Thursday, August 26, 2010

DIY Superhero Birthday Party Part 1: Planning

Do It Yourself Superhero Birthday Party
Part One: Planning

Before anyone thinks I'm really nuts, which I'm not discounting, for going all out on my soon to be 6 yo's birthday party, let me give you some of his birthday history.

My little dude turned the big one a few days after Hurricane Katrina hit, and we lived slightly north of New Orleans right where the eye sat for hours. So there we were, evacuated and living as refugees at the house of some wonderful friends, not knowing if we had a house, if my husband had a job, or if many others in our extended family were even alive. Not the most festive of environments.

Fast forward a year, and my little dude turns 2 when we're living across the country in New England, again in the home of another magnanimous person. We have no friends near us, he has no family at his birthday other than his siblings and parents, we're uncertain day by day as to where we're going to be living and pretty broke. Again, not festive.

He turns 3 in style with a nice party with many of our awesome friends, but not really any kids.  For 4 and 5, we've moved again, and most of our friends live too far to come down for an ordinary birthday. Throughout all, he has not once complained. He's a very kind hearted and generous little dude. But at 6, he should finally get the birthday party to make up for all the rest.

I let him make out the invitation list. We want it to be his friends and people he knows there, but he does ask his little bro who his friends are to make sure that they're invited too. (Told you he is sweet!) Then we spend an afternoon thinking up a theme, planning activities and designing the fun - all with his help and final approval (though I do tell him that once he makes up his mind and we start planning, he can't change it - and yes, he has tried).

Step One: The Theme
The first thing we did was figure out an overriding theme. Even if you want Superheroes or Scooby Doo, you still need a focus, an idea which all activities, decor, food, etc revolves around. If one were to have a Scooby party, for example, the theme could be the Case of the Disappearing Presents.

After hashing around several ideas that included mainly Batman, the Teen Titans, Robin, and other DC guys, we decided upon . . .

Superhero Training Camp
Sponsored by Batman

Step Two: The Invitations
Yes, even these are a DIY. We found the perfect jpg for the front of the card. Then I came up with our own text.

Calling all heroes . . .
Please come to my 6th birthday party / Superhero Training Workshop

To train to be the world’s best Superheroes!!

Birthday Superhero: child's name
Training Date: 01/01/2020
Training Starts: 1200 hours
Training Center:
123 Main Street,
Any Town, AB 12345
RSVP: 123-456-7890 or

Superhero costumes optional for both adults and children.

With a little messing around with MS Word, my printer, card stock and my paper cutter, I made some cute little cards. In the end, using Print Shop would have been simpler.

Step Three: Planning the Activities
Don't fret - I'll go over these one by one in individual entries. But all those brainstorming lessons learned in basic writing courses finally paid off. We spent about 3 hours throwing out ideas, looking up what others did on websites, and just going creatively crazy. After all that, we had about 40 ideas of activities we could do. So I set up some categories to lump them into.

Throughout this whole planning stage, every time I was overwhelmed or distracted, I would come back to the theme. How does this idea fit into a "Superhero Training Session?" It helped me narrow down our choices. No matter how cool the activity was, if it didn't fit with the theme, than we moved on.

What we ended up planning was, a basic itinerary for a training session:
  •  Warming Up (games to play while the kids arrive)
    • "Bat, Bat, joker" (duck, duck, goose). New kids can join the circle as they come.
    • Bat-Tag, like freeze tag
  • Gearing Up (creating the tools you'll need to be a Superhero)
    • Recruiting a side-kick (making superhero felt puppets - these are really cool! Pic on right.)
    • Cape decoration: picking your superhero symbol and painting it on your cape
    • Mask: making what you need to keep your secret identity a secret
    • Bat-a-rang deco: using colored sharpies and stickers to decorate boomerangs (made from blue cell foam and duct tape - see pic below)
  • Physical Training
    • Obstacle course
      • Bat-a-rang toss: tossing your decorated boomerangs into a cardboard villain
      • Capturing Catwoman with water (cats hate water!): Catwoman is painted on a piece of paneling board with little tacks on her fingernails, then tossing water-balloons at her (and possibly each other).
      • Mr. Freeze Game: Red Light / Green Light, but instead of "it," Mr. Freeze uses his freeze gun to freeze those moving.
      • Superhero Hippity Hop Race: a relay race with teams using Hippity Hops.
      • Aquious Blaster Practice: using water guns
  • Defeating the Villain
    • Joker Pinata: I don't think heroes should be the pinatas. If you're going to beat on something with a baseball bat, it should be a bad-guy
  • Fueling-Up
    • Food & Presents
  • Graduation from Training Camp
    • Graduation Medallion: Cookie Bouquet type cookies, but instead of sticks, wrapping them in plastic wrap and hot-gluing wide ribbons to the back to make them into "Medal Cookies." The cookies can be large round ones with Superhero symbols on it.
    • Certificate of Achievement
    • Party Favors: I'm figuring, between the puppets, masks, capes, boomerangs, medal cookies and certificates, a simple bag in which to carry everything home will be fine.
One Last Thing: Sources
Before I detail out how to do most of this step by step, let me give credit to the many sites where we found inspiration:

Now I've got to go. I have still so much to do. And wait until you see the cake!!!

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