Monday, March 20, 2017

Pokémon Birthday Party!

Little M&M chose Pokémon for his birthday party theme this year. Although this is not something I am terribly familiar with, I still had a ton of fun putting this party together for him. Take a look at some of our party details below:


Here is our beverage table (the free printable water bottle labels came from here):

Our party began at 2pm, so we just served snack foods at the beginning of the party, cake at the end of the party and then ordered pizza for whomever was still around at night. This was a family-only party so that was basically everyone! Here are the foods we served as people arrived:

And here are our three homemade cookie cakes. We wanted to use primarily chocolate/vanilla frosting so we only made one Pokéball cake out of pre-packaged, colored frosting.


We love putting together fun games for our parties! Here is what we did today:

GAME #1: This game was for the kids and the adults. We simply placed gummy worms in a jar and asked our guests to guess how many "caterpie" were in the jar. At the end of the party we peeked at the guesses, and the person who guessed the right amount (or came the closest) was able to take the jar home with them!

GAME #2: Our first hands-on activity of the day was to design a pokéball. We purchased smooth foam balls from the craft store, and offered crayons for them to use to draw on them. I found a perfect chart on Google with some of the most popular pokéballs to serve as inspiration (though the link is faulty so I cannot credit the original maker of this awesome chart).

Some of the kids decorated a specific pokéball from the chart:

and others designed their very own:

GAME #3: Our next game was a scavenger hunt! I created this pokédex in Photoshop Elements and hid each Pokémon image featured on it around the main level of the house. This was surprisingly a super engaging and well-loved activity! The kids were so excited to run around looking high and low for these Pokémon. 

Later when asked what his favorite part of the party was, the scavenger hunt was definitely mentioned!

GAME #4: One thing I know about Pokémon is that you've "Gotta catch 'em all!" So that was the main idea behind this next game. I purchased red and white bowls from the Dollar Tree, and added one Pokémon image to each, with increasing point values. The kids had to use their own pokéball (which they decorated earlier in the party) to toss into the bowls. After five throws, the person with the highest sum of points was the winner.

They stood behind a masking tape line just a few feet away from the first bowl. Each kid threw the ball five times, and I was so pleased that everyone got at least a couple shots into the bowls. Some sharp throwers even "caught" the 100-point MewTwo!

GAME #5: I discovered this fun science activity on this website. It was such a great addition to the party! We purchased a bag of miniature Pokémon from Amazon. Using a 2:1 mixture of baking soda and water, we hid them inside little eggs. Then, using pipettes and vinegar, the kids were able to "hatch" some Pokémon eggs!

We were lucky in that our bag of assorted Pokémon contained 6 Pikachus! So we were sure to include those (distinguishing them with yellow food coloring dots on the eggs) to ensure each guest could hatch a Pikachu (only my two kids had to share one). We had each of the 7 kids hatch a total of three eggs, and then they could take them home with them!

For the kids this was a big hit, but note that the vinegar smell was strong at this moment, and the adults definitely noticed! Perhaps open a window or do this activity outside if you are able!

GAME #6: Our final game was a Beedrill Balloon Pop! We always like to have some kind of balloon game at our parties, but I wanted something different than the usual. So we blew up about 50-60 yellow and black balloons, filling some of them with images of Weedles and Kakunas (these are lesser evolved Beedrills). The object of the game was for the kids to pop all the balloons to find the one balloon containing the Mega Beedrill (the highest evolved Beedrill). They had SO much fun doing this. And...if you could believe it...the Mega Beedrill was discovered in the very LAST balloon!


Obviously the winner of the first game, guessing the number of Caterpies in the jar, received the jar of Caterpies. But for the other games that yielded a winner (Gotta Catch 'Em All and Beedrill Balloon Pop) we gave away these chocolate bar "medals." I quickly printed a little image to put on each of them.


I turned white favor bags into pokéballs using construction paper. Inside each was a Pokémon cup (Party City), Pokémon pencils and tattoos (Amazon) and some miniature chocolate bars with Pokémon face labels (free labels from here). Obviously, each guest also brought home their decorated pokéballs and the three figurines they each hatched from eggs.

It was a tremendous success, and Little M&M was so happy!

WE LOVE THROWING PARTIES! If you enjoyed looking at these party details, please take a look back at some of our other exciting themes:

Mary Poppins (Honey Pot's 6th birthday party)
The Good Dinosaur (Little M&M's 4th birthday party)
Aristocats / Kittens (Honey Pot's 5th birthday party)
Cars / Race Cars (Little M&M's 3rd birthday party)
Peter Pan (Honey Pot's 4th birthday party)*
Paw Patrol /Puppies (Little M&M's 2nd birthday party)*
The Little Mermaid (Honey Pot's 3rd birthday party)*
Hot Air Balloons (Little M&M's 1st birthday party)
Elmo / Sesame Street (Honey Pot's 2nd birthday party)

* Some of our most popular posts!

Friday, March 10, 2017

Creative Table - Week 4


Today I had a very simple offering for the kids when they returned from school. I printed out a few copies of these sticker story templates, and set them beside our bucket of assorted stickers. We've done sticker stories many times before, sometimes during our themed units. We once used Easter stickers on pieces of construction paper, and Honey Pot told the story aloud as she placed the stickers down. Another time we used camping stickers to create a fun story in her nature journal. It's always a fun activity, and requires no setup whatsoever!

I was surprised that Little M&M grabbed his pencil and started writing. I thought I would have to transcribe his story for him, but he was an eager little writer! He asked how to spell words, and soon had written, "First there was a rainbow." And despite the clutter of alphabet stickers on there, he also made mention of a butterfly somewhere in there.

Honey Pot wrote a wonderful story that began, "It was a sunny day at the castle. And all the princesses are playing." Once they completed their stories, they each started a second one, but with those they only told the stories aloud instead of writing them. It was great fun!


I had been seeing a lot of bleeding tissue paper crafts on Pinterest recently, and finally made the splurge to purchase a pack of them. For today's art project, I offered our new selection of bleeding tissue paper, a piece of cardstock/watercolor paper, a white crayon and a spray bottle full of water.

First the kids drew a picture with the white crayon.

Then they tore pieces of the tissue paper and arranged the pieces onto their pages.

And finally, they sprayed the tissue paper with lots of water!

We removed the paper scraps after just a minute or two, and noticed lots and lots of color! (In the future, we'll perhaps leave this job to just one person...a person wearing rubber gloves because it really stains your hands for a whole day afterward lol.)

We noticed the very lightest tissue paper colors didn't bleed well, so we then stuck to the really bright ones. The kids decided to layer on more tissue paper for a more brilliant effect! They repeated the process three or four times.

Here they are when they had nearly dried. Beautiful!

Little M&M enjoyed this so much he made a second work of art:

FRIDAY INVITATION - SENSORY OR STEM (science, technology, engineering, math)

We have enjoyed this activity before, but I recently saw the addition of beads from the Artful Parent, and just loved the extra challenge and appearance of it! So in today's invitation: mini marshmallows, two sizes of toothpicks and a container of assorted beads!

The kids got right to work (after a brief sampling of the marshmallows). Honey Pot started with a 3D structure:

Little M&M began with pattern-making:

We really loved using the beads, for example with this rainbow 3D square and a 3D triangle with a pretty pattern!

The play continued for a while.

And things became more elaborate.

But the sweetest part of this activity was when they decided to use their creations as houses for small characters.

Another successful week at the creative table!

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Creative Table - Week 3 {Dr. Seuss}

Because of all of the Magic Tree House activities we've done this week, I kept our Dr. Seuss theme limited to just one day. I pulled out a couple of favorite activities from previous years, and added a couple new ones. I set them out as "invitations" around our dining room table. Take a look:

The Lorax Invitation - Truffula Tree Roll and Cover

I created this activity two years ago (please see 2015 link at the bottom of this post to find the free printable). The kids enjoy these fuzzy pompoms and the finished product is super cute.

Tongs are always optional! Little M&M even swapped the orange pair out for the nearby pink pair to allow himself a better grip.

Honey Pot had school today, so she bounced around from invitation to invitation immediately upon coming home! Love her Cat in the Hat hat!

The Cat in the Hat Invitation - Matching Game

We've been doing this one since 2013! The printable came from Joyfully Weary. There are actually 20 cards total, but when I prepared this for a 2-year-old I wanted to keep it simpler. Definitely time for me to print out the complete set though, because they flew through this!

The Cat in the Hat Invitation - Stamping Patterns

I found a cute set of stamps in the Target Dollar Spot and wanted to include them in today's activities. So I printed this pattern sheet from This Reading Mama.

I Had Trouble in Getting to Solla Sollew Invitation - Fine Motor Flowers

This is actually one of our very favorite Dr. Seuss books. And there is no mention of it on Pinterest anywhere! So I came up with our own little fine motor activity to recreate the flowers from "the banks of the beautiful river Wah-Hoo." I cut some white chenille stems in half and poked them into some floral foam I had purchased from the Dollar Tree a while back. For a couple of them, I attached another piece to serve as a second branch. Then I used a circle punch to cut out lots of colorful circles, and used a hole punch through the center.

Little M&M, who is just shy of turning 5 years old, just loved this activity. He spent a good while placing the flowers on the stems. First he tried to include one of each color on each stem, and then he began sorting them by color.

He even had a story going on in his head, because all the little flower circles were talking to each other! This activity provided great fine motor practice, and apparently some wonderful imaginative play too!

This is the finished product, and I think it looks adorable!

When Honey Pot returned from school she gave it a go, but our nearly 7-year-old just wanted to put one flower on each before moving on to a different invitation. But for the preschool set...this is a winning activity!


Horton Hears a Who Invitation - Finding the Speck

I first saw this idea from Inner Child Fun. It is meant to recreate this sad scene from the book, in which Horton searches over 3 million clovers to find the one with his speck of dust!

So I set out two buckets and a collection of pom poms, with only one pom pom containing the "speck of dust." To make the speck I just put a dab of hot glue on one of them.

For younger kids, definitely set out fewer pom poms, because this was work!

Here are Little M&M and Honey Pot after finding their Who friends' speck of dust:

The Cat in the Hat Puzzle

Little M&M also pulled out our floor puzzle to complete in celebration of Dr. Seuss today. He just loves this!

For more fun, please take a look back at the fun activities we've done since we first started our Tot School:

Dr. Seuss 2012

Dr. Seuss 2013 (one of our most popular posts!)

Dr. Seuss 2014

Dr. Seuss 2015