Ethan turned 4 on Sunday (is this really possible??), and he chose to have a Diego birthday party. For those of you without 4 year old boys, Diego is a cartoon on Nick Jr. with a Spanish-speaking boy (Diego) who is an animal rescuer in the jungle. My kids can't get enough of this show. They have learned what a tapir is, a scarlet macaw, and jaguar, and even a marmoset. It makes me laugh when Simon tries to say jaguar - he says, "Aaaa-arrrrr" and then he grins. He is trying lots of new words these days.
Coming up with ideas for this party, I was a little lost at first. The party store in town didn't have much, just plates and cups, stuff like that. So I got on www.nickjr.com and found all kinds of printable crafts for the show FOR FREE and an idea for making a Diego costume. Since I did all that sewing for the Christmas program a few weeks ago, I have been in the mood to sew, so this was perfect!
Walmart had tan cotton fabric in their clearance bin for $1/yrd, and I made 14 vests out of 5 yards. For a pattern, I just used a vest that my boys already had, folded it in half in the middle longways, and laid it on the fold of my fabric. On the website were printable Animal Rescuer Center badges to iron on the front.
No Animal Rescuer would be complete without his Rescue Pack! I used pieces of felt to make a bag for each of the kids to carry their rescue supplies in. This was so easy! It took about 20 minutes to sew up all the sides, and then Ethan glued on the eyes and mouth. He had so much fun!
To start the party, our Animal Rescuers geared up to save animals. First, they made a spotting scope out of toilet paper rolls, construction paper, and Diego stickers. This is how Diego sees an animal in distress.
Then my *staff members* (AKA Merikate and Brooklyn) handed out a Diego video watch that I had printed on my computer and laminated for each kid. Everyone picked an animal to place on their video screen, and this would be the animal that they would rescue later!
Next, Dave designed a 4 part obstacle course for the kids to go through to rescue their animals. Keep in mind that these are little kids. It was nothing fancy, but they loved it. First they had to go under the bridge (a bar taped across the doorway), over the slide, through the jungle (vines taped over a doorway), and over the mountain (the ottoman covered with a blanket).
And they did it over, and over, and over again. :)
Then each Animal Rescuer grabbed their flashlight and headed to the dark basement to hunt for snakes. Rubber toy snakes, that is. Here they all are, after a good hunt.
I can't believe that Ethan is 4 - it seems like we just brought him home from the hospital! He has grown up so much this year, learning to talk, potty training, sleeping on the top bunk, learning to ride a bike. And he is developing a compassionate heart too. I've treasured the moments I've seen him show concern for his brother and others who are hurt.
This little boy never stops for a minute, but we love him so very much. Thank you, Lord, for sharing him with us! Like his dad prayed at his party, help us to raise him to seek after You and become a man who loves and lives for You.
Happy 4th birthday, Ethan!