For NN, CW, CK
I've said it before, I'll say it again, I went to graduate school with amazing people and the first year teaching out of graduate school was at a school that was filled with phenomenal teachers.
Let me repeat. Phenomenal.
Many of those teachers and I are still wonderful and great friends and we still support and encourage each other. The other amazing thing about that school is that the students who attended were also phenomenal and amazing. I am on Facebook with them, I run into them in random places, and they still call me Ms. Choi. Oftentimes they communicate with me on Facebook, reminding me of things that I said and did to encourage them. For that experience at that school, I'm still forever thankful and still receiving many blessings that I never would have expected.
So, imagine my joy when in a conversation with an old colleague, she revealed that she was leaving a prestigious post at a top university in order to go to work for herself. As an amazing science teacher, I picked her brain about things I might be able to do to encourage Daughters to have a cool experience in science. I also mentioned that Daughter #1 hadn't come up with a theme for a birthday party, and NN offered to help throw a science birthday party for her. DONE. BAM. YES!!!
Admittedly, Daughter #1 didn't really know what to expect when I suggested this to her, but she was game for anything new, and I told her to invite 10 of her friends to what was going to be an amazing birthday. The list was made, the stage was set, and this birthday party was on its way to being planned.
The BEST party of this party planning? Someone else planned the moment by moment activities. Did I mention that NN is a former high school chemistry teacher? She did, as she likes to say, "Got her nerd on." She planned diligently and minutely, plotting out outcomes, goals, and moment by moment activities. My only job was to invite, plan food, order the activity kits and she and a former student from our school would do the rest. I also offered up the help of one of my current students, who is keenly interested in engineering, as a way to have extra help in the room.
This is the kind of planning she and CW did.
This is the kind of planning she and CW did.
The team of scientists/teachers who arrived on my doorstep for this party was the best collection of nerd power. Former student CW even convinced her husband, another science nerd to join the party and help out. And what we ended up having is a lot of robotics fun. It was amazing watching how intensely the girls all wanted to create this robot, and how hard they worked. I know that my team of adult helpers worked harder than they, but still, it was the QUIETEST birthday party I've ever hosted. I need more parties like this one. (And I intend to have them.)
So here is my break down.
I wanted a sort of "industrial" looking feel, and to also not spend ANY money on making decorations, so I determined that going black and white, and cutting bunting out of old magazines with black and white text would be cool. I really liked the effect. I made some streamers out of circle cutouts, mainly because I had a stack of black paper and I cut them out and sewed it together.
If you want to make the bunting, I found that the small bunting worked well, and it's simply following a template and cutting it out. Here.
I also decided to be a bit goofy and try making my own water bottle labels. I've seen lots of people do them before, and I have to say it was solely for me. I don't think anyone noticed, although Daughter #1 seemed pleased with them, and even helped tape them on. After all, who doesn't love their own name printed on a bunch of water bottles? I got to personalize them with a bit of the robot clip art I found.
Making the robot was the ONLY thing that the girls did. (we ran out of time at a 2 hour party.) They had some fun brainstorming what they wanted their robots to be able to do (in a fantasy world), and I found all of their answers really amusing and fun. (Below is Daughter #2's response, and I thought to myself- BUT HEY! I can teach you piano!!! When I asked her about it later, she clarified that I would teach in a different way and I would be in control, but a robot she could still control. She's 6, but she thinks like someone who wants to be in charge. ALL the time.)
This is the robot kit that I purchased. The price is what determined how much I would be spending on the rest of the party, hence the no money for decorations results. Reuse what we have at home!
The teachers and I had GRAND plans of having the kids bling out their robots with sequins, feathers and pompoms, using zots dots, but it didn't happen. We didn't have enough time. And when I suggested to Daughters #1 and #2 that they do the sequins for fun, they looked at me like I was insane and told me that they don't do such things.
Originally, I had all sorts of insane ideas for the food. At one point I did a few experiments of trying to have them create structures with cheese cubes and pretzel sticks, but gave up on that idea, only because it started getting gross and the thought of food that had been excessively touched and then put in someone's mouth, DID NOT appeal. I also hate wasting food and it seemed a sure fire way to do that, so I got rid of that idea.
I ended up going with simple things, trying to find ways to make things which were black and white. The kids LOVED all the snacks and as one of the teachers put it, were "engineering snacks" as kids could work as they ate. (Stick cheese in mouth and continue to engineer your way through the day.)
Cheese Sticks - I simply bought the prepackaged ones from Trader Joes - mild cheddar, jack and string cheese sticks. Total hit.
Sesame Ginger Rice Krispy Pops (black and white)
Party in Your Mouth Popcorn (black and white)
Vanilla Bean Cupcakes with Vanilla Bean Cream Cheese Frosting (White with specks of black)
I did display the fruit cups in my cupcake stand, which I thought was pretty. Another blog reader told me that she made it the centerpiece at her party but tying balloons to the center. I thought that idea pretty brilliant.
It was really amazing fun at this party, and I'm so glad I did it. Daughter #1 had a phenomenal time, and I just have to give a huge thanks to my team of amazing teachers! Love you all!!!
If you are in the Bay Area, and are interested in hosting such a party as this, message me, and I'll be happy to give you emails and contacts of the people whom you can hire to have this much fun. THIS MUCH FUN!