Princess & Knight 3yr - Cardboard Box Castle
Lorraine in St. John's, Newfoundland, Canada
First of all, I'd like to say this site is fabulous!! I recommend it to all my friends. I got most of my ideas from you. Thanks! My daughter turned three and I wanted to have a princess party for her, but as she had an older brother and boy cousins we decided to make it a Princess and Knight party. Bear in mind that I started this about 2 months before the party.
The INVITATIONS were done on yellow parchment paper which I took a wet tea bag and went around the outside edge to darken it more. In old english font I typed "Hear Ye, Hear Ye!, all knights and princesses of the land are invited to a royal celebration in honor of Her Royal Highness Princess Meghan's Third year of birth. Please join us for feasting and festivities at the _____(last name) castle, (street address), in the township of (city) on (date and time). Please let the Queen Mom know if you will be attending, as she has to prepare the castle for your arrival (phone number)." The paper was rolled up, tied with gold ribbon and I used a red wax seal. When the parents called to confirm, I told them to dress the girls in their fanciest dress and the boys to wear a long sleeved top.
DECORATIONS: We made a large castle out of two fridge boxes, a 46" t.v. box and another large t.v. box. That we got free at Future shop. It was all painted grey (mistinted paint at hardware store, real cheap) The two fridge boxes each had a window cut out and the top flaps were cut to make the crennulations (reinforced with popcycle sticks hot glue gunned to the back to keep from falling over), The large of the t.v boxes, again, had the crennulations cut out and reinforced. On the front we cut out a drawbridge, painted it brown and used a black marker to draw lines to depict wooden planks (complete with knots even!)I then poked holes on the bottom and 2/3 the way up the drawbridge, I used twine to connect the bottom to the castle and the top end left extra string to raise and lower the drawbridge. The kids had a ball with that!. On the back of that box I cut out a door that goes to the last box which is behind it. I made this the dugeon. I cut out a window with bars on one side of the box so that it stayed a bit dark in there. The two fridge boxes went on either side of the box that had the drawbridge. I cut a hole out of both boxes, and the middle box, (not a door like the dungeon), so they had four different rooms to play in. It was too much trouble to paint bricks on the castle, so I just added a little white paint to some grey to lighten it and took a rectangle sponge ( dab first on paper towel) and sponge painted bricks around the windows and drawbridge opening. Let some of the bricks be lighter than the others, which adds a little authenticity to it.
To make torches,I painted two paper towel tubes brown and glued a syrafoam cup to the end (painted black), I took some paper and twisted it to look like a hershey kiss which I glued in to the top of the cup (painted orange and yellow to look like flames). They were attached on either side of the drawbrige. The whole castle took up most of my dining room, and took a couple of days to do, but they loved it so much, so it was worth the trouble!! Plus it really sets the mood for the party. I also used some cardboard to make family crests and hung them on the walls to add more flair.I didn't bother with balloons or streamers. In the kitchen I had pink satin pennents hanging from the ceiling.I had my daughter's vanity set and had the various princess acessories set up on it. I sewed my daughters medevil princess dress with pink satin. This took a long time for me as I don't really know how to sew well. If I had known halloween costumes were coming out that early ( beginning of september) I would have waited and bought one for much cheaper than what I paid for the fabric, not to mention all the time spent sewing!
But I made use of all the extra fabric by making the pennents and 8 drawstring purses, to use as their loot bags. I made princess hats out of white poster board ( one large sheet gets three hats, cut semicircles with the straight sides on the out side edge of the posterboard. Fold the straight corners together to form a cone and then hot glue together) I made a small hole in the top of the cone and put two squares of various colors of tulle and three strands of pearlized ribbon thru the top and glued to the inside of the cone. I then had thick ribbon glued to the bottom to tie the hat on ,which matched the color of the tulle used. I had 8 girls coming. The hats were decorated with stick on gems, sparkle glue and fabric paint by the girls. I also had plain silver star wands which I tied and glued pearlized ribbon, strands of tiny pearls and white ribbon. The birthday girl got a more elaborate wand which I did not decorate and a pink colored hat so she would have something different and special. I bought clear pearlized necklaces and bracelets for all the princesses. All of these things I bought at the dollar store really cheap, and they got to keep as part ( or rather most of ) their loot bags/ party favors.I made a crown for the king (husband) and Queen (mom)out of poster board painted gold and gems painted on with glitter glue in various shapes.
The king also had two sacks made out of gold material given to me.They held in one,chocolate gold coins, and in the other ring pops , candy necklaces, little plastic dragons and extra plastic necklaces and bracelets, to be given out as prizes. I also had 5 boys coming ( four of which were five years old), so I bought discounted blue material, and red felt (by the meter) from wal-mart. Using a pattern( halloween costume) I sewed 5 knight tunics complete with a griffin on the front and gold trim around the arms. I used the left over blue material to make 5 draw string purses for the boys( we called them "pouches" though for them). I was going to use cardboard and cut out shields and have them decorate them, but I end up finding shields at the dollar store for a dollar each! So I bought them instead. As well as a sword each. Again this was theirs to keep, and was their party favor/loot bag. It worked out to about $4-$5(canadian)a child for everthing.
GAMES/ACTIVITES;The children were allowed to play in the castle until everyone arrived. Then they were separated, my husband stayed with the boys by the castle, and I took the girls to the kitchen to become princesses. The boys were given their tunics and 'pouches' to put on, and told they had to 'earn' their swords and shields like a real knight throught tests of bravery and skill. Their first test- skill, was to toss three bean bags ( left over red felt cut out in the shape of shields, sewn, and filled with beans) into one of the cut out windows of the castle. Can be made more or less difficult by the distance from the castle. Once each child completed this they were given their sword with strict instructions not to hurt any one with it ( penalty was to be 5 minutes in the dungeon, but they were all careful with them). Their next test was one for bravery, they had to defeat a dragon. But this was no ordinary dragon this was bubble breathing dragon. They had to pop all the bubbles with their swords before they landed. They did this until my sister( who was dressed in green and had wings and a dragon mask I made out of green fun foam) was tired then she pretended to die.
After that the boys got their shields. At the same time I had the girls (with the mothers help, as the girls were mostly three year olds) decorate the princess hats and gave them their purse and jewelry. I then painted their nails pink, and put on glittery body lotion to their faces, hands and arms. I then declared them all princesses and said that no princess is complete without her magic wand, and gave them all their wands. We then went back with the boys and played two group games. The first was Kiss the frog prince, just like pin-the-tail, but I cut out red funfoam lips and added red glitter to them.The winner got a package of candy frogs and all the rest got to pick a prize from the kings purse.
The second game was pass the poison apple, just like hot potato, but when they got caught with the apple they had to pretend to fall asleep, just like in Snow White. They all got prizes from the purse. Thru out the party I would say that becauses I was a generous Queen I would share some of my riches with them, so I would throw out chocolate coins on the floor and tell them to pick them up and put it in their purses to take home( I divided up the extra candy and put it in their purses before they went home).
After the games we sang happy birthday and had cake and icecream while she opened her presents. The cake was in the shape of a castle, made from 3 cake mix boxes. Two rectangular cakes on the bottom, two circle cakes centered on top, with five cupcakes, one on each corner of the rectangular cake and then one centered on top of the circle cake. I inverted ice cream cones on top of the cupcakes, and made little mini flags out of left over ribbon from the hats and glued to toothpicks, I stuck them into the top of the ice cream cones. The cake was decorated with lots of pink icing, the drawbridge and the windows were made out of purple chocolate wafers melted and then piped onto wax paper in the respective shapes. Allow to cool and then flip over and place on icing where ever! I used the pink mini marshmallows as the crennulations along the top edges of the cake. This cake was a big hit! And not too hard to make.I used pink plates and napkins and had pink and purple pop served in plastic wine goblets that had the peel and stick jewels around the edge (careful with small children!) and I made candy skewers out of swizzle sticks in the shape of swords and various types of candy. Use soft candy, as they break easily. I opted not to serve a meal as young children tend to be too excited to eat and it would just be wasted.
After the presents were opened the children just played some more with the castle until the parents came to get them. Everyone was impressed with the party and the kids had a great time . The boys went home with essentially a halloween costume and the girls got more dress up things.
This party was ALOT of work I don't think I would have been able to do this if I was not on maternity leave from work ( and extremely bored!! Even with three children 5,3, and 8 months). Most of the work I did on my own, but If you had help from friends or even older children , you could pull this off with a couple of weeks notice. Most everthing was bought at the dollar store, so cost weren't as high as they could of been, as well as alot of left over material was used for different things for the party, so there wasn't much wasted or unused. The castle will also be reused as a haunted castle for my son's Halloween birthday party on the 30th of october! ( lots of ideas from your Halloween section!, I will of course write about it afterwards!!) I know this is alot to read. It has taken me three hours to hen peck this letter! I hope you get some useful ideas here. I know I will return to this site often for inspiration on future birthdays... Have fun!!
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