Idea No.


Military Party -5yr- What's in the Duffel Game



May 2012


Shelly in Derby, Kansas United States

Runner Up

Army Boot Camp Party

My son and his friends love pretending to be soldiers; therefore a military themed party was perfect. Because we live in Kansas and his birthday is in January, we always have to plan an indoor party. Including my son, 9 boys attended (ages 2-8). 

INVITATIONS: Our invitations were printed on see-through like velum paper I purchased from a local paper/printing company ($0.15/sheet). Using clip art, I enlarged an American flag and then using a stencil like font, the following message was printed over the flag: Ready Recruits? Sound Off! I don’t know if you’ve been told (insert child’s name) is 5 years old! Your mission, should you choose to accept it is to report to basic training When: (21 January 2012), Time: 1400 hours to 1600 hours (2-4pm civilian time) Birthday rations will be served Location: (your last name) military base (your address) RSVP (your number) Base Commander (parent’s name), Military/camouflage clothing is optional. Parents raved about the invitations and said they had never seen anything so cute and original. 

DECORATIONS: Decorations were very simple black tablecloth, black, brown, and green latex balloons, and camouflage plates, napkins, and cups. I also went to local Armed Forces recruiting offices to ask if they had any items we could use for our party. All were happy to provide us with several posters which we hung on our walls.   My son greeted each recruit and each child received a personalized dog tag (purchased at Party City). Because little boys tend to be hungry, after everyone arrived it was time for cake.

CAKE: The cake was purchased from our local grocery store and an edible American flag image was on the cake. It read Happy 5th birthday Private (child’s name). Before eating, the recruits sang a special birthday cadence to my son.   Sergeant: I don't know if you’ve been told   Recruits: I don't know if you’ve been told   Sergeant: (my son’s first and last name) is five years old!   Recruits: (my son’s first and last name) is five years old!   Sergeant: A special day let’s shout for joy   Recruits: A special day let’s shout for job   Sergeant: Happy Birthday, birthday boy!  Recruits: Happy Birthday, birthday boy!  After the cadence we all sang the traditional Happy Birthday song.  After cake it was time to open presents. My son chose the first gift to open, and the child that had given him this present sat beside him while their gift was being opened. This allowed me to take a picture which was included in the thank you letters we mailed. 

GAMES: After presents we played a few games. The first game was BINGO. Using clip art, I created a BINGO game using military themed photos (Uncle Sam, rifle, submarine, rifle, etc). I then purchased laminating paper from Walmart so as to protect the card and to use for future parties. I used brown and green M&M’s to serve as the BINGO markersthe boys LOVED playing this game!! 

The second game was Hot Grenade, played like Hot Potato. I purchased a very inexpensive grenade from that had a ticking sound. Push the pin to start the ticking and have the kids pass it around as the music plays in the background. Whoever is holding the grenade when it explodes is out of the game. Engage the grenade again and keep playing until only one soldier remains. Military themed music played in the background that I had borrowed from our local library.

The final game was Guess What's in the Duffel Bag.  We told our recruits that soldiers need more than just the gear that they carry in the gear bags, they need other supplies thing we too use on a daily basis.  Have things that might be in a soldier's bag like sunglasses, gloves, dog tags, socks, a pair of boots, a belt, etc. Have each boy put his hand inside and, without looking, guess what he is holding. He then pulls it out to see if he was correct. If he was, the item goes in the center of the group.  If not, it goes back in the bag. Keep taking turns until all the items are out of the bag. 

GOODIE BAGS: At the end of the party, each recruit received a goodie bag which contained an Air Force Reserve cup (donated by our local recruiting office), bouncy ball, gold star necklace, pencil/paper, military tattoos (all purchased from Party City), and several army figures. The boys loved wearing camouflage clothing, playing military related games, and singing a special birthday song to my son. Parents commented about the fun and creativity that went into planning this party. Everyone had a wonderful time especially my son. Happy planning!

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