.)

SINGING BRIDGE: I then ask the kids, "Where so we go next?" “The singing bridge" We had another bridge set-up.  We had music notes taped all over it. The Singing Bridge sings silly songs. Earlier my husband had recorded himself singing “Row Row Row your boat” wrong (life is but a bowl of spaghetti) and then another one of him singing it right. We played the wrong one first and I say “That's not right; we have to teach him the right words. Let's sing the song the right way. Everyone sings the song the right way and then crosses the bridge) “Ya! We made it passed the Singing Bridge!
STAR PINATA: Once they are done, they pull-out there map and look to see where to go next. We need to go to the rain forest. Along the way we see the star pinata,  (bought at Walmart) where we realize the evil witch has trapped some of the stars. So we need to rescue them. I filled the pinata with treats and foam star stickers. The kids take turns hitting the pinata and get to put the treats into their backpacks or slings.

RAIN FORREST: We then make our way to the rain forest. I hung green streamers from the ceiling and had lots of ficus trees and greenery to create a jungle.

I brought all the jungle animals, snakes, monkeys, etc from my sons toys to create the look. I had hidden a large stuffed tiger in the trees and the kids had to look for baby tiger. They were so excited to find him! Once they found him, we played the song "We did it!" and all the kids danced around so happy!

PRESENTS and CAKE: Play Dora Happy Birthday SONG
This was was another fun party, easier since I had already done it, but a little different. I hope you can use some of these fun party ideas.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Fun Gifts

I made this candy boquet for my son for kindergarten graduation. I think it turned out so cute and it was super easy. It took about 10 minutes.

 Here is what I used:
-vase (you could also use a basket or a mug)
-floral foam -shredded paper
-bamboo skewers
-1 or 2 ballon weights
-glue gun

I got all the stuff at the $store. The Congrat Grad thing is a gift card holder and worked perfectly.
I can't wait to make more. I am going to try some holiday themes like Halloween and Thanksgiving. Don't you think they would make a cute Chrstmas gift???

I made these as thank you gifts for my son's teachers for the last day of school.
I hope they like truffles. These are my favorite.
Thanks to Bon for the card front!!!

Thanks - Momma

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Mad Science Party

We just celebrated my oldest son’s 10th birthday. About 6 months ago I started thinking of ideas for a party that would fun and exciting for a 10 year old, and we decided to have a mad scientist party. It was very fun to plan and the kids had a blast!!!

EARLY PREPARATION: I believe that early preparation is KEY to planning a party. Not only did I have 6 months to plan – it helped me to spread the cost out, rather than having it all at once - which was good since I spent more on this party than on most. Another key to starting early is being able to get good deals. Since we knew we were doing a science party we were able to keep our eyes open for things that would be good for our theme. Here are some things I found months before the party:
-2 microscopes at the local thrift store for only $1 each. They made awesome decorations.
-24 bottles that looked like science bottle at the thrift store. They were brand new and we filled them with colored water. They looked really cool when we added dry ice to them.
-10 pack of test tube powdered candy at the dollar store. I attached these to the invitation.

This also makes it so you can search for really good deals online and have time to get them to your house before the party. I wanted to get lab coats and goggles for each child, so I spent weeks looking for the best deal. I was able to get them both for $1.75 per child. This was an awesome effect and the kids loved wearing them. I am glad I chose to buy them.

Another advantage is finding several ideas them making them your own. I loved researching science parties online and tweaking the ideas to what I wanted to do.

INVITATIONS: I made them on SCRAPBOOK MAX. This is what I printed on the envelope front and each child that was invited had their name printed on it. The test tube candy was attached to the envelope.

Here is the invitation I made.

The fun part was how we delivered them. We took them my son’s school class. My mom is a science teacher at the middle school and she came with us. She talked to the kids about the scientific process (we worked this into our birthday experiments since the science fair was coming up and each child had to do one) and then we did some fun science experiments. While the kids went outside to do some fun experiments, we put an invite on each child’s desk. Outside we did Diet Coke/Mentos rockets and let off an air hog rocket that shot 40 feet in the air. The kids were jumping around and were so excited. The huge smile on my son’s face was priceless. I heard several kids say, “This is the best school day ever!” My son's grandma was a big hit and we got the kids excited to come. I sent out 55 invites, invited 62 children, and we had 32 kids show up. Crazy to some – but I loved having that many kids come.

DECORATIONS: I did many things to decorate with so I am going to break it into sections.
1. Drop cloths: I used drop cloths to wall off areas in my house. We have half walls in our LR and music room, so we hung the drop cloth so it blocked the rooms from the entrance. Over the walkways we cut it so the kids could walk through it. It really gave it a laboratory feel.

2. Signs: I printed several signs – danger, restricted area signs to put on doors that I didn’t want them to go in, restroom signs, radioactive signs, the individual labs signs, and several science clipart pictures to post everywhere. When the walked in there were large letters that said, “Ethan’s Mad Lab!” I also ordered a birthday banner that we put out front that said,” Ethan’s Scientific Laboratory of Cool Science Experiment’s and Smokin’ Birthday Fun!”

3. Lab Equipment - Since my mom is a science teacher, we had lots of thing to decorate with. My sister is an explosive scientist and she had donated several real glass science equipment to my mom, so we used those as well. We had several glass jars filled with colored water, a brain floating in water, orbies in glasses, microspcopes, magnifying glasses, etc. Hopefully the few pictures I got will help you have a better idea. We put tin foil on one of my shelves and used a mini strobe which gave it a mad scientist feel. It was real cool.

4. Tables- We used white sheets for the table coverings. This worked out so well as it gave it a real lab feel. I read that some people used silver tablecloths, but I couldn’t find any, and I like this look better.

THE PARTY: We have a large house, so we could set-up several lab and party areas. On the invitation, we asked that the kids come with mad scientist hair, so the kids looked real cool when they arrived. Upon arrival there was a check-in process.

CHECK: IN: We had a table set-up with my laptop and speaker and a small toy that had a fanned out plastic piece and made some cool sounds. We used it to do a “retinal scan, and them the computer said, “Welcome Doctor Smith, your retinal scan had cleared, you may now enter the laboratory.” We did this by using a text to speech website, and we had all the words typed in before-hand and then changed the name as each child check-in. The kids though it was so cool!! We had one person doing the retinal scan as another typed the child’s name into computer. They then walked through the plastic drop cloth into our music room, where we had another table set-up and they got their supplies. Before-hand I printed a name badge for EVERY child invited. They got their name and added their fingerprint to it, and then we slipped in into a plastic badge cover so they could pin it on. I also had printed up lab schedules, which I color coded, so we could have about 6-8 kids in each lab. The child got a color sticker to know which lab group they would be with, a lab schedule, a radioactive stick (glostick,) a biohazard bag to collect their specimen samples (party favors,) a lab coat, and safety goggles. Then they walked through another doorway of plastic into the first lab.

MOLECULE STRUCTURES: Everyone did this one together, while we waited for all the kids to arrive and get checked-in. I had 4 tables set-up with a box of toothpick’s, small red paper plates, and a bag of mini colored marshmallows. They got to build marshmallow structures any way they want. The kids made some really cool ones.

The kids then moved to their individual groups and rotated labs, based on their lab schedule. Each lab was 10 minutes and we use an air horn (from the $store) to end each lab.

ERUPTIONS: This was in our kitchen. I had 4 cookie sheets laid out, with 2 large red solo cups on it. There was one cup for each child. Fill each cup about ½ full with hot water. Have the kids drop a few drops of dish soap into the cup. The adult then takes small chunks of dry ice and drops them into the cup. It immediately starts erupting bubbles. When the kids grab them or poke them the bubbles pop and out comes the fog from the dry ice. The kids loved playing with this. They only have small amount of soap on their hands, and it isn’t even sticky. Just have them rinse their hand before the next lab. Each child was given a necklace or keychain to put into their bag. I bought small ampule bottles off ebay, filled them with colored water and seed beads, glued on the cap, and hooked them to a necklace or a key chain. (Looking back – I wouldn’t do this again. I ordered the bottles off ebay and was hoping they would be big enough to fill with oil and water, creating a lava lamp look, but the bottles were too small. Although I already had the leather necklaces and key-chains, the ampules were a big expense and not the theme I was going for)

OOZE AND GOOZE: I had saved my baby food containers for this activity. They had snap on lids. I added some white school glue to cover the bottom of the container and added a little water. I stirred in neon green food color and some glow-in-the dark-paint. I made cute little radioactive slime labels to cover the gerber words and the food item words on the sides. This activity was done at my craft table downstairs, which was right next to the bathroom, which was the radioactive room. We put a black light in there so the kids could tell if it was radioactive (glowed under the light). I set one food container for each child and I gave them each a wooden craft stick to stir it. I had mixed borax in water and I poured a little bit into each child’s container and they stirred it until it turned into slime. Then they looked at it under the black light. They got to take home their slime.
SMOKIN: My mom made an air cannon by taking a large black plastic garbage can and cutting a 6 inch round hole in the bottom. (You can make a smaller one using a 5 gallon bucket, but the larger one is cooler. We had both.) She used the plastic you get in the fabric department, and duct taped it around the top of the garbage can, really tight. You then smack the plastic and a huge burst of air comes out of the hole. We tied a strap onto it so you could hold it and aim. The kids loved trying to aim it at certain things and try to hit it, like making hair move or leaves from a plant. We then filled it with fog from a fog machine and little burst of fog and air burst out the end. Really fun!!! They each got a perfume bomb to put into their bag.
MAGNETIC ATTRACTION: I bought some petri dishes online. (Ebay) I filled them with a small amount of magnetic powder (got this from my mom, not sure where she got it) and glued the petri dish closed. I bought little magnetic buttons (Walmart) and the kids got to play with the magnetic petri dish and take it home. I also had snake eggs, magnetic rocks, and lots of magnets for them to experiment with.

NOW THAT”S COLD: We bought some instasnow from the Family Dollar. (It was $2 for a tub and we only used ½ scoop per child – It grows a lot! We didn’t even use ¼ of the bottle for 32 kids!) You can also buy it online, but it is more expensive. I have even seen it at the $Store.) Each child got a small amount put into their hand and they used pipets to add drops of water until it turned into snow. I gave them little Ziploc snack-size bags to take their snow home.

BLAST OFF: We used little diabetic canisters that my uncle had saved for us, but if you can find them, film canisters they work too. We filled them with a little water and gave each child a packet of 2 alka-seltzer and let them break them into 4-5 small pieces each and they put them in the canister and watch the lids pop off again and again. We did this activity outside. They got to take home the canister in their bag.

Next we had the kids come in and open presents and do the exploding molecules, while we set-up the sundae lava bar.

EXPLODING MOLECULES: I wanted a fun way to give the kids the candy, but in a different way than a traditional piñata. So we decide to create a balloon molecule structure and fill the balloons with candy. This was done in trial and error. I searched all over online and I couldn’t find anything. We used punching balloons (3 for $1 at the $store). These work well because the neck is thick and long and the balloon is thicker than most. We chose several different colors. My husband would hold the neck open and stretch it to provide about a 2 inch opening. I would stuff the candy in until I could fit no more. We then used an air compressor to fill it up. We then opened the neck again and as quickly as I could, I would stuff in more candy. The blowing up of the balloon would make it so we could add the rest of the candy. We filled each with 50 small pieces or 25 large pieces into 2 balloons. Once we had the desired amount of candy, we filled them with air and tied them. Do not overfill with air, as we lost one balloon and had to refill the candy. My husband attached them to some dowels crisscrossed. We filled the balloons different sizes and he hooked them so that the dowels were balanced. We hung this from the ceiling. Then when the kids were ready, he popped the balloons with a push-pin. Once he had popped 2, it seemed to cause a chain reaction and then they popped by themselves and caused the candy to explode out and onto the floor. It was really cool.

VOLCANO CAKE: My mom made a cake using 3 different cake pans to create a volcano shaped cake. She frosted it in a dark black frosting and sprinkled crushed Oreos all over it. She used red melting candies and dripped on the lava. We used a tall skinny glass vase and it slipped perfectly inside the cake. We filled it with water and then dropped dry ice into to create the volcano exploding. She then used red cellophane and put it inside the top of the vase to complete the look. We did this while the kids sang Happy Birthday, but saved the cake for later that night for the family party. (It was his brother’s one year birthday family party)

I also took petri dishes and filled them with yellow jello and small gummy circles and gummy worms, so the kids each got their own “grown bacteria” to eat.

SUNDAE VOLCANO: I made labels for the sundae volcano bar – volcanoes, ash, rocks, lava, smoke. We bought small clear plastic cups and added a scoop of ice cream in each. These were the volcanoes. The kids would get theses and then add what they wanted on their sundae. We had crushed oreos for ash, chocolate chips, toffee bits, and pop rocks for the rocks, and strawberry syrup, chocolate syrup, caramel, and hot fudge for the lava. We added whipped cream if they wanted it. We then took larger red plastic cups and fill them about 1/3 with water. We dropped in a small chunk of dry ice and then dropped the small plastic cup filled with their sundae into the larger one. This created the exploding volcano effect and looked so cool.

H2O WATER BOTTLES: I made labels for water bottle that said h20 and had the h2o molecule picture on it. I taped these to the water bottles. I gave each child a water bottle and a single koolaid packet so they could create a “chemical change” of their own, by making their own punch.

The kids went outside where I had tables set-up to eat. Then, while we waited for the parent’s to pick up their children, we had a fog/bubble machine set-up and let them pop the bubbles and play with the fog.

TAKE HOME GOODIES:  I  made an experiment manual that said, “Thank You for coming to Child’s birthday” and had the experiments that we did at the party, so they could do them later if they wanted too. They also took home: Lab Coat, Goggles, Glo-stick, Name Badge, Biohazard Bag, Lava lamp Necklace, Slime they made, Alka Seltzer Bomb canister, Perfume Bomb, Petri dish magnet, instasnow, and candy.

Lab Manuel: I printed these on 8 x 11.5 paper, cut them in half and stapled them together. Super easy!

Not only was this party fun, but was very educational!!!
AND All the kids loved it! – especially my son!

Thanks for reading –