Silly shower games are fun when guests are in the mood. If not, there are plenty of other activities to amuse and engage your guests. A handwritten book of advice may be the best gift of all for an expectant mother. Or consider a group craft project. Below are some of our favorite activities.
Write a book
Buy a small blank book. Ask each guest to write a piece of advice in the book for the mother- or parents-to-be.
Expectant mother Arielle Ikeda of Forest Knolls, California, gave us a sampling of the words of wisdom culled from family and friends at her baby shower. “Most of the advice was about sleep – ‘Sleep when the baby sleeps,’ ‘Get as much rest as possible,’ ” she says.
But some of the more unusual advice was to remember that when she’s up at 2 a.m. nursing the baby – feeling exhausted and lonely – hundreds of other women are up with their babies too. Her favorite piece of advice came from the hostess: “Whatever works.”
A variation on the advice book involves asking each guest to write a wish or proverb for the baby. You could choose a favorite poem or quote, or write something original.
Arts and crafts
Craft projects can be a great activity at a shower if your guests are comfortable with the idea. You can float it by them ahead of time. Here are a few suggestions:
A quilting bee: Have your guests bring squares of favorite fabrics to the shower, or the host can provide the squares. They need to be a uniform size, though – 6 inches square works well.
At the shower, provide fabric pens or paint so each guest can decorate her square with a picture or a message for the baby. Then the group can sew the quilt together at the shower, or one person can take the squares home and put it together later. It’s a nice way to remember the day and get everyone involved in a group project.
A felt board: Choose a theme or a book and buy a felt board and felt. The guests trace shapes, cut them out, and glue on features. You could do an animal theme or numbers and letters. The possibilities are endless: Think of Goodnight Moon, Where the Wild Things Are, or The Cat in the Hat. When you’re done, the mom-to-be has a wonderful decoration for her nursery.
A handmade wall hanging or floor mat: This is a great group project – guests can help paint or design the mat – and it’s something any parent would cherish. “If you know the future parents’ taste and preferences and are artistically inclined, this can be a wonderful and unique gift,” says Jill Wood of A Child’s Eye View, a children’s design firm in Oakland, California.
“If you know the baby’s sex and name, you can even personalize it. You can take cues from the baby’s room or nursery. For instance, if it’s a nautical theme, the mat can be an ocean mural, or a circus scene if it’s clown wallpaper,” says Wood.
You’ll find everything you need at art supply stores. Use acrylic paints, a primed canvas mat, and a satin polymer varnish to seal it.
Prefired pottery at do-it-yourself shops: These studios offer a great setting for parties. You can host the shower at the shop and decorate plates, bowls, mugs, or picture frames for the expectant parents.
Blow by blow
Consider a piñata. The mom-to-be should be cautious about swinging a bat, of course, but this can be a great activity, especially if the shower is an outdoor event like a barbecue. Some party stores have appropriate shapes, such as a stork, bunny, or lamb. In addition to baby-themed candy (try mini Baby Ruths), fill the piñata with baby paraphernalia, like pacifiers, diaper pins, or tiny baby dolls.
A personal touch
Rituals can be nice. Suzi Lee of Davis, California, organized a small shower for her best friend. “There were only four of us, which made it intimate. Each of us had a candle wrapped as a gift. We lit a candle and said a blessing or poem for the baby.”
Suzi’s son gathered stones from a nearby river, and she put them in a dish, which became the candleholder.
A mum described a similar ritual from her shower: “There was a cake. Each of us lit a candle and made a wish out loud for the baby. The wishes reflected all our personalities. Then, like a birthday cake, I blew the candles out.”
15 minutes of fame
If you’re handy with your camera, consider making a video. Interview family and friends about the parents-to-be and ask who they think the baby will be like. Or produce a mock documentary about the family. Show the video during the shower, and make sure the parents-to-be get a copy to keep.
Another great idea is to make a video version of the advice book. During the party, go around to each guest and ask what advice they have for the new parents. Or better yet, ask them to address a message to the baby, either about the day, the family, or just offer some wise words to remember.
Or you could take a group photo with the mother-to-be in the center. Print the photo and ask guests to sign the back, and then place the photo in a special frame.