Monday, March 8, 2010

A Superhero Was Born

I absolutely love birthday parties, the planning and the celebrating. But I have to keep things simple in order to keep with a minimal budget, and to keep from feeling overwhelmed.

We have a lot of little superheroes running around here. Being the favorite of our pretend-play repertoire, we went with the superhero theme for all of their birthdays.

(these are sample invites)
My oldest son turned five this past year. His birthday falls between Thanksgiving and Christmas, such a busy time. Add some travelling in there, and things get downright hectic. I wanted customized invitations, but due to time and budget I decided to go with print your own custom invitations. I used Cards By Carolyn, who was wonderful to work with and superfast as well.

I try to keep party games simple and classic. (Stephmodo just did a great post on this.) Besides reminding you of your own childhood, they usually don't need any (or limited) supplies. I think playing traditional games makes it easier for the children because they are familiar with them. The kids can just focus on the fun instead of learning new rules. Also, most of the games we played had no clear winner/loser so that the situation wasn't too competitive.

We did Hot Potato (pass the kryptonite) and Follow the Leader (the leader wears a superhero mask, and then gives directions such as march in place, spin around, walk backwards, dance, stand on one foot, etc.) We also did a Wonder Woman’s Lasso where two adults volunteed to be the 'bad guy'. The kids put them in a chair and "tied" them up with toilet paper. This was very messy, but the children thought it to be hysterical. Duck Duck Goose could have been a good option for us as well.

Our last game was a Superhero Obstacle course:
1. Batman's cave : crawl through a large carboard box (or under small table) covered with black cloth or sheet
2. Robin's tightrope: Walk a line on the floor (masking tape)
3. Spiderman Crawl: over a sturdy box (or pile of pillows)
4. Hop on one foot
5. Somersault

The custom cupcake toppers were by Seven Cupcakes. Since I was travelling, I needed these sent to me in a certain window of time and she did not disappoint! These were very good quality.

My little peanut making a big wish.

Our menu was simple with not too much prep work. We used whole, small fruits instead of a fruit salad. The sugar pears were seasonal (unfortunately) but are very tiny and the perfect amount for little ones. Nothing had to be cooked except for the hot dogs, which took a matter of minutes. Sandwiches were made and wrapped the night before. No utensils were used since we served all finger foods.
The menu:
Carrot sticks, broccoli, grape tomatoes with ranch dressing
Sliced hot dogs with pretzel stick skewers
Sugar pears, grapes, clementines
PB & J and Ham mini sandwiches, cut into triangles and arranged into a star pattern
Hummus and crackers

The biggest hit of the party, however, was our decorate your own superhero cape. I am not much of a sewist so the workmanship was lacking, but for play capes it was just fine. For an average (non-perfectionist) sewer this project would be very quick. All of the material was thrifted, I really lucked out with some solid reds, cobalt blue, navy, grey, and a satiny black. I purchased some grosgrain ribbon for the ties, and sticky-back felt for the decorations. I created a simple pattern shape for the capes, which turned out to be a nice fit. I cut out ovals, diamonds, bats, lightening bolts, and "S" letters, the stars I purchased as is. I did do some hemming since most of the cape edges frayed after cutting. If you have a choice of material, I would choose a knit so you can cut and skip the sewing part. You would only have to sew on the ties, so easy! I definitely spent less than $10 for this activity, and I made fourteen capes!

This was such a fun theme to do, and it's great for boys or girls. Tomorrow I'll show some bits from my daughter and other little one's party.

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