| Enchanted Forest
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Activities (The Quest)
Make a Pond
Enchanted Strawberry Patch
Enchanted Candy Apple Tree
Related Lemonade Pages
If you are in a hurry, you can buy premade invitations or email your own. Try using a variety of photos and/or clip art to go with the theme.
A second option involves making your own paper. See the sidebar for details.
This party follows a quest pattern. The children meet in a room in which a hand-drawn forest mural is taped to the wall. Try adding trees, toadstools, small forest animals, ferns, forest flowers, etc. The guests colour it in until everyone has arrived. You then give out magic amulets (we used "mood" necklaces purchased at a local dollar store, or you can make your own using black cord and fancy beads). Making a chart with the meanings of different colours and symbols adds to the fun.
Once the guests have their amulets, you can lead them into another room or area in which they will meet the forest wizard (have an adult dress up for this). To decorate this room, try using black light and glow-in-the-dark shapes to decorate. Flourescent tempera paint art with runes and celtic symbols can decorate the walls, and flourescent computer paper spirals hung from the ceiling make great stalactites. Anything that "glows in the dark" will react with the black light.
At this point, the wizard makes his excuses and disappears, promising to meet them later on. That adult can change and come and supervise during the activities.
Use solar garden lights or wooden stakes to prop up inverted plastic or clay planters in a circle. Apply round coloured stickers to the outside of the pots. They should now look like toadstools. You have made a fairy circle. Invite the guests to make a wish while standing in the centre of the circle. They will use a planter each to plant your choice of seeds or tiny plant (cress or clover seeds sprout quickly).
Optional Stop #1: The Enchanted Strawberry Patch
The second station is the water station. If it is a hot day, you may want to encourage the kids to get wet. Be sure to let the kids know ahead whether getting wet is allowed or not. Set up a pond by using an inflatable child's pool covered in a green plastic table cloth or green shower curtain liner. Add several large rocks to weigh down the plastic, and fill half-way with water. Embellish with river rocks, lily pads cut from fun foam, and real or artificial bullrushes (aka cattails) along the outside. Add a few toy frogs and/or turtles, and encourage the kids to scoop one out (and possibly a handful of river rocks) for their planter. We gathered clean garbage (washed yogurt containers, coffee cups, etc.) and floated it on top and asked the kids to use nets to clean up the pond. Have a few items for each guest if you do this, as it can be very popular.
Optional Stop #2: The Enchanted Candy Apple Tree
The next activity involves wind. You have several options here. For younger kids, hand out individual bottles of bubbles and let them have fun. You can also make ribbon sticks by screwing a metal eye into the end of an 8" length of dowelling. Tie or sew a wide piece of colourful ribbon (about a metre long) to the eye. Invite the kids to wave and spin them in the breeze. Older kids may enjoy making their own wind chimes. Collect various objects (old cutlery, keys, large clay or glass beads, large washers, frozen juice lids, etc.) and provide fishing line, a strong stick or piece of dowelling, and let them create. We found cotton kitchen string worked well for this (easier to tie than fishing line), although it will not weather as well over time.
Optional Stop #3: Phoenix's Nest
The last station involves fire. If you live in an area where open fires are allowed, you may decide to do a cookout for your final station. Provide food items the kids can cook themselves, esp. on a stick, such as hotdogs, biscuit batter, and marshmallows.
Take some pictures up close of natural objects, such as moss, tree bark, cones, grass, ferns, etc. and ask the kids to figure out what they are. If you have a more active or restless group, you can add activities to suit. Musical trees or toadstools, fort building, or a scavenger hunt may be especially popular.
As well as the enchanted apple tree, strawberry patch, phoenix nest, pond, blacklight cave and fairy circle described above, you may wish to incorporate some of the following ideas.
You may wish to bring some of the activities indoors. If you do, consider setting up one or more artificial Christmas trees and greenery. Bring all of your houseplants into the party areas. Collect natural objects such as rocks, cones, seeds, flowers, etc. and decorate the tables with them. Display any pictures, paintings or children's art that depicts natural settings. An indoor fountain or mister, flower arrangements, dream catchers, wind chimes etc. will also add to the mood.
Kids can help decorate by making coffee-filter butterflies (see sidebar for instructions).
Be sure to play nature music. Dan Gibson has recorded numerous nature cd's; the music of Enya also lends itself to the theme. Be sure to check your local library's collection for these and other cd's. You can also provide wooden flutes for the kids to make their own music, but be sure to check out the sound ahead of time to be sure it is one you can live with!
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