Running a bear making party doesn't have to be difficult, with a little preparation and by following some of the tips below, you will find your party runs smoothly and is fun for all who attend.
The thought of organising and delivering the annual children’s birthday party fills many of us with dread but it really doesn’t have to be a stressful experience. Here at Be My Bear we have had two decades of fabulous partying so have some great tips and ideas on how to pull off the best children’s party on the block!
A bear making party is one of the easiest options and provides hands-on creative fun with each child going home hand in paw with the new best friend they have made – and what’s more there’s no need for goody bags! But whatever party theme you opt for, with a little preparation and by following some of the tips below, you will find your party runs smoothly and is fun for all – children and adults alike.
BEFORE THE PARTY
As with most things in life, preparation is key when it comes to organising a successful children's birthday party.
Decide on how much you want to spend. Your budget will vary depending on how many children you are inviting to the party - if it is the whole class your spend per head may be less. On the other hand if the children are older, they may choose to entertain a few special friends and you may decide to spend a bit more.
Have a think about whether you want to hold the party at home or at a venue of your choice. If you have chosen an arts or craft theme such as teddy bear making you need very little space. The children can sit on a rug on the floor or at a table to stuff their bears so it is easy to clear away any unused stuffing. Organise an extra craft activity with a T-shirt for ted which they can colour in or personalise with fabric pens or make some paper party hats for the bears which can be decorated with felt tip pens or stick-on gems. If you want the children to burn off a bit of steam before they settle down to the actual bear-making event and you don’t have a garden, a venue such as a church hall or sports hall might be a better alternative. You could organise a teddy bear treasure hunt where you hide the skins in the garden and the children search for the bear or animal they are going to make.
Also remember to send out the invitations in advance so mums and dads can pencil you into their diary! At Be My Bear we supply party invitations as part of the party kit packs included in the price, so there’s one less thing to worry about if you are planning a make-a-bear party. Luckily we've done a lot of the hard work for you, so if you are holding a themed party go to our free downloads page where you will find a great selection of free party invites to print out. Time the sending of invitations so they are not going out too late as kids get booked up, or too early as busy parents may well forget!
Consider the best day and the time of a party– younger children may well need an afternoon nap so a lunchtime and shorter party slot of one to one and a half hours might be advisable while older children could party on until you call time ! You may also like to think about whether you want parents to stay to help or drop the children off and pick-up later. It’s always quite useful to have a few helpers to oversee games, activities and food and to take photographs of the party – with all the effort that goes into it, it’s great to have a memento of a special day. Also remember to visit our party games page for some more fun and novel game ideas whatever type of party you are organising.
Some of the most important things to plan in advance include party food and the birthday cake. Traditional food such as cocktail sausages, sausage rolls, sandwiches made using themed shaped cutters and pizzas can be served alongside tortilla chips and dips, and vegetable and fruit platters for a colourful display. There’s no limit to the number of easy biscuit and cake recipes out there from chocolate crispy cakes to iced cupcakes – you’re spoilt for choice. To give you a head start we have some great party recipes which the children can help you make as you countdown to the big party day.
Although a birthday table display looks fantastic with the birthday cake at the centre as its crowning glory, it’s sometime easier to buy cardboard food boxes – all recyclable these days – and fill them before the guests arrive adding the hot food just before you hand the boxes out.
THE BIG DAY
As the children arrive, give them stick-on labels to decorate & write their names on (if you know their names they're easier to manage!). Allow around ten minutes for this. Hopefully all of the children will have arrived by then, so you will be able to start the party.
There are so many themes for parties these days that it is particularly hard making a decision on one – you could opt for a pirate or princess party, superhero or Harry Potter, dinosaur or jungle friends, unicorns or dragons… the list is endless. Invite the guests to come dressed appropriately for the party theme – you can decorate the room with themed banners, flags and balloons and follow through with party tableware which can be bought inexpensively online or in supermarkets. Adapt the party games so that you continue your theme – if you are organising a Disney Princess party for example choose well known songs from the Disney movies as background music and for playing traditional games like musical bumps and musical chairs.
BUILDING THE BEARS & ANIMAL FRIENDS
If you have opted for a bear-making party – you have made a good choice!
The children will have great fun creating their new best friend and there is no need to worry about goody bags with each child taking a teddy bear home instead of sweets full of additives and cheap plastic toys which always break when they get home. You can either give the guests a choice of bear or animal or make a game of it. Number the bears, put the numbers into a hat and ask each child to pick a number or hide the bears in the party room or garden with each child making the bear they find, so there’s no opportunity for squabbling over who makes what !
When you are ready to start making the bears, settle the children in a circle on the floor or around a table & create a calm atmosphere. Encourage silence so that you can talk them through the process. Children react better when the organiser speaks quietly as they want to hear what you are saying. Help them recite the teddy bear promise:
Make me fat or make me thin
Stuff and fluff my soft bearskin
Choose a name and wish upon a charm
And I will keep you safe from harm
Distribute skins & stuffing. Get the children to tease out the stuffing to make it soft and fluffy and start by stuffing the limbs using small amounts of fluff. Stuff the body last and then get the children to take the hugability test to see if they are happy with how their teddy bear feels when they give it a hug. They might want to make it fatter or thinner, softer or firmer but make sure they don’t overstuff the animals.
When they're ready to insert the heart or star, make this step as magical as possible! Let the birthday girl or boy distribute a heart or star charm to each of their guests. Create a hushed environment whilst the children rub the charm and make a wish before they place it inside the bear’s chest. They can recite the second make a wish rhyme together as they do this.
Hold your star oh so tight
Think happy thoughts with all your might
Squeeze them in and when in bed
Have happy dreams when holding ted
If you wish to add a sound or recordable voice box, now is the time to do it. Put it inside the body with the play button facing outwards.
Close the bear using the one-way zipper closure, remove the thread and the Velcro strips either side to close the pouch and create a neat finish.
Help the children choose a unique name for their bears. You could make a game of this or use the list of names we have compiled for them to choose their favourite. Have plenty of pencils & felt tips available to fill in the birth certificate. It's always a good idea to fill the details in pencil first to avoid mistakes. The children can then go over it with felt pens. The children can then call out their chosen names one by one.
If you have chosen to decorate T-shirts, this can be introduced now. You can buy fabric pens for this which allow you to wash the T-shirt or felt tips which will run if the T-shirt is washed. You could also buy stock-on gems and motifs from a craft shop for extra decorative fun.
These activities should take around an hour & a half. Allow thirty minutes for the birthday tea. A teddy bear’s picnic always goes down well, especially when the children can take their bears in with them for tea.
MOST IMPORTANTLY OF ALL HAVE FUN !