A Grandma's spin on crafts, games, recipes & lifestyle

Category: Theme Ideas

Bring Back E.T.~Imagination and Role Playing

I wish I could tell you how many people comment, “Bring back E.T.!” whenever we post a picture of Max in his E.T. mask!  There was a short span of time that EVERYTHING he did was done with that big E.T. head.  One only has to be around him for a short period of time before he has you engrossed in his imagination and role playing.  While we are all laughing with delight at his antics, we never stop to think of the many benefits there are to children when playing dress up.

Have you ever been told, “Maybe you should try walking in my shoes for a bit?”  I’m sure almost everyone has either heard that phrase at one time or possibly even said it.  This is a person wanting you to understand what their life or situation is like…a person asking for empathy.  When a child engages in role playing, they are doing just that.  Whether it be dressing up like mommy and daddy, a superhero, a princess, or even E.T., they are “walking in their shoes,” and without realizing it, learning empathy.

Sure, it’s fun to pretend they can fly like a superhero or swim like a mermaid.  However, they have also watched this person in action and are now trying to mimic them…or walk in their shoes.  The process of watching…remembering…then mimicking is building brain power without them even realizing it!

Dress Up Box ~

A dress up box was always available to our kids when they were growing up.  It was filled with costumes and accessories.  We would go to a Hawaiian themed party and the plastic leis would make it to the box.  We would celebrate New Year’s Eve and the party hats, horns and boas would be added to the box.  Old party dresses and high heels….you got the idea!

What I wish I would have done differently is to add their Halloween costumes to the box.  I tended to put those back in case someone else wanted to wear it the next Halloween.  My daughter, Lauren, keeps costumes out for them to enjoy all year long.  This is how we ended up with the wonderful days of Max and E.T.

Eating with E.T.

Playing Outside with E.T.

 

Shopping with E.T.

Brushing Teeth with E.T.

Yes, Taking a Bath with E.T.

Going to Bed with E.T.

You hardly saw Max during those days that he did not have that E.T. head on.  He would sometimes wear the whole costume, but most often he just wore the head.  There were even days that he shared it with others!

Are you thinking to yourself, “Man, I have got to get one of these adorable E.T. costumes for my kids?”  Don’t you worry, I got your back!  Order your own cool E.T. costume right here!  As stated earlier, your kids can dress up all…year…long!

My other thought here is that if you let your children dress up whenever they want it builds a sense of self confidence.  As I watched our three children grow through the different stages, it was very important to me that they learned to be kind and to have self confidence.  I put these two together because I believe they go hand in hand.  The times I would see them at their lowest in self-confidence is when they were  being picked on by others.  Therefore, it was also important to use those times to enforce why being kind is so important.

With that being said, Brad and I completely believe that Max is not going to suffer in the self-confidence area!  Whether he is E.T (where he just always looks so adorable), The Hulk (where he very dramatically transforms from self to Hulk with LOTS of noise), Spider Man (where he covers you with webs with a twist of his magical hand), or Mr. Freeze (where he freezes you and you MUST stay frozen until he unfreezes you!) he truly believes he IS those characters!

Themed Play & Crafts ~

Lauren does a fantastic job of taking their current interests and turning them into fun activities filled with themed crafts and foods.  I wrote about the alien theme when I first started blogging.  It is a small entry, but the pics are cute.  You can check the alien themed blog here!!!

I have since learned it is helpful to include directions for the crafts and food.  I searched Pinterest for some help on how to make the spaceship and found this great pin.  Zygote Brown Designs describes in detail how to make a spaceship!

Where is Your Dress Up Box? ~

Playing dress up is SO MUCH MORE than just a fun way to keep the kids occupied.  It stirs their imagination and aids in their emotional development.  So if you haven’t done so yet, go create that box of imagination for them.

It can be a bigger, dual purpose box like this!

It can be a pretty basket like this!

Regardless of what you use, you won’t regret making this an option for your kids.  You, too, can bring back E.T. and spark their imagination and role playing.  They can enjoy this for years!  And who knows, when you become a Mimi, you may find yourself dragging it back out again! 😉

 

 

PHOTOriffic Birthday Party Theme

Two year old Max declared he wanted a “Just Max” party for his third birthday.  As is usually the case when having a discussion with Max, you can’t help but find yourself chuckling at his responses.  Life is definitely a lot funnier with him in our world!  After a bit, Lauren (his mommy) asked, “Why not?”  And that, my friends, is how the PHOTOriffic birthday party theme came to life!

In true Lauren fashion, creative ideas started flowing right away.  This girl definitely knows how to take a birthday party to the next level.  Even more perfect is that she got to mix her love of photography with her love of party planning!  The end result was a fun photoriffic birthday party theme that can be used for any age…child or adult!

Planning ~

You will need to decide if you want to use just a few pictures or if you want to use a large amount of various faces.  As mentioned earlier, Lauren, (who we call Photo Lo) has an abundance of fun candids so the choice was easy for her.  There are so many fun “faces” of Max that she couldn’t use just one or two.  I, personally, am glad we used a lot of photos as it was fun to reminisce about the different ones throughout the evening.  In fact, there were many responses of, “Bring ET back!”….this stemming from a short period of time when Max wore an ET mask everywhere!

Organizing the photos in one folder on your computer is very helpful.  In this era, we tend to keep a lot of pictures on our phones and on social media apps.  The most time consuming part is going through those pictures. If you have ever searched for a particular picture on your phone that was taken months earlier, you know this many times take longer than you expect.  Once you find ones you think you will use,  copy them into the folder you have created.  This will prove to be very beneficial as you start creating your party props.

Crafting ~

Photo T-Shirts ~

Making shirts for everyone was a BIG hit.  Instead of worrying about what size is good for each one, we bought men’s packages of t-shirts in large and extra large.  Those who were smaller can get fancy with how they want to wear their shirt.  These are obviously easy enough to get at discount stores, but if you plan ahead you can get even better deals through Amazon like the one below.  You can’t beat prices like these:

Men’s package of 6 White T-Shirts at a lower price of $11.50!!

Next, you will need to purchase iron on transfer sheets.  These are so much fun to use, but you need to follow the directions closely.  One of the most important tips they give you is to use your hottest, non-steam iron setting.  This is very important.  Once again, these can be found in your local stores, but I did find better prices on Amazon.

Iron On Transfer Sheets for White or Light Colored T-Shirts

These are $8.98 for a pack of ten…that is a STEAL!  We purchased some at both Michaels and WalMart.  Neither one of those purchases were as cheap as the price above from Amazon.

Iron on Transfer Sheets for Dark T-Shirts

These are $12.94 for a pack of ten.  If you are going to use darker shirts then you must use these.  We tried transferring to a gray shirt and ruined it.  You could barely see the image.  So do yourself the favor if you want to use a dark shirt, spend the couple dollars extra.

Photo Banner ~

Creating a birthday photo banner is easy but time consuming….so plan ahead!  You can do these in multiple colors or follow a specific theme.  As you can see, we went with multi-colored hats.

Printing Out Pictures for the Banner~

The next decision is whether you want the banner single sided or double sided.  The pics above are single sided.  Regardless of which option you choose, it is important to print each picture out on heavy card stock.  This creates more durability as well as a better image for the banner.  If you choose to make your birthday banner double sided, you will need a program such as PrintShop to flip the image.  By doing this, you can match the images back to back perfectly.

I took images we had saved in the folder discussed earlier, transferred them to PrintShop and enlarged them to get a clear but sizeable image.  Once you get it as large as you can without losing the clarity, print it out on heavy card stock.  Next you will need to cut the faces out.

Making Birthday Hats for the Banner ~

Let your creativity flow when making the birthday hats.  We used both printed paper and solid paper and cut them out in the shape of a birthday hat.  We cut ours out freestyle.  I think one can get lost in trying to make it “perfect.”  Seriously, don’t get to caught up in that.  Also, you will find that the pictures will tend to be different sizes, therefore, you will need to make some hats smaller and some larger.

Adorn the hats with fun stickers, printable images and fun different dimensional items for the top of the hat.  I printed out some of Max’s favorite characters on the computer and then cut them out to create our own stickers!  We had hats with The Hulk, Scooby Doo, Batman, PJ Masks, and soccer balls.  We even created a couple of hats with pictures of Addi and Max to help keep jealousy at bay. 😉

Multi-colored pom poms for the perfect birthday hat!

It is fun to top off the hats with different creative items, but you will find that your “go to” on most of them are pom poms.  It’s fun to have different colors and sizes.  We also used other articles such as a plastic bat ring left over from Halloween for the Batman hat and a soccer ball sticker for the soccer hat.  As I said earlier, let your creativity flow when you are creating your photoriffic birthday themed props!

Use Banner Photos Around the Party Area ~

Are there so many cute pictures that you just couldn’t narrow it down to what you needed for the banner?  I feel ya!  So keep crafting and place extras in various places around the house.

We transformed dancing Santa into dancing Max for the evening!

We also updated center pieces for evening!

Spread the love all over for everyone to enjoy!

Photo Tattoos ~

Tattoos transcend all ages….well at least temporary tattoos!  Now, let’s take that a step further and turn photos into temporary tattoos for this amazingly fun birthday party!  Of course, Etsy comes to the rescue in helping to fulfill this step of the party planning.

Temporary Photo Tattoos are a MUST for the party!

Advance planning for these is a necessity, as any custom photo order item takes a bit more time.  However, as always is the case, Etsy comes to the rescue with these temporary photo tattoos.

What birthday party is on your calendar to plan next?  Do you have your pictures organized?  Start planning today because this is a photoriffic birthday party them that you are definitely going to want to try!

 

 

Alien Fun

 

Alien food 2

Getting the kids to eat is sometimes tough, and while all kids need to learn that not every day is a party, it certainly makes for great memories if you step up the presentation once in awhile.  You can even do a whole themed day.

Breakfast:  Alien pancakes.  Add a little food color to the pancake mix.  Shape them like alien heads and add chocolate chips for face.

Alien food

For lunch:  Spaceships and rocket drinks!

alien houses

Take the kids outside afterwards with spaceships made from umbrellas!

Enjoy!

%d bloggers like this: