Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Easy Pinata

I found this photo while poking around through some picture files. For my sons 4th birthday, we had a bug theme birthday party. Well, what childhood birthday party would be complete without a Pinata??? Honestly, what could be more entertaining than a group of sugar zombied preschoolers waving a stick around. It has to rate pretty high on the potential for danger list....but it's kind of a birthday ritual. In keeping with the bug theme, I fashioned a paper mache bee hive. This worked out well for me, as I had a papermached 9" balloon sitting in my garage from some unfinished and abandoned craft project. Once I cut a little flap in the bottom to fill it with candy and toys, it was a small task to cover it with grey paper streamer to finish it's disguise as a hive. Online, I found instructions to make these little bees using pipe cleaner, complete with glued on paper wings, and googly eyes. I glued a few on to the hive and suspended some just below the bottom with some fishing line. We hung the hive in the back yard under a tree, and let the little hooligans have at it. I found a suggestion (also online) that small kids could use water guns to soak and otherwise make a gooey mess out of a pinata. This may be true of less substantial store purchased models, but this idea did not work well on my home constructed earthquake proof model. In the end we let them at it with a baseball bat. No lost time injuries were reported, but a lot of supervision was required.

Also at the bug party was a bug treasure hunt, of sorts. I found packages of 10 assorted plastic bugs at the dollar store and purchased one package for each guest. That meant 10 different kinds of bug. I sorted the bugs into like piles and took a photo of each kind of bug. I made up silly names for them and wrote a little description up for each one, including where they like to hide. We had garden bugs, BBQ bugs, sprinkler bugs etc. I made up little cards up for each one with its picture on the front, and facts on the back that I would read to the kids. Once I read them the facts, which told them where to look for them, the group would run off to catch the bugs. I had hidden the group of bugs together. For example, "the Yellow Bellied BBQ bugs which like to gather near BBQ's" could be found near the BBQ....and off they'd run to collect their bugs. When they got there, they would find a bug was there for each of them....all the same...no fighting, no arguing....everyone got the same bug. I should mention that as the party was starting, I had the kids decorate their own bug collecting bag with stickers, glitter glue and markers so they would have somewhere to keep their bugs during the bug hunt. I used brown paper lunch bags which I cut down to half height, and used the removed top to cut a double thickness carrying handle which I attached at either side with scrapbooking brads. So it was like pail with a handle.

We had other bug related games, like modified spoon race. We got dollar store fly swatters and got giant plastic bugs for the kids to race with on the ends of the fly swatters. I had the pinata loaded up with gummy candies that looked like bugs, bug tattoos, more plastic bugs etc. And I read a book to the kids about a bug safari which started of our bug hunt. The book reading worked well to calm the kids down a bit before the bug hunt. I also tried a game of make the caterpillar in a toilet paper cocoon. I had them in two groups trying to wrap their sacrificial caterpillar in toilet paper faster than the other group. I had never myself tried to wrap someone in toilet paper, and it is more difficult than I had imagined. You have to be very careful not to pull too hard and break the toilet paper. But they did have a hoot at it anyway. For our finale, we had a carebear cake (my sons choice) sprinkled with plastic ants and we sent home each guest with a butterfly net also from the dollar store. This party was, I think, my favourite so far.

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