Friday, November 22, 2013

zak's crazy star wars(ish) birthday party

On Saturday, my little boy turned 7. SEVEN. How do I have a seven year old? And a five-and-a-half year old? And an almost-three year old and ohmygod soon another newborn (WHAT am I thinking?! I can't even blame it all on a surprise because we WANTED four. But now that we're almost here... eek!)

Anyway, my little Star Wars-OBSESSED boy turned seven and wanted a Star Wars party. I wasn't really keen on a theme - is he too old now? Don't kids that age just want to run around and play fights and be crazy? So those two ideas collided immediately and I decided I'd do the latter with a bit of a minor Star Wars twist to it. Why the heck not! Here's what we did - glamour and Pinterest-style perfect photo opportunities did NOT feature at this party. Fun, mess and noise did.

Inspired by Brooke from Inchmark's Valentines a few years back, these invites were literally created in half an hour before I had to pick Zak up from school. Thank you to my printer for running out of ink and printing sooo incredibly badly. There was a hand-written message on the backs of all invites: sorry for the incredibly late notice (less than a week) and for the incredibly bad print quality. As usual, though, the kids just loved the fact they had a sherbet stick light sabre stuck on a parrty invite and couldn't care less about the fact they font was splotchy and not all black. GOSH they're easy to please!

ACTIVITY 1: Jedi Training Camp

So we started with Jedi Training Camp - a bit of an obstacle course with all those things little boys (and girls) like to do - whack each other, jump, shoot things and get wet and messy (if they choose to). We recently rescued a bunch of tyres from our local waterway - not just because we're nice citizens, but because we decided to use them to grow potatoes (clearly we haven't started yet). So they kicked off the course nicely - the kids had to run through them army-style...

 ...Next up was light sabre training - two jedis-in-training whacking each other with half a pool noodle "light sabre". Well actually the rules were they could only hit the noodle - not each other. Aside from a few hiccups and one or two deliberate body smack-downs, they stuck to this rule and had a ball. The first to fall off the balance beam or lose their weapon had to move on to the next activity...

 ...Shooting the bad guys! Of COURSE. I am pretty sure this was everyone's favourite. I wish I had splurged on more cans of that crazy string so they could have just had a crazy string fight - maybe if there had been half the amount of children (we had around 25!). My kids aren't allowed to play with guns (toy ones, obviously. Real ones? No worries - KIDDING). I hate them and they are banned. So what do I do? Why I go and buy them crazy string guns and SPRAYPAINT THEM BLACK SO THEY LOOK LIKE PROPER GUNS so they can shoot bad guys. But really, there is no other chance for them to play with the things so they might as well make the most of it. What were the bad guys? Well they used to look like this...

I drew them (copied from Google - thanks Google) with a black pen and did some incredibly juvenile colouring in with said pen and a couple of coloured pencils. I also attempted Yoda who turned out a little special and probably more like a gremlin, but they got the gist. So there were two goodies and three baddies on cardboard and stuck on metal poles in the ground. Our mini jedis didn't care too much about Yoda or R2D2's goodness - they pretty much just shot them all, though Darth Vader and Darth Maul did cop a LOT of crazy coloured string. I was slightly sad my pictures were ruined - I quite like the stormtrooper - he'd look pretty cool on Zak's bedroom wall whenever we get to do his room. Might be a repeat project... 

Jedi Zak is on a mission... 
Last up in the obstacle course was the Dagobah Swamp - a small kiddie pool filled with Gelli Baff and a couple of pavers as stepping stones. They had to not fall in the slime - that came later.... I originally wanted them to swing over this pool on a rope swing but seeing as the only place we could hang a rope was on the edge of our pergola, it wasn't safe enough as the pool would be half on concrete - so a no go. This worked out better, apparently, as Luke Skywalker did walk through stepping stones in the swamp - Steve told me so. (I wouldn't know. I always fall asleep in Star Wars. I only recall Han Solo being put in that freezie thing - I thought they snapped his neck.)

ACTIVITY 2: Alderaan Asteroid Field 
So after the kids get to whack each other (oh wait, the noodle) and then shoot the bad guys, what is next? Why a food fight, of course. I spent a couple of hours making a whole bunch of these marshmallow poppers. Originally I was thinking some kind of sling shot, but found these on Pinterest. They're paper cups (doubled up for each popper) with the bottoms cut off and taped with masking tape. Then a balloon is tied at the bottom and the tip cut off. It's then stretched over the opening and the kids place a marshmallow into the cup, pull the knot, aim and let it go! And do they go! I wouldn't put anything other than a marshmallow into it though! Hello blindness....
 They LOVED this. I was worried about the sticky mess that would be my grass afterwards but I only picked up about 10 marshmallows all up. I think Immy did a great job of hoovering in the middle of the battle - and most of the kids just picked them up and ate them as well. They had an absolute ball.

Ready. Aim. FIRE!

ACTIVITY 3: Death Star Planet Destruction Zone 
Instead of a pinata this year, we did the same as we did at Zak's family party last year - lolly-filled balloons the kids have to throw a dart at to pop. This was the talk of Zak's class before the party had even begun, apparently, after Zak mentioned it in news and all the kids eagerly awaiting invites so they could pop a balloon with a dart (how novel! bless them.) 

So they all lined up with their black and white striped paper bags (cleverly lined up against the food table so they could keep themselves amused stuffing faces rather than being bored in a line) and took turns throwing the dart (heavily supervised by my brother-in-law - a teacher at the kids school, so no one dared do the wrong thing!). They WERE the death star and got to destroy a "planet" by popping a balloon. 

So the balloon popped, the lollies fell to the ground, they picked them up and yay! Done. No fighting over who got more lollies from the pinata and no painful "only one hit and not too hard because everyone needs to have a turn" on repeat - also a downfall of pinatas.

ACTIVITY 4: Gungan Underwater World
I have no picture of this because I was the entertainment here. I made up a batch of great bubble mix and whipped up some string and skewer wands and created some giant bubbles which the kids ooohed and ahhed over and then had fun chasing and popping. FINALLY a mixture that actually works and I didn't even have to use Joy liquid soap (which all the good recipes call for).

ACTIVITY 5: Dagobah Swamp Lucky Dip
As thank you gifts for the kids, I grabbed a bunch of fun and super-cheap gifts- moustache and skeleton pencil ends, tiny water pistols, whoopie cushions and playdough. One of each of these things was paired with a punch balloon and placed inside a zip-lock bag. They were then thrown into the slime pool and the kids had to grab them out of the slime. 

In my head, they had to really swish around in there and get dirty finding a packet. In reality, the slime - although blue - was a very, very translucent blue and the bags floated, so not quite the cool lucky dip I envisioned. But that did not stop them from having fun - some still jumped in!

 And then, with cake done and all the planned activities over, out came the water guns. They spent the next half an hour or so just getting soaked, jumping in the slime pool and enjoying more noodle light sabre fights around the yard. It was incredibly loud, crazy and messy but I absolutely LOVED seeing all these little kids enjoying being little kids and doing all those things they're not really allowed to do at home. They loved it. Zak had a few moments of not loving it (he gets a bit overwhelmed with so many people around), but still mentioned later his favourite part was the obstacle course (and not all the Star Wars Lego he got as presents, which I was happy about!) And apparently, it was a hit with other kids too - Zak wasn't the only one to talk about it at news on Monday, which amused me!

So I have learned - as I do every party - that kids honestly don't give two hoots about what a party place looks like. What decorations are strung up. If your food matches the theme exactly. Or if there is a candy buffet. I did none of these things, plus my house was a tip as we had bathroom stuff everywhere for our renovation, a room full of sawdust from floor sanding that I didn't bother cleaning up (doors are there for a reason) AND there had been major storms the night before so everything was wet and gross. But they didn't care one bit! As you can see, below. I am sooooo grateful to the weather gods for not raining on the day - it was meant to, but the rain stayed away until nightfall. Phew!

And so that is another party done! Yay!

{All pictures by Belinda Graham for The Happy Home}

1 comment:

  1. Awesome ideas Belinda, i'll be giving those bubbles a try for sure. Off to Flower Power for a bamboo stake or two!
    I wholeheartedly agree about parties being memorable and amazing without the candy buffet etc. I've seen cakes in magazines that look like Monet got his hands on kids help me make and decorate all of their cakes and no doubt they'll remember the process of that a bucketload more than having it look perfect on the day.