Teaching Cleveland
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Elementary School Edition: K-5

Lesson 11

Children's Parties in 1896


Students will view a "slice of life" in the 1890s by reviewing the "party etiquette" of birthday parties in the 1890's including how to write the proper invitation and what games should be played at the party.



  1. How did children of the 1890s celebrate their birthdays?
  2. What are the differences and similarities of birthday parties in the 1890s with the 1990s?


  1. Ask students to share with the class different ways they have celebrated their birthdays. Did anyone have a party? How did you invite your guests? What plans did you make? Did you have a cake? What games or activities did you play?
  2. Share with the students the information for a successful children's party and the examples of proper invitations. Discuss the examples including comments on the formality, words used, time and length of the party, and location.
  3. Share with the students the different games that would be played at the party. What type of games did they play? How are they different? How are they the same? Would you have fun at this party today? Why or why not?
  4. Assignment: Have students plan a birthday party celebration for Cleveland. They are to design the invitation, plan the refreshments and games to be played. They should incorporate games from the past as well as games from the present, and perhaps develop a game of the future. They could invite other classes or parents to join in their celebration.

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