Fourth graders, at 9 and 10 years of age, are shifting from little children to not-quite-tweens. They may still be holding onto a Thomas the Tank Engine train set, moving on to a regular train set or leaving trains completely behind for more mature interests. Plan your party with your 4th grader, getting away from anything they might consider '"babyish," and providing activities that intrigue while not being so difficult they are no longer interesting.
In fourth grade, your child might have wide ranging interests including some holdovers from activities and characters enjoyed since preschool days. Other interests mirror movies attended and books read. Hold a train party with invitations in the shape of an engine. Use the train motif on plates, cups, napkins and make a train engine blow up for the party. If your child is into a movie character or superhero, use that hero as the theme of the party. Prepackaged birthday packages are offered for most popular characters. You can also download images instead to use for decorations. Buy just what you need separately with plates and cups. Let the children create their own superhero T-shirts with fabric markers. Have the children create a "Happy Birthday" banner drawing in or coloring theme-based illustrations.
Make a Movie
Tell the children they have an opportunity to become movie stars. On index cards write a series of scenarios such as, "You are a superhero. A dog's foot is caught in a grate. How would you rescue him?" Other scenarios may be, "The prince fell off his horse. What do you do?" Make some funny, some challenging and some thought provoking. They choose one of the index cards for their movie acting debut. Give the children a chance to practice the role and provide props where needed. Capture how the 4th graders complete the role using a movie camera or web cam. Play back the movies while the children eat cake and ice cream. You may, instead, simply capture candid movie shots of the children as they participate in the games and activities. Let the children get a chance to work behind the camera filming other children.
Follow the Clues
Plant puzzle pieces with clues to the next puzzle piece. Once the children find all the puzzle pieces, they put the puzzle together to uncover the mystery or find the treasure. This might be the identity of a special guest at the party, a bag of prizes for the children or a location where they'll find an activity such as a pony to ride. Plan a progressive birthday party. This one takes coordination with the parents of the 4th grade children. Instead of having the party in one location, it progresses from one home to another. One parent serves hamburgers and hot dogs, another chips and another salads. At the party location, after activities, serve cake and ice cream.
Wet it Down
On the invitation indicate the children will get wet. Have them bring swim suits or a change of clothing. Toss water balloons back and forth until they break. Use a soft bat and see how far the children can hit the water balloons. Toss them off of objects to see whose balloons falls the furthest without breaking. Create boats out of Styrofoam and use a straw to blow them across a pool of water. Divide the children into teams for squirt gun or hose wars.
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