Sometimes, just sometimes, I get harebrained ideas. (Okay, so it’s more like all the time.) For Emma Vance’s preschool Christmas party this year, I volunteered to take on the games duties. (As in “food, decor, craft, reading…or games.”) Since this task was new to me, Ryan and I were dreaming big about what the game could be…and a harebrained idea was born.
Here’s the scoop: We created a toddler-level obstacle course to help Buddy the Elf save Christmas. Our girls are OBSESSED with Buddy. Really, around here it’s a close tie for “favorite Christmas movie” between Elf and Charlie Brown’s Christmas. In those early conversations, Ryan and I talked about how cool it would be to have the kids “pass through the seven levels of the Candy Cane Forest, through the Sea of Swirly Twirly Gumdrops, and walk through the Lincoln Tunnel” just like Buddy. And the idea just spiraled from there.
Since this game was for toddlers, I saved up our cardboard boxes and just used markers and crayons to make each obstacle. I liked the idea that it was very childish looking, and it suited the theme and the event I think. Most of the props I either owned or bought (thank you, Amazon Prime) — making this game totally re-create-able for anyone out there who needs a fun idea for a kids’ Christmas party. (Or, as my college-aged sitter pointed out, as an adults’ party drinking game, haha!)
Here’s how our preschoolers helped Buddy the Elf save Christmas this year:
1. Pass through the seven levels of the Candy Cane Forest – Jump over the seven candy canes while counting them.
2. Through the Sea of Swirly Twirly Gumdrops – Find the gumdrop with your name on it and fish it out of the sea.
3. Walk through the Lincoln Tunnel – Crawl through the toddler tunnel.
4. Have a snowball fight in Central Park – Toss the snowball to a snowman (because we don’t want to encourage fights, right?).
5. Make Buddy a “healthy” (“elf-y”) dinner – Drag the syrup bottle along the path to get it to the spaghetti.
6. The best way to spread Christmas cheer is by singing loud for all to hear – Sing “Jingle Bells” as loudly as possible while jingling the bells. ;)
7. You did it! – Get a “I helped Buddy save Christmas” sticker, and pull a prize from Santa’s sack.
There were some obstacles I had to pass on due to limited space and time — driving a “taxi” (cozy coupe?) through NYC, putting bows on pieces of mail in Buddy’s mailroom, sitting on Santa (i.e. a dressed-up Ryan’s) lap and shouting “I know him!,” making a paper snowflake, helping launch Santa’s sleigh away from the police…there are about a million ideas! However, I think it’s safe to say that the kids loved it (and the grown ups too, haha!).
Emma Vance went first to show the kids how it should be done, and then we sent the children through once the previous kid had gotten through an obstacle or two. E.V. and her first few classmates made it through all right, but pretty soon there was a log jam…and then madness ensued. Fun madness, but madness nonetheless. I was stationed at the end, handing out stickers and prizes, so I got a full-blown view of the chaos: snowballs flung everywhere, swirly twirly gumdrop balls being ransacked, syrup and spaghetti being strewn about…and through it all there was the overtone of obnoxious bells and off-key versions of Christmas songs being shouted. It. Was. Awesome. Overall I’d call the Buddy the Elf obstacle course a success. ;)
Beyond my crazy game, the other mothers did an incredible job decorating, feeding, crafting and reading to our class. We’ve got some dedicated moms in our room, which makes our class extra exciting to be a part of.
Merry Christmas, preschoolers and moms out there — and make sure to enjoy your four main food groups this season! (Candy, candy corn, candy canes and syrup, of course!)