April, 2015 Archive

Best Ever Children’s Party Games

Organising a children’s birthday party? Then you’re going to need a few handy party games up your sleeve. These tried-and-tested classics are some of our firm favourites.

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Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 Musical Chairs

Arrange two row of chairs (or cushions) back-to-back down the centre of the room. There should always be one less chair than the number of children playing. When the music starts, the children parade around the chairs, keeping constantly moving – no hovering next to seats allowed! When the music stops, each child must find a chair. The one left standing is out. Carry on taking away one chair each time until there is only one chair, and ultimately one winner left!

The Tray Game

Gather together a selection of small objects (you could use food items or small toys which could double as prizes). Display them on a tray or table. You can vary the number of objects you display to fit with the age of the children. The more objects you put out, the more tricky the game becomes. Let the children have a good look at the objects. Cover them with a towel and get the children to close their eyes, or take the tray away. Remove one of the objects. Ask the children to open their eyes and return the tray, or remove the towel. The first child to identify which object has been removed wins the prize. Repeat, adding new objects if you wish to make it tougher.

The Chocolate Game

Sit the children in a circle on the floor or around a table. Place a large bar of chocolate (it must be the type that can be broken into squares), a dinner knife and fork, a pair of gloves, a scarf and a hat, and a dice in the centre. Each child rolls the dice in turn. The first to roll a six has to put on the hat, scarf and gloves and begin trying to cut off chunks of the chocolate with the knife and fork. Any chocolate they manage to cut off is theirs to eat. Meanwhile, the child to their left is busy rolling the dice. As soon as they have a six, they must shout ‘Six!’ and the child cutting the chocolate must immediately stop, take off the hat, scarf and gloves and hand over the knife and fork. The game continues in this way until all the chocolate is gone, or everybody has had a go.

Ladders

Split the children into two teams of equal numbers. Arrange the children in two rows, facing members of the opposing team, with their legs outstretched so their feet touch. Make sure there is a good amount of space between the pairs. Give each pair a number. Then call out numbers at random. When a pair’s number is called, they must stand, run up the line, stepping very carefully over the other players’ legs, then back down the side and up the remaining legs until they are back seated in their place. The first one of the pair sat back down is rewarded with a point for their team. The team with the most points at the end, wins. To make things more chaotic (if you want to do that!), instead of calling one number at a time, call two or three at a time, or give them children sums to work out. Then it becomes a race to work out the answer to the sums and so which number pair should run, as well as a straight running race.

Who Am I?

The children take it in turns to write the name of a famous person or character from a film or book onto a Post-It note, before sticking it onto the forehead of one of the other children, crucially, without showing them what it says. The person who has the Post-It on their head must try and guess who they are by asking the other children ‘Yes or ‘No’ questions. When they’ve guessed, they swap roles until all children have had a go at guessing.

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Image courtesy of Gualberto at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 Guess That Song

For slightly older children. Give each participant a glass of water. In turn, they have to gargle the tune to a popular song. The others must try to guess the tune.

Table-Top Racing

Split the children into teams. Pair up each person in the team with someone from the opposing team. Using a straw, each pair takes it in turn to blow a table tennis ball along a table-top race track. If the ball rolls off the table, that player must put it back to the start line. Whoever gets their ball to cross the finish line first, wins their team a point.

Wink Murder

Sit the children in a circle. Choose one person to be the detective. They must leave the room. Ask the other children to close their eyes. Walk around the circle, and tap one child on the top of their head. Explain that whoever was tapped on the head is the ‘murderer’. Get all the children to open their eyes and call the ‘detective’ back to the room. The detective sits in the centre of the circle. It is the job of the wink murderer to ‘kill’ people in the circle by winking at them surreptitiously. The job of the detective is to work out who is doing the winking. The other children, when they are winked at, may die very dramatic deaths and then lie down dead!

Balloon Passing

Divide the children into teams of equal numbers. Get them to sit – leg-space apart – in lines. When you say “go” each team must pass a balloon up the line using only their feet. If the balloon falls onto the ground, it must return to the start.

Duck, Duck, Goose.

Get the children sitting in a circle. Choose one child to go around the outside of the circle tapping the other children on the head and saying “duck” as s/he passes. When they pick someone they want to race with, they say “goose”. The goose then jumps up and races the tapper around the circle and back to their place. Whoever gets back first can stay sitting, and the person remaining standing becomes the tapper.

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Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 Pin the tail on the donkey

Draw an appropriation of a donkey – minus its tail – onto a large piece of card. Pin the drawing to a corkboard, or blu-tac it to the wall. Separately, cut out a tail and attach a drawing pin or blu-tac. One by one, blindfold the children and get them to stick the tail where they think it ought to go. The child closest to the mark, wins the prize. There are other variations of this game – pin the horn on the unicorn; the eyepatch on the pirate; the crown on the princess, for example – which make it fit any party theme.

Sleeping Lions

A really good one for young children, especially when you need to quieten things down a bit! Ask all the children to lie on the floor. Explain that if they move at all they are out. The adults walk around keeping a check on the lions. If they spot anyone moving, talking or giggling, they’re out. Personally, I like to keep this going as long as possible, but if you want to be really mischievous (and raise the energy levels again!) then you can try to wake the lions by tickling them!

Follow My leader

This is great for small children and has the added bonus of not having any winners, which gives you a break from consoling disappointed losers. Form a line with someone at the front designated the leader. The children behind the leader must copy everything the leader does. You can have lots of fun with this one, hopping, skipping, jumping like a kangaroo, running, making train noises, dancing the conga, being a monkey etc. Alternate the leaders.

In And Out The Dusty Bluebells

Remember this one? For the tune to go with the words, look on YouTube, but if it was anything like as popular at your school as it was at mine growing up, it’ll be etched into your memory forever anyway.

Have all but one of the children stand in a circle and hold hands. Ask them to then lift their arms up high to form arches. The remaining child weaves in and out of the arches as the other children sing;

In and out the dusty bluebells,
In and out the dusty bluebells,
In and out the dusty bluebells,
Who shall be my partner?

When the singing stops, the child doing the weaving goes and stands behind whomever s/he is nearest to. The weaver places their hands on the shoulders of the person in front of them, taps their hands on the shoulders, and everyone sings;

Tippy tippy tappy on your shoulder,
Tippy tippy tappy on your shoulder.
Tippy Tippy tappy on your shoulder,
You shall be my partner.

The child behind then gets hold of the second child’s waist, and they weave through the arches together. Where the gap in the circle was, the other children link hands to make a new arch, and a smaller circle.

The song carries on, with a third child being picked, then a fourth, and so until the line becomes so long and unwieldy, it can no longer fit through the arches and everyone descends into fits of giggles.

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Pass the Parcel

What party would be complete without a game of good-old pass-the-parcel? It just wouldn’t be a party without it, but while the modern, everyone-gets-a-prize version of the game results in happy children all round, beware its organisational complications!

Wrap up a prize in one layer of newspaper or tissue. This is your big ‘bonus’ prize. Continue to wrap the parcel in however many more layers of paper there needs to be to ensure every child in the circle gets a go. (For this reason, I tend to leave wrapping the parcel until we are at the venue as you just never know what your final numbers will be.) Inside each layer put a small prize, commonly a sweet, or small pack of sweets. Sit the children in a circle, give one of them the parcel. When the music starts, the children pass the parcel around the ring. When the music stops, whoever is holding the parcel gets to open the top layer and keep the prize they find inside. Once upon a time, this game was played completely randomly, meaning that some lucky children ended up with six packets of sweets, and others none. But parents got tired of the crying that then ensued, so now it’s generally played with fairness in mind. This, however, requires some eagle-eyed observation and a good memory on the part of the person in charge of the music to make sure everybody gets a prize, or good communication between the adult in the ring with notepad and the person at the music player. If you have got your numbers right (and there’s always a hairy moment when you panic that you haven’t), every child should end up with one small prize each, leaving the last bigger prize as good old pot luck! For cases of unexpected additional children you hadn’t calculated on wanting to join in the fun, have a bowl of emergency extra sweets ready at the end to placate the howls of ‘it’s not fair!’

 

Ways to Celebrate St. George’s Day

Did you know St George is the patron saint of Greece, Lithuania, Georgia, Palestine, Portugal, Catalonia and Russia as well as England? No, us neither. Seems that St. George is a regular hero the world over.

Well, he might not be all ours, but his national feast day on April 23rd is still a reason to celebrate, so why not take your pick from one of these suggestions, and make St George’s Day a party day in your calendar. Because if slaying a dragon doesn’t earn you a knees-up, then what does!

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Image courtesy of PinkBlue at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

  1. A BBQ

We might not have the BBQ weather of some of St George’s other home regions, but us Brits are a hardy bunch! What could be more typically English than stoically huddling around a damp BBQ, brollies up and pack-a-macs on, dodging the April showers, before eventually giving up and grilling the sausages indoors? We wouldn’t have it any other way.

  1. A Flagon of Beer

Show your support for local craft breweries and treat yourself to a pint of real ale this St. George’s Day. With names like Tale of the Dragon, Land of Hop and Glory, St George’s Ale, and Pride of England, there’s plenty of ways to do your patriotic duty… all from the comfort of a bar stool.

Or get yourself down to a St George’s Day Beer Festival, like the one held in Hemsworth on 24th and 25th April http://www.hamelsworde.co.uk/festival/ where they’ll be a selection of English guest ales, ciders and even gin to sample.

If you’re planning a get together at home, we’ve got a selection of some of the best of British real ales in our shop, so you can raise a glass to St George with a drink befitting a hero.

  1. Discover Local Feast of St George Celebrations

Lots of cities are now putting on free parades, parties, and fairs in honour of St George. On April 25th 2015 in London, Trafalgar Square plays host to one massive party at the Mayor of London’s annual Feast of St George with a day of free entertainment, children’s activities, games, food stalls, demonstrations from some of London’s top chefs, and live music.

Manchester has an annual parade and Birmingham plays host to a huge family-friendly St George’s festival in Centenary Square on 19th April with free music, dancing, comedy and a chance for children to meet St George and his dragon, followed by an evening concert at Symphony Hall in honour of St George.

And in our home town of Nottingham, there’s a grand parade organised by the Royal Society of St George which culminates in celebrations in Market Square on St George’s Day itself, 23rd April. http://www.nottinghamcity.gov.uk/stgeorgesday

In other cities and towns across England, similar free festivities are taking place too so check out your local council website for details.

  1. Go camping!

St George is also the patron saint of the Scout Association, and in the scouting world, St George’s day is traditionally the start of the camping season. But you don’t have to be a scout to join the tradition, so get out and embrace nature!

  1. Feast!

Originally celebrated as a national day of feasting in the 13th century, St George’s Day is the perfect excuse to gorge yourself on mouthwatering English cuisine. Gone are the days when that would have been a contradiction in terms, because England is now home to some of the best chefs, food writers and restaurants in the world. So why not sample some of what the culinary giants have to offer, and book in at one of our world-class restaurants.

Or, for a more inexpensive celebration of the great British cuisine, start the day at a proper greasy spoon cafe and treat yourself to a full English breakfast with lashings of brown sauce, and a mug of builder’s tea. A nation marches on its stomach after-all.

Stop for a Ploughman’s lunch at midday, and then at half past three, buff your shoes and ladies don a pair of white gloves for Afternoon Tea, complete with cucumber sandwiches, scones and a Victoria Sponge… because aside from complaining about the weather, and queuing, what could be more quintessentially English? To complete the authentic ‘English experience’ get into an argument about which goes in first – the milk, or the tea – and fall out over how to pronounce the word ‘scone’.

If you’re staying in, go for good-old home-cooked English classics, like Beef Stew and Dumplings, Bubble and Squeak and Shepherd’s Pie. And don’t forget the pudding. As the nation who invented Spotted Dick, Bakewell tart, rhubarb crumble and the jam roly poly, it’d be positively treasonous not to.

And if you’ve still got room after all that, then finish the day off with a hearty supper of crumpets and a mug of tea. Manage all that and St George himself couldn’t be more proud of you!

Our Favourite Spring Wedding Ideas

Spring – what a great time to get married! Signs of new life are all around, and with lighter evenings and warmer weather making a welcome return, who’s not in the mood for a party! So to kick off the celebrations, we’re bringing you some of our favourite springtime wedding style statements and a few seasonal essentials.

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Photo by kind permission of Mirror Imaging Photography
http://www.mirrorimagingweddings.com/

Fun Footwear

Splash out and treat yourself to a pair of wedding wellies. That way, when those pesky April showers show up, you’ll be free to run and jump in as many puddles as you like without fear of the resulting leaky Laboutins. Because, let’s face it, no bride wants to squelch her way down the aisle. And with wellies now coming in every conceivable colour and design, they make a practical, fun and cute alternative to traditional bridal and bridesmaid shoes.

wellshop evercreature wellies

‘Ivory Wedding Wellies with Ribbon’
By TheWellyShop.com
Photo by kind permission of TheWellyShop.com
http://www.thewellyshop.com/Wellies/Wedding-Wellies/

Bridal Showers

Worrying about what the weather’s going to do is such a snooze, so why not take a different approach and embrace it in all its unpredictable glory?

Personalised white umbrellas for the wedding party make a great take-home gift for your attendants, whilst brolly-themed stationery, shaped soap favours, umbrella table centrepieces and of course, cocktail parasols in your reception drinks are a fun way to make a theme of the great British weather. There are plenty of companies who will hire out umbrellas for your guests to use too, so no-one need worry about getting a soaking. And who knows, you might get lucky and actually get rain on your big day!

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‘Splash Love “Keep Calm It’s Only a Wedding” Umbrella’
By The Umbrella Shop
Photo by kind permission of The Umbrella Shop
http://www.theumbrellashop.co.uk/

Blue Umbrella

‘Blue Beach Umbrella Favour’
By Bubble City Soap
Photo by kind permission of Bubble City Soap
https://www.etsy.com/listing/205351807/blue-beach-umbrella-favor-50-umbrela

Yellow Lace Umbrella

‘Yellow Lace Cocktail Umbrellas’

By Tray Chic Party

Photo by kind permission of Tray Chic Party

https://www.etsy.com/listing/225102958/yellow-lace-cocktail-umbrellas-drink

Fresh as a Daisy

Make the most of the abundance of beautiful blooms this time of year and fill your day with floristry. Fresh flowers in the bride’s hair and floral headbands for bridesmaids are an inexpensive way to give the day a just-picked feel. And garlands of greenery and foliage rather than stems of more costly flowers can also help bring the countryside in without breaking the budget. Or why not incorporate floral and patterned elements into your fabric choices for a more whimsical and ultra-modern feel.

Cherry blossom pinks, vibrant yellows and cornflower blues look particularly fresh this time of year, but if you’re taking inspiration from the natural springtime colour palette, there’s no right or wrongs when it comes to colour choices.

Fresh as a Daisy

‘Printable Yellow Daisy Wedding Invitations’
By 3 Eggs Design
Photos by kind permission of 3 Eggs Design
http://3eggsdesign.com/

 floral wallpaper wedding cake

Photos reproduced by kind permission of http://www.chrisward-photography.co.uk/

3 eggs design floral invites

‘Printable Spring Flower Wedding Invitation’
By 3 Eggs Design
http://3eggsdesign.com/

Country Cones

‘Country Style Confetti Cones’

By Confetti Cone Company
https://www.etsy.com/listing/217029651/country-style-confetti-cones-pack-of-5

wildflower bouquet

Photo by kind permission of Chris Ward Photography
http://www.chrisward-photography.co.uk/weddingphotography

Butterflies

The butterfly theme is a classic, but its appeal endures for good reason. It’s romantic, feminine, and light as air, making it the perfect motif for spring and summer weddings. There are plenty of ways to give the theme a modern twist, from butterfly-shaped literary confetti (see below), to butterfly bunting and hanging butterfly centrepieces. This is a theme you can absolutely make your own.

butterfly confetti

‘Butterfly Diecut Literary Confetti’

By Inside My Nest
Photo by kind permission of Inside My Nest
https://www.etsy.com/listing/157092493/500-literary-confetti-vintage-wedding

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‘Butterfly Cupcakes’
By The Organic Wedding Cake Company

Photo by kind permission of The Organic Wedding Cake Company
http://www.theorganicweddingcakecompany.com/

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‘Purple Buttons and Butterflies’
By The Organic Wedding Cake Company

Photo by kind permission of The Organic Wedding Cake Company
http://www.theorganicweddingcakecompany.com/

butterfly stamps

‘Butterfly Custom “Save The Date” Wedding Stamp’
By Clarise Stamps
Photo by kind permission of Clarise Stamps
https://www.etsy.com/listing/226685847/butterfly-custom-wedding-stamp-save-the

butterfly save the date magnets

‘Butterfly Save the Date Magnets’

By Wedding Save The Dates

Photo by kind permission of Wedding Save The Dates
https://www.etsy.com/listing/159135574/butterfly-design-save-the-date-magnets-x

Complimentary Candies

For real springtime quirky cuteness, choose bridesmaid dresses, favours and table and venue decorations in contrasting, complimentary pastel colours. From blush pink, to mint green, these candy colours are pretty sweet on their own, but placed side by side they positively fizz. And who doesn’t want fizz on their wedding day?

candy cones

‘Striped Candy Cones’
By The Confetti Cone Company
Photo by kind permission of The Confetti Cone Company
https://www.etsy.com/listing/161114280/striped-candy-cones-pack-of-5

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Image courtesy of nuchylee at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

candy bouquet

‘Candy Flower Girl Bouquet / Candy Bar Decoration’
By Pretty Little Bouquets
Photo by Kind Permission of Pretty Little Bouquets
https://www.etsy.com/listing/228073678/candy-bouquet-flower-girl-bouquet-candy

Spring Greens

Nothing says timeless spring elegance like cream and green. Floral arrangements of hydrangeas, lilies, peonies, guelder roses and gypsophilia all give a soft focus to this classic, clean combination.

apple blossom confetti

‘Green Hydrangea Petal Confetti’

By Confetti Cone Company
Photo by kind permission of Confetti Cone Company
https://www.etsy.com/listing/162087762/green-hydrangea-petals-1-litre-natural

organic wedding cake company

‘Quills’
By The Organic Wedding Cake Company

Photo by kind permission of The Organic Wedding Cake Company
http://www.theorganicweddingcakecompany.com/

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Image courtesy of artur84 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Thumbprint Guest Book

‘Printable Thumbprint Tree Guest Book’
By 3 Eggs Design
Photo by kind permission of 3 Eggs Design
http://3eggsdesign.com/