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Why throw a giant party featuring The BFG by Roald Dahl?
First of all, I have always loved to read and was indeed the kid who consistently kept her head in a book on the school bus and any other place we went. This love of reading and stories is passed down to my daughter, and in the second grade she’s eating up books by Dahl, C.S. Lewis, and pretty much anything she can get her hands on. Consequently, it was not surprising when she came home from school thrilled with this book The BFG.
Also, as a family we believe it is important to kindle the enthusiasm for learning in order for kids to be successful in school and the future. There are book clubs and school groups, but why not support that love at home and promote it with a giant party for friends and family?
When would you want to have a giant party?
This kind of party can be as elaborate as you like. It works great for:
- a birthday party,
- a sleep-over,
- that long weekend off from school when teachers have their professional development,
- a creative book club,
- Roald Dahl’s birthday (September 13)
- whenever you want!
Download giant party printables including reflection worksheet based on The BFG, a giant party invitation, and place cards for the table including the BFG’s curious words.
Set the scene at a Royal Breakfast
Buckingham Palace, London
Because food is imperative to a party we set the scene at the Royal Breakfast, which is also a chapter in the book. This is when the BFG sits down with the Queen and Sophie in the Great Ballroom and first tastes foods other that “repulsant snozzcumber”! There are fabulous descriptions in this section such as the ping-pong table with four 12-foot-high grandfather clocks for legs. Once in place, a nice cloth is smoothed on this “table” for the BFG with a garden fork, spade, and a sword (last used to chop off the head of King Charles the First) for silverware.
Be creative and set up your giant’s place at the table. Your other guests and place settings can either be at the same table or another smaller one to create the effect you wish.
Assign each guest a character
When you first bring up the idea of coming in character your guests will either love it or try to get out of it. It is so much more fun when each guest plays and dresses a part! Therefore, I urge you not to back down! My son loved playing the part of the butler Mr. Tibbs in his little suit. Make sure if you have a shy guest not to put them on the spot, but do give them a smaller role.
The host can give out parts beforehand when guests RSVP, and then tell them to review their character in the book and come in costume. Possibly, for a more informal party, the host could assign them as guests arrive. It is especially important in this case to provide a props box to help the group get into character. In the box provide hats, big BFG ears (link here to great ear printable), capes, a trumpet/horn, ties, scarves, military paraphernalia, or really whatever you have around the house that could possibly work.
Here is a link to a character list with descriptions: character list. If you have a large group you can use all the giants’ names as well as the staff at the palace.
Food at the Royal Breakfast
Of course you can serve breakfast any time of day, and kids love to do things out of the ordinary. Therefore, serve the Royal Breakfast at lunch or dinner or whenever you want! Here is what we served at our event based on the book:
Be creative and serve what works for you and your party!
Possible activities for your GIANT party
- The Royal Breakfast. Complement each place setting by putting a list of Mr. Dahl’s curious words the BFG uses, and then tell the guests to try to use them in conversation. You probably will have to initiate this and use some words yourself to get it going and break the ice.
- Catch your own dream craft. (I love this!) First give a small jar (from your local craft store or Amazon such as these), to each guest along with a small piece of colored paper. Secondly, tell the guests to imagine the perfect dream they would like for the BFG to give them and to write it on the paper. Then roll the paper up and put it in the jar with some glitter. Lastly, decorate with a tied ribbon, and voilà you’ve caught your own dream!
- Try a form of charades. To start, divide your guests into groups and then assign each group a chapter of the book. Next, task them to reenact the chapter, and give them 15 minutes or so to prepare. Then, give the performances. An assigned judge or judges will select the best performance, and that team will win a fabulous prize!
- The BFG Madlibs. This is such a fun way to practice grammar and tell stories with hilarious results.
- Have a GIANT dance party! Play the Radio For Kids station on Pandora or other music you like and bust out some giant moves.
- End by watching the Steven Spielberg movie The BFG if you’re having a sleepover or a longer party. I always suggest reading the book first, but view and compare this beautifully acted film version to the book.
Questions for after watching the movie The BFG
Here are some questions for after the movie for you to discuss in a book club, or you might bring them up in conversation the next morning after the slumber party:
- Did the movie do a good job portraying the book?
- Is the movie how you imagined the book to in your head?
- Did the director cast the right actors in the character roles?
- What were the differences between the book and the movie?
- What was your favorite part in the movie? Is it the same as your favorite part in the book, and why do you think that is?
Finally, if you wish to give out party favors to departing guests I believe there is no better gift than a book. Perhaps the next book you intend to feature at a book club or party?! If you have a large number of guests and a book is not in the budget, give little bags with the the theme of your next gathering and the name of book they are to read. In addition, provide any help necessary in obtaining the book from a local library or other location.
Guests will also take home the small jar with a caught dream (see the “Catch your own dream” in the activities section) as a souvenir.
I hope you enjoy this book and the GIANT party featuring the BFG as much as we did.
Have a phizz-wizzing, whoopsy-whiffling time!
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Do you have some great passport tips? This past week I received two delightfully thick envelopes in the mail containing none other than fresh passports for my son and daughter. I don’t know about you, but when I hold that little blue passport book in my hand a thrill runs through my bones. Pictures of locations all over the world flash through my mind: Paris, Machu Picchu, an African safari, the Pyramids, the Sydney Opera House. There is such power and freedom that comes with a passport! (Since I’m from the U.S. this focuses on tips and links for a U.S. passport.)
The Possibility and Power of a Passport
I may be dating myself, but do you remember the Sandra Bullock movie While You Were Sleeping? I admit I love this movie. It is a witty, fun, romantic comedy I tend to watch every Christmas season. There is a scene where Lucy (Sandra Bullock) is walking with Jack (Bill Pullman), and she pulls her passport out of her bag. She longs to travel, and when he asks where she would go she immediately and decidedly says, “Florence.” She doesn’t have the funds or the ability to go at the present, but she is a dreamer and that passport means enough to her to have it with her all the time.
That is the power of the passport! It represents what could be. It might mean miles to fly, trains across Europe, or winding bus rides to exotic locales. Who doesn’t dream of walking through fields of lavender in Provence, riding a camel through the Valley of the Kings, or taking in the beauty and symmetry of the Taj Majal?
Putting the Power to Use
Next, you book your flight, get on the ferry, or drive across a border. When you hand your passport to the official for the first time in a new country there is a pride there, a sense of adventure, as well as anticipation in seeing these new places and cultures.
I remember taking a ferry from England to Ireland, being quite seasick in the process. However, that in no way dimmed my enthusiasm! Ireland is one of those magical places of green rolling hills, some of the friendliest people on the planet, and if you look and listen hard enough I think you will hear fairies zipping around to the tunes of Irish penny whistles.
Back to passports. When I got off the ferry, the official looked at my passport and ticket, asked a couple questions, and indicated I should go on through. I stared at him a moment, and froze in panic for just a second. Then I blurted out, “Couldn’t you please stamp my passport? I need an Irish stamp in it!”
His serious demeanor disappeared, and he laughed and obliged saying it must be my first time in country.
Passport Tips and Reminders
We will be traveling internationally as a family this year. I started pulling out the passports about six months in advance to review dates and ascertain what all needed to be updated. Here are some things to remember:
If you do not wish to expedite your passport processing (and pay a bunch more) or have to visit a passport agency, get those forms in early! At least 3 months before you travel is my advice, but check the State Department website for their application information and current processing dates: https://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/passports/information/where-to-apply.html
Fill in your application on-line
You can fill in your application on-line and print it out, or print it blank at home and fill it in. Unfortunately, you can’t submit it on-line, but it’s very helpful to have everything completed before you go. Then you can take all the paperwork to your local post office or city hall to apply.
Make an appointment
Many locations now require an appointment to complete the process so call beforehand or check their website.
Look out for expiration dates
Passports are good for ten years for adults, BUT only five years for children under age 16. If your kids have had passports in the past, be sure they’re not expiring. I had to renew my daughter’s passport this year.
Renew if expiring in less than 6 months
If your passport is near the expiration date make sure it is good for at least SIX months after your planned travel. Some countries will not grant you entry if your passport is expiring in less than six months.
Both parents must be present to apply for kids’ passports
Are you getting passports for your kids? Keep in mind BOTH PARENTS must appear with the child to apply. If one parent cannot make it, there is another form that must be filled out and notarized. Generally, it’s easier for everyone to go together and get it done.
A note on pictures
When you have your passport photo taken wear a shirt without ornamentation or words across the front. Anything distracting may not be acceptable. Glasses are not allowed, and you will be encouraged not to smile. Also, a chair cannot appear in the passport photo behind the subject.
Make sure everyone traveling with you meets travel requirements
Does everyone traveling with you have a U.S. passport or another country passport? Make sure your entire party meets the requirements for each country you travel through. Don’t forget to include countries where you have only a layover to change planes.
Many years ago, before my husband was a U.S. citizen, he was traveling on his Georgia passport. We had a transfer in Frankfort for a flight to Munich and then another flight to Tbilisi, Georgia. In order to get the flight to Munich we had to change terminals to the national flights terminal. My husband was not allowed to leave the international flight terminal because he did not have a German visa in his Georgian passport. We ended up having to buy a ticket out of the international terminal to Zurich, take another flight back to Munich, and continue with our scheduled last flight to Tbilisi. It was my fault for not figuring this out before the trip, and we certainly paid for it! (The Zurich airport was beautiful though!)
How do you celebrate when that little blue book comes in the mail?
When your passport arrives in the mail first do a little happy dance. Allow some time to indulge in a little imagination spree about where you will go. Then, put it in a fire safe lock box, or some other location, where it can be kept safe and retrieved easily when it’s time for your trip. I suggest getting a passport holder to keep your tickets and passport while navigating airports, especially if traveling with children. It is difficult to dig out your documents while holding a child and pulling your carry-on so try a holder similar to this one.
Love your passport and the opportunities it opens up to you. You can see the world! Can you imagine?
Take advantage of your travel freedom, but realize it is a privilege not afforded to everyone. Learn about new places, definitely eat and drink well and locally, meet and respect the locals, learn from them, and breathe in the history of those who’ve gone before you.
I hope some of these passport tips and tidbits are beneficial to you! The State Department website is also user-friendly and has all the major details. Now get traveling!