Party Time

Suggestions for Parties during Daily Adventures


We are trying to make Daily Adventures as fun and exciting as possible. In fact, we hope that our Daily Adventures becomes, in a way, our “Festival of the American West”—all summer long. Parties are steps toward that direction. They provide entertainment, snacks, and a sense of community and fun for our visitors. As we develop them, they will also provide historical fun as visitors learn how folks had fun in the past. We hope that they will also help build community and fellowship amongst AWHC staff and volunteers. It is also something that can be scheduled at a specific time, an element our visitors appreciate. We hope that they will become one of the very attractive features of what we do.

Who Should Be There

  1. All non-essential staff and volunteers are encouraged to attend these parties. Please attend parties unless you are doing something vital or are overseeing a site.
  2. Staff and volunteers should enthusiastically encourage visitors to attend parties.
  3. AWHC staff in the Welcome Center are also welcome to these parties.

Outline and Ideas

  1. Each party should have an MC (a “master of ceremonies”). This can be delegated by the foreperson at the site at which the party is to take place. Tipi parties should always be MC-ed by the Native American present.
  2. Snacks should be provided at parties. Whether it is cake, cookies, home made ice cream or root beer, or something else, a small and easy to make snack is a vital part of the experience.
  3. It is good to begin parties by welcoming everyone there with a hearty greeting. It is good for the MC to introduce herself or himself and to meet others who are visitors and make them feel welcome.
    1. An attention-getting activity is always appreciated by visitors. This could be a rousing song, a call-and-repeat activity, a participatory story, or something else that is energetic.
    2. Songs are always welcome. Simple, campfire-type songs are fun and invite a friendly warmth to any party. They can be used liberally and can be used sprinkled throughout!
    3. Storytelling is a wonderful tool that can be used at a party. Staff and volunteers are encouraged to tell stories. Visitors should also be invited to share stories. Stories of or about the specific site at which the party is taking place are good sources, but don’t shy away from fairy tales, jokes, folk tales, myths, ghost stories, or any other kind of story. Staff and volunteers should make sure they tell stories that are appropriate to the age of the visitors; always tailor stories to the youngest of the crowd.
    4. Games are fun to use at parties, too. The Spoon Game (or “Spoon Roulette” as James calls it), 20 Questions, and other parlor games are good choices. Site-appropriate games are especially encouraged.
    5. Skits are always a good choice. Staff and volunteers are encouraged to come up with skits, rehearse them, and then play them for visitors.
    6. Magic Tricks, juggling, and other skills could be used if talented staff and/or volunteers are present at a party.
    7. Read-alouds or poetry/story recitations can often make good material for a party.
    8. Any other activity that is fun and interesting, especially if it is site and/or period relevant, can be used at a party. Be creative, be energetic and enthusiastic, and have fun!

Suggestions for MCs:

  1. Be warm, energetic and fun!
  2. Before the party begins, it’s a good idea to meet everyone and welcome them personally.
  3. Make sure that everyone is comfortable.
  4. If kids are having a good time, their parents are too!
  5. You don’t have to be formal and direct things. You can feel free to be an “under cover” MC and just suggest that things happen. It’s just your job to keep things moving along.

Snack Suggestions:

  1. All parties should have snacks!
  2. If you have ideas for snacks, let Lorraine know so she can get the ingredients. Feel free to bring your own ingredients from home if you have sudden inspiration in the morning before you come.
  3. Home made ice cream, especially if the visitors get to crank it, is always a good idea.
  4. Home made root beer is a great idea, too, but this will take advanced planning since dry ice is needed not too long before the party.
  5. Cakes, cookies, and other snacks are always welcome.
  6. Tipi parties could also have cakes, cookies, ice cream, etc. Remember that in 1917, Native Americans lived pretty much like other folks who lived here.
  7. Tipi parties could have other things as well such as corn nuts, pine nuts, dried berries, jerky, and other appropriate foods.

Attention Getters and Openers

(suggestions—feel free to come up with your own!)

  1. The MC tosses a ball up into the air. While the ball is in the air, everyone screams. When the ball is in the person's hand, everyone is quiet. You can make the scream/quiet transition very fun. Fake throw, drop the ball, etc. (You’ll have to explain the “rules” to the audience).
  2. Try clapping a rhythm and see if the visitors can clap it back.
  3. Try yelling out nonsense rhymes and gibberish and see if the visitors can repeat it back, like this: “Skally bally bing bong! / Oopa oopa gloopa! / eenie meenie beanie!” You can shout anything!
  4. Start a song or story without any intro at all. After the song or story, then welcome them to the party and continue.

Song Suggestions

  1. Any song you learned at camp or in scouts will work!
  2. Try old favorites like “Row Your Boat”, but twist them a bit and sing “Boat Your Row” instead.
  3. Find out whose birthdays are within a week or two of the party (by simply asking out loud) and sing happy birthday to them. You can sing happy birthday in fun ways, too: yodel between lines, sing it double “happy happy birthday birthday to to you you”, sing it but leave out some words, etc.
  4. Consult the book “Folk Songs for Children” or “Songs for the Young Child” for singing games. They are all terrific. We’ll make sure this great resource is available at all sites.
  5. There are too many songs to list! But you should have an idea of what you’ll be singing before the party.

Storytelling Tips & Ideas

  1. Remember that storytelling is all about sharing YOURSELF.
  2. No wait, actually, it’s all about sharing IMAGES. The information in a story is far less important than the feelings, thoughts, and sensory things!
  3. Tell stories with which you are familiar.
  4. Stories about the Wyatts or Native American stories from this area are perfect.
  5. Don’t be afraid to tell ghost stories, fairy tales, myths, legends, and other folk stories.
  6. Be energetic and focus on the images that are in the story. Focus and concentrate on the things you see, feel, taste, smell, hear, and intuit.

Suggestions for Games

  1. The Spoon Game: One person (“IT”) thinks of a specific something in a broader category (i.e. Snickers Bar in the category of Candy Bars). She holds a spoon full of water and walks directly to each person playing, the spoon dangerously close to their face. The others try to guess what she is thinking of. When someone guesses, IT throws the water into their face and the now wet person becomes IT.
  2. Cat and Mice: This game is played like The Spoon Game, except that each person makes a “mouse” out of a cotton ball and string. Every player except IT places his or her mouse into the middle of a circle, holding the string in his or her hand. The mice should all be very close together: touching or almost touching. A category is chosen by IT, and IT also chooses a specific something in that category. IT holds a pan lid over the mice by about a foot as players guess what IT is thinking. When someone guesses IT’s item, she slams the pan lid down on the mice, capturing as many as possible.
  3. Huckle Buckle Bean Berry!: The host shows everyone a little knick-knack in the room. All the guests are to leave while the host hides it. When they return, everyone is to look for the item until they spot it. When they spot it, they call out “Huckle Buckle Bean Berry!” and sit down. It is sneakier if the guessers wait a few seconds or look in different places before saying it. The last one to find it loses (or has to be "IT").
  4. Poor Pussy: One person is selected to be IT. That person acts like a cat and goes to each person, trying, in the role of a cat, to get that person to laugh before they can say “Poor pussy” three times. If a person laughs, they are IT.
  5. Blind Man’s Bluff: One person is blindfolded, and all other guests scatter around the room. When the blindfolded person catches someone, they then have to tell who it is they have captured or the prisoner is then freed and the blindman must continue his/her pursuit until he/she can identify the person caught. The blindfold then changes hands.
  6. Memory Game: This is a Native American game. A selection of items is placed in a flat basket and covered up. Teams are chosen. The items are revealed for 30 seconds or so and then covered up. The teams then try to guess everything that was in the basket. The team with the most right guesses wins.

Fun and Popular Skits

  1. Nearly any skit (rated ‘G’ please!) can be adapted from girls camp, scout camp or other events to be included in a Party!
  2. Try to include the visitors without embarrassing them too much.

Other Ideas

  1. Craft parties can be great fun. Things like quilting bees, cooking parties, teddy bear parties, Native American beadworking, and other themes can be used if planned for in advance. Try incorporating fun games while you and the visitors work. For example, at a quilting bee, you might have a contest to see who can get the most stitches per inch.
  2. Feel free to decorate for the party. Better yet, have visitors help decorate. Don’t go overboard or anything, but a few ribbons or garlands might be a fun addition.
  3. It is always fun to make parties site specific. Imagine: if the people from this period and place were to really have a party, what would they do?
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