Idea No.


Bootcamp Sleepover -9yr- Decoding Skills



July 2003


Mary in Hebron, IN 46341


Army Boot Camp Party

We celebrated my son Eric's 9th birthday with a BOOTCAMP/SLEEPOVER Party.  We sent out official looking draft notices that we downloaded from the computer.  Of course we had to change the wording but they looked very authentic.  The children were asked to arrive dressed in camouflage and were instructed to bring a sleeping bag, pillow and a change of clothes.     

When the children arrived, they were checked off at the REGISTRATION desk by MAJOR PAIN & MAJOR KNOW-IT-ALL. (my 12 year old son & his friend were the majors)  We had the 14 boys divided into ALPHA and BRAVO company.  I made arm bands out of red/white stripes and blue/stars, so that they could identify who was in which company and with which Major.  They also received their army equipment-helmet,dog tags,compass/whistle container,parachute men,tatoos,& camouflage paint.  After every soldier had registered, the Majors lined up their soldiers and had them march to the backyard singing a cadence song I made up for my sons birthday.  After putting their gear into their tents, they had their faces painted in camouflage by their respective Majors and put code names on their dog tags. (Tank, Ammo, Chaos, Slim, Zeter, etc)      

 While they were getting FACE PAINTED IN CAMOUFLAGE, my husband was cooking the hotdogs on the grill and I was setting out all the other chow in the MESS HALL(our deck)  We decorated the deck with pictures I downloaded off the internet from WW1 through the Vietnam War.   I found pictures of soldiers, tanks, guns, airplanes, fox holes, tents, mess halls, etc.  I thought they would find it interesting to see how far we have come technologically. We decorate with brown, yellow & green streamers and table covers.  The boys ate hotdogs, watermelon, cantaloupe, chips and little juice drinks called HUGS- that look like little grenades. ( these were the perfect size for quick drink breaks)

I made a tank birthday cake using a 9x13 cake pan for the base, a 9" round cake pan, a small corning bowl for the top, oreos for the wheels, fruit by the foot for the treads, green licorice for the gun and of course green frosting.  The boys loved it. Each layer was a different flavor, so everyone had a flavor they liked. We made a cd of war songs and popular songs from the vietnam war era, that we played while they ate.    

After eating, we started our BOOTCAMP TRAINING GAMES: 

MESSAGE DECODING & COMPASS SKILLS-  each child had a numbered compass/whistle container. We put a different hidden message in each, that they had to decode as a team.  I just gave each letter of the alphabet a number.  After they decoded their message, they had to either army crawl, sneak, human chain, or run to a location in our yard find their color flag which told them which number container to open next.  In the end, they found themselves in our sandbox digging for a hidden sniper. 

TARGET PRACTICE- the children climbed up into our skyfort, where they dropped their parachute man down to try and hit the target that was spray painted on the ground.  The team with the most points won.  

RESCUE MISSIION/FIRST AID- Each team had an injured man out in our field (smallest child on each team)the team had to run out into the field with a stretcher(afghan) and a roll of toilet paper (bandages).  The first team to wrap a whole roll of toilet paper around their injured soldier and carry him back to camp won.  

PHYSICAL FITNESS- we used our skyfort and other items for this.  The soldiers had to run up the slide, slide down the firemans pole, climb up the cargo net, slide down the slide, climb the knotted rope, cross the monkey bars, run through tires (spray painted red rings on the grass) army crawl under fake barbed wire (hot pink mason string strung through wooden stakes) and run to the finish line.  We timed the boys with a stopwatch to make it more fun.  

FIELD TRAINING- the soldiers played capture the flag.  

TACTICAL MANEUVERS- the soldiers were blind folded, two at a time-one from each team and they had to walk across a mine field. (water balloons scattered through the field) The team to get the most players across the field won.  Most of the boys were trying hard to get blown-up!  

STRENGTH TRAINING- tug o'war   WAR- 4" water balloons.  We filled up over 400 water balloons.  Each team had a purple plastic bin filled with over 200 water balloons.  We instructed them to not throw them at their enemies face.  The soon discovered that by throwing the balloons at their enemies feet, the balloons burst really well. (this was their favorite!)   

SURPRISE ATTACK- we hung an army jeep pinata full of candy from our skyfort.  We blindfolded the children and let them swing an aluminum bat at it.      The party started at 5:00 p.m. and the last game was over at 9:00p.m.   We took the boys in to wash their faces and change out of their wet clothes. By the time they were all cleaned up, the bonfire was ready.  The boys sat by the fire and made smores and told stories. 

At 10:30 they were sent to their BARRACKS (2 large tents) for some R&R. The last soldier was asleep by 11:30.  (they were exhausted!!)     

Wake up call was at 8:00 a.m. with a breakfast of donuts, juice & milk in the MESS HALL.      The soldiers were dismissed to their parents at 9:00 after receiving their Official Certificate of Bootcamp Completion.      Since the party was the week before the 4th of July, the thank you notes included 4th of July themed tattoos for the boys.      It was a wonderful party that the adults as well as the children enjoyed.

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