Snake Party -5yr- Snake Hunt
Karen in Stokesdale, NC USA
Two years ago for my son's 5th birthday, we had a snake themed party.
We sent invitations which may sister in law had made showing a coiled snake (top view) with the invitation words spiraling over it: "Snakes Alive Alexander's Turning 5! Please join us for lunch, cake, and slithery fun…date, time, etc. " I made envelopes using grass print scrapbooking paper.
The party was in June, so we borrowed a canopy from a friend where the children could eat lunch and enjoy the surprise show (more on that later). Before the party started, we hid tiny rubber snakes around the yard. We decorated the canopy with large rubber snakes from my son's collection, and posted a sign which said: "Sidewinder Café," with a drawn picture of a snake.
As each child arrived, he or she was provided with a small canvas bag (oriental trading co.) which my son had previously stamped with green paint and a snake stamp (which I had to make from a potato, because I couldn't find any in the craft stores!). They were allowed to write their name with a paint pen, and then the bags were left in the hot June sun to dry, while the children ate lunch in the café.
Lunch was sandwiches on cocktail bread, carrots, fruit salad, gummy "snakes," and cheese doodles. They were served on green paper plates, as I could find no plates decorated with snake pictures.
After lunch, the children retrieved their snake bags and went on a snake hunt. They were told to find a certain number of snakes (however many I had, divided by 12 children). When each child "captured" his or her snakes, they were given a badge I had made which said "Professional Snake Handler."
As the children were searching for their snakes the surprise entertainment arrived: the Snake Man\*! For $40, a guy came and shared his knowledge, 4 corn snakes, and the shed skin of a python. This guy was worth every penny! For about 45 minutes, he talked about snakes, let the children pet the snakes, let me son hold each of the snakes, and answered all the children's questions. He was great. Additionally, having entertainment, allowed me time to clean up lunch and get the cake ready.
Once the children's interest began to lag (they were 5 years old after all), the guy wrapped up. We had cake and ice cream (I made a Martha Stewert receipe for a chocolate sheet cake, which I ten cut into the shape of a snake and covered with green frosting). Then the kids played pin the hood on the cobra (homemade game).
Afterwards, my son opened his presents, and then it was time to give the kids their favors (their snake catching bags, badges, the plastic snakes, snake stickers, and gummy snakes) and send them home. This party was a big hit with the kids, and the guy with the snakes was a great surprise for my son. I found the snake guy through a friend, but you could probably find one by asking your local nature center, science museum, or any locally owned pet shop which sells snakes.