Friday, January 19, 2018

Planning A Child's Party or Picnic

      Though not necessarily involving much expense, a children's party or picnic calls for more careful planning and diplomacy than is demanded in the case of a similar function for the grown-ups. And of course, every child should bring their favorite doll to such an occasion as well. These kinds of social events are perfectly suited to the instruction of young children in role play.
      So what shall we do with the brave little men and dear little maids who have arrived at the appointed hour? I will include a variety of articles here in the near future intended to encourage parents and teachers whose pleasure it is to include theatrical environments and games in their child/student's parties and picnics.
A table set for a child's party 100 years ago.
      We think nothing of systematic and elaborate preparations for our grown-up parties, and we should certainly take no less thought or time where the children are concerned, when planning a party in advance. When making out lists, keep  a carefully thought out program of games that will be interesting and appropriate to the ages and the number of children invited to your party.
      Properties, favors, and prizes should be systematically arranged beforehand, and stowed away out of sight, but easily accessible at the proper moment. The little host or hostess should be inspired to show an unselfish interest in the happiness of his or her little friends, and should receive them with the grown-up hostess.
      When the party day has arrived, and with it the children, there should be polite and cheerful greetings, and the tiny guests should settle themselves comfortably or uncomfortably, according to the nature of each. Then is the moment for the pianist to take her place and with lively airs charm away all constraint until enough children have arrived to begin playing a game. Six to eight is a good number, and if the hostess has an assistant this will be her opportunity to start the children playing. Ring games. Air Ball, or character games are suitable ones with which to begin, as the newcomers can enter into the frolic without disturbing the others. Music, wherever it can come in naturally, lends spirit and dash to the games.
      From drawing-room to library or nursery often makes an excellent change, especially where some paraphernalia is required and has to be prepared beforehand.
      There is usually a shy little girl or boy who hesitates to enter the game. By degrees the strangeness wears off ; self has been forgotten in the spirit of the play, and it is quite an easy step to draw the child into the game by tossing the ball or bean-bag temptingly near, or with an apparently careless word or question. Character parties are especially helpful in taking away self-consciousness. Playing "pretend " has in itself a fascination that few children can resist, and when a little girl finds herself actually a Queen of the Fairies by right of crown, wand, and wings, she assumes the manners and privileges of her station without an effort. A boy whose name has suddenly changed to Jack the Giant-killer will soon forget his troublesome hands and feet in his exalted position ; and he has scant notice for those who address him by the uninteresting name of Bobby. That name belongs back in the other world of kilts and curls for which he has no use at the present moment. The properties for these character parties are easily fashioned, and are sure to be a delight to the children who receive them.
      Story-telling should come after a romp. It is the prettiest moment of the party, when the children, with flushed faces, settle themselves in a group on the floor, and relax to the ever magic words of " Once upon a time‚" Interest is added if at an unexpected moment a child is called upon to tell what he supposes " happened then." Should his idea be a good one, as is almost certain to be the case, his suggestion can be taken for the cue, and the story continued, when another child may be called upon for a suggestion.
      Prizes and favors play an important part in the games, but should be made appropriate rather than elaborate. The child who wears around his neck a ribbon to which is attached a tiny bell is justly proud of his tinkling favor. It is to be won by rolling a ball so straight that the large dinner-bell, suspended from the chandelier and just above the floor, rings loud and true. And the boy or girl who pierces the center of the red-heart target, on St. Valentine's day, will appreciate the gift of the bow and arrow which helped to win the victory.
      That each may carry home some souvenir, a bon-bon favor should be found at each place on the supper-table ; and it will gladden the hearts of those who were not successful in winning prizes in the games.
      Let the menu be simple, that the joy of the occasion may not be marred later with misery and mustard plasters.
      The gift surprise is the last joy of all. A rose tree, gift ball, or one of the many new and charming devices for hiding a toy or game, which originated in the old-fashioned but ever popular Jack Horner pie, is the most suitable ending to a successful party.
      The watchful hostess need not plan for after-supper games. The pleasure in the gifts, and the comparing of trinkets and toys with one another, will fill up the time until the "good-byes" and "I've had a lovely time" are said. by Mary White.

Picnic Party Ideas.

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