Showing posts with label Birthday parties. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Birthday parties. Show all posts

Oct 20, 2015

How to Make a Campfire Cake...It's SO Easy!

Over the years, I've made all of my children's birthday cakes (except my oldest's very first). Being a bit over-eager, I often attempted difficult cakes. Some came out great...

 Others, not so much...
But last weekend I made one of THE easiest cakes I've ever made...and my little boy loved it! I posted a photo of it on Facebook, and thought I'd leave it at that. But so many people "liked" and commented on the photo, I thought I'd share it - and the super easy directions for making it - here.

How to Make a Campfire Cake

You will need:
A cake and frosting
Twix candy bars
Life Savers in red, yellow, and orange
Parchment paper
Rimmed baking sheet

1. Bake the cake, using your favorite from scratch recipe, or a boxed cake mix. (I admit it; I used a cake mix, even though it's not as healthy!) You can make any type of cake you want. I made a double layer chocolate cake.) Let the cake cool completely.

2. Frost the cake. I recommend doing a crumb coating (i.e., a rough coat of frosting), then letting the cake sit in the refrigerator for an hour or more. Then do a second frosting; this time it should be easy to make it smooth and crumb-free. If you won't be serving the cake right away, pop it back into the fridge.

3. Make the "fire:" Place a piece of parchment paper on a rimmed baking sheet. Place Life Savers about 1/2 inch apart on the parchment paper. Use only red, yellow, and orange candies. Pop into the oven and turn the temperature to 300 degrees F. Check on the candies every minute or so until they start melting, then watch closely. As soon as the candies are completely melted, remove the baking sheet from the oven. Let the melted candy cool completely.*

4. Shortly before serving the cake: Pile a little extra frosting - 3 or 4 tablespoons, I'd say - in the middle of the cake. This will give the "logs" on the cake a foundation to stick to. Place Twix candy bars in the center of the cake, to look like wood logs.

5. Break the melted and cooled Life Saver sheets to form the cake's fire. Stick the larger "flames" in the center of the logs. Place smaller "flames" in between the Twix "logs."

You're done!

* I think lollipops would work well, too, though I've not tried it. I would try to remove as much of the lollipop sticks as possible before melting, then, once the candy is fully melted, use tweezers to carefully remove the remaining sticks before the candy cools.

Oct 13, 2015

12 Old Fashioned Birthday Party Games for Kids

I'm currently planning my son's next birthday party. It's a Davey Crockett theme - and while I usually try to tailor the party games to go with the theme, this time around, I'm finding that at little tricky. But after some thought, I realized good old fashioned party games really fit any birthday theme. Plus, they are classics for a reason. Namely, they are lots of fun! Here are some of our favorites:

1. Musical Chairs. This game is easy to customize by the music you choose. I usually just select something off YouTube (it's free!) and play it on my laptop. (For example, this time around, we'll use "The Ballad of Davey Crockett." For our scarecrow party, I found a children's song about scarecrows. For our Little House on the Prairie party, I found fiddle music.) To play, put as many chairs as you have children - minus one - in a circle. Turn on some music and let the kids walk around the chairs. When you stop the music, they all try to get their own seat. The child who can't get a seat is out of the game. Remove another chair and play again. Continue until only one child is left.
Musical Chairs.
2. Bean Bag Toss. Bean bags are super easy to make. Just cut some squares from felt, sew (or hot glue) three edges, fill with dry beans, and sew (or hot glue) the fourth edge. You can toss these bags into cups, bowls, muffin tins, or homemade bean bag toss boxes made from cardboard. If you want the toss game to tie into a theme, you can easily get a picture onto poster board and paste it onto the cardboard box. (I'm not an artist; if I can do it, you can, too! For an example of how I did this for our horse party, click here. Incidentally, for that party, I substituted crab apples for bean bags; when the game was over, we fed the bruised apples to our chickens. For our upcoming Davey Crockett party, we're tossing bean bags into my son's dress up "coonskin" hat.)
Bean Bag Toss.
3. Pin the Tail. My kids always want to play this game at their parties. Again, it's easy to customize. I just Google a drawing or coloring page of something related to the party theme, enlarge it for free over at Block Posters, print it out, have a child color it, and paste it onto cardboard or poster board. To play, blindfold a child and give her whatever she should pin on to the poster. (For example, at our princess and knight party, the children pinned the tail on the dragon. That year, my mother - an artist - painted the game onto poster board, shown below.) We use double sided tape on the back of the tails. Once the child gets the tail on the poster, remove her blindfold and have another child give it a try. The one who comes closest to pinning the tail in the correct location, wins.

Pin the Tail.
4. Apple Bobbing. Another huge favorite here. To play, fill a large tub or pot with apples. The game is easier if the apples have stems. If you can't find apples with stems, choose smaller apples (sometimes sold in bags as "kid sized"). Each child tries to grab an apple with his teeth only, and pull it out of the tub. If you don't like the idea of kids biting into an apple someone else's mouth may have been on, do a modern variation and tie stemmed apples (or firm donuts) onto strings and hang them. In this variation, the child who eats the most of the apple or donut (without having most of it fall to the ground) wins.

Apple Bobbing.
5. Sack Race. So much fun! I bought inexpensive "potato" sacks online a few years ago, and we've used them for several parties now. To play, each child puts her feet and legs inside the sack and lines up. When a signal is given, the children hop to the finish line.
Sack Race.
6. Tug of War. Get a fat rope and tie knots at each end. Mark the center of the rope with paint, a colored rubber band, or a kerchief. Divide the kids into two groups; each group grabs one end of rope and tries to pull the center mark over a line on the ground. If you have kids of different ages, be sure to put the bigger/stronger ones at the ends of the rope and the littler ones closer to the middle. And play the game on grass, not concrete!

7. Spitting Contest. A few years back, we used this one for a Little House on the Prairie party. You can use any kind of larger seed - though I think watermelon seeds or cherry pits work best. Give the kids seeds or pits and have each one try to spit it as far as she can. (I recommend having them eat the watermelon or cherries first; it's part of the fun...and saves you some work!) It's helpful to use cheap plastic tablecloths on the ground. you can mark where each person's pit landed by using a Sharpie.
Spitting Contest.
8. Eating Contest. Again, you can use almost anything: Watermelon, cake, you name it. Give each child one piece and see who can finish it first!

9. Blind Man's Bluff. Blindfold one child and spin him around a few times. The other children must walk around making noise while the blindfolded child tries to catch them. Once the "blind man" catches someone, he guesses who it is. If he's right, another child gets blindfolded and the game begins anew.

10. Spoon Relay. Again, this is pretty easy to customize. One year, we used plastic Easter eggs (which we called "dinosaur eggs"). Another year, when kitties were the theme, we used Goldfish crackers. Give each child a teaspoon. Set an egg in the spoon (or have the children scoop up something - like crackers - into their spoon). They must balance it carefully as they walk a course. If they drop the egg (or whatever you're using), they must start over. Whoever gets across the finish line first, wins. To make the game more challenging, divide kids up into teams and have the first child pass over their egg to another child who must complete the relay.
Spoon Relay.
11. Peanut Roll. I don't think I've ever seen everyone laugh so hard as when we played this game. Place a peanut in it's shell in front of every child, on the floor. The children must roll it across the room with their noses only. The first one to get theirs over the finish line wins. You can get creative with this one, too. For example, at our kitty party, we used balls of yarn instead of peanuts.
Peanut Roll.
12. Pinata. There's no doubt about it. Kids love pinatas. I usually buy ours online for $20 or so, but you can also make them (a fun project for the kids!). You can also easily convert a traditional pinata into a pull string pinata suitable for younger kids or indoor use.

Some Kid's Birthday Parties Mentioned in This Post:

* Knight & Princess Party
* Horse Party - with Cowgirls & Cowboys
* Little House on the Prairie Birthday Party
* Dinosaur Party

Aug 19, 2015

How to Make an Easy Pinata

What with packing and prepping to move and preparing for homeschool to start, I'm not as organized as usual for my daughter's birthday party. But it's a big one this year: She's a decade old! So last week I worked like a mad woman to pull it together. I'd planned to purchase a pinata for the party - a kitty, to go with her theme. But I didn't order it in time and our local stores didn't have any cat pinatas. I considered buying a generic pinata, but I heard the ones in our local store break too easily. Then I considered making a pinata from a cardboard box - or making a pinata the traditional way, with all those little bits of crepe paper. But finally I decided we'd make a paper mache pinata, but instead of covering it with a gazllion strips of paper, we'd just paint it. Correction: I'd let the birthday girl paint it! And, for that matter, make most of the pinata.

Yes, this process is a bit messy...but my kids had such a good time with it. Making something out of paper mache is a project every kid should try at least once. I recommend making the paper mache part of the pinata outside - somewhere where the flour glue won't hurt anything (because, yes, it will drip all over). I also recommend only making a paper mache pinata when the weather is warm; the hotter it is, the faster the layers of paper mache will dry. If you must try this indoors on a cooler day, add a little salt to your homemade glue; this is supposed to help prevent the mixture from molding if it takes a while for it to dry.

What You Need to Make an Easy Pinata

A balloon. (I used a regular balloon because that's what I had on hand. A punch ball balloon is larger and more circular, and is another option.)



A whisk or fork for mixing

A large bowl


Non-glossy newspaper, preferably black and white

Exacto knife


Piece of cardboard

Large washer

Paint (we used Crayola Washable Kids Paint)

Colored paper or felt (optional)

How We Made Our Kitty Cat Pinata

1. Cut the newspaper into pieces about 1 1/2 inches wide.

2. Blow up the balloon and hang it somewhere outside, using string or yarn. Pick a spot where you don't mind the glue dripping on the ground.

3. Mix up the glue: Start by dumping 1 cup of flour into the bowl. Add 2 cups of water and stir well. You want the consistency to be close to Elmer's white glue; don't make it thick, like a paste. If the glue seems too watery, just add another handful and stir some more. Continue until the consistency is right. And yes, the homemade glue will be a bit lumpy.

4. Drip a strip of newspaper into the glue, then, holding the paper over the bowl, wipe it down, so only a small amount of glue remains. Place the paper onto the balloon. Smooth out the paper as much as possible. (Although, trust me, especially if kids are helping, the pinata will be a little lumpy!)

Cover the balloon with strips of newspaper dipped in flour glue.
5. Repeat step 4, overlapping the pieces of paper, until the entire balloon is covered. Let the paper dry completely, then repeat step 4 and 5 until you have at least four layers of newspaper on the balloon. Remember to do only one layer at a time, letting the newspaper dry completely before moving on to the next layer.
This is what our balloon looked like while the first layer of newspaper was drying.

6. Using scissors or a pin, poke a hole in the exposed end of balloon. Remove the deflated balloon from the pinata.

7. Cover the hole where the exposed end of the balloon was with several layers of paper mache. Allow to dry completely.
This is where the end of the balloon was exposed, now covered with a few layers of paper mache.
Here's what the pinata looked like, entirely dry. I put it in the bowl of my Kitchen Aid mixer, to make handling easier.

8. Being very careful, use an Exacto knife to poke a hole in the very top of the pinata. This is where the string for hanging the pinata will go. Now cut a trap door on top of the pinata, over to one side; this is where you will add the candy; the door shouldn't be huge - but it needs to be big enough to pour candy/toys through, and get a piece of cardboard into the pinata. Pry the door open; try not to completely break the door away from the pinata; ideally, the uncut edge of the door will bend a little. (If it breaks off, don't worry; just set the broken piece aside for a moment.)
Carefully cutting the trap door...
Trap door is cut and open.
 9. Cut the piece of cardboard so it's larger than the hole you made for the string, and will fit in through the trap door. Thread the string through the hole you made in the top of the pinata.

Threading the string through the hole.
10. Poke a hole in the center of the cardboard, then pull the end of the string that's inside the pinata through this hole. Thread a large washer onto the same end of string. (We actually used two washers, but I think one is sufficient.) Tie a firm knot. (So the layers are: Cardboard, washer, knot. The washer helps keep the knot from pulling through the cardboard and the top of the pinata.) Carefully insert the cardboard into the pinata. On the outside of the pinata, pull the string tight.
Adding washers.
Getting ready to knot the string.
Putting the cardboard, washer, and knot inside the pinata.
11. Fill the pinata with candy and/or toys. Close the trap door. (If the door accidentally broke off, just set it in back in place on the pinata.) Cover the trap door with a few layers of paper mache. Allow to dry completely.

12. Paint the pinata. Dark colors will cover the newsprint better than light colors. My daughter chose purple for her cat (grin), and she only needed to use two coats.

Painting the pinata.
13. To make our pinata look like a cat's head, we glued on colored paper ears, eyes, nose, mouth, and whiskers.

The finishing touches!

Ta-da! All done.

After the party.

Aug 13, 2014

A Horse Party with Cowgirls and Cowboys

My philosophy on parties is pretty simple. I don't want to spend much on decorations and other things that will just be thrown away after the party is over. Rather than drop money on that sort of thing, I'd rather put more creativity and time into the party. So when my daughter told me she'd like to have a horses, cowgirls, and cowboys theme for her birthday, I knew I wasn't going to hire pony rides or pay a bakery for a fancy cake. I knew I'd do the work myself - with my daughter's enthusiastic help.
(c) Bryan Valencia Photography

Our birthday parties are casual, family affairs, so I always send electronic invitations. I scoured the web looking at horse-related invitations, and chose elements from 3 - 4 invites to create my daughter's invitation in a photo editing software program that came with my computer. (If you don't have a photo editing program, you can use a free online service, like PicMonkey.) I found a photo of my daughter's favorite type of horse (Appaloosa) and with it, paired an Old West type font: "Cowboys and Cowgirls are WANTED to giddy up to the [last name]'s for a galloping good time celebrating [first name]'s birthday! [First name] is turning [age]!" I saved the invite as a .JPG and send it as an attachment in emails to our family.

The Cake
(c) Bryan Valencia Photography.

When I'm planning a birthday party, I always decide upon the cake first. In this case, I looked at images online - always hoping for cakes that look do-able for me, a mom without any training in baking. My daughter fell in love with this cake, which I found on Pinterest, and wanted an almost exact replica. Initially, I was nervous about all those piped roses, but looking at YouTube videos, I realized it was do-able with the right piping tip. It's a VERY easy technique. (Trust me; if I can do it, you can, too! I especially recommend watcing this video by Lori's Bakery and this one by Kitchen Adventures for how-tos.)

I made the cake in four 8 inch round layers, using a cake cardboard in between the second and third layers. (For more tips on assembling a layered cake, click here.) I made my own buttercream frosting; regular store bought frosting won't work.

Just before serving the cake, I added my daughter's favorite toy horse and a free printable pennant banner I found online. (To add letters to the pennant, I opened the .PDF and took a screen shot of the pennants, saving it as a .JPG. Then, using free image editing software, I added one letter to each pennant. I printed this, cut out the pennants, and folded them in half along the indicated fold lines. I used bamboo skewers and some silky string I had laying around to create the "holder" for the banner. To secure the pennants, I placed them over the string and glued the pointed ends of the paper together.

Other Food and Decorations
We normally keep our party food pretty simple: hamburgers and hot dogs, coleslaw, potato salad, and the like. This year, my husband did some pretty impressive barbecue. Whatever the case, I rarely find that trying to pair the food to the theme works; we have too many picky eaters!

This year, I also really kept the decorations to a minimum. We put up quite a few balloons (multi-color), and I bought plastic tablecloths (and matching plates and napkins) at the Dollar Tree, but otherwise, I stuck to using what we already had, including toy horses, a basket of apples (later used in a game), and generic happy birthday banners we use year after year. I also had all the games out and ready to use before the guests arrived, which added interest.

The Games
This is what the children played:
Pin the Tail on the Horse.
(c) Bryan Valencia Photography.
Pin the Tail on the Horse: My daughter loves this game, so we do some variation on it most years. I couldn't find a printable (or purchasable) pin the tail on the horse game that I liked, so I made one. Now, I'm not much of an artist, and a horse is way out of my artistic league, so instead of drawing a horse freehand, I found an online drawing of a horse and used BlockPoster's free website in order to print it out and enlarge it. I taped the pages together and traced the lines with a Sharpie pen to make them bolder and thicker. Then my daughter colored the horse and tails

Apple toss game.
Apple Toss: I found this idea on Pinterest - with a photo, but no working link. It's a bean bag toss, but instead of bags, we used some wild crabapples (which we later fed the chickens). First, I prepared the box; you'll find easy instructions here. Then I turned the Pinterest photo into a black and white image, using free photo editing software. And once again, I used BlockPoster's free service to enlarge the image. This time, I taped together the pages, taped them to a window, then taped a piece of poster board over the enlarged image. Using a pencil, I traced the horse's face onto the posterboard, then went over this with a Sharpie. My daughter colored the horse face to her liking. When she was done, I taped the poster board to the box and used an Exacto knife to cut out the horse's mouth.
Water Gun Target Practice Game. (c) Bryan Valencia Photography.
Water Gun Target Practice: I'd seen lots of ideas on how to add "target practice" to a cowboy/girl party online, but all of them were more complicated than I liked. My daughter came up with a simple solution: Draw targets on the fence using sidewalk chalk. I identified each target with a child's initials and gave each kid each a water gun. They could easily see if they were hitting the target and had fun trying to be the first one to wash it away with their squirt guns.

Feed Sack Race: Otherwise known as a potato sack race. I still had the gunny sacks left over from last year's Little House on the Prairie party, so I just called them "feed sacks" for the purposes of our horse party. This simple game always generates lots of laughter.
Lasso the Horse Game. (c) Bryan Valencia Photography.
Lasso the Horse: Again, I'd seen this game on Pinterest, but I wanted to simplify it so I wasn't buying a bunch of one-time-use things. I used my children's spring horse (but you could use a stick horse secured in a bale of straw, or a rocking horse) and a hoola hoop as the lasso. It was tougher than it looked!

Horseshoe Toss: We actually had to skip this game, but I do think it's a fun addition. I don't think plastic horseshoes would work very well (they don't have enough weight), and that was all I could find online for under $30. But a local store had a real metal set on sale for summer, so we lucked out. I've also seen people sew bean bags shaped like horseshoes, which makes the game more appropriate for younger kids.

Horse Pinata: My kids love pinatas, but I had a hard time finding anything but teeny horse pinatas. I ended up buying this small - but quite adequate - horse online. It held plenty of candy for 6 kids.

For more horse or cowboy/cowgirl party ideas, visit my Pinterest Horse Party Board.

Oct 16, 2013

How to Convert a Traditional Pinata into a Pull String Pinata

A DIY pull string pumpkin pinata.
Sure, traditional pinatas are fun, but sometimes a pull string pinata - which breaks open by the simple pulling of a string - is much more suitable. For example, if you have young children who really can't bash a pinata - or who might bash themselves or someone else trying to...or if you're having an indoor party and don't want the contents of your home accidentally beaten, a pull string pinata is for you.

If you've never used a pull string pinata, here's how it works. Hang the pinata, then have the children, one by one, pull a single string off the bottom of the pinata. Most of the ribbons will just fall off, doing nothing to the pinata. But once one string (indistinguishable from the others) is pulled, a trap door in the pinata will open and all the candy will fall out.

Sometimes you can find ready made pull string pinatas, but often you have to convert traditional pinatas into pull string pinatas. In the past, I've purchased pinata conversion kits, but the truth is, it's really easy to make a DIY pull string pinata - you don't need a special kit. Here's how.

What You'll Need:

A pinta
Exacto knife or box cutter (you could use scissors, but it's more dangerous!)
Curling ribbon
Transparent adhesive tape (the kind used for wrapping gifts)
Small piece of cardboard
Extra tissue paper in a matching color

1. Begin by selecting a relatively flat location on the bottom of the pinata. Carefully remove the crepe or tissue paper covering an approximately 3 1/2 inch square near the center of the bottom. (If, for some reason, that seems too difficult, it's fine to skip this long as you have matching tissue paper on hand.)

2. Use an Exacto knife to cut a door (about 3 1/2 inches square) in the "naked" area you just made.
3. Cut the curling ribbon into long lengths. How long depends upon where you'll hang the pinata and how tall the kids are. (I suggest making the ribbon lengths longer than you think you need them; you can always trim them later.) You'll want at least 2 ribbons for every child who'll be playing the game.

4. With the Exacto knife, make a little hole in the center of the door. Thread one ribbon through it.

5. Cut a piece of cardboard about 1 1/2 inches square. Cut a little hole in the center. Thread the ribbon already in the door of the pinata through this small piece of cardboard. 
6. Knot the ribbon so it will not slip through the hole it's thread through. (If desired, you may use strong duct tape over the knot as extra insurance. This is the string that will open the door of the pinata, making all the candy fall out, so you want to be sure that when a child tugs it, it won't just slip off without opening the door.)
7. Close the door. If desired, tape it lightly shut with one or two pieces of gift-wrapping tape. But remember, the door needs to open easily if a child pulls the string on it.

8. Use the gift-wrapping tape to tape the remaining ribbons to the pinata's bottom. Make sure they aren't on the door. (When a child pulls one of these ribbons, the ribbon will just fall off the pinata, not opening the candy door.)

9. Replace any crepe or tissue paper you took off the pinata's bottom, making tiny slits to allow all the ribbons to come through OR cover the door and the ribbon ends with pieces of matching tissue.

10. Fill the pinata with candy, through the opening provided for this purpose. (If, by chance, you are making your own pinata - which isn't at all difficult, though it is time consuming - you can fill it with candy through the trap door, before closing that door and covering it with tissue paper.)

Aug 19, 2013

A Little House on the Prairie Birthday Party

I was pretty excited when my daughter chose a Little House on the Prairie theme for her birthday party - excited partly because I love 19th century history...and partly because I saw it as a chance to pull together a fun party without a lot of expense or fuss. In the end, I think everyone had a great time, and the party came together quite easily.

The Invitation
I always send out digital invitations - but I do them in the form of a .JPG that I create on my computer, using free photo editing software. This year was especially easy; I found a black and white drawing from one of the Little House books and added some text:
"It's [name here]'s birthday! Please come to our Little House on the Prairie party - dressed in your favorite frontier costume. Join our 'half pint' for old-fashioned games, yummy food, and fun!"
I also let everyone know costumes weren't mandatory - just encouraged - and gave some ideas I knew might be easily accomplished with dress up or everyday clothes: Cowboy, Indian, railroad engineer, frontiersman, or pioneer, for example.

The Decorations
I wanted to keep this very simple, using things we already had on hand:

* A well worn (not historic or valuable) quilt as a tablecloth
* A basket of apples and a bowl of cherries (used later for games)
* A bucket lined with calico for utensils
* Old canning jars for straws and simple bouquets of flowers from our yard
* A Lincoln Log-built cabin
* Some sepia photos we had of our family in 19th century costumes
* An authentic old school slate with my daughter's age written on it (I later photographed her in costume, holding the slate.)

Although it didn't really fit in with the theme, we also put up a few balloons - because in our family, you can't have a birthday party without them!

I also considered using hay bales for outdoor seating; they are inexpensive (about $3 a piece around these parts) and I would use them later for chicken bedding - but we have too many people with allergies, an important consideration if you are thinking about using hay or straw bales.

The Food
I considered serving pioneer-inspired food but decided we had too many picky eaters. Instead, we stuck with easy picnic fare like hot dogs and burgers - and lemonade served in canning jars. I also considered making popcorn balls as party favors, but ran out of time to do this. At one point, I thought we'd make ice cream with an old fashioned, hand cranked ice cream maker. This would have been a nice addition, but I couldn't find a cranked ice cream maker to borrow.

We considered many ideas for the birthday cake - some pretty elaborate, with covered wagons or log
cabins on top. But in the end, my daughter decided she wanted a simple cake - something like Laura Ingalls might have had if Pa and Ma could have splurged on a cake. So I made a chocolate cake with white cream cheese frosting - two round layers. On the day of the party, I plucked some edible flowers from our yard (bachelor buttons and pansies) and used them to decorate the cake.

The Games
I had a lot of fun choosing old fashioned games for the party - and I think both the adults and kids enjoyed them. We played:

* Musical chairs, using music from Pa's Fiddle - a collection of music Pa played in the Little House books. (I downloaded a single song for a mere .99 cents...all I needed for our game.)

* Potato sack race - so fun, we did it a couple of times. You can find burlap sacks all over the Internet, but I was afraid some of the cheaper ones would rip. (We had older children - and some adults - using them in the game.) Even so, I bought them inexpensively - four for $3.55. They worked perfectly and I will keep them for future parties.

* Watermelon eating contest - I placed a cheap plastic party tablecloth on the picnic bench and gave each child 1/4 of a watermelon. Then we did an adult version, too.

* Cherry pit spitting contest. (If you can find a watermelon with plenty of seeds in it - difficult to do these days - you can use those instead of cherry pits.) I laid another cheap plastic tablecloth on the ground. (If adults will be playing, too, I recommend at least two tablecloths or a plastic aisle runner.) Each child ate a cherry, reserving the pit. Then, one at a time, she tried to spit it as far as she could. With a felt tip pen, I circled each child's pit and wrote her initials beside it, so there'd be no question about whose was whose. The child who spit a pit the farthest won. The kids liked this game so much, they played it many times.

* Apple bobbing. The trickiest part of this was finding smallish apples with stems; the ones I found were rather large, which made the game harder. (My daughter is also missing three front teeth, so it was especially difficult for her - but she did manage to get an apple.) I didn't have a half wine barrel, trough, or shallow, wide bucket, so I used the pot of my pressure canner. It was a bit deep, but that just meant the kids got a little more wet!

To view my Pinterest inspiration board for this party - and discover lots of great ideas I didn't use - click here. 

Check out the Entire Little House series of Posts:

Little House in the Big Woods Activities
Pancake Men (from Little House in the Big Woods)
Little House on the Prairie Activities
Little House on the Prairie Birthday Party
On the Banks of Plum Creek Activities 
Little Town on the Prairie Activities
Activities for The First Four Years
These Happy Golden Years Activities 
Farmer Boy Activities