Hi (yah!), everyone! Just finished up a pretty great weekend and wanted to share with you some pictures of this epic ninja party I helped create for the craziest, sweetest, red-headed ninja I know. Although most children celebrate their birthdays, and simply boast or brag about the all-important following half-birthday, Burke opted to play down his actual winter birthday, and go big (ninja style) this summer for, the less conventional, Half-Birthday Party.
I wanted the invites to get kids excited by reflecting just how amazing and hardcore this party was going to be. Aside from providing the standard party info, they apparently doubled as an unintentional first challenge, as I later found out that it took some of the guests days to realize that the sword actual opened up!
Jaci (Burke's mom and my employer/good friend) had the great idea to wrap the trees lining their long driveway with "Chinese symbols." I put that in quotations because they were more 'inspired by true symbols' than actually reflective of them. The kids were able to help out too with some of the banners and enjoyed making up their own meanings. The entryway was made by taping together two pieces of red paper (from a roll), cutting a child-size opening (yes, the parents all had to duck), and then painting some Chinese dragons. I hung it up with red duct tape, and put up streams of red crate paper on each side. The end result? -A pretty badass way to get the party started, and the kiddos in gear for a true ninja experience. And speaking of gear...
Immediately entering the house, the kids(already instructed to wear all black in their invitations) walked up to a table equipped with all the ninja essentials- num chucks, Chinese tattoos, a pouch (for storing gold coins and pinata candy), and bands of red fabric for their heads, waists, and arms. The numchucks started off as solid black. During the course of the party, the ninjas were guided through various tests/challenges; after completing each challenge, they earned a different color stripe representing various B.S "virtues" Jaci made up along the way- very entertaining.
Jaci kicked the Ninja Challenge Extravaganza off by leading the group in a few rounds of Sensei Says (our adaptation of the ever-popular Simon Says). This proved to be a great start to the party because it established clear authoritative roles: Jaci as the Head Sensei and me as the Tape Master. Also, it allowed for some serious practicing of needed ninja skills like double kicks, num chuck twists, and karate chops. Some of our other challenges included wood breaking (Styrofoam boards painted brown), a laser obstacle (a web of red yarn that the children must maneuver through without touching the 'lasers'), a javelin throw (pool noodles thrown through vertical rings of other noodles), a giant slingshot used to knock down towers of cardboard boxes, an elaborate snake hunt that earned them gold coins, a kick bag pinata that the kids attacked (one at a time) with their best punches and ninja kicks, and a ninja star toss where they tried to knock off foam balls resting on black toilet paper rolls.
After successfully completing all of their tasks, our little ninjas enjoyed some pretty tasty cupcakes with surprise ninja centers ( mini ninjas were pushed inside the baked and cooled cupcakes and covered with generous amounts of vanilla and chocolate icing). Red plastic cups were wrapped in black felt masks and filled with yummy 'Ninja Juice'
Needless to say, everyone had a GREAT time. The kids really played the part, and took the challenges pretty seriously. Everyone left with goodie bags of fortune cookies, chop sticks, a dragon glider, an inflatable samuri sword, some ninja figurines and pencils, chinese tattoos, and lots of perfected ninja skills :) Now to start brainstorming for Bella's birthday in the Fall.....