October through January are very busy months for me. My youngest son's birthday is near the end of October (as mentioned in my entry about the "Baby Stinky Costume") and then we move right into Halloween. From there I blink and Thanksgiving is upon me with Christmas on it's heels. And then BOOM! The year is over and my First Born's birthday is right on top of me. Yup, that is definitely where the time goes.
Well, New Year's Resolution time…get back to blogging about all my "creativity adventures." There was LOTS that I did between my last entry and right now, but I'll start with the one that is the most current in my memory...My First Born's Skylanders Adventure Party!
I started with the "theme" parties right off the bat. Son #1 had a Football party for his first birthday (it happened to fall on Super Bowl Sunday and our team was in he game...how could it NOT be football themed?). You could say I cursed myself, but honestly, I really enjoy it. I know that it may seem to some that I'm going "above and beyond," but what I pull together really doesn't cost me a whole lot and it is typically something I can pull together in a week or two (with LOTS of late nights…but hey, that's how I roll).
Let's remember, Creativity is my super power, so themed parties just come to me naturally.
So Son #1 asked for a Skylanders party. Both my boys are BIG into Skylanders, and have loads of the figures, but honestly, I didn't know much about the topic. So off to the Internet I went....
FIRST STEP, hit Pinterest and see what others have done for inspiration. There were of course lots of great ideas. I noticed that lots of people played off of the different characters to come up with game ideas. There was also lots of ideas around the different "elements" that each character gets their "powers" from. (You can check out my Pinterest Party Board here to see the types of stuff I pinned)
SECOND STEP, learn who the different characters were and what each one did. I was able to get this info via Wikipedia pages—so helpful. I started making lists of the different characters under the different elements and brainstorming ideas for games and such.
|My brainstorming list for games and activities for the Skylander party.|
Invitation CreationBetween the Christmas/New Years break and the snow days after the first of the year, I had to make an invite quickly for my son to bring to school the Monday before the party. I asked him who his favorite Skylanders were and I was able to find images of Wash Buckler, Stink Bomb, and Blast Zone on the Internet. I had seen the idea of customizing the Skylanders logo to include the child's name, so I decided to do that for my son. He thought it was the best thing EVER! I pulled all the elements together into a 4x6 layout and saved it as a JPG. I sent the layout to my phone and then from my phone, through an app (I love Kicksend), to Walgreen's. I had a dozen invites ready to go an hour later.
|Skylanders Party Invite - I cropped the top half as seen here to use for decorations. |
I printed full 4 x 6 copies at the local Walgreens. Quick and inexpensive!
Decor GaloreOnce I had the invite done, I used the elements from the layout to make decorations: banners, garlands, table decor, and cake toppers.
To add to the decor, I also downloaded files for all the Skylander elements: Wind, Life, Undead, Earth, Fire, Water, Magic, and Tech (I knew there were different "elements" in the game, just didn't know there was so many!!) I used the Elements graphics for party garland and for cupcake toppers.
All my decorations are typically made out of paper. It's easy…at least for me! For the decorations, I just print out color copies of the graphics, trim them out (sometime silhouetting them—which I do by hand. I don't have a Cameo...which I would LOVE to have) and tape or glue them, whatever works best.
|Assorted Skylanders Party decorations. Garlands and banners. Tabletop decor and cake toppers.|
Let Them Eat Cake!Or should I say "cupcakes". Several birthday parties ago I discovered that doing cupcakes was WAY easier than getting an actual cake. Why? Because you don't have to worry about cutting anything (it can get SO messy). It also saves time. The kids just grab themselves a cupcake after the candles are blown out. Super simple!
I order the cupcakes from the local market's bakery. I'd loved to make them myself, but that would be just one more thing I'd have to do. It's way easier to just order them plain and add my own decorations. For the Skylanders party, I ordered just white frosted cupcakes, because I wanted them to feel "cloud like." I made Skylanders Elements "toppers" (printed on card stock and punched out with a 2" hole punch), which I placed on top of each "cupcake cloud."
I did also do a small round cake as the "centerpiece". This is usually just to hold the main decor of the "Birthday Cake", but this time it also got eaten (we had a LOT of people).
For the cake decorations, I found a paper craft "portal" online that I downloaded, printed out on cardstock and put together (you can downloade it here). Worked perfectly! (Tip: when doing paper cake/cupcake decorations, be sure to use inks that are NOT water soluble. If it's typical ink jet ink, then the ink could run once it comes in contact with the frosting). I then printed out one of the Skylander images I used on the invite, trimmed him out, and attached him to the portal. I did also glue the whole piece to a large plastic cover, so that the paper portal wasn't sitting directly on the cake.
|Skylanders centerpiece cake and Element cupcakes.|
Keeping Them Busy
Over the years I have developed a formula for all our parties:
- Coloring/Crafting Activity as guest arrive
- 1 - 2 Games
- Let the kids run around
- 1 Game
- 1 (more) Game
- Goodie Bags
*I use to do presents second to last, but this part of the party sometimes gets really out of hand…all the kids reaching for the gifts, wanting to (help) open them. I've started to wait until most of the guest are gone so it's a little more calm. Usually there will be a few people who'll hang out afterwards to join in on the fun.)
This time around we had a REALLY big group…26 kids!!!! I wanted to keep the "running around" to a minimum and decided it was best to try and keep to a schedule and keep them busy.
We started out having each child choosing a Skylander they wanted to be and make a name tag that included the Element they wanted to be. With such a large group, I decided I would break the kids up in groups for each game—by their Element. This worked out very well.
|Skylander Name Tags. Each guest choose a name and an Element.|
I also had some coloring sheets to keep them busy as guest arrived. You can find all sorts of color pages online. download and print - DONE!
Once all the guests had arrived, we started with the games...
Sonic Boom & Star Strike's Sheep Corral
I split the kids up into 2 teams. Each child in each team had to "corral" one balloon "sheep" into a "holding pen" using either a balloon inflator hand pump (Sonic Boom) or a plastic fan (Star Strike). The team with the most sheep won.
|Sonic Boom & Star Strike's Sheep Corral|
Trigger Happy's Target Practice
Used Nerf plaster with suction cup bolts to shoot at a target I had made on a large mirror. Kids were broken up into the same two teams as the last game.
|Trigger Happy's Target Practice|
Trigger Happy's Coin Toss
2 teams once again. Each team got a bunch of plastic coins and had to throw them into their bucket. The one with the most in their bucket, won.
|Trigger Happy's Coin Toss|
Wrecking Ball's Element Grab
I had made a bunch of Element Cards on card stock. I placed them on the floor in a square area and had each child come up to the "Element Well" and try to "grab" their Element with a "sticky hand" (like Wrecking Ball's tongue). The person who grabbed their Element first, won!
|Wrecking Ball's Element Grab|
Shroom Boom & Eruptor's Troll Attack
A simple game of tossing a ball at a stack of "cans" (trolls). I had found some cool bouncy balls that looked liked cooling lava (though green, not orange) and blinked when tossed. The players got to decide if they wanted to shoot them off with a slingshot (like Shroom Boom) or just throw them (like Eruptor). They quickly realized that throwing was easier….but it was fun trying to use the sling shot.
|Shroom Boom & Eruptor's Troll Attack|
Thank You TreatsFor Treat/Goodie Bags, I used dark blue lunch bags (Tip: I found these bags at Target in the paper bag/plastic sandwich bag aisle. They cost less than $2 for 40. Way cheaper than the same size bags you find over in the party aisle) and made little "Thank You" tags that used the Skylanders logo I had on the invite. I had seen this look on Pinterest from another party and I liked how simple and easy it was. I filled the bag with stickers, tattoos, a bouncy ball, some candy, and a print out of a Happy Meal activity sheet, that I again, found online.
|Skylanders Treat Bags / Goodie Bags|
|A gift Walker got from one of my "creative" friends. She always makes a custom tag for the present. The Skylander bag was found at Target...which was PERFECT timing for the party...he got 3!|
It was a loooong and crazy day with lots of "children corralling", but when it was all said and done, Son #1 said "Mom, it was the BEST party EVAH!!!!" That is really what it's all about….making memories.
|Birthday Boy and his little brother Sprinkles|