Just wrapped up our frog and toad birthday party for Henry's 5th and Silas' 3rd birthday. I wanted to try to get an overview of the party and the stuff i made-- then i'll give friends and family the rundown of highlights and the funny bits.
We decided back in January to do a frog and toad party and i started to work doing web research to see what kind of ideas i could unearth. The only hit i got that was exactly what i was looking for was this one. This got me brainstorming and much searching and scheming later we came up with the following plan for the party.
For decorations i bought blue sheets to cover the tables, cut out lily pads from green card stock, and made little origami frogs to decorate. I made cattails for the vase i put on our front step. No matter how much searching i did i couldn't find any ideas or other crafters that had tried to make cattails-- so i invented my own. I wrapped bamboo garden stakes with a 5" piece of batting several times, and then used knee-highs to cover the batting. I poked a small hole in the toe of the knee high-- put the stake through the hole, pulled it down over the batting, and then double the knee high back over to make it a little darker. I just tucked both ends into the top and bottom to make it look neat.
I also made a new birthday bunting that we hung up in our kitchen. I can't find where i read how to do this but i just cut fabric into triangles using pinking shears, then sandwiched them between a ribbon that i folded over on itself and stitched with a zig-zag stitch. This is one of the easiest hand-made decorations you could ever do and they look so festive! And next year they'll be ready to deploy again!
Guests arrived and were directed to our kitchen where i had pre-painted and assembled "frog and toad houses" for the kids to decorate. I saved cracker boxes, cereal boxes and the like, stuffed them with newspaper to make them stand up, used painters tape to "peak" the roofs, and then painted them with acrylics. When dry i cut out sticky-backed foam to cover the roofs. I had out some pre-cut pieces of the sticky-backed foam in various shapes- to make windows, doors, grass, etc. We also had some flowers and bees that were sticky-backed, as well as half-sheets of the foam and scissors for the bigger kids to decorate as they wished. This went over well and it occupied it the kids for a solid 15 minutes. I didn't get a great picture of the decorated ones yet, but will try to add that soon.
Then we headed outside to start games. The day was chilly but sunny so we could be out, but the kids wound up getting cold so a chunk were inside playing in the very tiny playroom and a few were outside with me. I used this post to come up with the idea for the bean-bag game, and this template to make the lilypads-- i made them bigger for the ones i made for the bean-bag toss and the same size as the template for decorations on the table. The kids played "team" bean-bag toss and tried to get all of their bean bags from one lilypad to the next. After they seemed to tire of that, i challenged them to balance the bean bags on their head, stand on one foot and so on until another 15 minutes had passed.
I had planned to read "the hat" next, but a lot of kids were inside, so we just launched into the next game-- a relay game with a hat. The kids had a blast doing this-- especially Henry but after a few rounds they were done and the girls were ready to head in. So we went in and had Chicago style hot dogs, potato salad and baked beans-- our traditional birthday fare.
After the kids refueled, i sheparded them outside to our front steps where my mom read "The Corner." Then it was time to begin the hunt for spring. I had written up 4 clues and had them basically running from the front of the house to the back several times-- at the end they found a "vase" of spring flowers.
Henry and i made these by water-coloring coffee filters, and after they had dried, using craft glue to attach them to disposable chopsticks (something i always find uses for!). We used a few of the coffee filters to glue to a juice can for the vase that could be "hidden" outside.
As in past years the treasure hunt was a big favorite and the kids spend a chunk of time hiding the flowers for each other over and over until i called them all in for cupcakes. The cupcakes were super easy-- Cooks Illustrated yellow cupcake recipe, my mom's icing handiwork-- and the idea for the frogs from this site.
We had thank-you bags for the kids which were a labor of love. Bean bags in the shape of frogs from this tutorial. A special shout-out goes to Oma for sewing all of them on their last visit. Henry and i stuffed them with lentils using a funnel and i sewed them up. I also included a frog and toad paratrooper. These looked really cute, but they took forever and they didn't work very well. I'm not sure if i did something wrong (i'm thinking the parachute wasn't big enough maybe), but they are cute and it was fun to try my hand at them. I used this tutorial to make them. Finally a packet of buttons and a little treat-- hopefully they were fun gift bags to get.
So, that was the party. Now to relax my aching legs and get some rest!