Idea No.


Space Party 8yr - Space Rangers Mission Control



June 2006


Rebecca in Ventura, CA, USA

June 2006 Winner

Space Party

For my son's 8th birthday, I wanted to do a space theme. 

I made the invitations using white cardstock.  On the front, I pasted blue construction paper for sky onto which I glued yellow stars.  I added a white cloud at the bottom with a horizontal incision cut at the top of the cloud.  Into this opening, I inserted a rocket ship with the words Blast off to. . . Visible across the top so that the rocket appears to be blasting off in a cloud of smoke.  Only after the rocket ship is removed from the cloud is the rest of the message, (my son's) Space Party, ###-####, visible.  I added a magnet to the back of the rocket and made flames coming out of the bottom using yellow felt.   This way, the rocket could be stuck on the fridge as a reminder to RSVP!  The inside of the card read, It is our greatest pleasure to announce that you have been selected to be part of the Space Ranger Team in honor of (our son's) 8th Birthday!  Launch Date. . . March 4, Countdown Begins. . . 1300 hours (1:00 PM), Mission Completes. . . 1500 hours (3:00 PM), Launch site. . . Space Mission 8 Command Center (with our address).  Please respond to Mission Control to confirm your participation in Space Mission 8. . .###-####.  

I tried to make our home seem like a Space Center by making a giant arch out of three 12 foot carpet role tubes obtained from the local flooring store.  They were held together using long screws and secured over our front gate.  A sign was hung from the arch which read SPACE MISSION 8 CONTROL CENTER.  I also hung red, white and blue (RW&B) bunting, pinwheels and streamers.  Once inside, each child's name was checked off a roster and the parent's cell phone # was added to the list.  Each child received an ID Badge saying Space Mission 8, Space Ranger ###. He was also given a foam finger rocket (Oriental trading company-OTC) and encouraged to join the other Space Rangers in the backyard to practice rocket maneuvering skills outside.  The boys had a blast shooting the rockets while we waited for all the guests to arrive.  To start the game portion of the party, we called everyone inside to the Mission Command Center.  In this room I had hung metallic Red, Silver and Blue Stars at various heights from the ceiling using fishing line and masking tape. I added RW&B streamers and carnation bouquets, American Flags and giant aerial maps of the world. 

Central to the room and erected on my fireplace's hearth, I had created a 6 ft x 8ft Mission Control Computer out of cardboard boxes.  I spray-painted it silver and made it light-up by wrapping twinkle lights in red cellophane and placing them inside of upside-down clear plastic containers which were then glued across the top of the computer.  I then took several canisters (Lego Bionicle boxes) and inserted them into circular holes that I had cut so that the lids looked like knobs on a computer, while the inside could still be used to hide things in.  I made a viewing screen for the computer by taking a sturdy piece of Styrofoam obtained from the packaging of my old PC and wrapped it in aluminum foil and hot glued it to the center of the computer. Since the Styrofoam had a rectangular hole in the center, it resembled a computer monitor.  Into this opening,  I placed a stack of pre-made cards with messages typed onto them.  These could then be changed when the computer was activated.  I made extra buttons using silver orange juice can lids and laundry detergent caps and added RW&B stripes to tie it together with the room d├ęcor.  Lastly, I place my karaoke machine inside the box and cut a hole so that only the microphone could come out.  We needed the microphone to be heard over the 18 second-grade boys.  

Wearing white lab coats (painter's coats), badges that read Commander ________ and white painter's hats (OTC), my husband addressed the boys saying, Welcome to Space Mission 8 Command Center.   I am your Senior SPACE RANGER and this is my Assistant, Mrs. Senior SPACE RANGER.  Today, not only will we celebrate _____s 8th Birthday, but each of you will be thoroughly trained as to the true meaning of what it means to be a SPACE RANGER. With the assistance of our voice activated computer, you will be assigned various exercises.  As you successfully complete each mission, you will be rewarded with prizes which can be kept safe in the jetpacks which my assistant will now issue to each of you.   I then passed out the jetpacks that I had made by spray painting old cereal boxes silver and gluing clear plastic water bottles to the back as fuel tanks.  To add the effect of fire, I had filled each bottle with red cellophane and allowed it to spill out the spout.  I then used scissors to taper the flames.  Colorful foam circles served as buttons on the packs and read ON, OFF, HOVER, and HYPERSPEED, and JETPACK #__ ISSUED TO (child's name). 

To make sure that the packs stayed secure, I used sturdy thick ribbon to make straps and placed a plastic shower curtain ring on each strap so that the two sides could be hooked together.  Inside each pack was a painter's caps (OTC) with three blue stars hot glued onto it and the words SPACE MISSION 8.   Next, we addressed the children, Please locate the specially designed SPACE RANGER Mission Cap located within each jet pack, and Don't forget to buckle up!  SPACE RANGERS, are you equipped and ready for fun?  Then let us commence the activities by asking our voice activated computer the ever important question . . .What is a SPACE RANGER? We had the kids ask it again, but really loud, then we removed the  first card in the screen to reveal  CARD 1--A SPACE RANGER IS HEROIC.  At the bottom of the card we listed a number and a color.  The child whose badge had that number then came forward and unscrewed the knob with the designated color on it and removed the first MISSION from that canister. (Each mission represents a different game.)

MISSION 1 read,  Aliens on an expedition to research our planet have been captured by an evil scientist who has imprisoned them in tiny bottles which are hidden throughout the backyard.   It is your job as SPACE RANGERS  to be heroic by rescuing one alien prisoner each, returning him to his flying saucer and sending him home? I had made little aliens out of pom-poms with googly eyes and placed each one inside of an old prescription medications bottle sealed with plastic wrap and a rubber band.  Each bottle had a different symbol on it with a matching symbol located on one of the many flying saucers that were hanging in the yard.  Each kid had to find the bottle, match the symbols and retrieve the ship.  To make each flying saucer I spray painted a cardboard pizza pan silver, hot glued a black plastic round food container (Costco rice bowl) to its center and hot-glued a slurpee/icee lid to the top.  The alien could get in and out of the cockpit thru the hole where the straw should go!  Fishing line was secured thru a hole drilled in the center of the food container and attached to a paper clip inside the container before it was glued down.  I placed colorful foam circles on the food container to represent windows.  Once all the children located their alien's ship, we went out front and had a UFO toss.  I used masking tape on the ground to mark off different areas with each area corresponding to a candy bar prize, Mars = Mars bar, Milky Way= milky way, Star= starburst candy.   After this, we returned to the Mission Control Computer for the second mission/game.  Everyone shouted What is a SPACE RANGER? And I removed the card from the screen to reveal CARD 2--A SPACE RANGERS IS SPEEDY, along with another number and color.  The next child removed the mission from its canister.

MISSION 2 read,  To be a SPACE RANGER, you must prove you are really, really, really fast.  Your mission is to prove yourself by participating in the FAST PACE SPACE RACE.  This was simply a relay race.  I had made two rockets out of some silver canisters (Trader Joe's protein powder) and using cardstock for the fins and nosecones.  I made a circular hole in each rocket to represent a fuel tank that could be stuffed with cotton balls (fuel.).  One ship was red for the red team and one was blue for the blue team.  I made asteroids by tying fishing line to paper clips,  wrapping these in paper towels and then wrapping that in aluminum foil.  I hung the asteroids from the trees above the race course.  The object of the game was to obtain fuel for your rocket (carry 5 cotton balls on a spoon from the fueling station to the rocket), fuel the rocket (putting cotton inside rocket), fly thru the asteroid field (do not touch asteroids hanging from trees), plant flag in planet (put American flag into Styrofoam planet at end of course), fly back to launch pad.  The first team to plant all of the flags wins.  Everyone got the same prize, but the winning team got first choice of color.  Prizes were a Winners medal, a gun that shoots foam stars, and a pen that launches foam rockets (all at OTC).   Finally, we returned to the command center for the last mission/game.  Everyone shouted, What is a SPACE RANGER?, and I removed the card from the screen to reveal CARD 3--A SPACE RANGER IS HELPFUL, along with another number and color.  The next child removed the mission from its canister.

MISSION 3 read,  NASA scientists have been doing extensive research in Quadrant 4 of the Black Hole Galaxy, but have been forced to abandon their project due to recent government budget cuts.   SPACE RANGERS , you must prove that you are Helpful by traveling into the black hole and retrieving the following items left by the scientists. . .1. Group of pulsing quasars (LED flashing star pins-OTC), 2.  Collection of small galaxies (galaxy tops-OTC), 3.  Glowing moon rock samples (glowing superballs-OTC) and 4.  Planetary goo.(glowing goo-OTC).  Please use these notes written in this science journal to locate these objects.  The delivery portal (another canister) was opened at the bottom of the computer to reveal a notebook titled Science Journal.  The pages inside seemed to be blank, so we told the kids, maybe it will make more sense when we get to the Black Hole Galaxy.  In reality, each seemingly blank page inside the journal had one symbol drawn upon it which was only visible when placed under a black light bulb.  To make this, I simply dipped my finger in Clorox 2 laundry bleach and drew a symbol and let it dry. 

Before the party, I had transformed my son's bedroom into the Blackhole Galaxy by hanging a 4 foot long black light bulb on his wall (Home Depot for bulb and fixture), taping cardboard over the windows, and putting white sheets over his desk, bunk bed, chair and toys to represent moon rocks.  I took white paper and cut out stars and taped them to the walls and used a hole punch to make glowing circles which I sprinkled all over the floor (cool effect.).  I hung stars painted with fluorescent paints from the ceiling and then hid four canisters (more Bionicle boxes) throughout the room, each labeled with a symbol that corresponded to the symbol that was revealed on each page of the science journal.  The symbols on the canisters glowed because they were simply the shapes of the symbol cut out from white paper and taped to the canister. (You need to experiment ahead of time to figure what glows the best.)  As we read the science journal, we located each canister and passed out the prizes within each.  

After this, we headed outside for cake and ice-cream. I had made a spherical cake by using the Wilton ball pan and frosting it with French vanilla for a nice soft moon color.  I made craters by pushing a spoon into the frosting and topped it with a moon buggy being driven by an alien with a big American flag.  I made 24 star shaped mini-cakes using another Wilton pan and frosted these yellow.  After singing, we quickly passed out ice-cream bars and gave each kid his own star cupcake.  The cake was cut up for whoever wanted it.  At each place setting, I had drawn an 8-inch astronaut with the child's school picture glued onto the face.  I stuck foam to the back of each astronaut, and cut it out like a paper doll leaving the arms and legs and waist loose so that when it was reassembled with string, it moved like a marionette.  I attached the astronaut to 12 inch skewer (sharp ends cut off) and the children could make their astronaut moonwalk or dance.  They could take it home and color it as well. 

I also made rockets by taking toilet paper rolls and wrapping them in RW&B flag paper taken from cutting apart Chinese yo-yos (OTC) and adding a cone and fins made from cardstock.  I put a few tootsie-rolls inside of these and used red cellophane coming out as flames.  The kids were so excited to find candy inside the rocket. When it looked like all the kids were about done eating, we planned one final surprise.  I ran out and announced that there was a special emergency message coming through on the mission control computer.  Everyone ran inside and saw that the card on the screen read EMERGENCY MESSAGE, with a color and a number.  The child with that number then removed the emergency message from the last colored canister.  It read, Calling all space rangers. . . .Our space shuttle has been hijacked by friendly, but very silly aliens.  It can only be recaptured if we interfere with their radio transmission using these specially adapted Space Ranger Whistles.  The shuttle will be passing over your command center momentarily, so you must hurry to the front yard. 

I located some whistles (OTC) that were hidden in the delivery portal (another canister) of the computer and distributed them as we all lined up in the front yard under the eaves of our house behind a safety line that I had put on the ground ahead of time.  Since we own walkie-talkies, we thought it would be exciting to use them as props.  While my husband was secretly sneaking onto the roof above and behind the children, I called him on the walkie-talkie asking, Commander---have you a visual on the hijacked ship?  He responded with, Roger that. . . Visual confirmed.  Shuttle now entering atmosphere.  At this point, I got all the children to look into the distance in the direction opposite and away from the house and I told them to whistle really really loud on the count of three.  When my husband heard the whistle, he hurled a shuttle shaped pinata off the roof of the house.  It was absolutely hysterical to watch their surprised faces as the shuttle lands.  Inside the pinata were cute plush monsters that I got from OTC.  I thought they looked like aliens and the kids loved them (even the pink ones.)  

After passing out the silly aliens, we headed inside for the awards ceremony.  The last card on the screen read,  CONGRATULATIONS.  MISSION COMPLETE.  My husband wrapped everything up and said, SPACE RANGERS, you have proven yourselves to be Heroic, Speedy, Helpful and very, very Loud, therefore,  I wish to bestow upon each of you an intergalactic bongo stick in recognition of your efforts.  May you use it to exercise good and not evil. You are now dismissed to the backyard to practice defending the universe.  At this point, we passed out these neat inflatable 5 foot long bongo sticks from OTC and the kids rush out to bonk each other in the backyard.  They are really quite safe and make this cool noise when they are banged together.  

We  finished the whole party in two hours (which is probably less time than it took you to read this party outline), but everyone stayed for another hour to play.  Due to the number of kids, we thought it best to open presents later.   I should also mention that during the game portion of the party, I chose to play classical music on my portable cd player for each game.  I chose really fast moving music from Carmen for the relay race and The Blue Danube Waltz for the awards ceremony.  It really helped to keep the pace and energize the kids.  I couldn't resist using the soundtrack from Star Wars for the half hour as the children arrived.  For thank-you notes, we just made simple cards with RW&B stars and a note and included some extra stickers with each card for fun.  It was one of the best parties we have done and well worth all the time spent making the props.  I will save as much as I can and do the party again when my youngest son turns 8 and I might even recycle the mission control center for a Rescue Hero Party next year.

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