Since this is Queen Victoria’s birth month (May 24th, 1819), a Victorian birthday party might find favour with kids born in this month. (Or even ones who just like Victorian Times.)
For costume ideas, visit:
DECORATIONS & OTHER PARTY ITEMS
Having small children grub up real linen tablecloths and napkins might not appeal, to you, but you should be able to find ritzy looking paper or plastic alternatives.
If your local shops don’t carry anything suitable, try:
Before eating, read kids the do’s and don’ts of Victorian mealtime etiquette.
and, as always, be mindful of guests’ allergies & religious observances.
Cucumber/Egg Salad/Ham & Cress/Salmon Sandwiches With The Crusts Cut Off.
Small Meat Pies
Curds & Whey (Be warned! Some – make that most – kids won’t like it.)
Scones with Jam
Trifle (an absolute must for a Victorian children’s party – minus the sherry, of course)
Home-Made Ice Cream
The birthday cake should really just be a plain Victoria Sponge (http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/mary_berrys_perfect_34317), but if kids want something fancier:
Union Jack Cake
Golden Carriage Cake (actually a Cinderella cake, but adaptable)
Steam Train Cake
The decorations on some of these cupcakes could possibly be incorporated onto a larger cake.
And if you really want a challenge:
Victorian Photo Frames
* If you have Photo Shop, you can take a photo of each costumed child and turn it into a sepia photo for the frame. Or take a close-up of each child, scour the Internet for photos of Victorian children, and interpose the modern heads. (And remember – they shouldn’t be smiling. Getting your photo taken was a serious business back then.)
Paper Doily Flower
Paper Doily Dove
For other craft ideas, visit:
GAMES & ACTIVITIES
Jackstraws: Now known as Pick-up Sticks
Hoop Rolling: Children roll hoops along with the help of a stick.
Oh, Great Queen: One child sits on a throne. Other children take turns to stand before the throne and, without laughing, say, “Oh, Great Queen (or Prince Consort), I adore thee and bow down before thee”. The ‘subject’ then stands there while the ‘queen/prince consort’ makes funny faces or does something else to make the subject laugh. If the subject does laugh, he or she takes over the throne.
Reverend Crawley’s Game: Why it is called Reverend Crawley’s Game, I could not say. By my time, it was called Chinese Tangles & was an English playground favourite. A game for a large number of players (at least eight, more are better) aged seven and up. To play, children stand in a circle and take each other’s hands – just NOT those of the kids next to them, thus creating a giant knot or tangle. The group then has to figure out how to untangle themselves without letting go hands. Alternatively, one child can remain outside the circle and direct the others how to move.
Party Piece (older kids): Children in Victorian times were expected to ‘perform’ for guests. Inform your guests ahead of time that they should be prepared to read, or recite a Victorian-era poem.
Nursery Rhyme Time: Adults recite a line from a nursery rhyme, without giving the name of the rhyme. Children try to guess which rhyme it is. Older kids can take turns thinking up hard-to-identify lines themselves.
Street Sweepers (Outdoor Game): In Victorian times, poor children could earn a bit of money by sweeping a clear path for people trying to cross a dusty street. Instead of having kids sweep dust, section off an area, fill it with balloons, arm kids with brooms, and see how long it takes them to clear the area.
Pickpockets: A ‘well-to-do Victorian boy or girl’ sits in the middle of a circle (eyes closed) with either a large handkerchief hanging from a coat pocket (for a boy) or reticule (for a girl). A ‘pickpocket’ from the circle then tries to sneak upon the ‘mark’ and relieve the mark of a handkerchief without him/her knowing. If caught, the ‘thief’ changes places with the mark.
Peppermint Sticks: Similar to pickpockets, except it’s a ‘shopkeeper’ holding a jar of peppermint sticks. Unsuccessful thieves change places with him/her. Successful ones get to keep what they have purloined.
Potato Race: Place as many rows of twelve potatoes as there are kids, with a basket at the end of each row, and a large spoon at the beginning. Kids race to see who can fill his/her basket first, using only their spoons to get the potatoes into the baskets.
Egg & Spoon Race: Give each child a spoon and an egg (hard-boiled or plastic) that they must balance on the spoon and carry one-handed to the finish line without touching it with the other hand (except to replace it on the spoon if it falls off en route).
And don’t forget old stand-bys like Charades, Blind Man’s Bluff, Hunt The Thimble/Slipper, London-Bridge-Is-Falling Down, and Musical Chairs, all of which were popular at Victorian parties.