Around the World -5yr- Melt Ice Cube Treasure
Deb in Chelmsford, MA, USA
Around the World Party We had an Around-the-World party for my five year old daughter who is fascinated by geography. Not only was it extremely fun and entertaining, but it was slightly educational. It was also relatively inexpensive (about $150.).
The invitations were made by us on the computer. We had a picture of the globe on the front with an airplane flying around it. Inside, along with the particulars of the party, was a "ticket" that the kids were to bring with them on the day of the party to be "boarded". (unlike the real airlines, we did let kids in the house without tickets). The main idea of the party was for the kids (there were fifteen 3-6 year olds) to "travel" around the world, and "visit" all 7 continents. At each continent they played a game and were given a souvenir from that location. At the beginning of their journey they were given a "suitcase" which was a cardboard party favor box, with handles, to carry all their souvenirs in.
When the guests arrived they were sent into a room to color in dragonhead pictures(like from a coloring book) that my husband had drawn, and I had photocopied. This occupied the children while they waited for all the guests to arrive. Once all the kids had arrived, and the dragonheads colored, they were brought into the "boarding area" (our living room), where a flight attendant (my sister-in-law) gave them each their suitcases - with their names already on them. We started the game in the United States (North America). They were each given an American Flag sticker to put on their suitcase and a pair of cardboard red, white, and blue glasses to wear.
They all put one hand on a long jump rope (the airplane) and were off to the first destination - Asia. Here the kids picked up their dragonhead pictures and played "pin-the-head on the dragon"(my husband drew the dragon body). When my husband was doing research on the web to find out how to draw the dragon we found out that dragons have different numbers of toes depending on what country they are from -Chinese, Korean, and Japanese dragons all have different number of toes. After the kids played the game they were given chopsticks and fortune cookies as their souvenirs to put in their suitcase. They were also given a "Asian" sticker of a dragon to put on their suitcase (reminiscent of the old steamer trunks).
Next, the kids "flew" to Antarctica (our kitchen). Here they were each given an ice-cube with a frozen treasure inside. They had to melt the ice-cube to get the treasure. We were hoping for a sunny day (the party was in May), but as it happened it was snowing on this particular day in mid-May (only in New England!) and so we had to do this game inside. Since it was so cold we had the kids put the ice-cubes in a cup and pour warm water on them to melt the treasure out but on a hot summer day it would be fun to have the kids melt them by rubbing them between their hands. We had two kinds of treasures - jewelry and parachute people. The treasure became their souvenir from Antarctica. They were also given a penguin sticker to put on their suitcase.
After Antarctica, the kids boarded the airplane again and flew to Africa. In Africa we played African Bingo with some Bingo cards I had picked up at a local party store. Instead of numbers, the bingo cards had animals on them. We played until all the kids had a bingo on their card. It was great because every time one of the kids got Bingo all the kids clapped for them. The African souvenirs were plastic jungle animal finger puppets. They were also given a jungle animal sticker to put on their suitcase.
After Africa, the kids flew to Europe. This was one of our more interesting continents. My husband and I deliberated about the game for Europe for a long time. I was satisfied with the idea of dropping spaghetti into bottles for an Italian game. My husband thought this would be too hard for five year olds so he was put in charge of thinking of another idea. What he game up with was Italian Blue’s Clues. He put on a striped shirt and khaki pants and called himself Luigi, Steve’s Italian cousin. Then we made a very rough videotape of his version of Blue’s Clues. In this version, Blue is visiting Luigi in Roma. Blue told Luigi what he wanted for dinner - but Luigi forgot.
The kids had to figure it out by playing Blues Clues with Luigi. The first clue was a shape - a circle. We taped a paw print to a plate for this clue. The second clue was cheese. We put a paw print on a package of mozzarella cheese for this one. The final clue was a tomato. We used my daughter’s plastic vegetables for this clue. When my husband made the video he alluded to what room the clues were in and then he paused to give the kids a chance to go find the clue(we also paused the video with the remote control). He even did the We just figured out blue’s clues dance at the end! The kids really enjoyed this activity(so did the adults in attendance), but you need someone in the family who’s a real ham and willing to embarrass him or herself to pull this one off. The souvenir for Europe was some packaged "just add water" pizza dough. They were given stickers of Faberge Eggs for Europe (it was the best thing I could find) to put on their suitcases.
The next stop on the world tour was Australia (my personal favorite). We set up my daughter’s play tent and tunnel in her room, with the tunnel leading to her door (we even borrowed an extra tunnel from our next door neighbor). We filled the tent with blue tissue paper (like the ocean) and hid little bags of foil covered Chocolate coins. This game was called diving for treasure. The lights were turned off in her room, and the kids were given a flashlight to climb through the tunnel and find the treasure at the bottom of the sea. Some kids opted to have the lights on and this was fine. Some other kids didn’t want to crawl through the tunnel so we just let them go right up to the tent. The bags of chocolate coins were the souvenir for this game and they were given stickers of Koala Bears and Kangaroos.
The final stop on the tour was South America. This was a bit controversial. The game here was a Piñata. My husband argued that a Piñata is not technically South American - but Mexican. The Piñata we bought was a butterfly. So, we called it a Rainforest butterfly - from South America and that made it more legitimate. The souvenir for this game was the candy inside (not South American candy)the Piñata. They were given a sticker of different rainforest animals for this stop. After the games were all over it was time for cake and ice-cream. I had made a cake in the shape of a globe by making two cakes in the same bowl (so they would be exactly the same size) and then putting them together. We used food coloring to make blue and green frosting and did our best to represent all seven continents on the cake. We also had lots of balloons at the party and they were all blue and green too. We had two shades of each color.
The party was very structured and well suited for this age group. The party lasted exactly two hours and there was not much time for free play which worked well because not all the kids knew each other and some would have felt left out. My daughter made it clear when we planned this party that she didn’t want any competitive games where there would be a clear winner. She didn’t want anyone crying at the party. Any game that could have been competitive we did our best to eliminate that element. We didn’t make a big deal about whose dragonhead was the closest, everyone had a chance to win Bingo, and we didn’t make the ice cube melting into a competition. Of course, if you have a child who enjoys competition you could do the games very differently.
The kids all really enjoyed the party, and maybe learned a little about geography while they were having fun. The parents who were at the party enjoyed it because it was so structured that they didn’t have to do anything but enjoy talking to each other. Since there was no real competition there was no crying at the party - and no major battles. If we had been able to have the party outside we could have done other games - like kangaroo jump sack races for Australia, and maybe some games involving a kiddie pool would be fun. The best thing about this party theme is it really gives you an opportunity to use your, and your child’s imagination, and suit the party to your child’s age and personality.