Here's some neat ideas. They're pretty easy, lots of fun and they've all been tested. The materials are available in most stationary and craft stores. Try them.
1) The Bean Bag Toss/Photo Cut Out
A few days before the party get a large piece of cardboard. Three by four feet is a perfect size. Use poster paints to paint a picture like the accompanying one. The grid will help you scale the picture to full size. Cut out an oval about 6-7 inches. At the party have the kids stick their head in the hole and take a Polaroid photo or have the kid's toss bean bags into the hole.
Don't cut the hole for the face too big or the kids' whole heads will pop through. Only their faces should show. Top to bottom, the cut-out should be no larger than seven inches.
If you are handy and have some scrap wood around, make some "L" brackets to support the drawing from behind or use a chair and large spring type clamp to support the drawing.
2) Photo Frames
If you take Polaroid photos, have the kids make frames for the pictures. Simply take a piece of tag board, cut a hole in it and mount the photo in place using transparent tape. Have the kids decorate the frames using colored stars and crayons. Glue a magnet strip to the back and the frame is ready to mount on the refrigerator. Use the accompanying guide for dimensions.
3) Magic Wands
Magic wands are fun and easy to make. All you need are some drinking straws and some stars cut out of tag board. You can cut the stars out before the party (for little kids) or let the children cut out their own. Have at least one pair of scissors for every three kids. Have a helper use hot glue or, even better, a low temperature glue gun to fasten the star to the straw. Encourage the kids to decorate the star with markers or for a really pretty wand use some milk glue and glitter on the star.
4) Top Hats Make Great Goody Bags
Inexpensive plastic top hats are available at most party stores like Cedarhurst Paper or The Party Experience. They make great goody bags for the kids to bring home their favors in. Or, use them for the chips, popcorn or pretzels. They're inexpensive and give the party room a magical theme.
5) Top Hat Card Toss
Use a plastic top hat to create a magical game. Divide the kids into two teams. Seat the kids in a circle, with the top hat, brim up, on the floor in the middle of the circle. Give each of the players on one team several red backed cards. Give each of the players on the other team several blue backed playing cards. See which team can toss more cards into the hat.
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Michael Maione © 1997