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Did you know that Elmo, the puppet from Sesame Street didn’t exist as one of their main characters? He sat around as a little red puppet that no one knew how to incorporate into the show? Every now and then, someone would come by, pick him up and try to make a voice and personality for him, but until the l980’s, when Kevin Clash raised him up and began to play, there really wasn’t much to Elmo. When he brought the puppet to life with his voice and personality, the writers for Sesame Street began writing for him, and eventually Elmo ended up with a 15 minute spot on Sesame Street. His career includes appearances on The Rosie O’Donnel show, a couple of movies, and he is actually the only puppet known to testify in court for the furthering of music education. Quite a lot of action for a puppet.
So what’s his appeal to children? He is full of childlike wonder. He is optimistic and curious. He is soft and cuddly and red, and has a trademark giggle that is contagious. And, as he describes himself, he is 3 1/2 years old. He can relate to kids. So where is this leading? Into some fun and creative ideas to make a toddler’s birthday a hit!
1. Send out Elmo invitations and ask the kids to dress up as their favorite Sesame Street Characters. Make sure you have plenty of plates, napkins, cups, and party favors with Elmo on it. Decorate with red balloons and red crepe paper. Make a cake that looks like Elmo with colored red coconut to give the furry look you want. Have Elmo’s best friend, Dorothy the Goldfish, in a safe corner for the kids to admire. Or, as one of the gifts, you could give your child a goldfish. Depending on the age, it is fun to have something live in the house and it can be good for learning some simple responsibility early on.
2. Create a Sesame Street in your own home. Garbage can, brick wall scene setter, and a Big Bird Stand-up. Invite the other parents of the guests to take part in voicing some puppets from Sesame Street for a puppet show. You could always dress up as Sesame Street Characters yourself, get the child’s siblings enrolled, or the other adults, and do a live-action broadcast of Sesame Street. We all need to unwind sometimes. What a way to let go for a few minutes, or hours, depending on how much fun you are having.
3. Watch an Elmo movie. Have a big screen TV, or a projector for the wall, and make it a “going to the movies” adventure. You could rent a popcorn machine, have a soda fountain, and some candy, and let the kids sprawl out on the floor and enjoy. You may want to put down some large sheets of plastic in case of spills. Red, disposable table cloths would be great for that.
4. Other Activities: How about an Elmo Pinata? Pinatas have all time appeal. Kids love to whack at things, and when those things produce an abundance of candy, its even better. You could buy some Sesame Street coloring books for the kids to color. Or they could make some hand puppets of Elmo, or another favorite Sesame Street character. With a little supervision, paper bags, good crayons, colored yarn, and some craft eyeballs, they could work some wonders in creating hand puppets. Then let the kids put on their own show.
Get started looking for the Elmo Birthday Party Supplies you will want. Keep “Oscar” close by for cleanup, and make some memories that will last.
You can find more ideas and children’s birthday supplies here.
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