Saturday, April 26, 2014

Frozen Birthday Party

For Purple's 5th birthday party she chose a Frozen theme.  Our home has been filled with the music from Frozen since our family watched the movie.

For invitations I kept it simple and used a free online template to create our own invitations.

For the party itself, we played the movie in the background, upping the volume when a song was playing, while keeping busy with a few activities.

Here's our party plan:

As guests arrived we asked that they sign the birthday book, a tradition we have of buying a book for the birthday child that ties into their birthday, and that family and friends can sign.  This year's book is A Tale of Two Sisters (Disney Frozen) (Step into Reading) .

It's Coronation Day

materials used:

As guests (and sisters) arrived, each was invited to craft their own crown for coronation day.  Upon completing their crown, the girls earned metallic beaded necklaces .

By the way, that is Epsom salt poured down the center of a blue plastic tablecloth.  The glitter, jewels and glue sticks are scattered on top.

Take Down North Mountain

materials used:
This is an easy game to set up and keep going (the kids took care of it themselves).  Stack the cups into a pyramid shape to create North Mountain, and then toss a snowball (i.e. styrofoam ball) to topple the mountain.

Upon completing this task the girls earned a sparkly beaded bracelet similar to these.

Do You Wanna Build a Snowman?

materials used:

  • large marshmallows
  • mini marshmallows
  • pretzel sticks
  • orange Mike & Ike candies
  • mini chocolate chips
Another easy set up that was fun during AND after.  Hint: Use a pretzel rod to poke holes into the marshmallows where you want to insert a candy or chocolate chip, and as a sort of spinal cord to hold the big marshmallows together.

After building their snowman, each girl got to enjoy the company of their snowman (eat it), and then were given a glow ring.  Coincidentally this timed with the point in the movie where "Let It Go" sings in the move - it became "Let It Glow" in our case.

We bought a cake from a local bakery that is a family favorite.  Otherwise it would have been fun to use the Disney Frozen Complete Story Playset on top of a cake - easy and then you have the figures to play with later.

After cake and ice cream were finished, there were about twenty minutes of movie left.  Even though that was not the first time watching the movie for any of the girls, they all watched the remainder of the movie intently, broken only by singing.

As our guests left we handed each a bubble wand to complete their princess ensemble.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

I Can Love Others

This week was our Primary Program, culminating nine months of learning the theme and songs.  I've taught through a couple of Primary Program experiences, so I knew what to expect - the class after the Primary Program tends to be louder and wilder than usual.  After all, the kids were on their best behavior in front of the congregation for the previous hour.  Hard work for little kids!

So for our class time I paid extra attention to offering Active Faith activities that allowed the kids to out of their seats and doing something.  Our Primary lesson for the week was I Can Love Others, as taught to 3-4 year olds.

Jesus Showed Love Matching Game

A main focus of the lesson was "Jesus showed love to others by being kind".  I found coloring page examples (these pins: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8) of Jesus performing acts of kindness, and created a matching game from those images.

Our classroom includes a small table, which I pulled to the middle of the room and had the children stand around.  We then took turns, each child choosing two cards, hoping to make a match.  Each time a card was turned, I paused to have the children look at the picture and tell me what they saw.  Once the game was completed we had talked about eight examples of Jesus showing love by being kind to others.

Hearts Up, Hearts Down

Next we played "Hearts Up, Hearts Down".  This is based on Enrichment Activity 1 in the lesson.  I gave each child a heart (I used pre-cut foam hearts I used back around Valentine's Day in this activity).  I then listed several situations and asked the children to hold the heart up high if it was an example of showing love ("taking turns while playing a game") or to hold the heart in their lap if it was not showing love ("being grumpy").  The children did well-it's fun to see that they KNOW what is right.

Next I explained that we were going to make Heart Hats to remind us to show love for others.  Several times before, during and after making the hats, I asked the children what happens when they take off the hats-can they still show love for others? How?  I think this helped drive home the meaning of the lesson.

Heart Hats

Materials Used:
This is a quick craft to prepare, especially if you aren't particularly hung up on cutting a perfect circle or heart.  Which I didn't have time or energy to be concerned with.  And you don't really need to for it to work out great.

At home before class I first used an X-acto knife to cut around the inside perimeter of the plate, leaving about 1 1/2 inches uncut.  Then using scissors, I cut the heart shape from the center of the plate.

In class we before handing out the heart hats, we talked about In class I handed out the heart hats and offered up markers for the children to use to decorate them.  This took about 15 minutes for each child to complete their heart hats.  The children were excited to show their heart hats to their families; hopefully they remember to show their love, too.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

I Am Thankful for Food and Clothing (from Plants and Animals)

Clothespin-Legged Farm Animals and File Folder Barn

Materials Used:
For our Active Faith to accompany our Primary lesson, I Am Thankful for Food and Clothing, as taught to 3-4 year olds, I searched for and thought about crafts involving seeds or plants or animals, as a large portion of the lesson makes the point that plants and animals provide the food and clothing that we enjoy.  I realized that a person can find both plants and animals in a farm setting, so that is where I turned my focus.  I came across a picture and post of clothespin-legged farm animals here, and that was the starting point.  That post links to the template to print the farm animals.  Be advised: I created the full set of four farm animals for each of the six children in our Primary class; because the animals have a front and back side, that was 48 animals that I cut out.  It took me about two hours.  If I had it to do over again, I might have done something more like this, although there was no template that came with that idea.

Now the animals need a barn.  I thought back to our chapel made from a file folder, and realized I can make a barn using the same idea.  I found a simplified barn with barn door line drawing.  I stapled that print out to the file folder, and then cut along two side of the barn door so it can open.

Granted, the barn and animals are not to scale, and the animals are a bit anthropomorphic, but the children really enjoyed coloring and assembling the animals.

Oh, and our snack included cheese (from an animal), apple (from a plant, with seeds) and Goldfish Grahams (because they're yummy - I mean, because they are in the shape of a fish).

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Super Mario Bros. Birthday Party

Today we celebrated Yellow's 8th birthday.  Yellow chose a Super Mario Bros. theme.  We did an online search to find a picture to use as the background for her invitation, and then we found a free font in the Super Mario Bros. style to add the party details.

I pinned several ideas here, but for the most part, Yellow and I came up with our own activities for the party.

Our guests were greeted by a "Welcome" sign on the door, which Yellow made after being inspired by the sticker that she received her with party shirt featuring her beloved Yoshi character.

I often will buy a special birthday party shirt for the birthday child, and this one fits Yellow's bright personality.

The first thing our guest did on arriving was to place their presents on the present table.

We were pretty low-key with the decorations.  There are some great handmade backdrop ideas out there (and here where I pinned a few), but due to a time/energy crunch, I opted for store-bought in the form of these wall decals   Note: The light, or lack thereof, washes out the colors in this photo, but I assure you the colors are bold and bright.

The best part was handing these over to Yellow and watching her arrange and rearrange, and rearrange, and rearrange the characters on the wall.

We next asked our guests to sign Yellow's birthday book, a tradition we started a couple years ago.

Yellow used some of the wall decals to decorate this space, too.  For the book-signing sign, we again used the free font in the Super Mario Bros. style.  And again for the party plan (I print and post this more for my benefit than for our guests).

First on the agenda is pizza.  The table was set with a blue dollar store tablecloth (best party accessory!), red plastic plates I bought on clearance from Target long ago, white napkins and clear cutlery.  For decoration I spread out gold coins .

We started our party at noon, and fed our guests as they arrived.  Once the guests had their fill, they could take a turn playing a Mario Bros. game on the Wii.  Yellow chose to play Mario & Sonic at the London 2012 Olympic Games, which was nice because we could have four players at a time, and it was a game that most of the kids hadn't played much, so the playing field was fairly level.

The pizza/Wii tournament set up worked well, as some guests eat quicker and/or more than others, and we also had some latecomers who "caught up" to the party quickly.

While the kids were busy with Wii, I snuck out to our front yard and hid the Yoshi eggs.  I had boiled the eggs the night before, and then used permanent marker to color the green spots.

I used my best Easter egg-hiding skills to stash each egg.  And in true Easter egg tradition, there is still one egg out there, waiting to be found.  Our winner, who found four eggs out of thirteen, took home a box of Mario fruit snacks (we also included fruit snacks in everyone's goody bag).

After the egg hunt we returned inside for the Reverse Coin Box.  Usually Mario will punch a coin box to pop out and claim a coin.  However, for our game, we tossed gold coins into a box (diaper box) wrapped in red wrapping paper, with a brick pattern drawn on it.  BTW, you can see the birthday banner that I happened to spot in Target the night before the party - I had looked online previously but never found anything I liked.  This one looks made for Mario.

The prize (a box of Mario Fruit Snacks again) was awarded to the kid who tossed the most coins out of ten into the box.  The birthday girl didn't win, so consoled herself by opening her presents.

Next was cake.

We had almost forgotten to order the cake.  We traditionally use the same local grocery store bakery.  We went in the afternoon before the party, handed over a bunch of Mario figures , and asked them for a white buttercream frosted cake, with yellow trim.  They did so much better than we imagined!

When the party drew to a close and it was "GAME OVER" we sent our players home with a bag filled with colored markers and treats.

We Can Pray As a Family

Prayer Arm Puppets

Materials Used:
For our Active Faith to accompany this LDS Primary lesson, We Can Pray As a Family, as taught to 3 year olds, were inspired by, of all things, a monkey praying.  Okay, it was a craft that I found in an online search here.  I exchanged the monkey for a couple different styles of male and female heads, to represent a mother, father, sister, brother.  Before class I assembled the arms onto the sticks, and cut out the faces.  During class I asked the children to color their "family" of faces, and then taped the finished faces to the sticks.

As a bonus, our treat that day was pretzels, and I pointed out that pretzels look like folded arms.