This year marked the twentieth anniversary of Mary Pope Osborne’s first Magic Tree House book, Dinosaurs Before Dark. To celebrate the anniversary, we had a Magic Tree House party here in the Children’s Room.
I set up stations around the room where kids took part in activities related to nine of the forty-eight (and counting!) titles in the series. I tried to have a variety of activities available and included a snack as well. Pulling everything together (and reading as many of the books as I could) took some time, but the party itself was relatively easy to set up and manage. I provided checklists at the door so everyone would be sure to visit each station.
Some books lent themselves more readily to activities than others. I will admit the connection between some of these activities and their books is sort of a stretch. Another way I simplified things was drawing from items we already had available from previous Children’s Room programs.
Here are the items I put on the checklist, with the related activities.
#1 Dinosaurs Before Dark
On their first adventure, Jack and Annie go back in time and see several types of dinosaurs.
How many dinosaurs can you identify?
I created cards using this pattern I found at the Dino Dan website. I put the picture of a dinosaur on one side of the card with its name printed on the back.
#3 Mummies in the Morning
In this book, Jack and Annie travel to Ancient Egypt and learn about writing called hieroglyphics.
Write your name using hieroglyphics.
I used a worksheet I found on the Great Scott Graphics website.
#8 Midnight on the Moon
Jack and Annie travel to the moon in this space adventure.
How many moon rocks can you toss into the craters on the moon?
I created a ball tossing game I found in a children’s activity book in our collection. I took a large piece of cardboard and cut it into a circle. Then I attached five or six cups (with the bottoms cut out) randomly around the board bottom-side up. I covered the whole thing with a piece of gray fabric we had in our craft supplies using spray adhesive, cutting out holes over each of the cup openings. Then the kids threw balls into the holes.
#10 Ghost Town at Sundown
This book takes place in a Wild West ghost town.
Pretend to be a cowboy or cowgirl and try to toss a ring around a cactus.
This was one of the activities that was a bit of a stretch. Cactuses weren’t really an integral part of this book, but we had a cardboard cactus ring toss game we’d used in a program before, so I just went with it.
#12 Polar Bears Past Bedtime
In this Arctic adventure, Jack and Annie try on polar bear masks worn by the native Arctic people.
Make your own polar bear mask.
I found this great craft idea on the I Heart Crafty Things blog.
#19 Tigers at Twilight
This adventure in India begins with an excerpt from William Blake’s poem “The Tyger”.
Write your own animal poem.
I placed an illustrated copy of The Tyger at the station and provided lined paper and pencils for the kids to write their own poetry.
#28 High Tide in Hawaii
Jack and Annie make new friends and taste some new things at a luau when they visit Hawaii.
Drink some pineapple punch.
I found a recipe for pineapple punch online, and we played hula music at this station as well.
#39 Dark Day in the Deep Sea
Jack and Annie try to save an octopus from a net in this adventure.
Catch as many fish as you can without trapping an octopus in your net!
I used water tables, nets, and foam fish that we use for summer programs.
#47 Abe Lincoln at Last
Jack and Annie go back in time to meet President Abraham Lincoln.
Taste one of the President’s favorite snacks.
At the time, this was the most recent Magic Tree House title published, so I wanted to include it, but I had to stretch a bit to come up with something to go with it. According to a few sources, one of the president’s favorite snacks was gingerbread. Unfortunately, it’s pretty hard to find gingerbread in the summer, so we had ginger snaps instead.