Here is a great way to start off the school year, especially for fall birthdays. Kids ages 8-12 often study the states in school, learning each state's location on a map and memorizing state capitals. Guests can sample yummy foods from different states and play games that tie the states together into a nation, bringing geography to life.
Get The Party Started
Let your invitation set the party's travel theme. Start with a postcard base, layer on travel-related stickers, and write details on the back.
What To Do
Give young explorers a compass as a take-home party favor and to use for some party fun. Show the kids how to operate a compass and use their newfound skills on a closed course. Have them mark where they start, walk 5 paces north, 10 paces west, 20 paces south, 15 paces east, 15 paces north, then walk 5 paces west. They should end up right where they started!
Keep them moving with a treasure hunt. Divide everyone up into teams and give each team a a note that includes directions like "Go 25 paces northwest" to a location with another set of directions to the next location, so on and so forth. If the team follows them correctly, they should find the treasure.
Settle them down with a few State Of The Union games; match states with their state birds, flowers or nicknames. For example, Arizona's state flower is the saguaro cactus, the state bird is the cactus wren and the state's nickname is the Grand Canyon State.
Play State Bingo - purchase state die-cuts from a teacher supply store and make bingo cards with state names instead of numbers. When you hold up a state die-cut, have the kids identify the shape and cross off their bingo card. The winner can receive a representation of your city or home state. For example, I would do a $5 Starbucks gift card to represent Seattle.
In the specialty magazine Better Homes and Gardens Kids' Parties 2007
, they have a fabulous geography-themed party featuring truly inspired recipes.
The Sun-Kissed Drink boasts Florida's orange juice and Georgia's peach nectar served in hollowed out oranges.
The Arizona Corn Bread Cacti gives cornbread a new look by forming the dough into saguaro cactus found in its desert.
Write state names on namecards and let guests create the State-Your-Own Snack Mix. Dish up blueberries (Maine or Michigan), cherries (Michigan), chocolate (Pennsylvania), peanuts (Georgia), and shoestring potatoes (Idaho). You can include other favorite snack foods and their state of origin.
An Idaho Potato Bar has a yummy cross-country selection that features potatoes, Wisconsin cheese and Texas chili.