I was somehow made the “Room Mom” at my daughter’s school. I honestly don’t know how it happened, if I signed up without noticing or what, but it has been a fun adventure planning parties for 50 kids! My daughter is in a Duel Immersion program at her school. Half the day she learns in English, and the other half she learns in Spanish. The Spanish has been lots of fun as it makes it easier for her to communicate with my husband’s family. One holiday that is celebrated is Three Kings Day or Dia de Los Reyes Magos on January 6th. I was excited to plan a party about this as it was something that was new to me! My husband is from Ecuador and this is not a holiday they celebrate there. It is mainly celebrated in Puerto Rico, Mexico, Spain, and other European countries.
Three Kings Celebration actually begins on Christmas Eve and during the next 12 days there are fun traditions and preparations for the Three Kings Day Celebrations on January 6th. January 6th is the end of the 12 days of Christmas and it also celebrates when the 3 Wise Men arrived to the baby Jesus to bring him gifts. All the activities I chose to have the kids do were supposed to help them understand Three Kings Day as a holiday and experience some traditions that are done by different countries.
The first activity was thanks to my local Burger King. I stopped by and asked if I could have 60 crowns, and they were more than happy to help me out! In most of the countries that celebrate, they have people who dress up like the three kings, and many of the people dress up or have fun masks to add to their celebration or parade. The kids used Elmer’s Glue and made a design on the back side of the crown. We had an adult do the glitter part of it (to avoid too much of a mess).
We then had some gems ( I found a small tub at Wal-mart for $5 in the craft section) and some fun pompoms. Another mom brought some fun stickers and cute buttons for the kids to decorate any way they liked.
The second activity was to play Sculpting Pictionary with words that help describe Three King’s Day. I was a little nervous for this one – I wondered if the kids would be able to make/guess the words, but they did so great! We had them divide into two teams and they had to take turns guessing. This was one of the louder activities as they all really got into it, but I liked this one as it was pretty easy to prepare for.
Here’s a list of the words I had for the kids to guess. I just wrote them on some construction paper and had this small bowl to choose from.
Nativity Baby Jesus
The third activity was for the kids to make their very own 3D origami star. One of the other moms was in charge of this one. We set apart 15 minutes for each station, but trying to teach 10-11 kids to get each step right took a little more time than I had thought. My daughters teachers were kind enough to let us have a bit more time so each of the kids could finish, and they turned out so cool!
We used origami paper, but you could use really any thin type of paper you like- like some prettyscrapbook paper. One thing while folding I found out is that you HAVE to fold them exactly as the instructions say, or the paper fold will be opposite and will not fold in or out the way it should – this will make it so the 3D affect will not work out. We followed the directions from Paper Star by Annekata, and once I knew to fold certain folds on the white side and certain folds on the colored side, the stars were easy!
With the fourth activity you may be wondering what in the world is in the image pictured above. Well, I would probably call it The Saran Wrap Candy Ball Game. We did this one because on January 5th the kids leave their shoes out and the wise men will leave them presents and candy that they had asked for in a letter they wrote a few days earlier. This was by far the loudest and most fun for the kids. You start by getting a small container and put a little toy and some candy in it. Then you start rolling it up in saran wrap. Here and there you add pieces of candy as you roll it, which gives the kids an incentive to un-roll it as fast as they can. They all sit in a circle and one person begins un-rolling the ball as the person next to them rolls the dice. Once they roll doubles of any kind it is their turn to start un-rolling. Any candy that falls out during their turn is theirs, and they continue to do so until the they get to the middle. My awesome neighbors donated unwanted Christmas candy to the cause and the kids just loved it! I used one whole roll of saran wrap, and it lasted about 15 minutes total, and all the kids were able to have some candy.
The fifth and last activity was more relaxed. They were able to listen to a book being read and enjoy a treat. On Three Kings Day a cake called Rosca de Reyes is served. It is a soft bread ring that has dried furit and nuts on top to decorate it. There is a small, porcelain baby Jesus baked into it. Whomever finds the baby Jesus in their slice gets to cook dinner for the family and host a party on February 2nd. I just love this idea of being able to host a party! These rings run at about $35 to feed a crowd so I thought the kids could decorate their own ring – a glazed doughnut with some red/green M&M’s. One of the mom’s surprised me and bought a Rosca de Reyes, but I was not able to get a picture before it got eaten. When we did our own little celebration at home, my kids and I made some 🙂
The books I found at the library and liked the most were these two, I am sure each library has other options, but these two were the ones that I felt taught the most about the holiday. One taught about Three kings Day traditions in Mexico, while the other taught about traditions in Puerto Rico.
And there you go my friends! I love learning about other countries and their fun tradtions, and the “why” behind them all. This is a celebration I am sure my kids and I will do each year because we all enjoyed it so much!
See the Happy!