Wonder Kids Blog

Wayne Wonder Based in Gloucestershire in the U.K is one of the country's leading children's entertainers and winner of multiple awards across his field.

As a magician and children's entertainer I am constantly on the look out for new ideas, different takes on old ideas and practically anything I can add into my repertoire.  As a by product of this I come across or invent lots of ideas that for one reason or another I can't fit into my shows.  That doesn't mean that they are no good in fact many of them work great for ideas to try at home.  I only realised this after having my daughter and seeing how much she enjoyed them.  That's why I have created this resource, for families to visit take away what they want and try these things at home.  You have everything at your fingertips for great, easy and inexpensive ideas for your little ones at home.  Going out to new experiences and spending time together as a family is important if not crucial to a child's development but that doesn't mean you have to go out and spend lots of money every time, you can create amazing memories just by investing a little bit of time at home with these great ideas.

Here's my Facebook page  - https://www.facebook.com/WayneWonderEntertainment  

Pass the Parcel Ultimate Guide

Pass the Parcel is a classic party game for a reason, it works! Kids love it from 3 year olds to 7 or 8 year olds love it!  I even have a couple of versions for older kids too! I personally don’t use pass the parcel at my parties because it takes up too much time for me to use.  However I feel like it is a brilliant game for parents to use at parties because it takes up lots of time, involves everybody whilst offering lots of fun and everybody wins prizes, you cant ask for much more in a game.

Classic Pass the Parcel

Before the party wrap a small gift (bubbles, whistle, pack of sweets etc) in gift wrap. Tip: don't use too much tape as young children need to get into it.  Then add another prize and wrap that up on top of the first.  Keep going until you have enough prizes for every child.  If you’re not sure how many children you have coming to the party then first use my guest list below (keep scrolling down the page for it) and secondly make a few extra layers on top of how many you expect to arrive.  The birthday child can always win an extra prize along with their best friends or a shy child or even someone that has been super helpful.  

Playing the Game: Get everyone sitting in a rough circle, it doesn't have to be exactly a circle but using a round mat will help.  Start with the birthday child and when the music plays the kids pass the parcel, when the music stops the child rips open a layer to reveal a prize, this continues until everyone has a prize.  Remember you control the music and as such control who wins and when. Tip: rather then leave the stopping and starting to someone else try using a remote control for the music, the best type of remote to use is a RF (Radio Frequency) remote rather than an infra red one as infra red needs a line of sight which may be difficult with children. Bluetooth remotes are very popular these days and can be pretty good however I have found them to range from brilliant to terrible so be careful.

Easy Peasy Version

Use a fun lunch box with a zipper like the one above, fill it up with small prizes, no wrapping required.  Very important with this version is to not sit down with the children but to stay outside the circle and when the music stops, YOU need to undo the zipper and tell the child to pick ”A” prize.  Otherwise some children will grab a bunch.  This works best with small toys as prizes but it is a much quicker version than the classic version.

Xtreme Version

This is ideal for children aged 6+ and I have a way of doing this for children over 10yrs too.  Wrap each prize in two or three layers of wrapping but not neatly though, using plenty of tape.  You want it to look roughly like a ball like the one below. The idea is the same as the classic pass the parcel but this game is much tougher and more interesting for older kids, they can even stand in a circle rather than sit.  To make this game have a faster pace, use a dice.  When the music stops the child gets to unwrap the parcel and gets to keep as many prizes as they find whilst the child next to them rolls the dice, once they roll a six the music continues and they continue to pass the parcel.  This can make the game longer and can be much more manic particularly towards the end with the last few layers.  To make this work for even older children 8-13yrs wrap the prizes or sweets in cling film with tape (like above), this makes it a lot harder to un-wrap.

Something Different

For older children and for smaller parties try this.  I saw this idea at a 7 yr olds party and thought it was great.  What you need, a large slab of chocolate, one of those really big bars, the bigger the better, oven gloves, tray and a knife but nothing too sharp, a butter knife should work and a dice. The tray with the chocolate, gloves and knife is passed around to the music when the music stops a child puts the gloves on and tries to cut a piece off of the chocolate , every piece they cut off they can eat. The child next to them rolls the dice until they get a 6, then the music comes back on and the tray gets passed around again.  This went down a storm at the party I was at and againit gets manic towards the last few squares.  To make this even harder put the chocolate bar in the fridge overnight the night before.

Author

Wayne Wonder is one of the UK's leading family entertainers, a multi award winning magician and balloon artist, he's also a published poet and father of one.  As well as a few TV credits to his name Wayne has performed in three different countries.  Wayne Wonder's Kids Club was only launched in 2014 and since then has changed dramatically.  If you have found this blog helpful/interesting then please do let us know in the comments below.  Please do share these posts on your favourite social media too.

Guide to Piñata

Although Piñata’s are no way near as popular in the U.K as they are in the states they are getting more popular.  These aren't as simple as you may think and I have seen some go horribly wrong ending up with broken noses and broken fingers. I mean the adults not the kids!

Step 1

All pinatas have a designated opening for filling purposes. To find this area, look for the sticker on your pinata that says "press here to fill.” You can either press into that part of the pinata with your finger or carefully cut a U shaped flap using a knife or scissors. Make sure you do not tear or cut off this section because it will make a hole. Choose candy or small prizes that will fit into the hole (see pinata filler suggestions below) and place as many as you can inside the pinata. The bigger the pinata, the more prizes it can hold. After you fill the pinata, push the flap down or tape it in place. Hang your pinata with sturdy rope or string by its plastic handle. We suggest hanging the pinata about 1-2 feet above the guests' eye level. You can even use your pinata as a table decoration and then hang it when it's time to play the game. DO NOT HOLD THE PINATA UP WITH YOUR HAND

Piñata Fillers

Here is a list off some of the best items to fill a Piñata with.  I always prefer the pinto's that aren't full of just sweets but rather a mixture of little toys and sweets. A good rule of thumb is to fill a piñata with enough prizes so that everyone can have 3 or 4 each, depending o the amount of kids you may need more than one piñata.

  1. Chocolate Celebrations (not a good idea during the summer months)
  2. Moam's individually wrapped chewy sweets
  3. Little packs of Haribo's, available from every supermarket
  4. Animal shaped rubber bands
  5. Craft Stamps
  6. Chocolate coins (again not during the summer months)
  7. Kids plastic finger rings
  8. Fun Erasers

Playing Piñata 

before we start this, if you are hitting the piñata with a stick make sure it is hung up with string over a beam or on a hook, please do not be a macho Dad and think you can just hold it, you will get hurt!  I have also seen a really long wooden pole with a manat either end and the piñata hanging form the middle.  This worked well as the pole was so long that the two men were not anywhere near the piñata and they were able to hold it high enough for the game to work.  I have broken down how you play piñata according to the age of the guests. As with most games at parties the rules should be explained before you start to play, so here goes

3-5 yr olds

Its best to use a pull string Piñata for this age group.  These tend to be smaller piñata's and with this type you don't have a stick and you don't hit the Piñata at all.  They have strings hanging from the bottom of the piñata and each guests takes a turn to pull the a string like pulling the shortest straw.  We tried one of these for my daughters third birthday and found that the strings will need quite a tug on them to release the door that holds the sweets inside. Also there is the chance that the very first child to try puling a string may get the correct string and its game over straight away.

5-7 yr olds

Now you'll notice that 5 year olds are in both groups so far.  You can use your own judgement on how ready the children are for each way to play.  This is almost how the traditional Piñata's are played sans the blindfold.  At this age I wouldn't blindfold them as their co-ordination tends not to be brilliant and some younger ones may not like being blindfolded.  You should still explain clearly the rules of the game BEFORE you start, not during or after.  The rules are listed below.

7+ yr olds

Go all out for this one, blindfold the kids and spin them in circles just make sure you read the rules below and explain them to all the kids before playing.

  1. The kids need to line up from shortest to tallest, place a mat on the floor as the front of the line and make sure this is at least three feet away from the person with the piñata stick.  Why the height organisation? well generally the bigger the child the harder they will hit so this way its more likely that everyone will get at least one go.
  2. Each Child can only have 3-4 prizes, if you grab more you will have to share them.  When the Piñata breaks no pushing or shoving or you will lose all your prizes
  3. Make sure you have a back up stick, in my experience the stick that come with store bought piñata's are strong enough and often break, so make sure you have a broom handle or decent size stick as a back up.
  4. Each child gets spun three time in circles unless they are a much older sibling in which case go for it and spin them as many times as you can get away with, also make sure they are pointed in the wrong direction.  This always gets a laugh.
  5. Each child gets to hit the piñata three times, once they have had three goes they need to go to the back of the line.  
  6. ideally once the piñata is broken it would be great to give each child a small plastic party bag to fill with some prizes but in my experience once it breaks its every man for themselves.

Author

Wayne Wonder is one of the UK's leading family entertainers, a multi award winning magician and balloon artist, he's also a published poet and father of one.  As well as a few TV credits to his name Wayne has performed in three different countries.  Wayne Wonder's Kids Club was only launched in 2014 and since then has changed dramatically.  If you have found this blog helpful/interesting then please do let us know in the comments below.  Please do share these posts on your favourite social media too.

Guide to Inviting Guests

This is always a great thing to talk to your child about, they are either going to say they only want three friends or a hundred, I don't think there is going to be much middle ground.  Many entertainers impose limits on the number of children you can have so that is something to bear in mind if you are planning on having a professional entertainer at the party.  

This is because they know from experience that 20-30 kids works really well at parties.  Personally I don't set any limits in fact I actually set a minimum number at 15, so as long as you have more than 15 I'm happy.  You see many parents seem to think that having less children at a party actually makes it easier to keep them entertained but BELIEVE me it is the exact opposite.  

If you have less than 15 children it feels more like a few friends gathered around rather than a real party atmosphere with the noise and energy you would expect from a party and a good entertainer absolutely feeds off of that energy, if their is no energy the show is never as good.  Also children's confidence very much builds with numbers so less than 15 children makes the kids feel very self conscious and they are not going to communicate back to the entertainer nearly as much as a bigger audience would.  This leads me onto the main problem with less than 15 kids which is you will need to make sure you have loads of activities planned.  For example, for me in a 60 minute game show I would play maybe 5 or 6 games so thats about one game every ten minutes.  With less than 15 kids this easily goes up to about 8 games.

Why set an upper limit?  I'm not sure, personally I love big parties, as long as the kids can fit into the venue and are not packed in like sardines, then big parties always seem to go down a storm for me and I make sure that my show is big enough for everyone to get involved with.  Please do take a look below at my past blog posts for my FREE party guest list that you can print off which should help you to organise all the kids coming.

All Boys vs All Girls 

Here's a good thing to discuss with your little ones.  Most kids would have a preference, personally I don't mind either way, as long as I know before hand so I can prep my show accordingly.  I know some entertainers will not do all boy parties which I think is a great shame as I have had some brilliant parties with an all boy audience, the energy is crazy!  Ideally having a few more girls than boys really makes a huge difference in lowering that boisterousness that can get out of control with too many boys.

So to recap, ideally you should try to get more than 15 kids but less than 35 and have a good mix of boys and girls.  I hope you have found this post useful and make sure you come back soon for more great tips and advice.  You are currently on my Wonder Kids Blog so don't leave just yet, take your time and have a look around using the search bar at the top of the page or by scrolling down a little more. There are great games and craft activities you can do at parties and great inexpensive ways to keep the kids amused during those rainy days too.

Author

Wayne Wonder is one of the UK's leading family entertainers, a multi award winning magician and balloon artist, he's also a published poet and father of one.  As well as a few TV credits to his name Wayne has performed in three different countries.  Wayne Wonder's Kids Club was only launched in 2014 and since then has changed dramatically.  If you have found this blog helpful/interesting then please do let us know in the comments below.  Please do share these posts on your favourite social media too.