Friday, April 5, 2013

"Make a Bear" Preschool Party

I've mentioned before that one of the cool things about my job is event planning, primarily for families with children. Awhile back, one of these events was just for preschoolers (age 0-5). At a previous church I served, I did a teddy bear pajama party that was a big hit so I decided to go with the same idea.

The event lasted just 1.5 hours because let's face it - preschoolers can only go so long. Even an hour is long enough! They were encouraged to wear their favorite PJs and bring their favorite stuffed animal. This was the invite I created:

When they arrived, they followed the paw prints up the stairs and into the room.

First up was building a bear! Except, we didn't really "build a bear" because they're super pricey. We "made a bear" :)

I ordered the bears from this great company, BEARegards. For less than $10 a bear, we got a high quality bear skin, bag of stuffing, bear t-shirt to decorate, full color birth certificate, and wishing star. Since it was the main activity at the event, I thought this was a great price AND sent each child home with something that wouldn't be tossed in the trash immediately. I'm working on a budget so I opted to bypass other things that would add up, like a treat bag of junk, in order to do this.

Box of bear skins:

Box of stuffing bags:

I set up a table for t-shirt decorating. Though I'm all about glitter and paint, I wanted them to 1) go home with a {dry} tshirt at the end of the party and 2) didn't want to ruin their PJs so we stuck with Crayola fabric markers. I also cut small squares of cardboard to put inside each shirt so the paint wouldn't bleed through.

Thankfully, the shirts actually dried within minutes so as soon as they were done stuffing their bear, the shirt could go on.

After their shirts were done (which takes some preschoolers 15.5 seconds and other preschoolers 25 minutes) they grabbed a bear and bag of stuffing and sat with their parents to stuff the bear. A preschool can do a lot of the stuffing but it does take some adult help.

Before sealing it up, they picked out a star, made a wish, and put it inside their bear.


Last stop was the birth certificate!

BEARegards has a ton of different animal options but I'm no fool - it's always better to have the same option for everyone at a party like this. I went with a classic 15 inch long haired brown bear and he was SUPER soft and huggable.
Once most of the kids were finished, we went on a bear hunt - aka, a bear scavenger hunt. I "hid" colored bears (die cut on construction paper) throughout the space. The first bear was pink so we went in search of a pink bear hanging on the wall. Under the pink bear was a cup with another colored bear in it. That told us what color to find next. We were in a church so I hid them throughout the floor.

When we got to the last one, we all got a prize - a treat sized container of playdough.

Then we played some group games like dance freeze. I put colored die cut bears on the floor and when the music stopped, I called out a color and bear part (teddy bear nose, mouth, foot, etc) and they found that color and put that part of their bear on the color. We played variations of this. I also put out bear coloring pages and crayons for kids that wanted to color for awhile.

Though we didn't do a meal, we did have snacks on hand.

Cups included: goldfish (aka, staple of preschooler diets everywhere), fruit snacks, pretzels, and teddy bear mix. The mix included: chocolate, chocolate chip, and cinnamon teddy grahams, honeycrisp cereal, and honey nut cheerios. Bears love honey, right?

And of course, apple juice boxes and small bottles of water.

I put the snacks in cups because they are easier for preschoolers to transport and eat from. It's cheaper to do plates or napkins but not as easy for them to handle. Using cups also meant we had less spillage to clean up after!

At the end of our evening, we did a bedtime story with cookies and (white or chocolate) milk. I ordered teddy bears from a local bakery, Kai's Kookies, and she did a great job! I ordered small bears so it'd be more preschool friendly.

All the kids sat on blankets and pillows with their bear, cookies, and milk and I read the book Corduroy.

The event went well and both the kids and parents seemed to have a good time. Now I'll just stow away the "extras" and repeat it in a few years with a new batch of preschoolers :)


  1. This event ROCKED!!!! ...My girls loved it and still talk about how much fun they had... they still play with their like baby dolls...
    Thanks for a night to remember :)

  2. sorry that should say -- they still play with their bears like they were baby dolls ...


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