Idea No.


Soldier/Airplane Party -4yr- Make a Tank Craft



February 2009


Lisa in Mesa, AZ, USA

Special Mention

Army Boot Camp Party

My son wanted an airplane/soldier birthday party for his 4th birthday. I was inspired by ideas found online and in magazines, using several of them for his special day. 

American Heroes INVITATIONS were purchased on clearance from Party City as they had airplanes on the cover and were camouflage. They told guests that they were recruited and were to report to duty on date/time, location, etc. I also included inside a small slip of paper that stated Enlistment Orders. The Commanding Officer of Fort Harrison hereby requires all recruits to report for duty at 14:00 hours for Basic Training. Recruits should wear fatigues (or green/brown play clothes) as you will get dirty in order to be prepared for action!  Basic Training drills will be done to test accuracy, survival, agility, endurance, strength and balance skills. You will also participate in other military games. Rest well before arrival as you will need your strength.  Birthday rations will be served. On the back I provide birthday gift ideas/suggestions.  

DECORATIONS We transformed the entire backyard into a military base  Fort Harrison. Guests were instructed to enter the yard from the side gate (where a camo colored sign hung stating Fort Harrison). They were then greeted at the Recruit Check-In office (a small outdoor play house that had a sign stating such). We used brown, black, green and American Heroes table cloths, along with black and green balloons. I found camo colored rope/net (6ftx4ft) on clearance at Big Lots after Halloween and used one on the cake table and hung one behind the cake table as a backdrop for pictures.

Posters from the Army, Marine, Navy and Air Force recruitment offices were hung around the patio and next to the Recruit Check-In office. Airplanes, helicopter and parachute soldiers were hung along the patio roof by fishing wire so it appeared as if they were flying. We also hung balloons and green, brown and black stars. A special birthday seat was decorated with green and black balloons and an American flag in a stand was placed next to it. We also created a Boot Camp (see activities/games for details). 

ACTIVITIES/GAMES As guests arrived at the Recruit Check-In office my sister instructed guests to sign the roster (scrap book page for my son), issued dog tags and binoculars (two toilet paper rolls wrapped in construction paper that I colored camo hot glued together with a string attached at each side for a strap).  The kids then had a chance to make a tank until all the guests arrived. This was a tank kit (24 count) I found also on clearance at Party City. I did purchase additional glitter glue and star stickers for them to use to decorate their tanks.

When all the guests arrived we told the recruits that they had to be sworn in so they had to line up by the Recruit Check-In office. My sister read off the kids names (adults too) from the roster. They answered Sir, yes sir! When their name was called.  Then my husband (drill Sgt), dressed in camo, had the recruits take their Oath Atten-hut Men! Do you promise to have fun today? Do you promise to be nice to each other? Do you promise to smile?  Do you promise to wait your turn? Congratulations you have enlisted in the X Army.  Now let's have fun!

They said Sir, yes sir! After each question. They then marched around the yard singing the following cadence - I don't know but I've been told (kids repeat) Harrison is 4 years old (kids repeat) Today's your day so sing along (kids repeat) Happy Birthday that's our song! (kids repeat). They stopped at the beginning of BootCamp. Boot camp had the recruits climb a rock wall and slide down a slide (an outside play piece we already had), run around cones, under a camo netting held up by wooden stakes, swing by rope across crocodile infested water (blue tarp under a rope hung from a swing set with two wooden alligators on the tarp), run through hoola hoops (we didn't have tires), walk across a wooden balance bean with snakes (rubber) on either side, hide behind berms (cardboard boxes colored camo) to launch grenades (grenade water ballons from Walmart) at soldiers in a fox hole (outline of soldiers spray painted onto a piece of cardboard and put inside a 5 gallon bucket) or tank (tank spray painted onto a piece of cardboard), climb another rock wall and slide down another slide (this was part of the swingset) and run back to the Drill Sgt.

After each kid did boot camp (they all did it at least 3 times because they had so much fun) they were sent to war. We had the kids line up and count off 1, 2 and then divide into two groups for a game of tug-o-war. The kids then had some free play time back through boot camp and/or just running around just playing soldier (going through a camo box/fort we also had on hand). After the cake we did a tank pinata that was filled with candy and toy brown/green little army men. When my son opened his presents he sat in his special chair. The child who brought the present stood next to him (the flag was on one side and a soldier poster on the other) for a picture. It will be sent with the thank you.  

COSTUMES We encouraged all guests to arrive in play clothes that were brown, green or camo. 

PARTY SNACKS The party was mid to late afternoon so we served just munchies that my son affectionately labeled (read on): Popcorn (grenades), brocolli (parachutes), carrotts (ordanance), grapes (bombs), apple rings (compass), Chex Mix (shrapnel),  gummy worms (survival food  worms), whoppers (bombs) and green MM's. We offered clean river water (water), swamp water (Hawaiian Punch green apple/raspberry flavored/green in color), and muddy river water (ice tea). 

CAKE My son loves chocolate chip cookies so we had a giant cookie instead of a cake. I made three batches of chocolate chip cookie dough and pressed them into two cookie sheets. Then I put the baked cookies onto a foil wrapped board and put a thin layer of tan colored icing on top. We used my son's army toys (Power Team Elite/World Peace Keepers 3 action figures) as decoration ontop of the cookie. There was a command center, jeep, humvee, motorcycles, soldiers, lookout tower, howitzer, barrels/boxes, weapons, etc. I made rice crispie treats and used them as barracades (put some green frosting on them to help camo them). We suspended a helicopter from the ceiling fan and had a soldier climbing a rope up the side. We used camo colored napkins and black plates.  

PARTY FAVORS We gave everyone a camo goodie bag (on clearance at Party City) filled with: an Army backpack (which we received from the Army recruitment center it fit on your belt but looked like a backpack), brown and green army men (on clearance at KB Toys), matchbox camo or fighter jet planes (on clearance at KB Toys), camo socks ($1 section at Target), military stickers, one parachute soldier and a few pieces of candy. Total cost was about $3.50/bag. For the girls we substituted lip gloss for the plane.  Everyone had a blast. Nobody knew the army set up was sitting on the cookie! Plus everyone enjoyed cookie instead of cake - it was a nice change. The guests all commented on how well decorated everything was - from the posters to the balloons, etc. The kids loved the boot camp and pinata, the snacks were devoured and the 2 hour party lasted 3 1/2 hours. We look forward to the next party!

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