We are so excited to welcome our guest, Dee Chesnut, from chesnut_simple_play. She is mom to daughters Magnolia, 4, and Willow, 15 months. Dee has an adorable Instagram feed full of clever ideas for “simple play” with your little ones! Plus, she is positive, upbeat, and quite lovely! We are so glad to have you here, Dee!
And we are also excited to share this free birthday banner with you all! Check it out here!
When I asked my daughter Magnolia, “How would YOU like to celebrate your 4th birthday party?”, I’ll be honest, I was anticipating a “typical” response of a unicorn or a princess party. Her answer took me by surprise. She very confidently told me, “I would like an ABC See, Hear, Do Party!”
My immediate thought was “That’s the cutest thing I’ve ever heard!” My second thought was “How do I throw an ABC See, Hear, Do party?”
In hindsight, I shouldn’t have been surprised that Magnolia would want this book as a party theme. ABC See, Hear, Do (and the fun animals inside), taught her to read in 5 minutes flat, so it’s a pretty positive book in her/our world.
The first thing I did to get the party in motion was to contact the author, Stefanie Hohl, to make sure she’d be OK with this idea. To our delight, she was just as excited as we were. She helped me brainstorm ideas and even made Magnolia a special birthday present, a custom birthday banner with all the animals in the background. (You can download it for free here.)
We wanted to keep the party small, with just family and friends. But each family brought all of their children, so we had a wide range of ages. I tried to keep all of the activities super playful so anyone could participate.
The first activity we set up was a puppet sensory bin. To create this, we poured an entire Costco-sized bag of rice on a water table and added the printable puppets from the ABC See, Hear, Do website. I printed each animal on white cardstock so they would be sturdy. Finally, I hot glued them to popsicle sticks so they would stand out of the rice.
I used all the animals that matched the first letter of each child’s name. For example, M was for Magnolia, and was represented by the ABC See, Hear, Do Monkey. I added those animals to the sensory bin. Then we played a little scavenger hunt to help the children find their animals.
The second activity involved taking the puppets to a different location, where I set up trays & crayons. Each child then had the opportunity to decorate their puppet.
Our third activity was a spin on musical chairs. I laminated the “Giant Flash Cards” and the “Memory Game” from the printable section of the ABC See, Hear, Do website. I placed the giant cards in a circle on the ground. I then had each child stand on an animal. Magnolia’s grandpa controlled the music, and the kids walked in a circle until I yelled, “Freeze!” At that point, I pulled out a Memory Card from my basket and yelled out an animal name and sound. Whichever child was on that animal would exit the game. The last child standing picked from a prize box. Because it was a small party, we were able to do enough rounds so that each child could win.
Our final activity involved our trampoline. I held up a giant animal card, and the children would act out the movements and sound as they jumped. They had so much fun giggling together as they pretended to be the different animals.
Once all the games concluded, we sang “Happy Birthday,” enjoyed flower cupcakes, and Magnolia opened her gifts. It was a beautiful April day, and we had so much fun celebrating Magnolia’s 4th birthday with our friends and family!
As it turned out, the opportunities to create a party based on the animals from ABC See, Hear, Do were so clever! I’m especially glad I asked Magnolia what SHE wanted because this was the most creative party we have ever done.
This book has been such a gift in our lives—the fact that Magnolia picked it as her party theme really says it all!
Hopefully our experience inspires you to create an ABC See, Hear, Do party too!
To see & hear an example of Magnolia and me reading book 1, you can visit our IG page, @chestnut_simple_play.
The Chestnut Family