Wizard of Oz Party -4yr- Emerald City Maze
Merry in San Diego, CA, USA
We just had a Wizard of Oz party for my daughter's 4th Birthday! It was a smash-- as many of the mom's and dad's told me, and as was evident from the smiles on the friends' faces! Here's what we did... we held the party at a local park that has a big gazebo and big picnic benches all together. The party was from 1:30-4. The kids ranged in age from 7 years to 1.5 years, yet everyone had a good time (we had over 30). The kids received invitations I created on the computer that said, "Lions and Tigers and Bailey's Birthday, Oh, my! Follow the Yellow Brick Road to <park name here, and directions) to see happy little blue birds fly.
When the kids arrived at the party, we had both boys and girls do a welcome craft; creating either a Good Witch Crown, or a King of the Forrest Crown. We used silver and green border strips that we found at a teaching supply store. The kids attached stickers to the crown to personalize it-- rainbow, hearts, stars, and homemade stickers of Dorothy, the lion, the scarecrow and the tin man. I found clipart and made the stickers out of shipping labels (cutting down and sticking them to wax paper for easy removal).
After the craft, the kids could participate in three self serve stations:
1) Bluebird birdseed station. I filled our sensory table (a large container that sits off the ground at waist level for the kids) with bird seed I bought from Costco, added shovels, measuring cups and bowls, and placed brooms nearby. The 4 year olds loved it and so did the 1.5 year old! (and so did the birds afterwards)
2) Glinda the Good witch of the North bubble station. I put out a variety of hand wand bubble blowers and a couple of pans of bubbles. The parents even participated in this station.
3)Melt the Witch station. I drew the Wicked Witch on 3 big squares of cardboard (drew with side walk chalk). I left spray bottles by each witch, and encouraged the kids to spray water on the witch to get her to melt. Again, the young and older set both loved this, for they could play at their own level, at any time. The kids played with all stations throughout the party.
Besides stations, I created an Emerald City Maze that the kids could explore at any time. I acquired big TV like boxes from a local Target Store (free of course), bought a gallon of Emerald paint at Home Depot ($9),and painted 10 big boxes. I cut at least 2 doors in each box and attached them at the park (folding them to transport them). I left the tops "open" so that we could look down in the maze at any time and tape the kids (I think it was less scary for them this way as well). Inside one box I taped a non-breakable mirror at kid level. I also taped print outs of the characters (including the witch) that I found on the WB site. I taped the boxes together with masking tape, and secured them down with camping tent stakes, so they would not blow way. The kids REALLY enjoyed the maze-- it was the hit of the party-- besides our attending Dorothy. But before more on that, I rolled out a plastic yellow table cloth roll to act as our yellow brick road, and had it go from the park gazebo to the maze (you can also do this with yellow sidewalk chalk if time and materials permit).
Regarding Dorothy, I had a local company, Bright Birthdays, schedule "Dorothy and Toto too" to come to the party. She looked exactly like Judy Garland-- hair and all. She sang Over the Rainbow and We're off to see the Wizard with the kids, and read a musical version of the story to the kids to familiarize the non-knowers. She then played games: pass the ruby red slipper. The kids that were caught with the red slipper moved from the passing circle to the new helper circle with Dorothy. She also brought a parachute, and had the kids toss the stuffed animal Toto in the air, and try to keeping the chute. To finish her time with the kids, she painted faces with rainbows, balloons, flowers (and snakes).
While she was painting, we had 3 other semi-organized games going on for the kids:
1) Pin the heart on the tinman game(I drew a tinman on butcher paper (2 sheets put together) and outlined him with a silver glue pen. I cut hearts from foam craft sheets and wrote the names of the kids in silver ink. This game was the biggest success over the other games. I had two moms helping with this one.
2) Throw the bean bag through the Lion's mouth game. I made a huge lion's face out of one of the boxes from Target, and covered it with orange and brown construction paper. Added Foam craft paper eyes and whiskers and cut a huge hole for the mouth. The kids-- even the older ones-- loved tossing the bags. The older ones made it more challenging by standing back. The younger ones were closer, and had as much fun as the older ones.
3) Toss a ring around the Witch's hat game. I had a Halloween hat, a black sheet around it, and 4 hula hoops (borrowed). The kids tossed the rings over the hat. At one point, I had a helper sit with the hat on head and sheet around self, and let the kids ring her.
For all the games, we did not have prizes as we didn't want to make it competitive. Instead we highfived everyone and told them what a good job they did. After Dorothy and the games were done, Dorothy lead us in singing Happy Birthday to Bailey.
We had a large sheet cake (Costco) that had a large rainbow decoration, and I added a Glinda figure from WB store ($5 as a topper). (her dress helped her stay put in the cake). We purchased plates, napkins and table clothes from Party City, and used part of the yellow brick road as well for a table cloth (not the part that was put on the ground). After eating cake and opening gifts, the kids all left with either a huge lolly pop or tootsie pop. I thought all the 3-4 year olds and up would want a big pop, but many wanted the tootsie pop.
The kids also got coloring sheets rolled up as a diploma and tied with either rainbow ribbon or red ribbon. The big pops were flat and had a soccer ball on them(these were the only ones I could find under $1 ea.), so I printed out round stickers that said "Thank you for coming". I added the Ruby Red Slipper clipart and under it put "Remember, Just click your heels together 3 times and say, There's no place like home." The guests also received a balloon each (we had 50 balloons of all colors of the rainbow. They were on sale at Party City) in honor of the hot air balloon taking D back home.
We had the soundtrack playing throughout the party, and I even taped the CD for my daughter's karoke tape player and left it out for the kids to sing with. Lastly, all the games and stations were labeled with titles and a picture of the respective character to guide the kids and parents, and reinforce the story. All in all, we had a blast. My daughter loved Dorothy, all the kids (we had over 30) liked many aspects of the party and only toward the end-- gift unwrapping time, did the kids actually play in the park.
Finally, I just couldn't wait to implement all the ideas! If you use any of these-- remember in the end-- start prepping 2 weeks ahead of time if possible and just have fun on the special day!