Idea No.


Boot Camp Party -6yr- Bean BagThrow



February 2005


Manassas, VA

Special Mention

Army Boot Camp Party

Just threw a bootcamp/army party for my six year old.  I used lots of ideas that I found on this website, plus added a few of my own.  Challenge was the weather and cold for a January birthday.  We had to postpone the party once for snow.  I sent out invitations using regular letter-sized paper and camo background that I found online.  Wording I got from one of the other boot camp ideas "Your mission should you choose to accept it " Plus I added in that recruits should come attired in and that they can be dropped off in the care of Drill Sergent C." A lot of parents of children this age aren't sure if they should stick around or not.  I printed everything using a courier font since it looks like an old fashioned type writer.  I put the invites in plain manilla envelopes with a label that read PFC and the child's first and last name.  

I timed out all of the activities so there wasn't a lot of "down time" for mischief to be made and a pack of boys to turn wild in my house.  I mixed and matched with army stuff and American flag stuff for decorations.  Lined the walk way to the house with mini american flags, fashioned a recruit tent up in the foyer using camo colored tarps that I found at Wal-mart.  There are several camo or army party patterns out right now so I chose one of those for all the table decorations, balloons, etc.  I made signs for the rooms like "latrine" and "mess hall" and "training room".   When the boys arrived they had to sign in and get their rank stickers -- private first class, which I found a jpg of on line and printed them out on sticker paper.  The received mission cards that listed all the activities we were going to do.  They also got a dog tag which we wrote heir names on and a helmet.  They could also have their faces painted.  Then once outfitted they went around the side of the tent where their picture was taken under a sign that read "DRAFTED".  These recruit pictures went in the thank you notes to the party guests.  We had a real marine friend dressed in fatigues helping out with the "tough" drill sergeant role. 

First the boys went outside (not too cold that day) to do calisthenics and Sergeant Says.  We got some great photos of the kids doing sit-ups and toe touches.  Our drill sergenat kept them going "faster, more, and harder".  This was their warm up (literally on a cold day).  Before the party began I took about 15 of my son's GI Joe dolls and hid them all over our yard.  The boys were all issued a toy gun and then they did an enemy soldier search and had to find them and bring them back to the jail which was a milk crate.  They loved this one and wanted to play again. 

Next I had them inside for the obstacle course.  We took all of the toys out of our basement playroom and set up:  a short balance beam on a piece of wood,  a pillow hop (both feet like a rabbit), then step into and out of a big bin, then up and down a kiddie slide, a shuttle run (using soccer cones), through a big box (that my son and I painted with camo colors) and finally hurling themselves over a couch (their favorite part of course).  Each boy must have done it about 10 times.  We played rockin' music in he background to set the mood. 

We did a bean bag throw. I bought some cheap camo material from Wal-mart and made some bean bags.  We have a bean bag toss game (Melissa and Doug toy) and my husband Drew "tough guy" faces to cover the animal faces and old-style canon ball bombs to pop-up over the heads of the men when they got bean bags in their mouths. 

They went up for snacks in the mess hall after that.  Chips and cupcakes with camo icing (fondant is weird but so useful) and icecream cups and juice boxes.  Served everything in tin pans.  We sang a candence instead of the traditional happy birthday song.

Then it was back to the training room for a tug of war.  I got a soft rope (again from Wal-mart) so it wouldn't hurt their hands.  We mixed teams a few times and then the little boys tugged versus the "big guys" (dads) at the end.  A wounded buddy race was next.  Two wounded team members and two able bodied members.  They had to run down and wrap one wounded leg in toilet paper and then then help their buddy back to safety which had to be done with the bandaged member hopping.  That one sounded better on paper then they actually could accomplish.  I think they were just a bit young for the mechanics of it.  We did pinata near the end. 

They all had mission cards on which they got stars on them for when they participated in a "mission" game and then they got to pick prizes from a bag for all their stars.  I found an army mix of favors from a local party store.  The mission cards were the neatest things I did, in my opinion, but the boys can't read most of what's on them so I guess I did them mostly for the parents to see what they did while they were here.  I named the things "physical training (calisthenics), following orders (sergeant says), bravery (soldier search), endurance (obstacle course), teamwork (tug o' war), first aid (wounded buddy race), marksmanship (bean bag toss), conduct (mess hall), and determination (pinata)" At the end they got promoted to corporal (again I printed out new rank stickers) got a medal (pin on kind found at oriental trading) and a treat bag. 

For the treat bags I used:  pencils (camo or american flag), compass, candy bar (I had special wrappers made for my son's party to cover the standard hershey bar), gliders, american flags, a slim jim, plastic army men and light sticks.  Then they also brought home all their gear and their pinata candy bags too. All the boys seemed to have a great time.  And there were a lot of them (our first boy-only birthday party).  I was so pleased when one mom told me her son talked about the party all weekend long!

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