With 15 girls at a 3 hour birthday party, I was in need of easy, enjoyable and fairly time consuming activities to keep the girls entertained. Miss M (my 7 year old) invited 2 of her friends (who had little sisters as guests at the party) to come along and I put them in charge of leading the games and crafts. It made Miss M feel very important and she loved guiding the younger ones. It also left me with a lot more time to concentrate on helping Miss E to greet the arriving guests.
We had a long low table that our neighbour lent to us and Mr Cotton Kiwi came up with the idea of balancing one of my market trestle tables on sturdy boxes to make a table the same height. We pushed them together and put a big cloth over both and then I sent my girls on a big cushion hunt around the house. It's amazing how many cushions you can rustle up in a party crisis! Miss M and her friends used a corner of the table and a chair to run a 'Mermaid Makeover' salon for guests when they arrived. We had pink sparkly sticky gems for earrings, some silver glitter hairspray and a treasure chest of jewels, should the mermaid feel the need to accessorise.
It was quite tricky making decisions on the best combination of items for your crown.
I made sure every child had their name written on the back of their crown and the first party game we played was a relay race with 2 teams. The girls had to crawl (mermaid swimming style) across the floor before climbing onto the rock (our ottoman), finding their crown, putting it on their head and 'swimming' back to tag the next team member. I have to say that it was a bit of a disaster as the vast majority of the kids had no idea about how to be in a team or about relay races. It hadn't occured to me that pre-school kids wouldn't have any experience of this kind of race. I think they had fun anyway and all of them got some lollies from the jar as a prize.
Another part of the craft table was a mermaid peg doll making station. I used this tutorial as the basis of the dolls but cut up pieces of yellow fleece into strips to use as the hair instead of yarn. I also painted the tail end of the pegs green in readyness for the party as I knew paint would be a disaster. The craft foam and fleece stuck on pretty well with a Uhu glue stick so there was no need for adult supervision at all. They used felt tip pens for the faces.
We played lots of other games including 'Mermaid, Mermaid, Fish' (Duck duck goose);, Mermaid statues and a hilarious game that involved popping balloons to get a challenge out and then completing the challenge. Again, not ideal for all 5 year olds as about 4 of the kids were frightened of the balloons popping. The others loved it though. I got my ideas for party games from here.
There was lots of dancing and an hours worth of enterainment from the lovely Mermaid entertainer.
We had afternoon tea about 40 minutes before the end of the party and then I just let the kids loose with balloons and a bunch of mermaid dolls and they entertained themselves for the last 20 minutes or so.
Hope you get some ideas from these posts!