Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Swamp Party - "A Quest to Help Shrek Get His Swamp Back"

This fun event was planned as a fundraiser for our high school musical and took place before the Saturday evening performance of Shrek the Musical.  The idea was to get kids excited about seeing the musical and to make a little money at the same time.

The event was advertised on the musical posters, in the local paper , social media and word of mouth.  Tickets were $5 and could be bought pre-sale or at the door.

When kids arrived they were greeted and given their "Quest Card."  The greeters briefly explained that the kids needed to complete each of the 10 "challenges" on the card in order to finish the quest and find out if they were a prince, princess or Ogre. After they completed a specific challenge the volunteer would put a mark in the box on their card next to that challenge  Once they completed the entire card they could take it to "The End" for a treat.  

The Quest Cards were separated into "boys" and "girls" because on the back there was a "scratch off" section for the big reveal (prince, princes or Ogre).  So to discretely show a difference between the girls card (princesses) and the boys card (princes) I punched a little flower in the top right corner of the girls cards.

Once inside the gym the kids could go to the challenges in any order. 

Freak - Flag Frenzy

Here the kids made their own "Freak -Flag" to wave during the Let Your Freak Flag Fly song in the musical.  I was on a pretty low budget, so I cut flag shapes out of old wallpaper and duct taped them to shish kabob sticks. The kids had plenty of foamy stickers and ribbon to personalize their own flags.

Gingerbread Taste Test
Kids decorated their own gingerbread shaped sugar cookie.  Yes, I made all the cookies!
Canned frosting, mini m&m's, chocolate ships, and plenty of sprinkles were provided.

Bug Hunt Balloon Bash

At this challenge the kids had to pop a balloon without using their hands in order to get a little plastic bug out of the balloon. The day before the event I had some of the choir students help blow up the balloons, sticking a bug in each one and I stored them in black bags until the Swamp Party.

Blind Mice Memory Game

This was basically a giant memory game.  The kids had to match 2 of the same picture.  The pictures were just coloring pages of different characters from Shrek the Musical. I laminated all the cards so they would withstand lots of flips and turns.

Sword Fight Landing

For this challenge I provided "log stumps" that the kids stood on to have a "sword fight" with a fellow quest participant.  Only foam swords were used and I had an adult supervising to make sure things didn't get out of hand.

Meet & Greet with Donkey

Yes, the kids got to go meet the "REAL" donkey!

We had a donkey that was standing just outside the back doors of the high school gym. There was a sign on the gym wall that read "Far, Far Away" pointing in the direction of the donkey.  A friend brought her 25 year old donkey for the kids to pet, feed and get their picture taken with.  It was perfect! 

The donkey was held on a leash at all times and there was plenty of adult supervision..

Donkey from the musical even came out to meet the "real" donkey.

Shrek's Swamp Buffet

For this challenge the kids had to reach their hand into a large can 
and feel Shrek's "swamp food."  If you have ever done this activity during Halloween, you know it is always a fun, yet scary thing for kids to do.

Here is what was in the cans:
Fish eyes - capers
Dried flies - raisins
Bat wings - beef jerky
Worms - cooked pasta tossed in olive oil
Toad brains - cauliflower rubbed w/ a little olive oil
Bunny ears - dried apricots
Rat tails - whole green beans

Hot Lava Moat Cross

So this idea was fun to develop into reality.  The school already had a two piece bridge in their prop collection, so my son built a "wobbly bridge" out of old fire hoses and wood slats.  Then my husband attached the wobbly bridge to the two bridge ends.  We placed support "beams" between the two bridge ends so they wouldn't move.  Then added red and orange netting and a fog machine to give the feel of a hot lava moat.

It worked perfect.  The bridge had a little wobble when the kids crossed.  I only wish the fog machine would have been more powerful, but perhaps the size of the gym made it seem like the fog was a little light.

Swamp Hop Obstacle Course

During this challenge the kids had to complete a mini obstacle course. 

They began by grabbing their "hobby horse" and galloping with it down to the "cave".  The caves were just large tile tubes we had on the farm. Probably not something most people have, so you will have to improvise. Perhaps a large box could work.   

....on the other side of the cave they had to go under the "log fence" ....

.....then hop from log to log across the swamp......

...and finally under the giant cobweb.

Huntsmen's Challenge 

This challenge had two activities.  First the kids had to try and hit the target using 
a "blow dart" ( a Q-tip blown through a straw)

Then they tried their hand at getting a "spear" through a hole in the net. 
The "spears" were old pieces of PVC pipe we had on the farm.   I covered them with green duct tape and glued a piece of foam pipe insulation on the ends.  The net was the baseball teams practice net so it already had the hole in it.  

- The End -

So once the kids completed all 10 of the Quest Challenges they took their card to "The End" table where they scratched off the back to reveal if they were a prince, princess or Ogre.  We decided not to have anyone be an Ogre, just in case it might make someone upset.

This is what the back of the cards looked like.  Just like a lottery ticket scratch off. 

 To do this I first printed a crown (prince) or a tiara (princess) on the back. 

 I then covered the crown/tiara with a piece of clear packaging tape.  To make the scratch off ink I mixed together 1 part dish soap and 2 part metallic acrylic paint. I painted over the clear tape making sure to cover the crowns.  It took 2 coats, but once they were totally dry, they could easily be scratched off with a penny.

Once they kids found out if they were prince or princess they were given a book mark with the "Rules of Being a Prince" or the "Rules of Being a Princess" on it. 

The Rules of being a Prince 
Say “Please” & “Thank you.”  Brush your teeth & comb your hair. Offer your seat to a lady. Always tell the truth. Say you are sorry. Admit when you are wrong. Open the door for others. Don’t use swear words. Be kind to others. Work hard. Always do your best. Use your manners. Respect others. Stand up straight. Hug & kiss your mom & dad. Keep your promises. Use your imagination. Help others in need. Show compassion.  Dream big. Be grateful. Try new things. Know you are loved. Share everything with everyone. Never give up. Have fun.


The Rules of Being a Princess
Clean your room. Be nice to everyone. Share your toys. Say “please” & “thank you”. Listen to your parents. Be kind & loving. Forgive others. Say your prayers. See the good in everything. Say you are sorry. Have good manners. Don’t complain. Always do your best. Give hugs & kisses. Laugh & giggle. Dream big dreams. Help with chores. Learn something new every day. Be patient & kind. Don’t be afraid to sparkle. Play dress up. Have tea parties. Wish upon a star. Believe in yourself. Have a happy heart. 


As a reward for participating in Shrek's Swamp Party Quest and completing all their challenges the kids received a cone of green cotton candy.

A little plastic bug was placed on top of the cotton candy.  If I had to do it again I would have bought candy bugs because we had to tell everyone not to eat the bugs. Live and learn!

Character Photo Ops
Throughout the Swamp Party characters from the musical were available for photo ops and to visit with the kids.  We felt this would help some of the kids not be afraid of the characters when they saw them on stage.

The Shrek Swamp Party was a great success but would not have been possible without the help of lots of volunteers. 

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Glass Garden Flowers

Nothing beats day dreaming about spring when it is ZERO degrees outside! So here is a fun project to start planning for - THE PERFECT FLOWER GARDEN! 

Low maintenance!
Always in Bloom!
Never wilting!
No dead-heading!
Glistens in the sun!
Makes your heart happy!

Supply List
various vintage clear glass plates, bowls, saucers, etc.
premium silicone glue
rubbing alcohol
3/8 inch rebar - approximately 41 inches per stem
one hockey puck per flower 

Begin by gathering a variety of clear vintage glassware.  Lots of shapes and colors.  The more variety the better.  I bought most of these at thrift stores, never spending more than $1.99 on a plate.  I think garage sales would be cheaper, but I was making these for Christmas gifts and it was not garage sale season at the time.

Purchase GE Premium Clear Silicone Glue - this is amazing stuff - permanent, waterproof, airtight, and sun/freeze proof.  I found it at ACE hardware.  I could not find it in a caulking gun size tube, which would have been ideal.  So I had to purchase several of this small 2.8 oz tube. I ended up using about 3/4 tube per flower, depending on how many layers the flower had.

Make sure your dishes have been thoroughly cleaned.  I used Goo Gone to remove the price tags and then ran all the glassware through the dishwasher.  Once your glass is all cleaned, begin to design your flowers.  Mix and match, using a variety of colors, until you are happy with the way your flowers look. Once you have your flowers picked out, wipe the front and back of each piece of glass with rubbing alcohol.

Lay your bottom plate down and add a generous amount of glue to the back of the next dish

Press in place

Continue with the process until your flower is all glued together

Here is another flower laid out for you to see

Once my flowers were glued together I placed something heavy on them and let them dry overnight.

Next you will need rubber hockey pucks.  
I ordered them at Hockey Monkey for less than $2.00 each.

My husband drilled holes in them using a vice to hold the puck while he drilled.  Use a 3/8" drill bit, but keep in mind that you want the rebar to fit snug yet still be able to easily remove the flower from the stem. 

Place a generous amount of glue on the hockey puck and place the hockey puck on the back of the flower.

Carefully flip the flower over so the weight of the flower holds the hockey puck tight.  Let stand overnight until the glue dries.

Once your flowers are glued, you are ready to plant your beautiful garden!