A Teddy Bears Picnic

If you went down to the woods last weekend, you would have been in for a big surprise. It was picnic time for teddy bears, and – as far as I could make out – those little teddy bears were having a wonderful time that day. And so were their mommies and daddies, who were invited to my son, Oliver’s fourth birthday party – a Teddy Bears Picnic.

I’ve wanted to have one of these for years, and this year seemed just right. The kids were old enough to enjoy what was going on, but not so old that bringing their teddy bear to a party is no longer cool.

So, the invite went out to four friends and their bears. Sadly, this year’s invitation went out via email, but my original intention was to send out hand-made cards, cut into a teddy bear shape with the details inside. Next time, for sure!

We held the party at Mission Creek Park, since it was the “woodsiest” location that’s still central and civilized. We nabbed a picnic table for the moms and kids, and spread a blanket for the bears to lounge on.

There was such a wonderful collection of well-loved bruins – and even one horse and a sock monkey – and they looked perfectly enchanting all bunched together.

After a chance to run around a bit and break the ice, the kids all gathered around the table for a round of Happy Birthday, followed by cake, ice cream, water melon, Teddy Grahams crackers and pink lemonade.

The birthday cake (baked and decorated by my mum and me) depicted a teddy bears picnic, complete with a Teddy Graham bears, Cheerios as plates, chocolate covered goji berries as kick balls and a couple of “sunbrellas” (we wouldn’t want those bears to burn!). The sides of the cake were done in chocolate icing and decorated in a basket weave, like a picnic basket.

After the refreshments, we tried to play a couple of games. Blind Man’s Bluff quickly turned into straight-ahead tag, which somehow transformed into the kids playing in the playground next to us for a bit.

After that, we had a teddy bear judging contest. Awards (the categories were created after seeing all the bears, to make sure everyone would get one) were given out for “Pinkest Bear,” “Monkiest Bear,” “Teddiest Bear,” “Biggest Bear” and “Growliest Bear.”

Each bear was awarded a special ribbon – a paper doiley with the award’s title on it, affixed with a cloth ribbon in back to make it look “authentic.”

As each won their award, their owner was allowed to choose a prize from the goodie bag.

After that, it was time to decorate the official loot bags – paper bags with ears cut into them to resemble a bear.

As they finished, their loot bags were filled: a bag of Gummy Bears, a curly straw, a hand-pressed teddy bear ornament with each child’s initial on it, and a CD with Songs for a Teddy Bear’s Picnic (featuring the songs “Teddy Bears Picnic,” “Me and My Teddy Bear,” “Let Me Be Your Teddy Bear,” “I Love My Teddy Bear,” and an instrumental version of “Teddy Bears Picnic”).

They didn’t quite last until six o’clock, like they do in the song, but after another play in the playground, those teddy bears were ready for their mommies and daddies to take them home to bed – because they were tired little teddy bears.

– Words and photos by Lori-Anne Poirier

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