Children's Weatherproof Party

By: Patricia Daughrity

Treasure your child's party with a hunt for a pot of gold! First, decide in what form your clues will be. Try a series of fruit leather scrolls! To do this, make your own fruit roll-ups with the help of a dehydrator (follow manufacturer's directions), or purchase enough for one per child. Write your message on a piece of stationary, then lay the message flat on the sticky fruit surface. Apply wax paper or food film to both sides. Roll and curl the ends scroll-style to meet in the middle. Secure with ribbon or twine.

Alternatively, create rice cereal treats on a stick. There are many molds available for different treat shapes, such as stars, flowers, hearts, snowmen, or Jack O' Lanterns. A sprinkling of edible glitter adds shimmer and color to these popular marshmallow snacks. Wrap in festive "cello" bags and secure around the stick with twist tie. Attach your written clue to the tie. These goodies are large enough to satisfy children's eyes and stomachs!

Clues do not have to be mystifying or difficult. Sit down with a cup of tea and begin the journey on paper. For example:

#1 Welcome to Jake's Party! To find the treasure, snoop around the tree swing.

#2 WHEEEEE! This is fun, but there's no time to swing. Nose around the garden hose.

#3 Don't get wet! Let's go for a spin. Check out Jake's bicycle.

Weather permitting, children will love to be outside searching for edible clues in the refreshing Spring air. Set the rules so that everyone gets a chance to lead, read, seek and eat. The end pot of gold can be as simple as homemade crowns for all, or as hands-free as a hired clown or gorilla behind the maple tree.

For young children, this activity can be tweaked into a virtual Candy Land. Similar to an egg hunt, children seek homemade candy and weighted balloons. Scatter these treats in the yard, give everyone a pretty bag and watch them go!

What if it is pouring down rain or snow on the date of your child's party? Party indoors and Make-Your-Own-Pizza using personal size crusts. The fun is in the toppings! Of course offer the expected pepperoni and cheese, but don't be limited by in-the-box thinking. Give your little guests something to chatter about with a spread of mini-marshmallows, candy coated chocolate pieces and apple slices. In addition to mozzarella, set out taco-seasoned cheese or even string cheese for exciting experimentation! Once everyone is satisfied with their concoction, the adult can place these on a baking sheet, slide it into a 375 oven until the cheese, marshmallows and candy pieces are melted. Typically, this would take about 12-15 minutes, but in their excitement you may be faced with some double-deckers that will not only take a bit longer, but should be baked separately.

Rain, shine, snow, or sleet, these weatherproof ideas are sure to commemorate the event with giggles, food, smiles and style!