June 13, 2011

Living From Scratch 5th Birthday Party

My son loves Star Wars. I mean, obsessively, loves Star Wars. Now, I'm an admitted geek, so this is probably my fault. That means that when he requests a Star Wars Lego party, I'm the one who has to make it happen. Even before I started this living from scratch stuff, I was a fan of good ol', hangin' at home birthday parties. I love planning events and I think that it's a bit more customizable when it's at home. I also think it's a bit more frugal. I paid about the same for the entire 2.5 hour party, with food, cake, favors, goody bags and activities as I would have for 1.5-2 hours at any of the local places that give kids' parties. And that would not have included cake or goody bags. So, what did I do? Let me tell you.

The party took place in the afternoon, so no meal was necessary. We had fruit salad, veggies with hummus, pretzels, oatmeal raisin cookies and of course the crazy-cool cake. A friend of mine made the cake and it was as yummy as it was cool. She's in the southeastern Michigan area and if you're interested in seeing more of her amazing work, check out her Facebook page: The Cake Mistress. To drink the kids had water, juice, or "Yoda Soda" (lime sherbet and lemon-lime soda).

Since this was a Star Wars party, the activities all revolved around Jedi Training. First, the kids decorated plain white paper bags with Star Wars stickers and markers. This was for their "Jedi Awards". The first Jedi Test was their piloting skills. I still have some of the original Star Wars toys that I've had since the first trilogy came out in the 70's and 80's. The piloting test consisted of a simple obstacle course that kids ran one at a time while carrying my old school X-Wing Fighter. Next, they pinned the lightsaber on General Grievous. The large General Grievous picture was drawn by my friend and the lightsabers the kids pinned on were printed from the web and glued onto cardstock.

After battling Grievous the kids had to find the "Galactic Treasure" that Darth Vader had hidden in our yard. These were small bags of Legos that we hid in the yard. I bought a large assortment of Lego blocks (not a kit, just a random mix of bricks) and divided them evenly into small bags. The final test was the building of their lightsabers. These were pool noodles that I cut in half and then decorated with black and silver duct tape to make the hilts. The kids decorated them with stickers. If the kids were older, I would've had them do the whole project.

After each test, every child got a small prize. There were bubbles, Darth Vader pencils, the Lego bags, bouncy balls with stars and, of course, the "lightsabers". In addition, each child got a small bag with a few pieces of candy at the end of the party. The kids also got some time to play with each other. Crazy, right? I know, but, believe it or not, they were perfectly happy playing on their own without every second being scheduled.

We decided that we would do a gift exchange instead of a traditional "everyone bring a gift for the birthday boy". We talked to our son beforehand and he liked the idea of all his friends being able to get a gift at his party. I just made a note on the invitation and told people to bring a gently used toy or to stay under $10 for a new one. To determine in what order the kids would choose their gifts, we played "Hot Chewbacca". The kids passed around a Chewbacca action figure while Star Wars music played. Whoever had Chewbacca when the music stopped, chose the next gift. The kids then waited until everyone had their gift and everyone opened theirs at the same time. It was a huge hit! The kids loved being a bigger part of the gift giving and everyone had fun testing out their gifts at the end of the party.

All-in-all, I would say this party was a great time. The kids all seemed to enjoy themselves and since there wasn't a meal served, my prep time and clean-up were fairly minimal.

Now it's time to start planning my baby's 1st birthday party in October!


Jen from Flint said...

Love the idea of the gift exchange, Ann. Great games, too!

Eco-Mom said...

I also love the idea of the gift exchange! What a great idea! Like Yankee Swap at a birthday party! :-)

Hi, I'm Alicia. i'm adding you to my blog roll. Please feel free to check out and follow my new blog, http://jemsroom.blogspot.com, and do the same! Peace!

Ann @ Living From Scratch said...

Thanks guys!

Welcome, Alicia-I'm off to check out your blog!

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