Once all the preparations for this fantastic party were over (see The Magic School Bus theme birthday party. Preparation), we were ready to get the wheels rolling with all the fun and educational activities that we planed for the party. This party was one of the most successful and impact out of all the ones we ever did and since I have three boys, something tells me it is not the last time our Magic School Bus soars into the sky of our kids’ imaginations.
Our favorite plan for the party always starts with some food. After all the litttle guests had their pizza, they usually in the best mood, excited and I find the whole party going a lot smoother. I usually let all our friends know our feeding arrangement in advance and it sets the party from the right foot.
1. Note from Liz.
All the the guests gathered to congratulate the birthday boy with his birthday and I let them know a special surprise: they’ll get to ride on Magic schoolbus. Suddenly my helper brings out a note from Ms. Frizzle.
All right, who wants to help to find Liz? An eager Liz search party is led to a spare room towards the Magic schoolbus. My assistant, my dear niece, yells just like Arnold in a cartoon: “Please let this be a normal field trip!”, and birthday boy’s older brother is ready with an answer: “with my brother?! No way!”
We all head to the Magic schoolbus.
2. Pictures for the bus.
The bus is here, but how do we know where to go?
Every time the bus goes on adventure, it gets covered with little pictures relating to the trip. At the end of the trip, those pictures get stored inside a special box: airplanes have black box to know what’s happened to it; magic schoolbus has a colorful one. We open the box, find the pictures of various body parts: lungs, heart, stomach, lungs, etc. and scotch tape these pictures to the bus.
Supplies: pretty little box; printouts of body parts, scotch tape. Magic School Bus Episode “Inside Ralphie”.
3. Through the bloodstream.
Ok, so we know that the last place the bus went to was inside a human body. “Bus, do your stuff!” – this mrs. Frizzle’s signature phrase is a hint to my niece to secretly turn on our prepared magic school bus episode: “…” We stop right after the bus enters Ralphie’s bloodstream through the scraped knee. All our passengers get out of the bus and see a giant obstacle course: through the tunnels, over the sofa, under the pillows, on a little mini-trampoline. This is Ralphie’s bloodstream. I explain to kids, that inside our bloodstream you can find red, white blood cells and platelets; what they all do. To find Liz we need to fly through it. Each kid gets a red blood cell (red plate) and goes through the obstacle course. I also prepared little red and blue pom-pom balls, so that kids actually brought pieces of oxygen (red pom-poms) and exchanged it for carbon dioxide half way through the obstacle course (blue pom-poms).
Supplies: little red disposable plates, red and blue pom-poms; obstacle course: tunnels, pillows, sofas, armchairs, etc.
4. White Blood Cell Attack
After the obstacle course, while my assistant quickly pushes all the obstacles out of the way, I discuss with the kids the blood cells again. Suddenly we see a white blood cell flying towards us! (My assistant, my niece, put on a white table cloth over her shoulders and waving to us – friendly, smiling, making sure nobody is scared). We need to get back to the bus, and the cell is right next to it! We play red light-green light: when the “white blood cell turns away from us, we run towards it; when it turns around to look us – we freeze. Whoever is still moving, goes at the end. No winners or losers in our games: whoever reached the cell, is congratulated and joins her to help her see who will succeed next. It was so much fun, we played it twice.
Supplies: white towel or tablecloth.
5. Gathering nectar
We haven’t found Liz, so we return to the bus, check the magic box and see pictures of bees inside (thanks to my niece for placing them inside while we were busy running around!). Since I actually montaged the episodes together in advance, we got to see how the white blood cell tried to attack the bus, how it escaped and was sneezed out. If was relying on separate YouTube videos, i’d just turn on the piece of the epizode in a beehive. We got to see how the bear destroyed the beehive and discussed how we need to help the bees gather more nectar to able to last through the winter.
We got out of the bus and split into two teams. Each team is shown its own section of the beehive, where they’ll be placing their nectar: sticky octagonal piece of paper. There is plenty of nectar scattered all over the floor, so each team gets to pick it up and stick it to their octagonal …
Supplies: packaging peanuts (nectar), two octagonal cut outs from self-adhesive drawer paper taped to the wall; Magic School Bus Episode “In a Beehive”.
6. Bee dance
When the … are full, we need to tell the other bees how to find their way to the flower field where we picked up all if our nectar. Bees don’t communicate with words; they prefer a special dance. So we turn in theistic and get to wiggle to the beat. Last time we did this party, our five year olds danced locomotion, chicken dance, macarena. Six year olds are too big for that, so we did musical flowers: similarly to musical chairs, multicolored foam squares are spread out on a floor; whenever the music stops, everybody got to run and stand on a flower/foam square. Unlike musical chairs, I don’t take any of the squares out: no need for upset guests. Trust me, this is fun enough.
7. Budding paleontologists
We’ll, as you could guess, there was no Liz in a beehive either. So we checked the box once again and discovered some dinosaur pictures. We were ready to go back in time: we saw a tiny piece of an episode where the bus transformed into a time machine and went back at the time of dinosaurs. Getting out out of the bus, the kids stumbled upon many bones thrown around. We helped them guess these were dinosaur bones that paleontologists really need to identify. Our two teams of paleontologists took turns throwing these bones in a box, so that we could send it to the scientists later. Throwing is always fun!
Supplies: 2 boxes; bone shaped dog biscuits. We had some toy dinosaur bones. Magic School Bus Episode “The Busasaurus”.
8. Dangerous sounds
We didn’t even need a special effect for this one: we just asked if they can hear the (imaginary) thunder, and every single one of them was full of theories what it could be. We actually talked a little why the dinosaurs died out, and once somebody mentioned the volcano eruptions… we brought in the volcano. Tablecloth on a floor. Kids in a circle around it. Taking turns to add some volcanic ash and spoon of Lava Liquefier into the volcano, watching the red bubbles spread along its sides… this really became the highlight of the party.
Supplies: Volcano, Volcanic Ash (Baking soda), a bottle of Lava Liquefier (Vinegar + red food coloring), disposable table cloth for the floor (just in case!) and a spoon.
9. A mysterious note
While we were wrapping up the remains of the volcanic eruption, one of the kids found another note on a floor:
So Liz wasn’t lost! She was just babysitting. We looked around and spotted some large paw prints all over the walls. Following the right set of paw prints, we finally made it to the corner… where on a nest full of dinosaur eggs was sitting no other than our dear little Liz!
Liz got to go back in time with us. Since we couldn’t leave the baby eggs unattended (especially with the dangerous erupting volcanoes nearby), so every guest got an egg from the nest to take home and take care for his own little baby dinosaur.
Supplies: Note, paw prints scotch taped to the wall, nest or a plate, fake plant to cover it up, dinosaur eggs, Liz (apparently getting Liz became a lot harder lately, so if you wish, you can just print out her picture).
10. The Super Sweet Ride
Actually our adventure wasn’t completely over yet! I had some bad news for the kids: I didn’t have a chance to bake a cake. We decided to use the magic schoolbus to help us with this problem: with the little bits of the episode where the bus gets baked in a cake, with silly comments that it is actually us baking, mixing and getting stuck in the oven… with the lights turned off in the right moment… we finally got the point where the bus was free out of the cake and we hurried upstairs to see our own creation.
Supplies: Magic School Bus Episode “Gets Ready, Set, Dough”; chocolate cake.