It's been a while since we had a play day theme. Since it's winter, we are looking for a little indoor fun. We like to have play days with a few friends with food and crafts themed around a children's book. This time we did The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler. This "modern classic" came out in 1999, but I'm ashamed to say I'd never read it until we watched the (Oscar nominated) animated movie on Netflix recently. There is also a sequel called The Gruffalo's Child. Both are just the cutest stories, perfect for the ages my boys are now. I am absolutely in love with the animated movies. (you can watch a scene here on YouTube).
The authors also have a fabulous website (visit Gruffalo.com here) with tons of free activities you can print out for your favorite kiddos. We did this play day entirely with things we had on hand, so it was totally free--my favorite.
We started by watching the movie, most of the kids hadn't seen/read the story. It really held the attention of our 5 and under crowd. Then we feasted on Gruffalo eyes (cheese balls), scrambled snake (as seen below--linguini with pesto alfredo, and swiss cheese eyes with peppercorn pupils--which we told them not to eat!), a slice of bread (toasted ciabatta) and fruit from the forest.
For dessert there were acorns (posted previously here) and owl ice cream, of course. : )
Then we had some crafts to choose from. All the printed pages came from Gruffalo.com. We had coloring pages,
this mask page, which we used to make brown bag puppets. We had purple prickles to glue on and a poisonous wart to add to his nose.
The kids also made their own Gruffalo forest dioramas to go with the finger or stick puppets we made. The day before, the boys and I gathered up a bin of nature stuff from the back yard. Even in the winter you can find pretty cool stuff out there.
We sorted it and put it out with some sheet and reindeer moss (yes we had this, if you don't, you can find it at Hobby Lobby or even Walmart), tacky glue, and hot glue (for grown ups to help with).
The kids colored and cut out their puppets and then put the theater (or Gruffalo house, as they liked to call it) and puppets together. (We also used our burlap trees (posted here) as a decoration.)
I love how they came out...
...each one was so unique and fun.
I hope you enjoy the Gruffalo story, movie, and web site as much as we do. Stories are even more fun with friends!
To see other book themed parties and play days we've had, check out
Eric Carle Books
Dr. Seuss Stories
The Lorax (Earth Day)