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Birthday party play ideas 1st grade

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 
Hi,

I'm a Waldorf parent of a 1st grader in Seattle. Birthday parties seem to the hottest thing on the first grade social circuit these days and we want to plan something for our soon to be seven year old daughter and her classmates. We are planning something outdoors. There is one gorgeous park not far from the school - really the best city park in Seattle, with lots of trees and grassy fields and a kid's play area. I'm torn between just letting the kids make up their own play, letting it be really spontaneous, or trying to organize something for them. In writing this, I'm already leaning towards the former, but just curious if other people know of some fun games to have for the children.

One other aspect of the party - her best friend's birthday is about ten days before, so I spoke with her mom, and we decided to have one party for both of them, partly out of parent convenience - one less party to attend, but also not wanting my child to become too self centered (as in MY birthday party). She was okay with that, after some initial resistance.

Also, we plan to invite all the children in her class. I'm not sure how much longer that will fly, but for now, I will keep promoting inclusivity... encouraging her to be friends with everyone and minimize the development of exclusive cliques.

Ideas? Thank you,

Jordan

P.s. I've noticed that some parties, the parents say no gifts, and other parties, gifts are part of it. I'm guessing my dd is expecting gifts and it would hurt her feelings if I organized it that way without explaining to her that friendship is the highest gift...so curious if any parents have any strong feelings on that.
post #2 of 4
Hi Jordan,

I like to have a mix of free play with a few activities prepared too since sometimes a bit more structure helps, especially if there are lots of children.

Cooperative games and activities are always fun. I make up treasure hunts with clues that take them all over the yard, sometimes with activities before they get the next clue. One year I had them make binoculars out of tissue and paper towel rolls before we began the treasure hunt.

We went to a sports party where they had fun, cooperative activities like dribbling soccer balls around obstacles and throwing basketballs into laundry baskets, etc.

At another party we made wet felt balls from different coloured roving. That one needs to be done on a warm day and everyone needs to know there is water involved.

You can hide tumbled stones or even painted rocks in sand boxes for them to dig for.

Tie dye shirts or use fabric paints to personalize t-shirts.

Make homemade pizzas together. Have them make the dough and then have parents help put it on pans. Let the kids top their own. This can be good for cookies too. They can be decorated with dried fruit and nuts (if no allergies of course).

Nature walks scavenger hunts are fun too.

Hope that helps.
post #3 of 4
We have a similar situation coming up. My son's 8th birthday is in late Feb. and we have to invite everyone in his class. We decided for that reason to do an outdoor party. (hopefully the weather will cooperate)

But we found the perfect theme to do with the kids that strikes a good balance between organized fun and letting the kids do their own thing - LETTERBOXING!

If you don't know what letterboxing is, it's basically a worldwide game, similar to geocaching without the GPS. You go online and find clues to letterboxes that are hidden in your city (I wouldn't be surprised if there was one already at that park!). A letterbox is a plastic container containing a (usually) handmade stamp. Each letterboxer also has their own personal stamp, stamp pad and notebook. When the letterbox is found, you stamp your stamp into the letterbox notepad (and leave a little note) and then stamp the letterbox stamp into yours. I love it because it includes the treasure hunt, getting out in nature and the handmade art quality of the stamps. Seems like a good fit for Waldorf kids.

There are clues getting you there so it's like a treasure hunt. The clues might be about finding the tree shaped like a hand, going a certain # of paces to the right, looking for the manta ray tree trunk (basically just distinctive features of the area). Or some use compass bearings. You can search for clues ahead of time here. Be forewarned though, sometimes letterboxes have gone missing, so make sure they're there ahead of time.

I am actually going to hide 6 letterboxes myself since there are none where I want to have his party. We'll divide the kids into two groups and each team will follow the clues to 3 letterboxes. I'll make the clues (and stamps to hide) to follow some sort of fairy tale from box to box - maybe with faeries or gnomes or something.

I'll also make each kid a stamp, which really doesn't require much artistic skill as you can find an image of anything you want online and use tracing paper to get it onto the stamp and just carve it out. Lots of tutorials online. So their party favor to take home will be the stamp made for them, a little notebook (which will have the 3 stamps they collected) and a stamp pad. And then my son will have the notebooks they all stamped and wrote in as a reminder of his party.

Another option if you don't want to make the stamps yourself is to buy inexpensive ones either in the $1 bin at a craft store or online. I bought the notebooks and mini stamp pads at Dharma Trading.

After the letterboxing adventure the kids can just play at the playground and we can eat at the picnic tables.

Sorry this was so long - it really helped *me* to type it all up and get focused. :
post #4 of 4
Thread Starter 

great ideas

thanks!
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