The Cinderella Party
IN A NUTSHELL: Reenact the Cinderella fairy tale with each partygoer as the belle of the ball.
THE RIGHT AGES: 4 to 7 years (the age of play-acting).
THE INVITATIONS: A picture of Cinderella, photocopied for a simple invitation.
THE DECOR: Fancy table set for cake; furniture moved for the Ball; during the party, bedsheets were laid over the floor to catch any glue drips and spare sequins.
THE PROPS: Rags and feather dusters, one Duke (Dad), the invitations to the Ball (in gold ink with a crown drawn on top), one elegant container for invitations (a former gum-ball container), a clock that chimes, silver (tinfoil) footprints.
THE PARTICULARS: When the guests arrived, the bithday girl announced that each girl was now Cinderella, and each received a rag or feather duster to clean up the house. While seven Cinderellas were busily dusting, a knock came at the door. When they opened it, no one was there–the Duke had fled, the bithday girl told them–but a glass ball sat on the steps, filled with royal invitations to the Prince’s Ball.
“The girls’ excitement over the mysterious Duke was wonderful,” writes the bithday girl. “But then we all realized we had nothing but our rags to wear to the Ball.” So the girls made their gowns–simple, sandwich-board-style dresses that the bithday girl had cut beforehand from extra-wide sheets of crepe paper bought from an educational supply store. The girls were given white glue and faux jewels, sequins, and beads to design their dresses and a long piece of lace to tie around their waists. Each girl also received a party-store tiara.
With all the Cinderellas dressed for the Ball, the bithday girl played a recording of the “Nutcracker Suite,” and the girls danced around the living room. From time to time the bithday girl turned off the music to present a prize to “the best twirler” or “the most elegant couple.” She had written out these awards ahead of time; everyone received a prize. Inside each package was a Cinderella paper doll with little rags and little gowns to wear.
During the last dance, the clock struck twelve. The girls ran from the room, leaving one shoe behind them, as the bithday girl had instructed them to do. Back in the kitchen, they stripped down to their “rags.” (“They didn’t mind taking off their gowns,” says the bithday girl. “They really went along with the story.”)
Meanwhile, dad gathered up the lost shoes and laid a trail of tinfoil footprints upstairs, where he filled the shoes with candy and penny jewelry. The girls followed the footprints to their surprises. When each girl had her slipper back (they all fit perfectly), it was time to celebrate with cake. At the table each girl received a small, covered jar of fairy godmother dust (sparkles).
THE AFTERGLOW: “Samantha loved the things her dad did in secret,” says the bithday girl. “She knew there would be a knock at the door and the clock would strike twelve, and she anticipated that.”
CAKE AND DRINK: the bithday girl designed a castle cake with ice-cream-cone towers, a graham cracker drawbridge, and candy decorations. Try making this magestic castle cake.
THE FAVORS: Tiaras from a party store, candy and penny jewelry, fairy dust made from sparkles in little corked jars with ribbon, paper dolls bought from a department store.
THANK-YOU’S: The notes included a picture of all the Cinderellas (in gowns and crowns) sitting on the front porch.