Ideas for the Party Human

Posts Tagged ‘water

THEME:  Independence Day (4th of July), preserving history

INVITATIONS:  One idea is to take a miniature flag, place the message written on a small, folded piece of paper in the middle of the flag and fold it in the traditional triangular form.  It can then be mailed in an envelope or hand-delivered.  The guest will unfold the flag and see the message. 

            In the message, be sure to ask guests to bring swimsuits and towels, as well as an item to place in the time capsule, to be preserved for future citizens to discover.  This can be anything they deem significant to their lives and the times.  You may also wish to ask guests to bring food items for the barbecue.  This party will work well for families, teens or adults.

MATERIALS FOR ACTIVITIES:  Mock “Declaration of Independence” guest register and feather-quill pen, if desired; swimming pool or lake; necessary equipment for playing desired water games, such as beach balls, inner tubes, net, trinkets for diving, etc.; barbecue grill; picnic table(s), benches, etc.; paper and pens; time capsule (This must be a sturdy, watertight container that will resist decay, such as the plastic containers used for wheat or other food storage.); simple fireworks, if allowed by area law.

FOOD:  Old-fashioned picnic “vittles” are the rule.  You may ask guests to bring their own meat for barbecuing, or some other items, but a very American menu might be something like this:  Hamburgers, hot dogs or steaks, corn-on-the-cob, potato salad, baked beans, chips or crackers, watermelon and root beer.  For dessert, homemade ice cream is a must, and you might serve it alongside  a cake decorated like a flag.  Beside each plate, you might also have little nut-cups filled with red, white and blue cream mints.

DECORATIONS:  Of course, red, white and blue will be the color scheme.  Since this is outdoors, you will need to rely on your landscaping, etc. to help hold up decorations.  Streamers, balloons and flags may be hung from trees, shrubs and around the deck.  Use appropriate colors of paper plates, cups, napkins and tablecloth(s).  A basket containing an arrangement of red, white and blue carnations with a small flag standing in the middle might make a nice centerpiece for the picnic table.  Have buckets of citronella to keep the bugs away, if your area has need of such precautions.

BLOW-BY-BLOW:  When guests arrive, they give their items for the time capsule to you, the hostess, and you may ask them to sign a mock “Declaration of Independence” for a guest register.  The fun starts with swimming.  Plan several water games, if the guests are interested. 

            When the swimmers are tired out, fire up the grill, and let the good old-fashioned barbecue begin.  As guests finish eating, give each one paper and pencil to use in penning some thoughts to include in the time capsule.  When everyone is done, they may share their writings with each other if they so desire, before placing them in a watertight bag or box to go in the time capsule.  When all items are in the time capsule, it is sealed and placed in a previously-dug hole.  A date is agreed upon for digging up the time capsule, and everyone helps to bury it. 

            If time permits, there may be some more swimming before dessert.  After the cake and ice cream, a musician in the group accompanies a sing-along of patriotic songs on the guitar, piano, keyboard, harmonica or whatever.  As a finale to the evening, the guests clear a space of dirt, cement or gravel for the lighting of fireworks.  (If private fireworks are illegal in your area, you might take everyone to the fairgrounds [or wherever] to watch the public fireworks display.)

                                                                          * * *

 THEME:  Summer fun at the beach

INVITATIONS:  Cut round circles and color one side like a beach ball.  On the other side, use California beach slang, such as:

            “Hey, dudes and dudettes–slap on your best beach gear and come hang out at the Indoor Beach Party.  Don’t let winter chill you out!  There’ll be a prize for the baddest beach threads, and we’ll have some really rad activities!  Bring your fave beach snack for munchin’ and blow off this winter scene–totally!”

     This is a fun party for all ages, from teens to adults.

MATERIALS FOR ACTIVITIES:  Two surfboards or plain wooden boards of similar size; two large bowls; wrapped hard candies; two plastic pitchers; two clear plastic glasses; two or four rolls of Life Saver candies; large box of sand; 20 pennies; blackboard and chalk or whiteboard (or poster) and marker; team prize for the competitions, such as kiddie sunglasses for each team member; prize for best beach outfit, such as a pair of underwater goggles; music for dancing, if desired (Beach Boys, etc.) and stereo; prize for dance contest, if desired, such as a beach ball or water wings; video of old beach movie and VCR, if desired.

FOOD:  The guests will bring snacks, and you can provide the cold pop–six-packs in various flavors, packed in an ice chest.  You might also provide something more exotic, like a fresh pineapple.  Set the food out on a table covered with a beach blanket or large beach towel.  Serve in creative containers, like large seashells, a diver’s mask, little plastic boats, etc.

DECORATIONS:  First of all, have the party room warm and well lighted, as the guests will be wearing summery clothing.  In two clear corners, create two famous beaches, such as Malibu, Waikiki or Palm Beach.  If you have local beaches, you could use those names.  Label the beaches with signs and try to recreate something that beach is famous for.  Borrow some potted palms for Palm Beach, or make palm trees on the wall with colored construction paper.  For Malibu Beach, you might spark some laughter by setting up a scene with Malibu Barbie and Ken in their beach buggy, etc.  Light blue cloths or curtains could hang on the wall as an ocean backdrop.  You could display diving or surfing gear, if you have access to it.  In other areas of the room hang colorful swimsuits, beach towels, beach posters and Beach Boys album covers.  Near the refreshment table, you might set up beach blankets and umbrellas on the floor.  Have Beach Boys surfin’ music playing softly in the background during the competitions.

 BLOW-BY-BLOW:            As guests arrive, assign them equally to the two (or more, if the group is large) different beaches.  Each beach team then uses this time to come up with its own cheer.  When the teams are complete, they each give their cheers, and the competitions begin.

Surf's up!

            The first competition is the Surfing Race.  It will require three people from each group, usually two boys and a girl.  The teams choose their contestants before the race is explained.  Give the boys from each team a surfboard or similar piece of wood, and they hold it between them while the girl sits on it.  On a signal, the groups race to the end of the room and back.  The team to arrive first gets a point on the board.

            The next contest is the High Dive, which requires one representative from each beach.  You (the host/hostess) provide the contestants with one pitcher of water each.  On the floor are two empty glasses.  These they must fill at least two-thirds full from the position of standing on chairs.  The one who spills the least water on the floor gets the point for her team.

            The next event is the Underwater Swimming Race.  One contestant is chosen to represent each beach.  Give each one a deep bowl filled with water at the bottom of which are several wrapped candies.  He is seated at a table or may kneel on the floor in front of the bowl, keeping his hands behind his back.  At the signal, the contestant must bob for the candies, getting them out with his mouth.  The first one to get all the candies out wins the point for his team.

            The next event, the Life-Saving Contest, is announced, and two representatives are chosen from each beach.  The two partners stand four or five paces apart, facing each other.  Give one side several Life-Saver candies, which they must toss, one at a time, to their partners.  The other side must catch them with their mouths.  The team which catches the most wins the point.

            For the last event, the Buried Treasure Race, one contestant is chosen from each group.  (Make sure that every person on each team has the chance to compete in at least one event.)  This could be the tie-breaking event!  A large box of sand is placed at one end of the room; the representatives line up at the other.  Twenty pennies are buried in the sand, ten for each team.  On a signal, the contestants race to the box, dig their ten pennies out with their hands, and race back.  The first one back with all ten pennies wins the final point for her team.  The beach with the most points on the board wins a team prize.

            After this, you  award a prize to the guest with the best beach outfit.  Then serve the refreshments, and turn the music up.  Guests may dance, if desired, or, after eating, you may show a video of an old beach movie.  If you choose to dance, a spontaneous dance contest–whether ’50’s style or the current craze–adds to the fun, and you may award a prize to the winning couple.

THEME:  Pirates, Buried Treasure

INVITATIONS:  These could be shaped like a pirate ship or at least with a picture of a pirate on them.  Message should be couched in typical seaman’s language, such as something like this:  “Ahoy, all ye pirate lads!  ‘Tis time to hoist anchor and set sail in search of Blackbeard’s Treasure.  It’s  (child’s name)  birthday, and the adventure happens on  (date)  at  (time) .  Don’t be a landlubber, but come in your best pirate’s garb to  (house, address, etc.) , or you’ll be made to walk the plank!”  This party is ideal for boys aged 5-10.

MATERIALS FOR ACTIVITIES:  Extra costume accessories for those who might need them, such as sashes, one-of-a-kind clip-on earrings or earrings made from string and small canning rings, newspaper pirate hats, head bands and black construction-paper eye patches; treasure chest filled with candy, toys and trinkets; padlock and key for chest; various clues written on pieces of parchment paper; cellophane tape; swimming pool and large rubber raft (if no pool is available, a child’s wagon could be decorated like a clipper ship and the children pulled over land to find the hidden clues and key); small shovels; paper and crayons and/or pirate story; kerchiefs or small bags to put “loot” in.  (You can make a treasure chest from a sturdy cardboard box by gluing fancy-shaped macaroni on it and spraying it with gold paint.)

FOOD:  Cake can be divided into sea (blue frosting or decorator’s gel) and beach (white or tan frosting sprinkled with brown sugar for sand).  A plastic ship sails on the sea, while palm trees, pirates and a treasure chest are placed on the beach.  Drink root beer and serve birthday child’s favorite ice cream with cake.  Miniature treasure chests could hold candy and nuts to nibble on.

DECORATIONS:  The outdoor area will not need much decoration, but the indoor area (if used) should be graced with various nautical items:  compass, fish nets, shells and starfish, plastic fish, toy boats, pictures of pirates, crossed swords, a globe or large world map.  Somewhere there should be a flag (or large poster) with the skull and crossbones on it.  You can also use bright-colored streamers and balloons.

BLOW-BY-BLOW:            The guests should arrive dressed as pirates, but you (the parent/host) have on hand extra accessories, such as those described in the MATERIALS section above, to help out those who forget.  When all have arrived, a helper dressed as a scurvy old pirate tells a tale of buried treasure and presents the children with the first clue to the whereabouts of this famed treasure.  This is a little riddle or rhyme on an odd-shaped piece of parchment, which hints at the location of the next clue.             

            The group of little pirates goes from place to place, collecting all the clues.  When they find the last one, they put them together like a puzzle to form a map.  (Tape is for holding it together.)  Reading the map, they decipher where the treasure is buried. 

            Provided with shovels, they then dig it up, discovering to their dismay that it is locked with a heavy padlock.  But wait!  There is a note attached to the chest telling how the key was thrown in the lagoon and can only be retrieved with the help of a mermaid.  (If pool and raft are not used, the key can be hidden somewhere else outdoors and can only be found with the help of a gypsy and her crystal ball.) 

            The pirates then board the raft and a swimsuited helper (such as an older sister) guides them slowly through the water to the place where the key lies.  She dives and retrieves it for them–in return for something, like a piece of the birthday cake!  Now, at last, they can open the treasure chest.  Inside they find dime store trinkets and toys, candy necklaces and chocolate gold coins.  Give everyone small bags to hold their shares of the loot.  The pirates then settle down for the opening of presents (if desired) and the eating of cake and ice cream. 

            If the children are old enough and there is plenty of supervision, they could swim in the pool until their parents come to get them.  (Be sure to ask them to bring suits and towels.)  If this is not desirable, they can go indoors to hear a pirate story and/or draw pirate pictures until time to leave.

Variations and Comments:        Another game that could be played is Capture a Pirate:  Merely Blindman’s Bluff with a pirate theme.

     I have always loved mermaids, and this is the fantasy party I never had.  The idea for the mermaid tail is not proven, so if anyone has ever made one, I’d love to hear about it.  This party description was written long ago, before Disney’s The Little Mermaid, so it could be changed to contain references to that movie in the invitations, activities and decorations. 

ARIEL

 

 

 

THEME:  Mermaids

INVITATIONS:  Regular card-type with a picture of a mermaid on the front, or shaped like an oyster shell, opening to reveal a plastic pearl glued to the inside.  Ask guests to bring swimsuit and towel and any other apparatus they might require for swimming (such as ear or nose plugs).  This party is recommended for slightly older girls, aged eight to 12.  Some swimming skills are necessary to play the games.

MATERIALS FOR ACTIVITIES:  Mermaid tail(s)–described below; mermaid story; stop watch; whistle; treasure article(s) for diving; air mattress or inner tube for floating; prizes (if wanted) and favors such as small seashells, plastic leis, or candy necklaces; paper and crayons.  Oh, yes–and you’ll need a swimming pool, too!

FOOD:  Round layer or oblong cake of child’s favorite flavor, decorated as follows:  Most of the top of the cake will be a beach; simulate sand with brown sugar sprinkled over off-white frosting.  One small area will be frosted blue, to represent the ocean (blue decorator’s gel can be used).  On the beach place a small, nude fashion doll (5-7 inches tall is best), sitting up.  Using blue-green icing and a shell decorator tip, create a mermaid tail covering from the waist to the feet of the doll.  You can also appropriately place frosting seashells on the doll’s chest for modesty.  Other decorations on the beach might include tiny seashells (real or icing), a treasure chest or a plastic palm tree.  For ice cream, use lime sherbet or child’s favorite flavor.  Lemonade or a tropical fruit punch would serve for drinks.

DECORATIONS:  Try to create a seaside atmosphere.  Hang large fish nets strung with seashells, starfish, driftwood and the like.  Set a large potted palm on the deck, if available.  Hang a large sign near the pool reading “Mermaid Lagoon.”  Perhaps you could make use of a sandbox for a mini-beach.  You could also display island artifacts, like native masks or costumes.  Large posters of ocean beaches and skin divers over coral reefs would be excellent.  If you or a friend has a nice fish tank, that would make a good display also.

BLOW-BY-BLOW:            The guests arrive and sit in the shade on the deck.  You (the parent), dressed in tropical island style, read a short, exciting mermaid story and then explain that today each girl will get a chance to be a mermaid.  (If there are boys present, they can be mermen.)  The guests go change into their swimsuits and return for the first activity.

            First, you must teach the children how to swim like mermaids, so tell them all to jump in the shallow end of the Mermaid Lagoon (a.k.a. swimming pool).  (If you don’t have your own pool, you can reserve the pool at a local club or public park.  A shallow lake with a good beach would work, also.)  Having now donned a swimsuit, you or the child hosting the party demonstrate the method of swimming with legs together, kicking as if with one leg.  This is most effective underwater, but can be done with almost any stroke.  The guests now try it, and you act as a watchful lifeguard.  The child who appears to have the most mermaid ability has earned the right to wear the mermaid tail for the next activity.  (If you have made tails for all the guests, they can now put them on.)

            (The mermaid tails can be made simply in the following manner:  Have your child lie down on a large piece of butcher paper and draw a pattern of a simple mermaid tail on the paper around her, leaving about a 6″ border around her body.  Gauge your child’s size relative to her friends and leave generous room for the tail to fit everyone.  [If you love sewing and want to make tails for all the guests, then it might be wise to get waist and waist-to-foot measurements from their mothers.]  Cut out the pattern and pin it to the folded, right-sides-together fabric [any blue-green material suitable for swimsuits].  Cut out and sew around edges, leaving waist open.  According to your desire, you can put in an elastic or drawstring waist, or simply hem it and have large diaper pins available to pin the tail to the child’s swimsuit.  Or, if you’re inviting boys, you may want to make suspender-like straps to keep the tail on.)

            Now comes a series of contests to determine who may wear the tail.  (Or, give prizes for the winners, if you’ve made tails for everyone.)  There is more than one parent supervising, to ensure safety during the games.

            First will be an Underwater Living contest.  Using the stopwatch,  time each guest to see who can stay underwater the longest.  (This contest should be done in water that is not over the children’s heads.)  The winner gets to wear the tail (or receives a prize).

            The next activity is the Mermaid Race.  The children gather at one side of the Mermaid Lagoon and get set.  On the signal, they swim to the other side using the mermaid swimming technique.  The first guest to reach the other side receives the mermaid tail (or a prize).

            The winner of the Mermaid Race is now given the honor of being the Queen (or King) of the Floating Island.  Set her adrift in the Mermaid Lagoon on the air mattress or inner tube.  The other children jump in the pool and try to relieve her of her throne.  This is a water version of King of the Mountain, and the first player to knock the Queen into the water and climb onto the Floating Island is the new Queen and may wear the mermaid tail.  Play this game as long as the guests enjoy it.

            When the children tire of the Floating Island game, they get out of the pool for Diving for Treasures.  Toss a string of plastic pearls or some other such trinket into the deeper area of the pool (deep enough to dive in safely).  Tell the children they must use the mermaid swimming technique or be disqualified, and  then signal them to dive for the treasure.  (If your group is large, you might throw in three different treasures and give first, second and third place prizes in order of retrieval.  Another way might be to give each guest a turn at diving for the treasure and use the stop watch to see who returns it the fastest.)  Again, the winner gets to wear the mermaid tail (or receives a prize).

            After these games, allow the guests free swimming time, if they have any energy left.  After a specified amount of time, close the Mermaid Lagoon, and ask the children to dry off and change clothes.  They gather on the deck or in the house for the birthday cake and presents.  If there is extra time while waiting for parents to pick up their children, the guests may use paper and crayons to draw mermaid scenes.

 Variations and Comments:  If you have just one mermaid tail, make sure that every child gets a chance to wear it at least once.  Try to make it with good, stretchy swimsuit material that dries fast, so they won’t cringe putting on a sopping wet tail.  If you have made tails for all the guests, those can be their party favors to take home. 

            If the pool used is indoors, a different decorating scheme might create the atmosphere of an underwater lair.  Use mood lighting with blue and green spotlights.  Drape seaweed (real, plastic, tissue or crepe paper) around the walls and over doorways.  Use the fish nets, shells and starfish as well, and maybe add a cardboard silhouette of a sunken ship off in a corner.  Use your imagination; what would the underwater domain of the mermaids look like?


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