Tuesday, June 19, 2012

International Picnic Day = Teddy Bear Picnic Playdate

June 18 is International Picnic Day.  It was also our family's day to host the neighborhood playdate, so we turned it into a Teddy Bear Picnic Play Date.

I asked the parents to have their children bring their favorite teddy bear or other stuffed lovey to the play date.  Everyone showed up with their fluffy friend in tow.

Since this was a four hour play date I didn't have activities planned to fill the entire time; just enough to keep the kids engaged.  Once everyone had arrived I spread out a blanket and set an empty basket atop and invited the children to use that space if they wanted.  They did, off and on.

About an hour into our time we did a scavenger hunt for a picnic setting: paper plate, and plastic fork, knife and spoon.  While the children were playing in the backyard, 3YO Purple and I had stashed the plates and utensils in the front yard.  

Our group of kids, ages 3-8, seemed to enjoy this challenge.  And they did a great job helping each other to find what was needed to complete their sets.  "Who needs a fork?"

After a little while we did our next activity: decorate your own bear mask.  In a quick online search I found these masks, which worked great.  We used crayons, construction paper, stickers, pom poms and feathers to decorate.

The play group enjoyed this more and longer than I guessed.  I liked how everyone's mask was so individual.

Here is a sampling:

6YO Yellow

4YO Pink

3YO Purple

Pink, second mask

Next was snack time.  We had "bear mix": 
honey Teddy GrahamsGoldfish crackers, marshmallows, Kix Honey cerealHoney Nut Cheerios, and pretzels.  I overheard a lot of negotiating ("I'll give you my marshmallows for your Goldfish), but I think there was something for everyone.

This was the end of our Teddy Bear Picnic Play Date activities, though the playing continued for a couple hours longer.  It was fun at the end of the play date to see the children scramble to their bikes and scooters with their bear masks on, and ride out home.

For my girls we later rewarded our furry play dates with a dip in the tub, cleaning them and combing them down.

If you missed International Picnic Day, don't worry - July 10 is Teddy Bear's Picnic Day.

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