Pocahontas Party

Native American 9yr - Cake in Teepee




Navah in Raanana, Israel


May 2006


Honorable Mention

9th Birthday party idea Native Americans for girls  This was a difficult one! Our daughter Naomi now 9, chose the theme and requested to include a treasure hunt. Most ideas I found were boys' parties, Native Americans fighting cowboys, shooting arrows and so on. Here is what we came up with and it was VERY successful: 

Decorations: we built a small tepee on the porch, where we had most of the activities (we had 6 girls) Easy instructions can be found on http://familyfun.go.com . A few balloons + feathers in matching colors made the porch look beautiful. 

We like to start with art & craft (this is one of Naomi's hobbies and it also allows latecomers to join in) so I planed 2 projects: Dream catcher (instructions on http://www.craftsforkids.com/projects/dream_catchers.htm ) and a polyform + suede lace necklace. We only had time for the dream catcher the girls had fun but they did need help.

Pass the parcel instead of inserting toys and goodies between the newspaper layers I put in trivia questions / missions or jokes to read aloud. Last layer sweets for all. Some examples are Totem pole choose 3 animals you would carve on your totem pole and explain why they all wanted a go and were very creative.

Mission: whale catching plastic whale in a bowl - they had to fish it blindfolded. Trivia: different words in Native American that they had to guess what meant, who are the 3 sisters? - I put down names of some of the girls that have 2 sisters, the right answer being corn, bean & squash used together to make a Native American dish called Succotash. Dancing & singing with a rain stick till rain came down (blue confetti), etc. I searched the web quite a lot to find questions so I had fun too.

THEN came the treasure hunt: though not very PC I used the story of Pocahontas. I photo copied a short-short-short 24 page version of the Disney book, 2 book pages in each photocopy, and divided pages in 6.

Each 2 pages formed a step / clue on the hunt. At the bottom of each clue we wrote a riddle / play-on-word question or secret code that the answer for was an item from those pages, e.g. raccoon, boat, grandma, etc. They read the story, solved the riddle and went to look for that item around the house (stuffed animal raccoon, playmobil boat, Naomi's grandma that was at the party and so on).

The next clue / 2 pages of the book were hidden together with the item, leading them through the story, to the next clue.

The last clue directed them to Pocahontas's village. We made the birthday cake look like a village, chocolate sheet cake with tepees from ice cream cones covered in icing ( http://familyfun.go.com/arts-and-crafts/season/craft/tepetreat/te petreat.html ) and playmobill figures. While the girls were solving the last clue in one part of the house we took the cake out to the porch were they found it and we all had cake in the tepee. It was a great success.

We served dinner my daughter wanted Native American dishes but we know most girls have a kiddy taste and wouldn't appreciate it. We settled for corn on the cub as a must have and added hotdogs in a bun.  I prepared some extra small time filler games - I like to have a fallback plan rather that letting them run loose in the house, though at this age it's already less of an issue.

SO I researched the net to find out about Native American games: I found (http://www.mrdonn.org/nativeamericans.html and others) that they played:
(1) cats cradle (called something else and had a different opening Navajo Opening - but this is close enough) the girls loved it and we are playing it in the house since.

(2) Pick-up sticks - we have a giant version and that was fun too.

(3) version on the moccasin game including jelly beans for gambling with we didn't get to that but it could have been fun. Total effort and time: researching the net for both party ideas & Native American info I started 3 weeks ahead for a few nights, + 2 afternoon/night work for my husband (personal chief) and myself to put everything together library stop, cake, writing up questions for pass the parcel & treasure hunt and preparing game accessories.

The final production looked very impressing considering the short preparation time. Costs: very low, only the purchase of art supplies and the food. The craft project served double duty as party favor. The party lasted 2 hours
and will always be remembered!

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