Thursday, May 14, 2015

Sunshine's LEGO Birthday Party

Last year we decided to start doing friend birthday parties every other year, instead of yearly. Since we were in Massachusetts for Sunshine's birthday last year, it was easy to skip the party, but that meant that this year was a party year. Two years ago for Sunshine's last party we held it at the play studio we used to attend, and it was totally worth the money to not have to hassle with all the details. I was pregnant with River then and didn't feel up to doing it all.

Unfortunately, the play studio closed last year, so that wasn't an option this time around, and our budget really couldn't handle the costs involved with holding a party somewhere else. So even though  I'm pregnant again, I decided to plan and carry out the party myself.

A few months ago I brainstormed ideas and came up with LEGO as a theme. It's easy to decorate around and plan activities for, and there's lots of inspiration photos out there so I wouldn't have to come up with original ideas myself. I figured I could do it without too much work on my part, so I checked with Sunshine and then moved forward.

I didn't do a ton of advance planning, but there were some things I ordered online in preparation. I ordered a silicone mold set to make LEGO candies, some YumEarth fruit snacks, a few bags of random LEGO pieces, and some LEGO mini figures.

The party ended up being the same week that Mr M had time off from work, so I was trying to finish up the party planning at the same time we were working on our other projects. I should have changed the date of the party or not procrastinated quite so much- it would have made life a little less hectic.

Most of what I did was pretty simple, but some of it did take a bit of time. I didn't commit to a LEGO Friends theme, though I did include some Friends mini figures; but rather just focused on the bright primary colors of the original LEGOs.

LEGO head water bottles--- I just printed smiles on yellow card stock, cut the card stock with my paper cutter, and taped the strips to the water bottles. Super easy and pretty quick.

LEGO block treat bags--- I cut circles from red card stock and used double-sided photo splits to stick them to the bags (I just eyeballed the circle placement). Easy, but the cutting was a little time consuming. I also cut strips of paper to write the kids' names on since we would be using the bags throughout the party.

LEGO block decorations--- I cut bigger circles from card stock and used the photo splits to stick them to sheets of card stock, again I just eyeballed the circle placement. I taped the pieces of card stock to some string and strung it across the window. Easy, but time consuming.
crappy picture, but you can see the shadows of the circles

I also used some balloons and streamers for decorations.

I bought a gluten free cake from Whole Foods. It wasn't super cheap, but it was fancy and Sunshine loved all the sprinkles on it, and I didn't have to make it, so it was worth the money.

Sunshine and I melted chocolate chips and put them in the molds I bought. We did some white chocolate and some semi-sweet chocolate, and filled both molds. One was LEGO mini figures, one was LEGO blocks. The original idea was to put the chocolates on cupcakes, but since we ended up with the fancy cake I just handed out the chocolates that I'd wrapped in plastic wrap. This was an easy project, but did take advance planning for purchasing the molds and allowing the chocolate to set up. I had also planned on doing some homemade gummies in the molds, but ran out of time, so that didn't happen.

I forgot to take good pictures of the chocolates, so we just have these two- chocolates already wrapped up, and a mini figure with part of his head nibbled off.

The piñata also almost didn't happen. I'd originally planned on using a shoebox to make a LEGO block, but didn't have time, so I had just about decided to just skip the whole piñata thing. Then I remembered seeing paper bag piñatas on a blog, and decided to give that a try. I had a smaller paper bag with handles (not a full-size grocery bag) that I filled with the treats, taped shut, and glued crepe paper to. The finishing touch was to cut out some card stock circles and glue them to the crepe paper. I thought the handles would tear out pretty quick, but that wasn't the case at all. All the girls got plenty of turns to whack on the piñata, and even then it didn't break until I tore a couple holes in the bag. It was a lot sturdier than I thought it would be. I put bouncy balls, the LEGO mini figures I'd ordered on eBay (individually wrapped in plastic to keep the pieces together), YumEarth lollipops, and YumEarth fruit snacks in the piñata. I didn't want junk or tons of sugar, so I thought this was a good compromise.
I think I spent 15 minutes putting together the piñata the morning of the party

Sunshine helped River take the first couple whacks, but he wasn't really interested in the whole thing

love the look of concentration. we ended up removing the pool noodle from the pvc pipe for increased hitting force.

I put the random LEGO pieces I bought on eBay in a tray and then had the kids make "creations". The randomness made it a bit difficult, but I thought they did a good job, and it was an activity that kept them occupied for awhile. When they were done with them, we put them in the LEGO block bags, which were also used for their piñata loot.

I had planned a game using straws to move LEGO blocks and a craft making bracelets out of LEGO blocks, but we didn't have time to do them because everyone was more interested in playing with the sand and water table that I'd set up for the little boys. I wasn't about to complain though, because the kids were having fun and that was the important part. Sometimes you just gotta go with the flow. And I'd rather have too many activities available and not have time for them, than to run out of activities and have the kids be bored. And honestly, it was way less stressful for me to just sit and watch them play in the sand than to try to referee a game and a craft :)

While we were eating cake several of the kids said it was the best party they'd been to, so they had fun :)

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