Brown Bear Brown Bear Birthday Bash
I heart book parties! No surprise there. They are the perfect storm of fun mixed with a laser focus on a book , character or series that resonates with kids. Whenever possible, we like to tie in parties with events about the book that are creating buzz - a book, movie or DVD debut; an anniversary of a book's publication; a tie-in with Kohl's stuffed book character promotion or a nationwide celebration (think Read for the Record or Read Across America).
When we were thinking about what would be our special 1000 Books Before Kindergarten event for the fall, we decided to celebrate the 45th anniversary of the classic Bill Martin- Eric Carle collaboration. And the ingredients?
Thanks to Pinterest, I had found some easy to reproduce templates for the characters at 1+1+1+1 blog. We used volunteer help over the summer to create a little take home packet in a baggie of cut-outs and the text of the book. For the party I made some 8.5 x 11 sheets with each character on them. Our business manager had found loads of the Brown Bear titles on sale at Kohl's along with other titles by Martin and Carle and purchased 15. Those became our special "birthday presents" to be raffled off. The finishing touch - I ordered a few dozen mini-cupcakes (no cake cutting!).
On party day the families flocked in for some exclusive time before we opened. All families could enter their name for our book drawing. For the program we did a quick Itsy Bitsy Spider to settle the tots in. Then I invited kids from the audience to come up and hold a piece of the story and everyone told the story together. I thanked everyone in 1000 Books for their participation and encouraged those not signed up to join. We drew for the book prizes (displayed around the room - as names were called, kids could come up and make their book choice), then sang happy birthday to Brown Bear and ate our cupcakes (nom nom nom). Simple, effective and fun. That's MY kind of program!