A fun educational party for a 4-year old

Since yesterday’s post was so serious/technical, I thought I would do a lighthearted post today.
Warning: This post includes A LOT of pictures!

I believe part of a GoodLife is having wonderful memories and so I believe in marking birthdays, anniversaries and every special event.

Birthday parties can be a big deal in Nigeria and this includes parties for 1 year olds. They are sometimes celebrated with 100s of people, a DJ, canopies, catering, specialty cakes, souvenirs and sophisticated gift packs. Unfortunately, these parties seem to be more for the adult’s enjoyment than the child ‘s and after spending tens of thousands of naira, what most children remember is “Aunty give me gift!” You’re Nigerian if you get that.

Anyways we hosted a party for my nephew and I didn’t want to spend a lot but wanted it to be affordable, educational, memorable and fun for the children!

Here’s what we did!
Since he was turning 4, he was allowed to invite 4 friends. So including his sister, we had 6 little ones. This party was held indoors and we wanted it to be manageable plus I kinda like the idea of inviting the number of people you are celebrating. Each child got a personalized T-shirt as soon as they walked in. “How did you know my name?”… I loved the look of surprise on their friend’s faces when they saw that the shirts had their names on them.

collage
dozie1

We had a small bouncy castle set up (in our living room) and the children jumped right in. I wanted them to burn a lot of energy so that they could settle down for the other activities.

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After about 30 mins of jumping, it was time for a lunch of jollof rice and chicken accompanied by caprison. There was also a fruit tray of apple and grape cars (apple wedge with 4 grapes as wheels) and watermelon. Unfortunately I did not get a picture of the food set-up but the kids loved the fruit and did not even let the adults get any. I think it was the fact that they looked fun.

eating
i love the mouthful faces
i love the mouthful faces
After eating, it was time for the educational part of the party. I had 4 activities prepared and had put all the pieces for each activity in one basket. The children had seen them and were eager to find out what they were for.
See baskets under the table
See baskets under the table

Our first activity was a balloon blowing activity! It involved blowing up a balloon by putting some vinegar in a bottle, some baking soda in the balloon and putting the balloon over the bottle. The baking soda pours into the bottle, reacts with the vinegar and blows up the balloons. Unfortunately, I did not take step by step pictures because I was working with the children. This is the only picture I have from this activity and the balloons are deflated but you can still tell they enjoyed it.

ballooact

I walked them through each step of the activity. I had put some vinegar and baking soda in individual containers for each child. They each got a bottle, 2 balloons and a funnel. They enjoyed going through the steps and waiting for the next step.

I have to say this activity was a bit of a letdown for me because when I tried it before the party, I used a different bottle and it turned out I didn’t have enough vinegar for the new (bigger) bottle and so the balloons didn’t blow up as big as I would have liked but they still enjoyed it! Gotta love kids!

I should mention the age range was 2 to 6 and they all participated mostly independently. The 2-year-old (in the light blue shirt) needed some help with the funnel but he wanted to do it himself and did an awesome job.

The second activity involved making a play dough volcano and making the volcano erupt. I made the play dough (Google for recipes. There are only 5 ingredients and you can find them in any market or supermarket) ahead of the party. I had a ball of play dough in a Ziploc bag for each child. They were asked to make a volcano and leave a hole on the middle. I then gave each child a small container in which I had already put some baking soda. They were asked to “carefully” open the container and push it into the middle of the volcano. Once the volcanoes were ready, each child got a container of vinegar and a dropper (pincer grip work) with which they made the volcano erupt by dropping some vinegar into the baking soda. I had put a drop of color between layers of baking soda so after some clear eruptions, they were surprised with a colored eruption!

Again they were all able to perform and enjoy this activity mostly independently. The dropper was new for some of the children and so they had to be shown and to press and release to suck up and drop the vinegar.

making the volcanos
making the volcanos
Figuring out the droppers
Figuring out the droppers. Can you see the “magma”?
Can you see her (in the green shirt) smile? She got the surprise colored eruption.
Can you see her (in the green shirt) smile? She got the surprise colored eruption.
I loved watching this little boy work. Oh the things that children are capable of when given the opportunity.
I loved watching this little boy work. Oh the things that children are capable of when given the opportunity.
Our third activity was an art/craft one. I cut out naked, bald  paper dolls and different hair and cloth option. Each child got 3 dolls and a glue stick. They got to pick the sex by choosing the  hair and clothes. It was so interesting to see the selections. One of the children was disappointed to find there were no shoes and set out to make some. I was really impressed! The same child saw a genie top which looked like a bra and exclaimed “I forgot to wear her bra” and so she pulled of the dress which she had just glued and put the “bra” under the dress!
Sorry for the poor quality. The top left doll is the naked doll they started with. They had different hair options
Sorry for the poor quality. The top left doll is the naked doll they started with. They had different hair options
As I mentioned earlier, we were so busy with the activities that we forgot to take pictures as we did them but you can see some of the finished dolls in the following pictures.
Two men and a lady! I like how he painted lips on the female doll
Two men and a lady! I like how he painted lips on the female doll
After dressing the dolls, I brought out more paper, scissors and color pencils. On their own, the children started creating houses and scenes. I was so impressed to see how they extended the activity  independently.
It looked messy but I just stepped away and they created!
It looked messy but I just stepped away and they created!
Our fourth and final activity was a game but it was also educational. It was a fishing game. I made fishing lines using dowels attached to magnets, cut some paper fish and glued paper clips between two sides. The object of the game was to catch as many fish as possible. It required concentration and focus and was more challenging than it looked at first line. This activity as entertaining to watch as it was to play!
Concentration
Concentration
So happy to catch a fish
So happy to catch a fish
By the 3rd round, the little boy wanted his own fishing line! Unfortunately we only have 4 dining chairs so we had to make do
By the 3rd round, the little boy wanted his own fishing line! Unfortunately we only have 4 dining chairs so we had to make do
After the activities, we cut the cake and sang happy birthday. Had the cake with some ice cream and blew up the bouncy castle again.
Hip Hip Hurray!
Hip Hip Hurray!
Happy Birthday Dozie!
Happy Birthday Dozie!
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After about thirty minutes, we brought out children’s books and packed up the bouncy castle so the children could wind down before leaving.

For party favors, they each received the personalized shirts, a glue stick, the fishing line and some fish, a blow whistle, paper dolls and some pretty paper.

I already had everything I used for the party apart from the  shirts which cost 500 naira a piece. Apart from how much fun was had by all, clean up was extremely easy!

P.s. all of the activities listed above are available as birthday activity kits for up to 15 children. I also personalize shirts (100 naira/shirt). Please leave a comment or contact me via the contact page if interested in ordering personalized shirts or birthday kits!

I hope you enjoyed reading about the party as much as we enjoyed celebrating, and got some ideas for how to celebrate in a fun educational way. You don’t have to limit yourself to these activities. What about a game party where the children play ten-ten, Ludo, shot, monopoly, snakes and ladders? All of this games teach math, patterns and other concepts. You can also teach the children some games from your childhood. What about a painting party? or themed party with activities related to the theme? There’s so much you can do.  I look forward to hearing about your fun educational parties!

Enjoy your next party and live a GoodLife!
-Nduoma
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9 thoughts on “A fun educational party for a 4-year old

    1. Hello Ijeoma and welcome to nduoma.com!
      I do organize enrichment and training programs for schools and I have many more activities for children. Please send me an email if you are interested in learning more about my services. I will be writing more activity posts in future so visit us often.

      Thank you for your comment and live a GoodLife!

  1. This is a wonderful project. the only game i really remember was the chair dance. we sometimes would pull the chair just to win. this shows personal growth more than competition

    1. Yes. I remember the chair dance and you are exactly right. It sometimes gets a little rough because there are usually so many children and because winning became so much more important that learning self control which I believe is the objective of the game.

      Thanks for visiting nduoma.com and live a GoodLife!

  2. Wow, really fun day. I kept being wowed with the variety of games that children could play. Laugh at me if you may but this is what I want for my 28th bday. Ill contact you with more info.

    Thank you for bringing a difference. Nduoma uwa

    1. Hello Chikito and welcome to Nduoma.com. Thank you for your comment and I’m definitely not laughing are your desire for a fun educational 28th birthday party. We are all children at heart and we should never stop learning or having fun. I look forward to hearing from you.

      Live a GoodLife!

  3. Nduoma thank you for making a difference in our little ones’ celebrations.
    This is a breath of fresh air which we all need to inhale.
    We look forward to working with you soon on another celebration/event.
    Thank you.

  4. Eh ehn, I have always said it, there should be better and more enriching ways for children to celebrate their birthdays. Had a good time already without being at the party just by going through the pictures and giving my imagination free reign.

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