Sunday, February 17, 2013

Birthday Parties

I don't know about you, but I absolutely love a good excuse to celebrate my kids. Something to make them feel special about who they are, & birthdays are just one such occasion for doing exactly that. We've always had some long standing birthday traditions that have formed either from our own childhoods or out of pure desperation. Over the years some of those change & some don't.

One thing we like to do is have a small party, where the kids generally invite family & an occasional friend's family over. We tend to keep things pretty low key too. All though Mr S might be laughing if he remembers the extent we went to when Jayden turned 3. Each night when the boys went to bed we'd pull out huge boxes wrapped in white paper & turn them into trains from the Thomas stories. We took them to my parent's house & had a big out door celebration where the kids worked through a Thomas story. For years afterwards we'd find Jayden sitting on the couch every morning looking at his Thomas Picture Album, but I digress..

Morgan loves games. If you told him you'd spend 1 hour doing anything with him that he wanted he'd ask you how many games could be played in that hour. He's the first person to remind us to pack games when we spend the night with family, go camping, or on long drives. So I knew the perfect party for him would be something involving lots of little games to play, much like his carnival party.

We went with a Minute To Win It party theme this year. He was pretty excited, but kept reasonably in the dark about it too. He had a few people, as in an Uncle & Mr S asking him what games we were playing so they could practice, & he had to keep telling them I refused to tell him what the games were. It's true, I did. I knew Morgan would practice too!

In the end we picked 12 games, but only played 11. We opted out of the last game because we couldn't find the supplies, which are most likely at the bottom of a box of toys somewhere. There were no complaints as we were too busy rolling with laughter at the craziness we got up to as it was. Here's what we went with in the end:

1. A Bit Dicey -- The object was to hold a craft stick/popsicle stick/icy pole stick in your mouth & balance six dice on it for at least 3 seconds. We used rather large dice & rather normal sticks. We had a few people who managed this, many who totally bombed it, & then some of us didn't quite complete it because the falling dice weren't retrieved in time.

2. Defying Gravity -- The original game called for 1 person to keep 3 balloons off the floor. We played 2 people at a time with 4 balloons, & in the end decided we should have done 5. Either way it was a lot of fun & hilarity.

3. Don't Blow The Kings -- again we altered rules. We took 1 deck of cards & scattered them face down on the table except the 4 kings which were face up. Then when it was your turn you had 60 seconds to blow the cards away, the idea being not to knock the kings off the table.

4. Elephant March -- We ended up playing this indoors as we don't have a sidewalk or flat area in our yard that we thought would work. Our kitchen isn't long but wide & we made do out there. I only had trouser socks on hand instead of panty hose, I don't recommend using them because they are considerably shorter meaning people have to get much closer to the ground. We still enjoyed ourselves & made each other laugh like crazy.

5. Hanky Panky -- I bought a box of tissues for each person {thankfully they were less then a dollar this week} & each person had 60 seconds to get as many tissues out of the box as possible. Oh my goodness, do you have any idea how FUN it is to do that?! I didn't buy half sized boxes, just normal ones. I think half sized would have been better, but some of us still accomplished our goals.

6. Face The Cookie -- Those who played all balanced a cookie on their face & worked it down to their mouth. It was really fun to watch. Each person had 2-3 chances to accomplish the task in. I sat this one out because the cookies I bought weren't allergy friendly.

7. Mega Bubble -- it was really windy out so we played down our insanely long hallway. I bought rather inexpensive bubbles & you would not believe how crazy getting them blown was! We gave points based on which bubble went how far.

8. Stack Attack -- This is the typical cup stacking game. We played with less cups because it's what we had on hand. This was a pretty fun one too, & the boys played this for ages after the party. I think we had 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 in regards to how our cups towered.

9. Snack Attack -- Not sure this is an official Minute To Win It Game, but we enjoyed it. We paired up into teams of 2 again & one member wore a shower cap & spare t-shirt {both of which we provided} then their shower cap was covered in shaving cream & their teammate stood behind a line tossing cheese doodles at them. The idea was for the person with the shaving cream to catch the doodles in the shaving cream. We awarded points based on how many doodles were on your head.

10. Suck It Up -- The idea being to transfer candies from one area to the other at the end of the straw. This was actually quite easy for all of us & in the end we should have either had more candies or had to walk from point A to point B as the rules said. All the same it was a lot of fun & no one complained when they got to eat their candies in the end.

11. Blow It -- Not sure if that's the actual name, but we lined up 15 cups on the edge of the table & you had to blow them off with the air you blew inside a balloon. So blow the balloon up first let it blow the air onto the cups. You can blow up the balloon as often as you need to within your 60 seconds. There were a lot of theories behind what would work best & a few did while some just caused us much laughter.

12 Temper Tantrum -- We did not play this game. You need 2 pedometers & we could only find one. You attach the pedometers to your socks, lay on your back & kick your feet as much as possible in 60 seconds. The person with the most steps wins.

Our point system was stated before we started playing: 5 points for every game you try, if one can't try the game for health reasons they get 5 points anyway. This was important because we had a couple of games that 3 of us couldn't play. On top of your 5 points per game you also got: 10 points if you came in first, 8 if you came in second, 6 if you came in 3rd, 4 if you came in 4th, & 2 if you came in 5th. Everyone else gained 1 extra point on top of their 5. If we played in teams both members got those points {not divided. So in Snack Attack if Mr S & I teamed up & won we each got 15 points.} If more then one team came in 1st place, that was okay too, each person got 15 points & so on.

For Don't Blow The Kings we had a special point rule. For each King you knocked off the table you lost 2 points. So if you knocked 1 king off, but still won first place instead of 10 points you got 8. For all games that were finished before 60 seconds were up we kept track of how long it took each person to help us award points.

The points were honestly just for fun. Our first place winner received a box of chocolate truffles. Everyone else was given a small Toblerone. If my computer had been working I might have made fun little certificates  We had considered a wooden spoon for the last place winner, only because we had a guest suspect if they came they'd be last & would they at least get a wooden spoon for it? Plus, our family is so nerdy that gag gifts like that tend to get passed around at many events. Like the weird rocking banana that gets handed out at one of the family camps we go to each year.

We had finger foods out the whole time so that if anyone was hungry they could just help themselves. We kept an esky/cooler full of ice & drinks: Juice boxes, water bottles, & a variety of fizzy drinks. Again, so people could help themselves. We wrapped up our fun evening with a massive chocolate mint cake, I was told it was very yummy, & ice cream.

Seriously simple party to throw together. We had the majority of what we needed around the house. I did go get more balloons, our cricket ball was missing & I wasn't sure a tennis ball would work for Elephant March so I grabbed the heaviest ball that was still reasonably safe. We purchased the chocolates we gave away, tissues, bubbles, deck of cards, & plastic cubs as well. We used the traditional party cloth & party banners for decorations & simply enjoyed ourselves.

We made a quick poster from poster board we had in excess to keep track of points. Several people had funny names on there courtesy of the boys & I. It made sense to them due to silly happenings within the family. We all just gathered around the point chart after each game to quickly jot down points. We had all the games {minus snack attack which I could not find} brought up on the Minute To Win It website so we could watch the BluePrints there to know the rules. Mr S found a Minute To Win It timer on YouTube & downloaded that so we could use it for our official timer. Quick. Simple. Easy. Lots of fun. Morgan dubbed it his best birthday party ever!

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