The Hunt for the Unicorn

About:

Ah… the hunt for the unicorn. It’s both a fun scavenger hunt for kids and my favorite tapestry series. At the end of the hunt, each kid should go home with their own unicorn. The estimated cost is about $28 assuming that you have a printer at home and this activity may take 5-15 minutes to play. This game will work well for kids aged 6+ who can read. You should still watch over them to make sure that they can follow the clues correctly and to make sure that everyone gets at least one goody per station (if you are going to give a goody bag filler at each station). This should be the last activity before bringing out the cake or before sending the kids home with their parents. the unicorns would work well as a goody bag present.

Optional: You can put little party favors or candies in bowls next to where the children find the next clue poem as a reward and goody/party bag filler. 

Items Needed:

  1. Plush unicorns. I found a dozen unicorns for $18.
  2. Tape to put up the rhymes (consider using painter’s tape to hang the images and rhymes on the walls when playing indoors).
  3. A printer to print out the rhymes
  4. bucket or basket to put all of the unicorns in  ~ $5
  5. A Goody/party bag to put the unicorns and any other treasure found in ~ $5

Instructions:

Print out the clues with their images and tape them around the house/party space. They should follow logically (ex clue x, clue y, and clue z) rather than randomly placing the clues around the house so that the kids have to back track over old clue spots. If possible, the unicorns should be hidden in a different room or part of the yard (if you are playing outside), so that they will not be discovered before all of the clues are solved.

The game ends when the children find the unicorns. Each child should go home with a plush unicorn at the end of the riddle hunt.

Story:

A bunch of lonely unicorns heard that its (insert child’s name here)‘s birthday today, so they decided to join the party in secret. They’re hiding somewhere around here and they’ve left clues as to where they may be hiding.

Our first clue from the unicorns says: “Before electricity, humans used to keep their homes warm with tapestries/ look for the photo of an ancient art/ now rush off with all of your hearts!

Clues and Answers:

1: “Before electricity, humans used to keep their homes warm with tapestries/ look for the photo of an ancient art/ now rush off with all of your hearts!

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2: “Look carefully at the art up on the wall and look around the room for the creature in the photo who is soft, has long ears, and isn’t that tall.”

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3: “Bunnies and Unicorns share a favorite food/ Eating it will put you in a good mood.”

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4: Follow the hoof prints around the room / To some unicorns that want to go home with you.

Use the attached hoof prints (printing out as many as you’s like) to guide the kids to the hiding spot of the unicorns.

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3 Wishes Ice Breaker

About:

This ice breaker is perfect for any “Aladdin”, retro “I Dream of Genie”, or “Shimmer and Shine” themed party. All that you need to do is to gather the kids around in a circle. Then ask each child (starting with the birthday kid) what he/she would wish for if he/she had 3 wishes.

This game is a great way to the guests to get to know each other. However, you might want to ban the wish to ask for more wishes.

Dolphin Race – Pool Game

About:

Happy National dolphin day! In honor of this day, I’m going to tell you about a great pool game to play at pool parties.

The goal of the game is to move a ball from one end of the pool to another using only your nose (because that’s how dolphins push balls). This game may take about 10 minutes to play and may cost about $6-$13 to play if you need to buy balls.

What you’ll need:

  1. One ball that floats in water per team (if you plan on using balls that you already have in your home, then you should make sure that they float).
  2. A pool deep enough for the kids to play the game in.

Instructions:

Break the swimming party guests into groups of four or more players. Make sure that you have one ball per team. Make sure that you have the same number of kids on each team. You can either have this game work as a race or part of a relay.

Like dolphins, team members can only use theirs noses to push the ball from one end of the pool to the other, and then back using their nose (although generally using the face to push the ball works too). Only one teammate goes at a time. If anyone is caught using his or her hands to move the ball, that person will have to return to the starting point.

The first team to finish wins!

 

Timeline Game

About:

This is the perfect game for a graduation party for an older child (middle school graduation and above). All you need is some printed family photos (or copies of your family photos without any writing on the backs of the photos), a string and some cloths pins. Assuming that you already have markers and the family photos, this activity should only cost about $5-$7 (cloths pins are about $4 per pack and you can find string or ribbon for $1-$2 in the cheap aisles of craft stores or in the front section of Target). This is a side activity that party guests can try to figure out. Reveal the answer at least half way through your party to let guests know if they got the answers correct.

Materials Needed:

  1. At least ten photos of important events in your child’s life
  2. A string taped to a wall
  3. Enough clothes pins to match how many photos you have
  4. Markers to number the clothes pins
  5. Tape
  6. Construction paper, scissors, and glue to make a fancy backing for your photos (optional)

Instructions

Once you’ve chosen your photos and have made sure that there is no writing that would indicate an obvious time in which the photo was taken, write down the correct order in which the photos were taken for your own record. (You may want to have duplicates of the photos that you will use made, so that you’ll still have your photos even if clumsy Aunt Myrtle spills the fruit punch all over the photos). Just make sure not to put any photos in the mix that you and the family would find adorable, but your child would not (such as those images of him/her playing during bath time). Use markers or pens to number the clothes pins from one to however many photos that you have chosen.

On the day of the party, find a small table, such as a TV tray, to put the photos on. Tape up the string behind the table once you’ve found a spot that you like. Add the clothes pins onto the string. To make it visually intriguing, evenly space the clothes pins apart from each other. You can do this by using a marked ruler or by using your hand. Once that has been set up, shuffle the photos and place them on the table with a print out of the following instructions after you personalize it:

How well do you know (insert child’s name here)? The photos on this table are from (insert child’s name here)’s life. Can you put them in the correct order? Don’t ask (child’s name) for help. That would be cheating. We will find out if you got it right later on this afternoon/evening.

Once everyone has eaten and had time to relax, go through the wall with your guests to see if they were able to guess the correct order of life events.

Chalk Wings for a Butterfly Party

About:

Butterflies are beautiful and dainty, and they make for a good theme for a party for younger girls. You’ll need a driveway with enough space, chalk, and a camera. A set of colorful chalk should cost about $5.00.

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Items Needed:

  1. chalk
  2. a camera to take photos

Instructions:

You have two options for this activity; you can either draw a set of butterfly wings in advance and color it in (this option may work well for a young crowd that may not be able draw their own butterfly wings such as the under two crowd), or you can draw the template of wings in the driveway and have each little girl color in her own set of wings.

I recommend starting by drawing a forward looking ‘B’ and a backwards ‘B.’ Draw curly antenna. Then, either you or your party guests can color in the wings.

Once done, offer to take photos. This activity is that simple.

Popcorn Bar

About:

Today is national popcorn day! In honor of celebrating this delicious snack, let’s talk about creating a popcorn bar for a party. As always, the cost of setting this up will vary based on how many snacks and toppings you choose to have. Remember to ask your guests if they have any allergies in advance of buying the toppings for the party. Prep for this will be about 15 minutes.

What you’ll need:

  1. Either a microwave or a popcorn popper
  2. Either bags of popcorn to put in the microwave or corn kernels to pop. You’ll want about twelve cups of popcorn to feed 4-6 people, but use your own judgement.
  3. One large bowl to put popcorn in and a large serving spoon
  4. Enough bowls for everyone to eat out of (use either your own bowls or disposable paper bowls that you can find either at the grocery store or at a party store)
  5. Toppings (here are some ideas for food you can mix in:
    • Fruity
      • gummy candies (including gummy worms, gummy bears, and almost everything Haribo makes)
      • skittles
      • mike and ikes
      • Fruit snacks (such as Welch’s fruit snacks or Horizon Organic)
      • Hi-chews (unraveled and cut to make them bite-sized)
      • twizzlers (preferably the smaller, pre-cut nibs)
      • swedish fish
      • candy citrus slices
    • Chocolate
      • snow caps
      • Hershey squares
      • milkduds
      • junior mints
      • mini kitkats
      • mini Reese’s peanutbutter cups
      • Reese’s Pieces
      • M&M’s
    • Taffy (all taffy should be cut up in advance in order to make it easier to snack on)
      • airheads
      • salt water taffy
      • laffy taffy
      • starburst
  6. Popcorn seasoning:
    1. melted butter
    2. Kernel Season’s popcorn seasoning

Instructions:

Pop the popcorn before the party starts. You’ll want to have the popcorn cool before your party guests arrive. This should be the first food that your guests put into their bowls and should be the first bowl on the table that the guests can reach.

Put each topping in a bowl with a serving spoon. Lay them out along the table. Let people line up to get the popcorn and then choose their toppings. Make sure that a kid doesn’t just dump the whole bowl of their favorite candy into their own bowl.

Lastly, have the kids pick their spots, relax, and enjoy the movie that you’re going to show.

DIY Hat Design

About:

DIY hats are much easier to do than many other fashionable DIY projects such as T shirts because you don’t have to worry about making sure that you have enough T shirts that are the right size. All that you need to do is to buy enough hats for the party and get the fashionable decoration items for the time (such as fabric markers or stick on patches). This activity will take about 15 minutes and it may cost about $40 to do.

Materials Needed:

  1. 1 hat to design per child (About $20/dozen)
  2. Fabric markers (About $20)
  3. (Optional) stick-on patches (About $20 per packet on Amazon)

Instructions:

Make sure that each child gets at least one hat. Let them decorate their hats to their heart’s desire. Stick around in case there is some sort of problem.

Pool Rodeo

About:

Are you thinking of having a cowboy pool party or a poolside family reunion? Then, this pool float is a necessity. It costs over $60 (yikes!) and by the description sounds like a pain in the butt to inflate. It does look really fun and challenging for all ages. At first, I was skeptical about how hard it could be to stay on the bull, but then I saw a bunch of Youtube videos of people testing out the toy and having trouble staying on, such as this celebrity video:

Materials Needed:

  • 1 inflatable bull pool float
  • 1 pool
  • At least 1 responsible adult
  • optional: a stopwatch to keep times
  • optional: hiring a lifeguard for the party might not be a bad idea either

Instructions:

 

Get all of your materials in place the evening before or the morning of the party. Do not wait until the last minute to try to inflate this thing!

Have the first person get on the bull. They will need help to get on it. Start the timer (if you want to make this a timed competition to see who the rodeo star is), and then have the other members of the party grab onto one of the handles and shake the raft until the person falls off.

Then, write that person’s time down and switch to the next person. Repeat until everyone has ridden the bull.

*A little note on the price, someone on Amazon claimed to have bought this toy off the internet for $48, so this might be one of those items that you have to stalk in order to find at a good price.

 

Who pooped in the pool? 💩

About:

The poop emoji is EVERYWHERE!!!! This pool game is bound to be a hit with a younger (younger than a tween) crowd. All you need is a poop emoji-shaped pool float, a pool, a responsible adult. Having a certified lifeguard at the party would be a good idea.

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Materials Needed:

  • Poop Emoji Float (little poo, medium poo, large poo)
  • a pool
  • a responsible adult
  • (optional) a life guard – in order to get a local certified lifeguard you can either talk to the people at some local organization such as your church or go to your local pool and ask the manager if they know of any lifeguards that would be willing to help supervise your pool party.

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Instructions:

This is a shallow end only game. Everyone should be able to walk around with minimal swimming for safety sake. This game is similar to the pool game Marco Polo, but with some changes. Instead of the person being ‘it’ yelling “marco,” the person will ask “Who pooped in the pool?” Then the party guests will “I did!” instead of “polo.” Remember to only play this in your backyard pool and not a public one.

Start off with putting one person on a pool float. This can be the birthday child or a guest of honor. Everyone should start around in a huddle around the emoji pool float once the person has gotten onto the float. The person on the pool float should close their eyes and yell “who pooped in the pool?”

The pool guests will then swim/run away as fast as they can shouting “I did!” The person who is ‘it’ will try to direct the pool float towards people and asking repeatedly “who pooped in the pool?” until they tag someone. That person will then take that person’s place on the pool float.

Play the game as long as you’d like.

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Pool Float Races

About:

Cool pool floats are everywhere! They’re at Urban Outfitters, Target, Kohl’s, and are all over instagram. You finally caved and bought one (or are maybe thinking of buying one). Now what? Well, why not have a whacky relay race? This game will be fun for all ages whether at a 4th of July party or for your child’s 7th birthday party.

Ideas Based on Popular Pool Floats (with links through Amazon.com):

  1. Mermaid races (2 mermaid pool floats)
  2. The 4th of July (1 American flag pool float and one either red or Union Jack pool float)
  3. Battle of the Swans (1 black swan pool float and 1 white swan pool float)
  4. Unicorn races (2 unicorn pool floats)
  5. Candy races (1 piece of candy float and another piece of candy float)

Materials Needed:

  • 2 pool floats
  • 1 pool
  • At least 1 responsible adult

Instructions:

Split the party up into 2 groups. Each group will be assigned to a pool float. The kids will race to get their pool float from one side of the pool to the other. When one member finishes a lap, the next member of the team can jump on the pool float (which may be more or less difficult), and try to make it over to the other side of the pool and back before the other kid does. Keep going until one group has had all of its team members do a lap. The team that gets all of its players to return faster than the other team will win.