Wednesday, April 24, 2013

The Building Blocks of Fun


It's all about timing.  

I'm a firm believer of that and what happened this past weekend is proof that the above saying holds true.  Alright. Brace yourselves for this revelation.

Believe it or not, I (yes, ME...bordering anti-social person who overthinks and easily gets stressed out about most everything and is also generally non-crafty!!) hosted a Lego-themed party for my son's birthday.

Say, what????!!!

Yes, I did it and I'm happy and proud that I lived to tell and tell coherently given that I'm still obviously sane!

I say that it's about timing because the idea popped up when I was feeling open to trying new things and challenging myself.  The thought also came to me early enough for me to do a lot of research and execute a lot of the necessary steps ahead of time that somehow helped minimize the stress level.  Suffice it to say that this party was one month in the making.  I also need to stress that the party would not have been at all possible without Pinterest and all the mom bloggers out there who have done it before and had the generosity to share their creativity online.  I was really surprised at the amount of resources available and honestly cannot imagine what kind of spirit possessed those other moms that they came up with such creative game ideas for Lego-obsessed kids!  Obviously that same 'spirit' is not available for me to invoke, hence my pure reliance on Pinterest.

I've been asked if it was difficult overall.  My most honest answer would have to be to say that on a scale of 1-10, with 10 being most difficult, I would give this a rating of either 6 or 7.  I give that rating because it's definitely time-consuming and you need to give yourself ample time to either order things online or go to multiple stores to gather the needed materials (Lego pieces, Lego cases, colored paper or cardstock, food items, etc.).  Other than that, all you need is to have the skill to cut and be a little resourceful so that you can copy shapes from existing images.

This is how this party made my office look like for weeks...

My desk was completely held hostage at some point
cutting and printing images for the kids to color
This was one of the hardest for me...copying the Lego man's shape and
making him so much bigger for the Pin the Head game

Ordered a Lego brick set online and had to sort them so that each guest ends
up with the same amount of blocks and same shapes.  I got the mini-figure
cases (blue items on the floor) from 2 different Target locations because
they only had 6 left in one, and I needed 8.

The day before the party, I had the brilliant idea to decorate a steamer pan
so I can use it to hold the Lego marshmallow heads I made for the kids...

When it came to deciding on what kind of food to serve, I stuck to a simple menu.  I knew that trying too hard for BOTH the children and adults would be like hosting two simultaneous parties and I just didn't feel equipped for such a task (or insanity?).  So I decided early on that I would just serve pizza and cake and some other simple sweets for the kids and one dish for the adults (other than the extra pizza).  

Marshmallows on lollipop sticks coated with yellow candy melts
(sticks, plastic wrappers and candy melts all purchased from
Michaels)


I used PicMonkey to create the invitations and I knew it was a success when, after showing the card to my husband, he thought it was a photo I just downloaded online.  I proudly said, "Nope...I built those plates myself, took those three Lego men and shot the photo!"



I took my mommy friends' advice and made sure there was an activity or game planned for every minute of the two-hour party.  The following activities/games were played:  coloring pages (while waiting for everyone to arrive); guesstimate; build the tallest tower; add your creation to the plate; find the Lego man (I took 35 lego figures and put them in corners, low shelves or anywhere the kids can easily reach without being too conspicuous); and finally, pin the Lego man's head (instead of Pin the Tail).


coloring / activity table (while waiting for guests to arrive)


I cut Lego head shaped cards where each child was asked
to write his name and guesstimate as to how many Lego
pieces are in the jar
Add Your Creation to the Plate
the finished creation done by 8 boys
Pin the Head


Thanks to a high school friend of mine who informed me that Cold Stone can make a Lego ice cream cake!




I downloaded a Lego font and printed the letters for
the birthday banner

I made 'Lego cookies' for the kids (Instead of using sugar cookies,
I just bought Pepperidge Farm's Chessmen which are not too
sweet, and then topped them with icing and M&M's)


Pulled Pork (and pizzas) for the adults


So yes, it's all about timing.  

You need to plan way ahead so you don't run out of time and lose your mind.  

The thought of committing to hosting this kind of party needs to hit you and sink in when you are feeling adventurous and willing to invest the time and effort.  

I also believe that this kind of party can only really be successful and manageable if the celebrant and his guests are at that age when they can appreciate Legos and know how to abide by rules.  (That's me being practical and realistic, not to mention a control freak!).  

Most of all, it is about timing because I don't think I can throw another party like this again.  As such, I think I was able to do it just at the right time, when Noah is old enough to remember, and yet still young enough that he still has a lot of sense of adventure and magic in him.  I, on the other hand, feel like I'm getting too old for these things.  I'm glad it's done now and I feel like I've passed a test and gone through this rite of passage.  It was fun and I will always treasure the memories.  But next year, I hope my son will settle for a nice quiet restaurant meal.  We'll see...







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