Ideas for the Party Human

Posts Tagged ‘decorations

Interrupting the Games segment to insert a baby shower which we gave for my daughter.  She’s having a boy, but this could easily be adapted for a “little princess.”

THEME:  “Someday my [little] prince will come.”  (Disney Princes)097

INVITATIONS:  We designed a sort of “royal proclamation” which we printed on parchment paper.  You can see the wording here:

Publication1

MATERIALS FOR ACTIVITIES:  Envelopes and pens; plain onesies in different sizes and fabric markers;  sheets of stationery; small notebook for advice; team number centerpieces, Jeopardy-style game on bulletin board, and prizes; place to put gifts and notebook to record them.

FOOD:  We decided to try to find a food from each of the Disney movies with a prince involved.  This was a little difficult, and some are kind of a stretch, but you can see our layout here.  Some of the ones we thought of:  Pumpkin Cookies (Cinderella), Crackers (Aladdin), Nutella (Tangled), Watermelon (The Princess & the Frog), Fishy  Crackers (The Little Mermaid), Gummy Worms (Lion King), Berries (Bambi), Apple slices (Snow White) and Grapes (Hercules).  The cake and punch fit in with several of the other movies.

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The focal point is the castle cake.  Since I am not a great cake decorator, we kept it simple.  I borrowed a friend’s sheet cake pan and made a round layer cake to put on top of it.  Ice cream cones for towers, sugar cubes for crenelations, wafer cookies for windows, chocolate Neccos for siding, and Hershey bar and licorice for drawbridge and door.

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DECORATIONS:  For colors we used royal blue and red, since those are good boy colors.  We borrowed the white tablecloths, then cut plastic dollar-store tablecloths in half for the toppers.  We found these cardboard crowns at Hobby Lobby and spray-painted them and decorated them with stick-on jewels.  On the other side we wrote the team number for that table.  The wrapped boxes are just for looks.  We also put a few of the letter sheets (see Blow-by-Blow) and pens on each table as well.  102

At the front of the room, we placed a borrowed wooden cradle with a decorative pillow and crown in it.  The canopy I had from my daughter’s wedding reception.

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We also found pictures of every Disney prince online, printed them out and put them up around the room.  We created the banner on our computer and strung it together with ribbons.  As a gift, two of my younger daughters put together a “diaper cake,” which didn’t turn out quite as we hoped.103

A few costume pieces of armor or swords set around the room finished the decor.

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BLOW-BY-BLOW:  As guests arrived, we had them put their address on an envelope to help us with the thank-you’s.  Their gifts were placed in or around the cradle.  104

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Then they could decorate a onesie, write a piece of mothering advice in the little notebook, or write a letter to the little prince.  We decided to have letters for every birthday until the baby was as old as his mother is now.  So we placed sheets of stationery around the room, and each one had a different year written in the corner.  They were to write a letter to Baby Charles that he would receive on that birthday.  We also had people get food and visit while this other stuff was going on.  After people had finished these activities, we played a Jeopardy-style game with questions about the different Disney princes.  The winning team received a bag of Hershey’s Treasures to share.  We then cut the cake and served it.

After the game, Queen Sara sat up by the cradle and opened her presents.  We gave her a crown and a sash to wear.  One of her sisters recorded the givers and gifts, so she could write her thank-you’s.107

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THEME:  Golden Wedding Anniversary Ball, for a large group

INVITATIONS:  These should look formal, printed on parchment paper in gold lettering, if possible.  Be sure to tell the guests what type of dress and whether dinner will be served.  (A fun idea might be to make it a costume ball and have everyone try to dress in formal attire of 50 years ago.)

MATERIALS FOR ACTIVITIES:  You will need a ballroom or cultural hall, of course, and some type of music, preferably a band.  You will also need seating and tables for gifts and food.  If you are serving dinner, you should have tables for the guests as well.  Be sure to have a small table with a guest register.  You might have a specially decorated place for the guests of honor to sit, and you may need some props or instruments for the floor show.

FOOD:  If you are serving a dinner, it should either be the honored couple’s favorite food or food typical of the year they were married.  Use the same guidelines when serving simply refreshments, but also consider using gold color wherever you can, such as in a punch made with cider or ginger ale.  Whatever you do, be sure to have an elaborate wedding-style cake in gold and white.

DECORATIONS:  Keep them elegant and keep them gold.  Of course there are balloons and streamers, but perhaps you could also make flowers with gold tissue paper, or cut hearts and bells out of gold paper.  A mirror ball with golden lighting on it would be effective for the dancing.  If you have tables for the guests to sit at, cover them with simple white cloths, but let your centerpiece be gold.  Perhaps a gold rose or carnation in a clear glass vase, or a medium-sized box gift-wrapped in gold, sitting on a mirror tile and littered with gold curly or wired ribbon and gold confetti.  Or, if there is a particular subject or hobby that the couple is known for, try to use that in your centerpiece.  You may want an archway for the couple to walk through as they lead the Grand Promenade.

BLOW-BY-BLOW:   As the guests arrive, ask them to sign the guest register and add any comments they would like to make.  If you are serving dinner, start out with that, and when it’s time for the dancing, begin with a Grand Promenade around the ballroom, led by the honored husband and wife, followed by their children, grandchildren and other guests.  Then the honored couple leads off the first waltz (or whatever dance they prefer, perhaps “their song”).  During the dancing, refreshments are available, and when the band takes a break, the couple’s family members could give an entertaining floor show or present a special award to their esteemed progenitors.

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THEME:  Similar to the old TV show, a review of the couple’s married life–great for 50th Anniversary

INVITATIONS:  Make photocopies of the couple’s wedding picture and send it in a cardstock frame made to look like a television set.  Give particulars on back of frame.

MATERIALS FOR ACTIVITIES:  You will need adequate seating for your guests, facing a stage or performance area.  You might want comfortable chairs on the stage for the honored couple and any special mystery guests.  You may also need stereo equipment or instruments, depending on what you want to do.  Also, make sure to video-record the event.

FOOD:  Most practical is simply to serve refreshments, but make sure they are favorites of the honored couple.  You might try making a two-tiered cake, with bride-and-groom figures on the bottom layer and golden-anniversary figures on the top.  Decorate with gold or the couple’s favorite colors.

DECORATIONS:  Try to give the atmosphere of a television studio. Signs indicating stars’ dressing rooms, Quiet Please, etc.; spotlights, and a director’s chair might help.  But you can also decorate in gold (if it’s a 50th anniversary) with streamers, balloons, flowers, etc.  Gold or silver confetti on the floor might be a nice touch. You might obtain various photographs of the couple taken throughout their marriage, have them enlarged to poster size and hang them on walls around the room.

BLOW-BY-BLOW:  This celebration will take a lot of work for someone (probably one of the couple’s children), but it will be well worth it as a cherished memory is made.  As the guests arrive, seat them in the audience area.  The honored couple take their places in special seats on the stage, and the show begins.  The emcee is probably their oldest child, and he takes his cue from the old television show of the same name, introducing voices and then persons from his parents’ memories.  If the actual people themselves cannot attend, their voices may be recorded over the phone.  The voices do not have to be those of people whom the couple haven’t seen in a long time; children and grandchildren can be involved, too, in helping their parents or grandparents relive some pleasant memories.  After the “show,” give a round of applause for the couple and serve the refreshments.

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THEME:  It seems that someone long ago has already picked out themes for wedding anniversaries.  Here’s the list:

1 year              Paper

5 years            Wood

10 years           Tin

15 years          Crystal

20 years          China

25 years           Silver

50 years           Gold

75 years           Diamond

INVITATIONS:  Take your cue from the theme, and if you can’t make the invitations out of the medium suggested, then use pictures of crystal, china, etc.  Silver or gold paper could be used for those anniversaries, and invitations to a Diamond Wedding could be diamond-shaped.

MATERIALS FOR ACTIVITIES:  The point of an anniversary party is to honor the couple who have kept their marriage alive for a number of years.  The most common anniversary celebrations given are those referred to as the Golden Weddings.  Previous to the 50th anniversary, it is perfectly acceptable to give a party for the couple, but it is usually not as large an affair as the Golden Wedding.

For those smaller celebrations, it may be best to invite a small group of family members and perhaps some very close friends.  Try to choose games that might go with the theme, such as word games for Paper, a nature walk and tree identification game for Wood, a hobo party with appropriate games for Tin, fortunetelling in a crystal ball for Crystal, a Chinese party with authentic games from China for the China anniversary, and games involving silverware such as Potato Relay and Spoons for the Silver Wedding.

For the more common Golden Wedding anniversary, there are usually quite a large number of people in attendance.  For this reason, games like those suggested above are generally impractical.  The traditional anniversary celebration is something like a Mock Wedding Reception.  For this type of celebration, you don’t need very many materials for activities.  You’ll need a decorated area for the reception line, a table for gifts, chairs and tables for food and guests, and equipment needed for musical numbers and/or speeches.

FOOD:  For the smaller gatherings, try to serve some favorite food of the honored couple, especially if you are having a dinner.  Often, a specially decorated cake is served for dessert, and these can be made to fit the theme.  For paper, bake the cake in the open-book pan available at craft and cake-decorating stores; it can be the book of their life together.  For Wood, try decorating a sheet cake with a family tree.  Tin could mean small, individual cakes baked in tin cans.  For Crystal, try decorating a wedding-type cake with little crystals from chandeliers.  For China, bake a round layer cake and decorate the top to look like their first china pattern.  For Silver, decorate with silver paper leaves and the little silver balls used on wedding cakes.  For Diamond, cut cake into a diamond shape before frosting.

For the Mock Wedding Reception at a golden wedding celebration, have a large cake much like a wedding cake, accented with gold decor.  You might have a golden punch made with apple juice and ginger ale, and, instead of colored mints, you could have lemon drops in the candy dish.

DECORATIONS:  For the smaller, earlier celebrations, take your decorating cue from the theme.  For Paper, use lots of paper streamers, etc.  For Wood, gather and display as many wooden objects as possible.  Set potted trees around.  For Tin, decorate with tin cans, shorn of their labels.  For Crystal, be sure to display wedding crystal and decorate with crystal prisms.  For China, display different patterns of china–or, for a play on words, decorate in Chinese style.  For Silver, display silver items and use silver-colored decorations.  For Diamond, you can again use lots of prisms, such as those hanging from chandeliers.

For the Mock Wedding Reception, decorate in gold and white, with plenty of flowers, paper wedding bells, or whatever suits you.  Be sure to have a backdrop, such as a lattice garden archway, for the reception line.  Perhaps you could have the couple’s favorite love songs playing softly in the background during the reception line.  Set up an elegant table for refreshments and another for gifts, if gifts are expected.  Also, set the appropriate number of round tables and chairs around the room.  Centerpieces could be single white roses in bud vases tied with gold ribbons.

BLOW-BY-BLOW:       If you wish to play games at your anniversary celebration, choose any that suit you. (Later posts will detail a number of games.) However, if your party is an intimate, “family only” affair, we can suggest one activity that will assure a heartwarming, memorable time with loved ones.

We call this activity “Reverie,” for that is just the type of mood it is meant to create.  It is basically a time of sharing old memories, but if you need some help jump-starting the trip down memory lane, you can write some words or phrases of people, places, things, animals, and actions on 3″x5″ cards and have participants draw cards and think of a memory about the word(s) on their cards.   You can get these from dictionaries, other games, books or your own imaginative memories.

A Mock Wedding Reception is very much what it sounds like:  The honored couple stands (or sits) in a reception line, with children and grandchildren if possible, and welcomes the guests as they come through the line.  Gifts are piled on a gift table.  After going through the line, guests get something to eat and mingle.  Musical numbers may be presented as solos or duets.  When the reception line has ended, the honored husband and wife cut a cake, and they may open their presents as well.  Sometimes a dance is held.

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THEME:  Class on baby care for a first-time mother-to-be

INVITATIONS:  The invitation should look official, like an invitation to take a college course.  Use calligraphy or a flowing script font on your computer, and print  on a nice bond or parchment paper.  The guest-of-honor is invited to take the course, and the guests may be invited to come and participate as “associate professors of motherhood.”

MATERIALS FOR ACTIVITIES:  Name tags for each guest; a crossword puzzle using names of baby items and pencil for each guest; a baby doll, diaper, stopwatch, two diaper pins and a blindfold; a sheet of blank paper for each guest; prizes, if desired, such as baby items like candy pacifiers, outlet plugs, baby shampoo, etc.; an elegant diploma for passing the course.

FOOD:  Serve foods that babies like:  milk, applesauce, graham crackers, juice, animal cookies, etc.  Another idea is to make nut cups in the shape of diapers.  This is done by cutting small rectangles or triangles of baby-print fabric, folding and pinning them like diapers with tiny safety pins (leaving leg-holes too small for mints or nuts to fall through), and setting them upright as if an invisible baby was sitting in them.  Then grasp each with tweezers and dip briefly into melted wax to coat, setting them out to dry and harden.  These little “diapers” can now be filled with mints and nuts, or whatever small snacks you desire.

DECORATIONS:  Decorate in pastel colors and cut pictures from parenting magazines of mothers doing things with babies.  Make a collage or hang them around the room.  Set out familiar items like bottles, baby powder, diapers, bibs, baby blankets, pacifiers, stuffed animals, baby toys, etc.

BLOW-BY-BLOW:   As guests arrive, give them name tags reading “Prof.   (their name)  .”   Welcome the mother-to-be as a new student, and “orient” her by giving her the crossword puzzle to do.  (All other guests will do it, too, and the first one to correctly complete it may be awarded a prize.)

Next, the “instructors” will demonstrate their prowess in the Blind Diapering Contest.  Set a baby doll, cloth diaper and two diaper pins (closed) in the center of the room.  Each contestant will have a turn to be blindfolded and see how fast she can correctly diaper the baby doll.  You (the hostess) will time each one.   Last of all, the guest of honor will try it–“to see if she has learned anything”–and the contestant with the best time may receive a prize.

Now it’s time to settle down and get a little more serious.  Give everyone a blank piece of paper on which to write some word of advice for the new mother.  (It can be funny or serious, whatever they prefer.)

After the advice is in, present the “successful student” with a lovely diploma (“suitable for framing”!) and celebrate her “commencement” by commencing  to open the presents.  Do this in the usual way, recording the gifts and givers and passing the gifts around to be admired.  You might also suggest the “professors” tell the mother-to-be what each item is used for, perhaps making up silly uses–like putting the diapers on her head during the baby’s bathtime, to protect her from splashes!

To complete the evening, serve the refreshments.

Variations and Comments:  It is important to make sure that this is all done in the spirit of fun.  The mother-to-be should have such a rapport with the other guests that she would never feel she was being belittled, mocked or teased for her lack of knowledge or experience.  In fact, some of the “professors” might not be mothers yet themselves, so they really would not be able to “instruct” her.  If done in the right spirit, the atmosphere will be humorous and light-hearted, and no one will be offended.

 

THEME:  Gender-related for baby girl

INVITATIONS:  Use pink construction paper and decorate by gluing on cinnamon sticks and hard candies.

MATERIALS FOR ACTIVITIES:  Paper and pencil for each team; baby doll with diaper and two diaper pins for each team; clothesline or string stretched across all or part of the room, doll clothes, clothespins, a small basket and a stopwatch; prizes, if desired, such as bags of candy or jars of spice.

FOOD:  Anything sweet will do.  Perhaps you could serve a spice cake with pink frosting, decorated with candies or flowers.  Also set out bowls of mints or other small candies.

DECORATIONS:  Like the boy’s shower above, decorate in distinctive feminine style.  Pink should be the main color, and you can use pictures or posters of little girls, as well as large (real or artificial) lollipops.  Set out dolls and other girlish toys.  Bouquets of flowers would be a nice touch, too.  Be sure to keep a table or corner clear for the gifts.  If the baby has been born, have a pretty, frilly place to put her as the real guest-of-honor.

BLOW-BY-BLOW:   When all the guests have arrived, introduce everyone and seat them in two teams lined up for the first game.

To play Add-A-Word, give the first player of each team a pencil and paper.  On a signal, the first player of each team writes on the top of her team’s paper a word associated with babies.  She quickly passes the paper and pencil to the second player, who must write beneath it another such word which begins with the last letter of the preceding word.  As soon as she writes the word, she passes the paper and pencil to the third player, who writes a word beginning with the last letter of the second player’s word.  Play continues until the last player adds a word.  She takes the list and pencil to the head player, who stands and waves the paper to indicate her team has finished.  The first team to complete a correct list wins the game.  The team finishing second checks the first team’s list to make sure the words are spelled correctly, begin with the correct letters and have something to do with babies.  If any word is questionable in one of these three areas, the second team may challenge the first team’s players, who will have to defend the word satisfactorily for it to count.  If the first team makes an error, the second team wins.  You may choose to award a prize to the winning team.

The next game is Diaper Relay.  Use the same teams as in the previous game and have them stand in two lines at one end of the room.  At the other end, opposite each team, place a baby doll, a small diaper and two diaper pins.  On a signal, the first player in each team runs across to her doll, diapers it and carries it to the next person on her team.  The next player runs across the room, unpins and removes the diaper, and runs back to her team, leaving the doll there.  The third player on the team does the same as the first player, diapering the doll and bringing it back.  Play continues in this manner until one team has made use of every player.  The first team finished wins, and you may choose to award them a prize.

The last game is a Laundry Contest.  You will not have teams for this game but will time each person individually.  For the contest, each person must hang all the clothes in the basket on the “clothesline,” then remove them, fold them and put them back in the basket.  The contestant who can do this in the shortest amount of time wins and may receive a prize.

Now it’s time to open the presents.  Seat everyone in a circle so the presents can be passed around and admired.  Record each gift and giver for the new mother.

Serve the refreshments when all the gifts have been opened or while they are being opened, if it’s a large gathering.

Variations and Comments: Instead of doing the Diaper Relay, you may wish to do a Braiding Relay, using two dolls with long hair and a rubber band or other fastener for each of them.  This relay would be similar to the Diaper Relay, except that the players would be braiding and un-braiding the dolls’ hair, instead of diapering and un-diapering as explained above.

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THEME:  Gender-related–for a baby boy already born (or if the doctor has confirmed his sex prior to birth)

INVITATIONS:  You could use blue construction paper, cut  in the shape of a diaper, to write the message on.  Decorate with rubber stamps, stickers or freehand drawings of snakes, snails and puppy dogs.  Then fold like a diaper and tape in place. 

MATERIALS FOR ACTIVITIES:  Several boy’s toys, such as dump trucks and wooden blocks;  small slips of paper on which you have written different  words or phrases having to do with babies–such as an item, like “diaper”, an event, like “labor”, or a phrase, like “bathing the baby”; advertisement puzzles you have made by cutting  out magazine advertisements of well-known baby products, gluing onto cardboard or stiff paper, cutting into several pieces and placing the pieces in envelopes; prizes, if desired, such as marbles, gummy snakes, stationery with puppies on it, etc.; pad of paper and pen.

FOOD:  When planning refreshments for the shower, be certain to ask the mother if there is anything she cannot eat.  Within those parameters, try to carry your theme through into your refreshments.  For instance, you could have a cake decorated with cookies, crackers or candies  in appropriate shapes, like snakes, puppies, cars, etc. Use  blue icing and serve blue mints.

DECORATIONS:  Of course, your theme will dictate the type of decorating you do.  For the Boy Shower, you can use streamers and balloons in blue, pictures and posters of little boys on the walls, and boy’s toys set out on display.  If the newborn guest of honor is present, have a central cradle, bassinet, etc. to place him in to be admired.

BLOW-BY-BLOW:  After the guests have arrived and given their gifts to you (the hostess), the games should begin.  Since the guest of honor at the shower is either well advanced in her pregnancy or still recovering from the delivery, games should generally not be too strenuous.  You can adapt these three as needed.

            Toy Relay is a game you create using whatever boy-type toys are available to you.  One example is for competing team members to roll a dump truck across the room to a pile of blocks, fill the truck with the blocks and return it to the starting point without spilling any blocks.  The next team member in line then repeats the process, in reverse order; the first team through wins and may receive a prize. 

            Next is “Baby Charades.”  Divide guests into small groups of two to four and give each group one of the slips of paper.  Assign an area where each group may plan and practice its pantomime without revealing its assignment to the others.  Allow each group three to five minutes in which to prepare its presentation.  The performers may pantomime by syllables or by acting out.  Request one of the groups to present its pantomime while the other groups try to guess the word or phrase.  Any group that guesses correctly wins the honor of presenting its pantomime.  If the groups fail to guess right, the players announce their assignment and select another group to offer its presentation.

            The final game is Advertisement Puzzles.  Each group (keep the same groups as for Baby Charades) should sit at a table or countertop, if possible, or at least have a large, firm surface on which to assemble their puzzle.  Hand out the envelopes to the groups and give the signal for them to remove the cut-up advertisements from the envelopes.  The guests work to reassemble the ads as quickly as possible, and the first group to succeed in correctly completing the puzzle wins the game and may receive a prize.

            After the games, it’s time to open the presents.  As with the bridal showers, someone should sit by the guest of honor and record the gifts (and givers) as she opens them.  After they are recorded, the gifts are passed around the room for all to admire.

            When the gifts are opened, serve the refreshments.  

                                                                             

Variations and Comments:     If the baby shower is for the couple’s first child, it might be a nice gesture to invite the new father or father-to-be as well, to allow him to feel more a part of it all.

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