Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Party! (and win a free book)

It is a day worthy of grand celebration. Lets party the interesting nonfiction for kids way!

First of all, we’ll need some party hats. Paper Plate Crafts by Laura Check can show us how to make party hats using only paper plates. For example, you can never go wrong with a chicken hat. Note—I’m not certain the chicken hat is from this book; just another example of how creative you can be with a paper plate.

Food? Of course, we’ll let the kids cook some up themselves. Mollie Katzen’s Honest Pretzels should be all we need to get them set up on their own. With 64 concise, easy to follow recipes there are more than a fair share of snacks and desserts just as it should be.

OK, now what should we do? Lets play some games! Forget the Wii, we want games like when we were kids, with just a concrete sidewalk and perhaps a new pink spaldeen to amuse ourselves. Jack Maguire's Hopscotch, Hangman, Hot Potato, and Ha Ha Ha is an essential addition to fun party planning magnificence. From Red Rover to Marbles the games are all here. They don't all have the same names that I used to call them but I found some version of every schoolyard game I looked up.

John Lithgow is our kind of party guy. Lets invite him and have him bring a copy of his book,A Lithgow Palooza. 101 Ways to Entertain and Inspire Your Kids. We’ve paloozed quite a few times at my house. From charades to one man bands to poetry slams, it’s all great fun. And he even has sidebars that list “Good Books.” Now that’s thinking like an I.N.K. partier.

The best kids party game I've ever found is from a book called, I Saw a Purple Cow by Ann Cole, Carolyn Haas, Faith Bushnell, and Betty Weinberger. The game is called Cats and Dogs. We’ve played this game at my kids parties for years. It’s now considered mandatory by all of their friends.

Here are the instructions directly from I Saw A Purple Cow.

You need: wrapped candy, peanuts or pennies; 2 small paper bags or juice cans (one marked “Cats,” the other “Dogs”)
1. Hide the candy, or nuts or pennies around the room or yard before the guests arrive. (*We usually use plastic easter eggs. They're easy to find and can be purchased cheaply in large quantities.*)
2. Divide everybody into 2 teams: the Cats and the Dogs. Have the Dogs practice saying “woof woof” and the cats “meow meow”
3. Choose a captain for each team and give him his “team bag.”
4. At the “go” signal, everyone hunts for the hidden objects. When a player finds one, instead of picking it up, he must meow if he is a Cat or bark if he is a Dog, until his captain comes to put the candy into the “team bag.”
5. When all the goodies have been found, count them: the team with the most wins. The captains then divide the winnings among their teammates.
If you’ve never been to a party where all the guests are barking and meowing at once, you’ve really got to try it.

I Saw a Purple Cow has many other wonderful games, crafts and ways to explore the natural world. I love this book so much that when I saw a copy of it in the remainder bin at a library sale, I had to rescue it even though I already owned my own copy.

In the party spirit, I’ll send my library copy of Purple Cow to any I.N.K. reader who will use it well. Just leave a comment. If there is more than one person interested, we’ll have to think of a game to pick the winner.

Party on.

*Edited to add--looks like we'll be playing a party game! Please check next Tuesday, January 27th. I'll come up with a game and pick a winner. More party participants welcome until then.


Cheryl Reif said...

What a timely post! My son's b-day party is this coming Saturday, and we're definitely going to try out your Purple Cow game :).

Anamaria (bookstogether) said...

Meow! Woof! We're going to try it, too.

Melody said...

I'm the mom who always says that I'll never have another birthday party at home and then always forgets her pledge just in time to plan the next one. With two daughters, 7 and almost 2, I could really use this.

Kathleen Krull said...

Perfect post for a special day! Also, for a whole Inauguration Celebration Kit for Kids - go to http://www.ourwhitehouse.org/inaugurationkit.html - in connection with the timely anthology - "Our White House: Looking In, Looking Out."

Anna M. Lewis said...

Ohhh, I love a par-tay!

Great book selections!

kgb said...

Everybody loves a party! Thanks for the great books suggestions. As a children's librarian I am always looking for new games and other ideas for programs.

kgb said...

Everybody loves a party! Thanks for the great books suggestions. As a children's librarian I am always looking for new games and other ideas for programs.

The Book Chook said...

I love your review of the book, and Cats and Dogs sounds great.

It reminds me of a game I played with my kids called Cows and Ducks. In this one, all the participants are blindfolded. Half are cows, half are ducks. On the signal, cows moo and ducks quack, while milling around and trying to find the rest of their group. It's fun to do and fun to watch!

Gretchen said...

Hmm... This sounds like a typical day at my house! My 2 and 4 year old often pretend, crawling around barking and meowing! They would love to play this game with friends. My son's birthday is in a few weeks!

I discovered this blog today and love it. I am a first year elementary school librarian and take all the tips and recommendations I can get. I'm putting the Lithgow book on hold at my public library right now...as well as others discovered here!

Heather said...

Oh fun! I want to play and win the book. My kids would love it!