The idea for this came about at the end of the school year, when moms everywhere were scrambling to think of ways to keep our kids from killing each other and forgetting everything they’d just learned. My friend Chrissy, who also can’t contain herself when it comes to planning her kids’ birthday parties, found a printable Summer Reading Bingo sheet and shared it on Facebook with a caption to the effect of, “There’s a Reading Party on here. Anyone want to join us?”
We got a couple other crafty moms together, found a date, and the Book Club Party was born.
With The BFG film coming out, and with many of these 2nd-through-4th-graders reading it or Charlie and the Chocolate Factory for the first time, we decided on a Roald Dahl party. Kids read either (or both) of the books, and had to have at least one Bingo on their sheet to gain entry. (My rising 2nd grader took that part very seriously.)
Chrissy had some decorations left over from her daughter’s Willy Wonka birthday party a year ago, so we were able to keep this really low-budget, low-effort operation. I also restrained myself and only printed out 5 quotes from the 2 books to put on the wall.
You can download a Willy Wonka font for free here.
None of us got a shot of the food, but here was the theme menu:
- Snozzberries (berries)
- Treats dipped in the Chocolate River (fondue)
- Miniature Wonka bars (free printable wrapped around Hershey Nuggets)
- Frobscottle (vanilla ice cream and raspberry sorbet with green-dyed ginger ale poured over the top–I might use Sprite next time so it’s sweeter)
- I tried to think of a non-messy way to serve “Human Beans,” but couldn’t come up with anything. Then my friend Wendy mentioned crunchy roasted chickpeas would be delicious. So consider that.
Activity 1: we made dream jars from the BFG (out on the lanai to contain the glitter).
Activity 2: Juicing Violet Beauregard. I got the idea from here. I bought a few of the bluest splash balls I could find at Target, filled a punch bowl with water and a few drops of blue food coloring, and positioned a couple buckets at another end of the yard. The teams took turns filling their splash balls with “juice” running across the grass to squeeze them into their bucket. The team with the fullest bucket at the end of 3 minutes won.
We then attempted an activity involving catching “dreams” (water balloons) in those same buckets (yes, the connection was tenuous at best; it’s hard to think of literary-based water games, trust me), but had an injury when someone missed, so I won’t recommend that one.
Then we turned on the sprinklers and just let the kids run! Because kids need unstructured play time too.
The party was a success! It was fun to share the joy of some of our favorite childhood books with our kids, and let them share these literary experiences with their friends.