DIY Roald Dahl-Themed Party

As the 13th September was Roald Dahl’s birthday, the fab people at Roald Dahl HQ created a whole host of party and dressing-up ideas to celebrate the great man and raise money for his eponymous charity. If you’ve not seen the website, it’s definitely worth a look – it’s got brilliant ideas for teachers too.

…We did our own celebration, with the main event being the food:

gloriumptious

… to be fair though, it was more ‘concept cooking’ (or ‘assembling’) than haute cusine.  Here’s what we served (and what the labels said):

  • “The Fleshlumpeater’s favourite snack” – an entire baguette made into a colossal ham sandwich, which was then cut into individual portions at the table
  • “Miss Honey’s favourite sandwiches” – normal sandwiches!
  • “Danny’s Dip of Champions” – humous
  • Labelled as: “Imported from Giant Country” – long, thin breadsticks
  • “From The BFG’s vegetable patch” – raw carrots, peppers, tomatoes, served BIG
  • “Snozzcumber (does not contain human beans)” – partially peeled, hollowed-out whole cucumber, with cream cheese inside (cut into portions at the table)
  • “The Enormous Crocodile’s toothpicks” – ‘French Stick’ crisps
  • “The BFG’s dream jar” – a Kilner jar, with mandarin pieces suspended in different coloured layers of jelly
  • “Wonker’s Chocolate (mixed by waterfall)” – chocolate fondue with strawberries, marshmallows and honeycomb for dipping
  • “Whizz-popping Frobscottle” – bottle of sparkling apple juice (relabelled!)

After lunch we had some party games, starting with the Quiz from the Roald Dahl Party Pack, along with ‘Hunt the Dream’, where the kids were told in letters from the BFG to help him hunt for the golden Phizzwizards (sweets wrapped in gold paper) around the house.

Then we played some home-made games, starting with Bingo, made using Gobblefunk words that I found online, boosted with some characters and other memorable phrases. The answers were all put in a mixed bowl, so the Bingo Caller could also play.

… one of the Bingo cards:

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Everyone then took turns to act out a character in Charades, which worked well (until my youngest refused point-blank to be Mrs Trunchbull!).  The following characters were written on individual pieces of paper and mixed up in a bowl for us to pick at random:

  • Mr Victor Hazel
  • Mr. Willy Wonker
  • Matilda
  • Mrs. Trunchbull
  • Fantastic Mr. Fox
  • The Enormous Crocodile
  • The BFG

It was pretty quick and easy to do and there seems to be loads of mileage in Roald Dahl’s books for different games and fancy dress.  In fact, I think I’ll find out when Lewis Caroll’s birthday was and perhaps do an Alice in Wonderland-themed one – although with two boys, I’ll have to call it “The Mad Hatter’s Tea Party” to get any takers!!

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Easter Party & Alternative Egg Hunt…

As Easter is hopping towards us, I thought I’d share some party ideas that we’ve done over the last few years.

We originally decided upon DIY Easter egg hunts as none of the community-organised ones suited our kids when they were young (too much hanging about in the cold – one year it even snowed).  It was only after inviting people round that I realised that an egg hunt would be impossible in our garden.  We’d just had all the shrubs/weeds/weird-stuff uprooted in favour of a lawn, but as it’s surrounded by a wall, it had more in common with a prison yard than a setting for hide and seek.  There was absolutely nowhere to hide anything.

They say adversity breeds creativity – and that was borne out in this case.  Knowing that the kids would expect an egg hunt, having nowhere to hide them couldn’t get in the way.  We came up with an alternative egg hunt, but before I get into all of that, here’s a few ideas for the set-up:

Decorations

These hollow plastic brightly coloured eggs originally came from a pound shop.  I bought them because I thought I was going to use them for an egg and spoon race.  I liked the jolly colours.  It was only when I got home that I realised they were too light and would be more than likely to blow off the spoons.

Instead I threaded cotton thread through the tiny holes in the top and hung them in trees and from branches suspended from banisters above our hall.

I also made some large cardboard eggs out of some old boxes and decorated them to suspend in trees / from our kitchen ceiling (depending on whether it rains).  Our bare garden needed a bit of cheering up as you can see.  Admittedly, they are a bit battered now, but they’ve done pretty well over the last few years.

Easter group 1

Decorating Baskets

I used a template that I found on the internet to print out on a range of coloured card baskets.  We then asked the children to decorate their baskets when they arrived and we waited for everyone else to come.

In our old place, the kids were a bit young for arts and crafts, so I decorated some cones and pegged them onto a ribbon which then doubled-up as a decoration.

Bunny Ears

Particularly sweet when the guys were little.  These were so easy to make and I thought would get everyone in the party spirit.  We only stapled them together when the kids arrived, so we could fit them to their heads.

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Our Alternative Egg Hunt

Otherwise known as find the golden eggs.  We printed pictures of golden eggs and white eggs on small white cards that we scattered upside down all over the garden (with roughly triple the number of white eggs to gold).  We then asked the children to run around the garden and collect as many golden eggs as they could find.  The winner then won a chocolate egg, everyone else had their baskets filled with smaller eggs for them to take home as party bags.

Egg Throwing

Competition to see who could throw their rubber bouncy egg the furthest.  We have also adapted this (once the children were old enough to be likely to throw over the garden wall) to see who could get their eggs into a bucket.

Piñata

Filled with sweets, hung from a tree.

Easter group 2

Team Games

A fun way to split people into teams is to give the children different animal pictures and ask them to make the noise of their animal character and (without speaking), find the other members of their team.  Just don’t do what I did and end up having only one person as a particular animal.  Not sure how that happened, the poor girl was so confused…

  • Egg and spoon relay race. I bought rubber bouncy eggs from the internet & split the group into teams.  Each team had to complete a relay – to run with their egg on their spoon across the garden and back, around our home-made bollards.
  • Obstacle Race. A relay, where each child has to balance a small bean bag on their head, jump over a series of bollards (Tesco baby wipe boxes wrapped in Lego wrapping paper) and go through a hoop.
  • Sack Race. Again as a relay.  Again, total carnage – but seemed to add to the fun that none of them seemed to be able to keep upright for long…
  • Three-legged race. To be honest, this was carnage, but the kids loved it.  They fell all over the shop (a bit like in the sack race)

Easter group 3

Invitations

Last year I found this really cool image of an egg on the internet and as our egg-hunt format was established from previous years, I thought I’d play on the fact that it’s about finding the right cards, rather than eggs themselves….

invite 2

Related Content:

Indoor Easter egg hunt with clues

Easter parlour games – retro-inspired family fun

The highs and lows of Easter egg decorating (Minion-style)

DIY Superhero Party

We decided to hold the ‘Superhero Games’, where would-be superheroes were invited to come, (fancy-dressed, ready for action) to test their skill, strength, speed and stealth.  All the activities were a superhero-spin on traditional party games.  Whilst we didn’t get round to doing them all, I thought I’d share the ideas we had:

Individual Games:

  • Superhero style – Black Lace’s ‘Superman’ is a corker as a soundtrack for asking the children to show their best superhero moves
  • Musical islands, superhero-style. I just printed superhero pictures out and stuck them onto brightly coloured A5 cards, then removed cards when the music stopped and children were ‘out’

superhero 2

  • Kryptonite hot potato – I put green finger lights in white balloons and blew them up to create small, glowing balls. The game then worked like a reverse-version of pass the parcel.  Superheroes who were holding the balls when the music stopped were ‘out’ until we whittled it down to the winner!

Team Games:

I made the following bollards by covering cardboard boxes in paper, with pictures to keep with the theme:

superhero 3

  • Villain attack – a game of skill, where superheroes have to throw bean bags over the bollards of the baddies into buckets

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  • Bean bag attack – we then removed the buckets and lined the bollards up to ask the superheroes to see if they could knock them over with their mini bean bags

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  • Strongman challenge – superheroes test their strength whilst weaving around bollards of the baddies. This was done in teams, where each team was given a number of empty cardboard boxes which had pictures of heavy weights on them.  They then needed to weave in and out of the bollards, to the end of the line and then pass the weights on to the next member of their team without dropping them.  The process continued as a relay, until the first team completed the whole challenge.

superhero 6a

  • Speed – What’s the time bat man? A superhero-take on ‘what’s the time Mr. wolf?’
  • Speed – Superman Tag. Basically British Bulldogs.  Children have to run from one side of the room to the other and try not to get caught by the ‘catcher’ in the middle.  When they are caught, then they join the ‘catching team’ and have to try and catch others as they run across the room and back.
  • Limbo – All kids seem to love this, they don’t stick to the rules mind you, as you can see, they just crawl or roll-under, but it’s all fun for them.

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I hope you like some of these ideas and that you have a fun time if you are hosting a similar party.  Things never go according to plan, but the more noise, chaos and laughs the better, as long as the kids have fun!

DIY Pirate Party

Having two boys means that it’s a pretty much a done deal that pirates are going to enter into the equation somewhere.  They also provide the perfect theme for a bit of fancy dress…

We usually hire a church hall, so that there’s space for all the games.  It’s fun to come up with some original games that match the theme – although you might want to test them out on your kids first to ensure they work.  I had a party once where no one had a clue what they were doing (including the adults!) – whilst it was very funny at the time, the experience was one of chaotic comedy, so perhaps not what you’re looking when hosting a flock of kids.

Invitations & Thank You Cards:

I like having a go at my own cards.  My enjoyment for designing them however waned when I tried (and failed) to get a burnt look around the edges of the invites that I’d originally printed off on plain card (I also tried staining with tea too…).  To cut the story short, don’t bother!

You can get some quite authentic-looking marble-effect printer paper, or google a picture of an ancient scroll to use as a base on which text can be added.  I just layered the text on top of the scroll picture in powerpoint.

I then made similarly-themed thank you notes to be sent out after the party.

After printing, I cut around the ragged edge (which was a pain, but looked good when finished):

pirate-party-pic-2

Games:

Treasure Hunt

A great way to entertain early arrival arrivals while you wait for the rest to come.  We found that giving them a challenge to complete worked well, as they could start as/when they arrived.

We did this before our kids could read, so, although they needed their parents to read out the questions, I wanted the answers to be a simple picture that they needed to find.

In order to do this, I printed pictures of the answers on A4 card to put up around the room. I attached an open envelope to each picture, containing smaller cards with pictures of the answer and double-sided sellotape on the reverse, so that they could stick the pictures to their answer sheets.

The party-goers then charged around the room, trying to spot the picture of a ‘sock’ or a ‘door’ etc. The end of the hunt led them to a treasure chest containing chocolate coins.

The questions we used were:

  1. Welcome pirates to [name]’s party – we use these if we’re feeling arty…
  2. We need shipmates to join our crew, you put this on before your shoe…
  3. Thank you for coming from near and far, this is [name]’s favourite car…
  4. The birthday boy is 4 – can you find our front ______?
  5. [name]’s favourite bear may be ‘big ted’, but you will see this when you go to bed
  6. We hope you are having fun – have you seen a currant _____?
  7. If you want your teeth to shine, pick this up and spend some time…
  8. If you want to learn and grow, turn the page, get in the know…
  9. The final clue.  The one we like best, can you find the treasure chest?

This is what the question sheet looked like.  I printed it off in black and white onto marble-effect paper for a more authentic look.  The answer stickers are also shown below.

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Treasure Islands

This is essentially musical chairs, just with cardboard circles on the floor instead of the chairs.  I put pictures of palm trees on them with a blue background to create the ‘island’ look.  As with the traditional game, we had the same number of islands as children to start, then islands were removed after every time the music was stopped (and someone was out) in order to whittle down to the winner.

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Save the pirate from the scurvy

A pirate-version of boule!  We stuck pictures of pirates on a piece of card that we propped up.  We then asked the children to roll oranges along the floor from the ‘start’ point to see who could get theirs closest to the pirates.

Whilst we explained what ‘scurvy’ was, I’m not sure the kids cared – they just liked lobbing the oranges at the pirates.

When we first did it, we tried to give everyone  a coloured sticker to be able to tell their oranges – but no one could remember their colour, so you may not want to bother.

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Walk the Plank

We taped the outline of a ‘plank’ on the floor with masking tape.  Then asked blindfolded children to walk along it and see if they could get as close to the end as possible, without ‘falling off’ the plank at the end into the ‘sea’.  The ‘sea’ was indicated by cards with pictures of sharks put around the end of the plank.

The kids ended up wanting to walk off the ‘end’ after a few goes, because when they did, their forfeit was to be tickled as they were being ‘eaten by the sharks’.

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“Arrgghhh” competition

A simple game, but a great filler if you need a bit of time to sort other things out when the party is in full-swing. Ask the children to all sit in a circle and explain the purpose of the game: to decide who can do the most fearsome, pirate-y “Arrgghhh”.  The children then take it in turns to have a go…

Traditional games with a pirate-y spin…

  • ‘Pin the beak on Polly’ & ‘Pin the patch on the pirate’ – ‘pin the tail on the donkey’:  I drew a picture of a parrot and a pirate on large pieces of paper, then cut pieces of yellow card for the ‘beak’ and black card for a ‘patch’.  The great thing about doing this yourself is that there’s no maximum – you can just make the number to match the number of party-goers you have.  I suggest numbering them though (and asking the children to remember their numbers if possible), so that you can tell who is the winner.  However you do it, it’s impossible to have just one winner, so it’s usually sweets for all…
  • Pass the Treasure – ‘pass the parcel’: you can get pirate wrapping paper to keep it in theme…
  • Peg-legged race – A three-legged race, if you think you’re kids are coordinated enough!  You can by the ties for legs on the internet.

Teams:

In order not to keep the children waiting a long time between goes, we split them into teams.  We’ve not bothered giving the teams names (as team membership tends to be a bit fluid when we’ve done this with younger kids…), however with older children who may like a bit of competition, you could name them ‘Treasure cove’, ‘jolly roger’, ‘princess pearl’, or ask them to make up their own.