Idea No.

11271

Army Party -7yr- Camo Headbands

Award

Date

June 2005

From

Heather in Adelaide, Australia

Runner-up

Army Boot Camp Party

Army Party for 7 year old boy - I really recommend this party as it was a huge success.  We just had it this weekend and I'm still really excited about it.  It went for 2 1/2 hours and it felt like about 30 minutes.  We sent the invites out 3 weeks before which said: To Private.. This is a top secret communication.  Only authorised personnel to read it.  Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to rendezvous with an elite force of young men to celebrate. 7th birthday. Date:  Arrive Time:  11:30 hours Departure Time:  14:00 hours Location:  Secret Northern Military Base at .(address).  Classified directions can be supplied with appropriate authorisation. Dress:  Where your camouflage or army fatigues.  Rest well before arrival as you will need your strength.  Drill Sargeant will provide a camouflage head tie, dog tags and camouflage face paint to ensure a successful mission.  Chow will be served in the mess hall.  Be prepared to quick march, run the obstacle course and play lots of fun games!  RSVP:  Mission Control, code name "Mum" on. (phone no.) by  I sticky taped two plastic solders on each invitation and printed it on green paper.  We handed the invites out at school and the kids were so excited, that the teacher said they were talking about it for hours.  No one had done an army party before so they were thrilled.  She even asked me to video it so that the whole class could see. 

The kids turned up in khaki coloured regular clothes and most had on a camouflage top.  It was an easy theme to dress to and not feel uncomfortable.  Some of the Mums said that their kids wanted to come a couple of hours early because they were so excited about the Army theme.  The kitchen, meals, family area was decorated with green streamers and bunches of balloons in green, black and orange to resemble camouflage.  I'd also printed some army pictures of tanks, helicopters etc (not guns) and made up posters that said "Happy Birthday Alex" or "Alex is 7 today" and put them on the walls with blue tac.  We hung single balloons from the ceiling fans over the dinner table and coffee table so you felt surrounded by party atmosphere.  On the front door, I made a poster on green cardboard that said "Welcome to Alex's 7th Birthday Party - Enlist Inside" and printed a picture of soldiers parachuting from a plane on the poster.   

As the kids arrived, I put a camouflage tie around their forehead which I made from 1m of drill cotton camouflage fabric.  This is the best as it doesn't stretch.  I cut a strip about 32 inches x 2 inches and just turned the edges over and ran the sewing machine around to finish it off.  I got straight into the face painting which was easy.  By using your thumbs in the paint, you just drag the khaki green paint from the nose over the cheeks fairly roughly and then do the same with a little black.  One lot of each paint is plenty and I used sports supporter paint which cost $2 per colour.  Then they got their dog tags which I made for next to nothing from cardboard from a shoe box lid, covered in aluminium foil and stuck a small mailing label on.  There were two tags - one for their first name, the other for their code name.  Punched a hole in each tag and strung it on black hat elastic.  As the kids were aged 5-7, I prepared a list of possible names to make it easy.  Some favourites were Ammo, Tank, Cougar, Snake, Skull, Sniper, Sarge, Zero, Speed, Blood, Bomber, Spider, Viper etc.  They loved the head ties and dog tags and left them on the whole time.  Then we put an Australian flag kids tattoo on their upper arm.  If you wanted, you could put this in their lolly bag instead.

The boys headed outside with my husband (the Drill Sargeant) and he lined them up for their enlistment oath which was:  Atten-hut Men!  Do you promise to have fun today?  They answered Sir, Yes, Sir (loudly).  Do you promise to be nice to each other?  Sir, Yes Sir.  Do you promise to smile?  Sir, Yes Sir.  Do you promise to wait your turn?  Sir, Yes Sir.  Congratulations you have enlisted in the . (surname of birthday child) Army.  Now let's have fun.  Sir, yes Sir!  The first game was "Drill Sargeant Says".  Just like Simon Says which was a great icebreaker.  Then we did a scavenger hunt in the garden.  I took two boys at a time and had hidden little plastic solders in fairly easy to find places.  I bought a pack of 75 for $2.  The boys got to collect 5 each but not all from the one spot.  We took a walkie talkie with us and radioed back to Base when we found one.  We'd say, "located soldier number 1" etc and when all five were found, "mission completed, returning to base".  Then it would be "hup, hup, hup, quick march" to get them back and take the next two eager boys.  They all got to keep their plastic soldiers. 

Next we did the obstacle course which was great fun.  We don't have a huge yard, but there was plenty of room.  Keeping each station fairly close together, we marked a start line and finish line and gave the boys a chance to run the course once to get the hang of it and then the second time it was timed on a stop watch.  The first obstacle was a 5m length of air conditioning ducting.  We picked it up from a recycling place for $4 a metre and it was fantastic.  Width was 45cm - perfect for that age.  Next was through the "tyres" which were 4 inexpensive pool rings.  You could use real ones if you have them.  Then I'd pegged two tarps to the clothes line to form a really tight tent so they squeezed through that then belly crawled under the "barb wire".  That was 7 bamboo stakes (25cents each at the hardware store) with some nylon twine tied from one stake to the next in a zig zag.  I put a piece of plastic under to prevent grass stains.  After that, they jumped the bale of straw and then on to the "crawl".  That was two really cheap pool air beds ($2 each) not fully inflated.  Next was the balance beam.  We just used a row of house bricks slightly spaced to avoid them rubbing together but you could suspend a plank over bricks or a log etc. 

After that they slid down the slippery dip and then back around the swing set where we had taken off a swing and put a rope which they swung over a container of water.  It's early winter here now so we didn't want them getting wet but if it was a summer party, you could create a mud patch or use a baby pool instead.  Then they had to climb up and over our cubby rails or you could use a tressle or small ladder etc.  The last thing was to jump the "dead man", which was a halloween skeleton, before running to the finish line.  We only let one boy on the course at a time and called out his time when he finished so everyone knew what they had to beat.  They loved it.  I also made a helicopter to play in.  I raided the recycled bins at a local electrical store and got a fridge box and cut an opening in it for a door.  The box was open at one end so I got some polystyrene packing and poked it in the opening to be like a windscreen.  Otherwise, just cut a square shape out of the end.  Then I put another box on top, much smaller, but about the same width of the fridge box, for the rotar blades to be attached too.  The tail section was a bit trickier but not hard.  Just get a couple of boxes the same size and stick them together.  Cut from the first box, bottom left hand corner along an angle to the last box getting narrower as you go and then attach two more smaller rotar blade strips of cardboard to the end (about 5-6 inches wide).  You just need a flat piece of cardboard for the blades and make them as long as the box will allow, say a fridge box, and about 8 inches wide. If you have the energy, get a foam roller and run some red paint over the boxes.  It looks fantastic and only costs for the tape and a sample pot of paint - about $7!  The kids will love you for it. 

Next game was "Bombs Away!".  I filled about 6 water balloons each the day before (took about 30 minutes) and set out 4 circles from 25cm radius down to about 10cm.  I used blue tac to attach them to the back brick wall of the house and above each circle, I put the points you would earn if you hit the target.  The smallest one was 10 points, then 7, 5 and 2.  I kept the numbers small so the scores could be close.  You had to hit a target to get the points and it didn't matter if the balloon didn't burst.  That was a "dud round" but still counted.  Most did burst so stand back a little from the wall if you don't want to get wet. They were so excited, they got two balloons x 3 turns so that the line moved quickly.  Then at the end, we tallied up the scores to see who won.   As far as prizes go, I had wrapped a lucky dip - one per child - just in green tissue paper.  At the start of the party, I told them that each child would win one lucky dip during the party.  If the same boy kept winning the games, then I would take second, or third etc.  As we had 9 kids and not time for 9 games, the other kids got their lucky dip before the party ended so they didn't worry.  Prizes were so easy to find in this theme.  Some of them included spy ear, compass, water squirting grenade, parachute guy, little tank, army planes etc, camouflage drink holder, pack of plastic soldiers, toy binoculars.  Anything camping, survival, army, action etc.  To settle them down, then the birthday boy opened his presents and then we had lunch.  They were so loud and excited and couldn't stop talking about the obstacle course and the water bombs. 

They were having a blast.  I just served all the usual party food - cheese pizza, cocktail frankfurts, chicken nuggets, party pies with a few chips, popcorn etc.  I wrote their names on a green plastic cup so they could always find it, especially when they had water outside after the obstacle course.  Names also on the rim of the matching green plastic plates so they knew where to sit.  All was disposable for easy clean up.  I found some little Australian table flags for $2 each at a party shop so put them on the table to be patriotic.  After all the physical games, we slowed things down a bit with "Pin the Medal on the Soldier".  Just like Pin the Tail but I printed off a soldier off the internet and enlarged it on the photocopier.  From sticky mail labels, I drew a really basic medal and cut it out writing their name on it first.  We had two posters to run the game similtaneously so that no one was waiting too long. 

Next we did "Hot Grenade".  Using a plastic grenade, the boys passed it around and when the music stopped, whoever was holding it was out.  We all made a bomb blast sound and they were dead, blown to pieces!  As they were eliminated, I gave them their lolly back to distract from missing the game.  If a boy threw it and the music stopped, then they were out.  It was a good way of controlling their excitement and if it is a parcel, they often don't want to pass it on at this age.  While I was getting the cake organised, the kids just couldn't wait to get back out to the obstacle course.  In the middle of the course, I had a large TV box which We had cut some peep slots in and covered with green shade cloth.  This was the "bunker".  The kids had some plastic toy guns and were having a full scale battle, hiding in the bunker and around the obstacle course.  It was great imaginative play.  With only about 15 minutes before pick up time, we had an icecream birthday cake to cool them down. 

Before singing Happy Birthday, we did an army cadence which was:   I don't know but I've been told (kids repeat) Holy cow you're 7 years old (kids repeat) Today's your day so sing along (kids repeat) Happy Birthday that's our song! (kids repeat)  Then we sang Happy Birthday.  They ate up the cake and couldn't wait to get back to the yard.  Only problem was that the parents had a hard time getting the kids to leave.  My son loved swinging over the water in Obstacle Course and throwing the water balloon bombs the best.  It was such a great day and I think we were all sad when it was time to say good.  This is a full proof, great party that will be talked about for a long time to come and was fairly inexpensive.    All the best from Australia to the Birthday Party Ideas members.

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