Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Knights & Dragons Birthday Party

Tobin is a party planner after my own heart. Shortly after last year's Space party, he'd already decided that for his next birthday he wanted a "Knights and Dragons" party.

It was an easy party to put together. We got back from Texas on Sunday 3/18 and I realized that the following Sunday was really our best/only option for his party. I didn't get much else done last week other than mountains of post-vacation laundry, cleaning the house, and getting things together for the party. But a party you can get ready for in one week? AWESOME.

This was Tobin's first friend party - we've always just had family in the past. And this child takes friends SERIOUSLY. We managed to limit the guest list to 12 kids - we ended up with 10, including our own 2 littles and 2 cousins. But he wanted to invite every friend we saw, and each new friend he's met since the party. Sunday we met a family with an Ethiopian born daughter, and he played with them for about 30 minutes before Luke's soccer game, while I talked adoption with the mom. And Tobin said, "Can we invite Grace & Zelly to my birthday party?" Um, honey, we don't really know them, and your birthday party was last week....

When Tobin was a baby, I had a dragon costume for him and a knight costume for Luke for Halloween. Tobin wore Luke's old costume for the party. I had a super cute knight costume I got on clearance a few years back, thinking Tobin could wear it and our next baby could be the dragon. And then we didn't ever have another baby. That knight costume is now the perfect size for Micah, but he wasn't having any of that!

We used toys and things we already had for decoration (like our awesome pop up tent thingy, which was the best purchase we made last year)...

Kool-aid was made fancy by plastic goblets from the dollar store, and grapes and cheese cubes with little sword toothpicks were a hit.


Each kid had a shield with a special knight/lady name. To make the shields, I traced the plastic shield we had (from Dollar Store) onto foam board a bunch of times, cut them out and spray painted them silver. I used duct tape to make handles on the back.

I got the idea for the knight names at Family Fun, but rather than playing a game to assign names, I just decided ahead of time (so we wouldn't have to take time in the party to write names on the shields.) I had a bunch of stickers for the kids to decorate their shields - this is what they did as we waited for everyone to arrive.

Luke and I also made a ton of balloon swords... Because knights need swords, but I've lived with boys long enough to know that I wasn't handing out anything remotely sword-like in a crowd of kids. I can't even give my kids chopsticks because they use them for a sword fight! I found a couple of places that explained how to make balloon swords, but this one was the best. In case you want to make some yourself - I thought Luke & I could blow up the balloons. For these long balloons, we found an air pump to be totally necessary. Not because we got light headed (which is what I expected), but because we were physically incapable of blowing the balloons up at all by ourselves.

After the sword fighting demolished most of the balloons, we headed to the back yard for our Dragon Egg hunt. I spray painted about 24 cheapo easter eggs with the same silver paint I used on the shields, then filled those along with every other egg we had. Luke loved hiding them for me, and we hid a few in easy places on the deck for our youngest knights (the rest were more challenging - Tobin continued to find eggs in the back yard for a week.)

After everyone had eggs in their bags, we broke out the cupcakes. I love having cupcakes at a kid party. Luke's first party (that I was in charge of - the year he turned 6) was a pirate party. I was an overachiever back then, and made him the awesome pirate ship cake from the Family Fun site. Then I watched him blow all over it, only to have him announce just as the door shut on the last friend, "My throat hurts." Yep. He blew strep throat all over that cake.  Anyway: CUPCAKES!

Besides wanting to invite friends, Tobin's only other request for this party was a pinata. I was a little worried about this, since we just had a week to find one. But they had an awesome dragon pinata at the local party store - and this is what set our color scheme for the party.

 After we were finished with treats, we lined the kids up on the deck and let them go at it (I was happy to have a set up where it seemed like no one would get whacked with the bat...although the successful batter did throw the bat at the end, so watch for that.) We only made it halfway down the line before Mr. Dragon got busted wide open. Thankfully, Tobin DID get a turn at bat. I hadn't even thought about what would happen if the birthday boy didn't get a turn to swing... I did reserve some of the candy - it wouldn't all fit in the dragon anyway - and after the kids finished with the pinata, I dumped more candy in their bags, making sure everyone went home with a good amount.

After the candy had all been snatched up, we had "jousting games." I just set up games we already had - a kickball croquet set and some other yard games. I also set up the bubble machine my parents bought for the boys while we were in Texas. I always thought those things were a racket ("back in my day, we just blew bubbles like normal people!"), but with young kids constantly spilling bubble juice everywhere? A bubble machine is a GREAT idea. It was a fun party treat too, the kids loved it.

I planned the party for an hour and a half, and the kids had 20ish minutes to play at the end of the time. Easy peasy. And suitable for boy and girl guests, which is good since we have girl cousins and several of T's closest friends are girls. Yay for knights and dragons!!

(I took pictures of T with each of his guests as they left...hence no pics with the cousins, since they stayed for dinner.)

If you are thinking of throwing a Knight party yourself, check out my pinterest birthday board, I have lots of fun ideas pinned - some of them WAY too elaborate or expensive for me, but still super cute.