birthday

A Pokemon Party

A Pokemon Birthday Party: Great Ideas for Party Activities and non-sugary foods to serve.

Last weekend we hosted Jason’s Pokemon Birthday Party. Prior to planning this party, I knew very little about Pokemon, but I think my research paid off and I pulled together the theme pretty well. Based solely on the fact that my daughter is now requesting a Pokemon party for her next birthday, I’m concluding that the party was a success by the kids’ measures as well. But that might have been the pinata envy talking.

A Pokemon Birthday Party: Great Ideas for Party Activities and non-sugary foods to serve.

Food & Drinks

We had a small group this year so I intentionally kept the menu simple. I saw lots of ideas for gumballs and other round candies used in Pokemon-themed foods, but since we also had a pinata (and cupcakes), I decided to opt for less sugary snacks.

I served the following:

  • Pokeball snack plate with white cheddar cheese and strawberries
  • Sea salt popcorn with chocolate Smarties sparingly mixed in
  • Adorable Pikachu and Pokeball cupcakes by Sugar Biscuit Cakery
  • Lemonade and water

Several of our party paper supplies, including Pokemon-themed accessories, paper straws, chevron treat cups and square blue trays, were graciously provided by Party Pail.

The Games

A Pokemon Birthday Party: Awesome Ideas for Pokemon-themed Games including Psychic Challenge, Squirtle Balloon Toss, Pokeball Hunt. and Character Portrait Studio.

While researching the party, I discovered “badges,” and these seemed like a perfect way to connect otherwise unrelated party games to the Pokemon theme (for example, a pinata becomes a way to earn a “Boulder Badge.”). You could easily make your own badges (or have your child make them) out of paper or clay. However, I found these on Etsy and decided they were too perfect to pass up.

If you end up incorporating badges into your games, I highly recommend committing the meaning of each badge to memory. I was a little fuzzy on which was which and it turned out the kids were too. I had planned on matching the badge’s meaning to the game (for example, guessing the correct number of Pokeballs in a container earns the Marsh/Psychic-type badge), but I ended up just letting the child choose the badge she/he wanted because no one seemed certain about what each represented.

A Pokemon Birthday Party: Awesome Ideas for Pokemon-themed Games including Psychic Challenge, Squirtle Balloon Toss, Pokeball Hunt. and Character Portrait Studio.
These first two games required a bit of prep work, but they were super inexpensive and very fun. Both used the same materials – about 140 ping pong balls, red spray paint, painters tape and black washi tape (or a Sharpie marker).  I purchased the ping pong balls here for less than $10 and, after taping the bottom halves, my husband spray painted them in a bright red color. Next, I wrapped thin washi tape (purchased at Michael’s) around the balls. I ran out of tape about 3/4th of the way through and used a Sharpie marker for the remaining balls. No one (except maybe me) seemed to mind.

Pokemon Psychic Challenge

For this challenge, I placed 70 of the balls in a large glass vase and, as each guest arrived, I asked them to write down their name and the number of Pokeballs in the container. The guesses were all over the map, ranging from 18 to 102. My daughter came the closest with a guess of 60. Psychic badge earned – or wait, that was the Earth badge. Or maybe not.

Gotta Catch ‘em All Pokeball Hunt

Once the guessing game was complete, my husband placed all 140 of the ping-pong-turned-pokeballs in our front yard and, soon after, we handed out bags and let the children run around our yard and ‘catch’ as many Pokeballs as they could. In the end, they had to count the balls they found to see who won – I think this may have been more of a challenge than the game itself!  Wow, this party had too much math!

Squirtle Water Balloon Blast

A Pokemon Birthday Party: Awesome Ideas for Pokemon-themed Games including Psychic Challenge, Squirtle Balloon Toss, Pokeball Hunt. and Character Portrait Studio.
If you don’t know what a Squirtle is, you can read more about this character here.

This game was a last-minute addition, and it turned out to be my favorite. I painted 3 Pokeballs (using watercolors on thick paint paper) and made 60 water balloons. Actually, I made about  30 and then my daughter was so jealous that she offered to take over for me and I was able to drink coffee while leisurely tying each balloon, which she hasn’t mastered yet. I was pretty impressed with her perseverance on this one.

For the game, each child was supposed to throw the balloons and hit the Pokeballs in order, from closest to farthest. My husband was in charge of setting up the game, and he placed the targets so far apart that I don’t think anyone successfully hit all three targets in the first round. It was still quite a bit of fun to try and, in the end, the bestowing of the Water Badge was a highly subjective call on my part.

Pokeball Pinata

A Pokemon Birthday Party: Awesome Ideas for Pokemon-themed Games including Psychic Challenge, Squirtle Balloon Toss, Pokeball Hunt. and Character Portrait Studio.

This was the first time we’ve had a pinata at one of our parties, and it was a highly anticipated event. Seriously, once the pinata arrived, I think we talked about it at least once a day.

We purchased the pinata here and it was very well made. Perhaps a bit too well made as each child probably had about 4 or 5 goes at it before it finally cracked under the swings of our neighborhood baseball champ.

Pokemon Character Portrait Studio

A Pokemon Birthday Party: Awesome Ideas for Pokemon-themed Games including Psychic Challenge, Squirtle Balloon Toss, Pokeball Hunt. and Character Portrait Studio.
I was hoping this activity would be the highlight of the party.  I hired a caricaturist (Amy Gorman), and I recreated simplified versions of my son’s favorite Pokemon cards. My plan was to have each child choose one of the large-scale (8 1/2 x 11) cards and have the caricature artist draw the child’s likeness as the portrait for that character (as illustrated above). Because what child hasn’t wanted to be a Charizard Mega EX? I’m pretty sure that’s a real character. Maybe not.

My plans were foiled when our local Fed-Ex/Kinkos store failed to open during their stated business hours on the day of the party. Collectively, my husband and my dad spent 2 1/2 hours outside of the Fed-Ex location in order to pick up the my portrait templates, but no one ever arrived to open the store. I was very disappointed, but in the end we just had standard caricature portraits made and I think we made the best of it. The portraits were very awesome despite not matching the theme as well as I had hoped.

pokemon-portraits

A Pokemon Birthday Party: Awesome Ideas for Pokemon-themed Games including Psychic Challenge, Squirtle Balloon Toss, Pokeball Hunt. and Character Portrait Studio.

Many thanks to all of the awesome shops, artists and suppliers I worked with:

For details on the trading card invitations, check out this post.

 

 

 

Pokemon Trading Card Invitation Templates

Create Pokemon Trading Card birthday invitations for your child's birthday. These templates (front and back) are fully editable in Photoshop so you can incorporate your own text and images.

Jason requested a Pokemon-themed birthday party this year. It’s a hard theme for me to get excited about, mostly because I know very little about the game and even after watching an episode of the cartoon series, I still feel largely uninformed and uninspired. I’m trying to roll with it though, and so far, he seems pretty happy with our party planning.

Last week, I finished the invitations which are based on the design of the character trading cards. I’ve decided to make these available as templates so that others planning a Pokemon party can create their own customized invitations.

The Templates

Create Pokemon Trading Card birthday invitations for your child's birthday. These templates (front and back) are fully editable in Photoshop so you can incorporate your own text and images.

There are 2 PSD (Photoshop) files:

If you would like to use the official Pokemon font, you can download it here. Also, I created yellow templates but the actual cards come in a variety of colors. If you would like to create cards in different colors, you can find more options here.

Jason’s Legoland Birthday Party

legoland birthday party

This weekend, we celebrated Jason’s 7th birthday with his friends at Legoland Discovery Center, probably one of his favorite places in the whole world. I love throwing birthday parties for Jason and Jenna, but this one was almost entirely handled by the nice people of Lego. In fact, both my husband and I had trouble leaving the house because we felt like we were forgetting something.  This was by far the easiest of all of our kids’ birthday parties so far, and while I miss the fun of planning and creating, I also know that Jason could not have been happier with his party.

legoland birthday partyMy only two additions to an otherwise ‘store-bought’ party were the very cute Lego-themed invitations from Tiny Prints and the party favors.

legoland birthday party invitations by Tiny Prints

For the favors, I ordered a Lego stamp and created Lego-themed notebooks and carrying cases to hold the notebooks and a few other goodies. I’m not a big fan of giving (or receiving) favors that will just be thrown away, so I usually try to create something with a longer shelf life. Jason and Jenna are always packing up cases, bags and other containers with toys to take on the go, so when I saw these little suitcases at Target, I knew they’d be a perfect favor box.

legoland birthday party

The cake was provided by Legoland and Jason wasn’t too pleased when I wiped all of the dye-filled frosting off his piece. Sorry, Jason.

legoland birthday party

Our friend Dustin’s handmade gift-wrap has become a tradition at Jason’s birthdays, and this year’s design didn’t disappoint.

legoland birthday party

Happy Birthday, Jason!

Happy Birthday, Jason!

jasonBday7

Jason turned seven today. S-E-V-E-N.  Can you believe it? Jason couldn’t. When we wished him Happy Birthday this morning, he commented that he couldn’t believe he was seven! I couldn’t agree more.

Tonight we celebrated with steak (Jason’s favorite food), chocolate cheesecake (possibly my favorite food) and a few presents. This weekend, we’ll celebrate with his friends. Happy Birthday, Jason!

jasonBday7-2jasonBday7-3

A Hello Kitty Rainbow Flower Art Party

hello kitty birthday party

We celebrated Jenna’s 5th birthday this weekend. She requested a Hello Kitty Rainbow Flower party, a theme I found a bit difficult to tie together in a cohesive way. The chosen location – a local children’s art studio - added an ‘art’ theme to an already heavily themed party. But in the end, it all came together just fine. Lesson learned: don’t settle for one theme when you can have four. Happy Birthday, Jenna!

Here are a few scenes from the festivities:

hello kitty art party

hello kitty art party

Sources:

Lego Monster Party Prep

With just one week until Jason’s 6th birthday party, I went into Lego overload this weekend. The theme is Lego Monster Mash, a mash-up of Lego and Halloween. Here’s a peak at the party planning, along with a few templates.

Lego eye photo booth props: PDF template

Mr. Lego Pumpkin Head

Lego Mummy Juice Boxes: PDF of the Lego eyes

See Also

Make a Lego Garland

Make a Lego Garland

Jason is having a Lego-themed birthday party this year, and after considering Lego Police, Lego Ninjago and nearly every other Lego-related theme, we’ve finally settled on a mash-up of Legos and Halloween. It will be somewhat based on the new Lego Monster series, but I’ll be taking lots of liberties. I haven’t really worked out many of the details yet – and at two weeks away, his party is going to be the least-prepared for party ever – but I’m feeling pretty confident that I can pull something together in the next couple of weeks. In fact, I finished the invitations this weekend and even put together a little garland, which Jason seems pretty happy with.

To attach the Legos to the twine, I added a row of glue near the very top of the brick, placed the string on top and then added a bit more glue over the string to keep it secure. Jason doesn’t usually get excited about garlands, but this one he definitely loves.

Happy Five

Explaining to an almost-five-year-old that he isn’t five on the day of his birthday party is nearly impossible. I gave up on that conversation fairly quickly. But today is Jason’s actual birthday. To commemorate, I took photos of all of the ’5′s I saw during our trip to Disneyland.

Happy REAL birthday, Jason!

A Bug’s Land, Disney California Adventure

Space Mountain, Disneyland

Toy Story Mania, Disney California Adventure

Space Mountain, Disneyland

Promotional Poster, Disney California Adventure

Star Tours, Disneyland

Soarin’ Over California, Disney California Adventure

Toy Story Mania Birthday Party

Earlier this summer we took a family trip to Disneyworld and J+J absolutely loved the Toy Story Midway Mania ride at Hollywood Studios. When we started planning his party a couple of months ago, it seemed like the perfect party theme. Not many themes seem readymade for a bounce house, which Jason also LOVES. More recently, of course, he’s turned his attention to Star Wars, and despite his pleas for a Star Wars birthday party over the past couple of weeks, I was not successful in combining Toy Story, Carnivals and Star Wars. I am simply not that creative.

But despite all of this, Jason had a blast at his party. Here are a few scenes from the recent festivities…

The Food

For more details on the food, see this post on planning a carnival-themed party menu without using dyes or artificial flavors. I especially love this recipe for homemade caramel apples. Oh, and if you’re wondering what I did with the leftover caramel apples, three words: Caramel Apple Oatmeal.

Fun & Games

Did you notice the light saber bounce house scenes? Someone definitely had his heart set on a Star Wars party.

I expected the bounce house to overshadow the other activities, but the photo booth turned out to be the real hit. J+J LOVE dressing up these days, so guess I shouldn’t be too surprised. I got the idea for the backdrop and alien eyes here and here.

More pics are posted on Flickr and I’ve posted some party printables here.