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13 Oct 2009

Mary Poppins - 4 years

By the time my daughter turned four, Mary Poppins had become the number one watched movie in our home, so it was decided that that would be the theme of her fourth birthday party. For the invitations, I made cardboard teapots with hinged lids as invitations. I used flower shaped brads from Making Memories as the hinges. Each teapot was decorated with glitter glue and stickers. When the lid lifted the invite read: Chim-chim-cheroo, chim-chim-cheree, please come to my Mary Poppins party. There'll be scrumptious treats and games galore, all because I'm turning 4!
I made a silver plaque for the front door which read: No 17 Cherry Tree Lane. To make it I traced formal letters onto an A4 size card. I then used cold glue to fill in the letter shapes. I repeated this glueing over several days, allowing each layer of glue to harden before applying the next coat, until the letters stood quite high off the card. I then crumpled a piece of aluminium foil roughly, straightened it out by hand, and then glued it onto the card with craft glue carefully rubbing it smooth over the hardened glue letters. The final result was a very effective embossed silver door plaque.
I had two friends help out with the games as there were a lot of children. My girlfriend dressed as Mary Poppins (MP). She wore a long black pleated skirt, white chinese collar blouse, black hat with big red cherry beads and white daisies glued appropriately in place, black boots, red ribbon bow at collar, simple scarf knitted for the costume (20 stitches knitted on size 15 needles in purl stitch for as long as the scarf needs to be) and umbrella, of course. My male friend dressed in black trousers, shirt, suspenders, cap and dusted himself with charcoal to be the on-site chimney sweep.
When the children arrived each was measured by MP with a tape measure, top to toe and given a suitable description, as happens in the movie. The birthday girl was Practically Perfect in Every way. The descriptions were prepared beforehand and written on the back of a name tag with long ribbons and a pin. As each child was measured their name tag was pinned to their clothing. This was in preparation for a later game as well as for easy kid management.
The first game we played was "Mary Poppins Says", played according to the "Simon Says" rules.
Next were the penguin skittles. I made a set of penguin skittles from cooldrink bottles. The children each had a turn to knock them over in a game of skittles. once they had the hang of it a new handicap was introduced. Each child was given a penguin mask which had to be worn in the second round of skittles. I made the masks by copying a fairly plump penguin onto card and simple cutting eye holes and attaching elastic suitable to hold onto each child's head.
The tongue twister game drew a couple of chuckles. each child was challenged to say Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. Being 3, 4 and 5 year olds this was quite a challenge.
Pin the tail on the kite was a fairly straightforward take on pin the tail on the donkey. The children used their ribboned name tags as kite tails. I painted a brightly coloured Kite on card and positioned it at a child-friendly height for this game.
The highlight of the party was the chimney sweep obstacle course. I collected a bunch of gross motor toys and equipment and set up a safe but challenging obstacle course in the garden. The route was created using: a small plastic slide, 4 hula hoops hung from a rope suspended between 2 trees that the kids had to climb through, several large cardboard cylinders (the chimneys) that they either had to run around or crawl through, a balance beam was also erected that had to be crossed with an open umbrella in hand. Children had to sweep a ball around two chimney obstacles with a little broom. A small trampoline added bounce fun and the course ended with the children collecting plastic balls from a great wooden toy box and throwing them down a tall chimney - basketball style.
Party prizes for games were things like Old Maid card games, funny whistles and little kites. These little gifts were presented to the children in little paper bags I made from paisley printed paper to resemble mini carpet bags.
I made a carousel cake which was fairly simple: one large and one smaller round cake. I used a wide cardboard cylinder decorated with foil and ribbons as the central part of the carousel pressed through the center of the larger cake, and secured the smaller cake above it, balanced on a firm card. I found four carousel pony candles and used these at regular intervals in the large base cake. The cakes were decorated with icing matching the colours I had chosen for the party as well as rainbow sprinkles and plastic icing flowers and butterflies. The best thing about this cake was that I presented it on a well covered rotating table server - "a lazy susan". The server was decorated with green coconut grass and a brown sugar pathway leading to the carousel. Because of the server, the carousel was able to turn while we sang happy birthday. I also made umbrella-shaped biscuits, raspberry ice and toffee apples as treats.
As a take home treat, each child was given a celophane wrapped spoonful of sugar. I found a spoon shaped chocolate mould and made each child a chocolate spoon. I cut marshmallows in half, dipped them in milk and rolled them in coloured sugar crystals. once these had dried I iced them onto the chocolate spoons and had a truly splendid result.

Jessica - DURBANVILLE

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