Knight Party -4yr- Castle Cake
Sue in Calgary, AB, Canada
For my son's 4th birthday we planned a 'knight and castle' party.
INVITATIONS: I printed invitations on dark brown cardstock. One side had text that read: once upon a time there was a brave and valiant knight named xxx. On the anniversary of his 4th birthday a festival will be held in the courtyard at 28th Street Southwest. A medival feast will be followed by cake and ice cream. Knight attire will be presented. Maidens please wear your prettiest dresses; tiaras and wands will be presented. Please respond to the Lady Susan at 555-1111 if you can attend. I made the font look old-fashioned and made the "O" in 'once upon a time' very large like the fonts in the fairytale books. I printed a shield and sword on the other side of the invitation and decorated the crest on the shield with tempura paint and glitter. I cut card-stock into an envelope template scored fold lines then dipped the cut paper into tea and let it dry to get an ancient look and feel to it. I sealed the envelopes with a real wax seal...I just melted a red wax crayon and let some drops fall onto where I wanted the seal then stamped them with the end of a mini screwdriver that I have that happened to have a round design on the end of the handle.
DECOR: We were planning on making a cardboard castle outside for the kids but since it rained we had to clear out all of the furniture in our living room and do it there. The night before the party we made a cardboard castle (15 feet long and 10 feet deep) in our living room with about eight large furniture boxes placed them all together with the 2 tallest ones on each end for the towers. My husband cut a drawbridge door into the centre of the castle anchored it with rivets and inserted ropes so the kids could pull the drawbridge up or down. We taped the boxes all together with packing tape then cut rounded top doors on the interior walls to almost create a sort of maze and edged the top walls with a rectangular pattern that made it look like bricks on a real castle. The boxes stay together really well if you tape the doors of each box together as well.
I bought a lot of red and yellow flannel (flannel looks 'rich' but doesn't really fray) and cut about 15 red and 8 yellow small triangular flags (about 8"x4"). I sewed a seam along the tops and threaded brown twine through to make 3 strings of flags. I put one across the outside of the front door one stretching from tower to tower on our cardboard castle and one above the buffet table. I also made two large triangular flags glued them with fabric glue onto dowels and taped these up in the towers of the castle. Finally I made 3 large red banners with yellow 'medival cross' crests on them and hung them from different parts of the castle. I edged the bottom by cutting squares into the fabric banners to make them look more regal. I used red and yellow ballons which I tied together in large groups of 8-10 and put in six or seven other places throughout the house.
COSTUMES: I used the red flannel fabric to make knight tunics. I cut on the fold of the fabric and used the fold as the shoulders. The tunic tempate was basically a big rectangle with small arches cut in for the arm holes. I then sewed down about 5 inches below the armholes and left the rest to hang open to just below their butts. I used narrow gold rope from the Walmart fabric section for belts. I cut the same medieval cross out of the yellow flannel and used fabric glue to attach these to the front of the tunics. My son's tunic also had a yellow cape sewn on to the back of his tunic so the birthday boy would stand out. I bought 13 plastic knight hats (with flip down face guards) from the dollar store and inflatable swords from ebay to go with the knight costumes. My husband dressed as the king and his tunic was yellow with a red crest and red trim on the bottom. I dressed in a burgundy white and black medieval dress and headband that I borrowed from a friend who had worn in last Halloween.
CAKE: I made two one-layer cakes a round cake and a square cake each decorated with grey icing like castles. I put these on a large piece of board covered in green (grass coloured) wrapping paper and put blue gel icing around each cake to look like a moat. I placed 5 jelly rolls on the outer edges of the round cake iced them in the same colour and put black candles in four of the towers. On the front jelly-roll tower I put a mini ice cream cone with a little toothpick and red flannel triangular flag in it. Under this tower I made a little drawbridge out of plain chocolate squares for the doorway chocolate sticks laid together to form a little rectangle for the open drawbridge and black licorace strings from the open door to the top of the doorway. I made windows out of dark blue fruit rollups and placed these around the outside of the castle and towers. On the second cake I edged thed the top with mini marshmallows to make it look like bricks. I put milk chocolate squares around the outside of the cake to look like bricks. I decorated each cake with knight toys and put a knight on a white stallion on the 'grass' and a larger rubber dragon behind the castles with some wooden trees from our Thomas set.
GAMES AND ACTIVITIES: I dressed the children in their knight tunics as they arrived gave them their helmets then my husband 'knighted' them and presented them with their swords. He sat in a big armchair and we tried to get the kids to bend forward in front of him as he touched each shoulder with the inflatable sword and said "I hereby dub thee 'Sir Alex' and so on then presented them with the sword. After being knighted the kids ran into the living room and started playing in the big castle. The girls received their tiaras and wands and after I put their tiaras on them I tied long flowy pieces of tuille to their crowns so it would flow around their heads.
-Slay the Dragon: After the initial thrill of the castle started to wear off I had our 10 year old dress in a 'dragon' costume (actually a yellow pokemon-type dinosaur costume) and sneak into the playroom in the basement so we could play "slay the dragon". I went to the castle and told the kids that there was a dragon in the castle and we needed some brave knights and maidens downstairs immediately to help slay the dragon. They were very eager to do this and chased the 10 year old for about 10 minutes before the 'dragon' collapsed out of sheer exhaustion at which point my 4 year old shouted "we defeated him" and everybody cheered. The 10 year old dragon was a great sport and later confessed it was really fun and didn't hurt when the 4 year olds were 'slaying' him with their inflatable swords.
-Hatch the Dragon Eggs: The lunch was buffet style and when most of the kids finished eating I told them how dragons are born from eggs and brought out 16 'dragon eggs' which were really inflated red ballons with a toy dragon inside of each one. The kids took them into the castle and bounced on them until out popped the dragon. The dragons were actually 3 inch soft plastic dinosaurs that I had stiched freat foam wings onto as I looked all over for plastic dragons (even in Chinatown) and couldn't find any.
-after the dragon slaying my son then opened his gifts in the castle then we had cake
-just before the kids were getting ready to leave I figured I would try to calm them down so I called them into the castle with me for storytime. I read them a book called "Good Night Good Knight" a cute story about 3 little baby dragons who can't go to sleep until the good night reads them a book brings them water etc etc.
PARTY FAVORS: because the kids were already taking home their helmets tunics and swords I didn't actually give out loot bags. Instead each family received a copy of the "Good Night Good Knight" book wrapped in gold and red wrapping (I bought these paperback books from ebay and they were quite inexpensive) and my son handed each child some gold and silver chocolate coins with a note attached that says "thank you for coming to Sir Reid's Birthday Party" with the same crest as the invitations and my son thanked them as they left. The 3 little girls took home their tiaras and wants and we wrapped their coins with a pretty beaded tuille hair elastic so they wouldn't feel that the boys were getting to take home more. There were a lot of kids there for an indoor party (the rain ruined my plans for a backyard event) but the big cardboard castle saved the day. Except for eating lunch and chasing the 'dragon' around the basement the kids spent the entire 2 hours amused in the cardboard castle. I was worried I wouldn't have enough space for all of the kids to run around but everything worked out fine. My kids love the castle and want to keep it forever. I'm letting the kids keep up the castle for one week I am going to let them sleep in it next Friday night then it will be torn down and taken to the recycling depot."
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