American Dragon -8yr- Potato Sack Race
Pam in Plano in Dallas, TX USA
Disney American Dragon Party - 6-8 year old boys I came up with this idea for my son based on the new Disney show called American Dragon: Jake Long. The show has all kinds of great graphics which can take you in different directions: dragons, karate, fire, skateboarding, roller skating, and yo-yos. It also has a catchy theme song and should have a "inspired by" music CD out soon.
Goody bag: dragon necklaces, Chinese New Year noisemakers, paper lucky money bags, dragon baseball caps, and yo-yos from orientaltrading.com. Decorations: use inexpensive Chinese New Years decorations such as giant tissue paper dragons and paper lanterns. The more, the merrier and the brighter, the better. Any style pinata will do, but it needs to be large and you may want to weaken it beforehand so that it breaks more easily.
Activities: The main character of the show is an active boy who likes to play with his friends, but also is put through various tests by his grandfather so that he'll become a better dragon. The logical party connection is a series of agility and skill games to keep the boys moving. I usually have a list of 8-10 games which mix team and individual competition. I move through the games based on the interest level of the kids and skip a few if they seem repetitive or the boys don't like them. The object is to keep them busy, challenged, and interested for about 20 minutes.
Before the games begin, give each of the boys one of the baseball caps with his name written on the inside. The caps from oriental trading company come in assorted colors, which will help you to create smaller teams during the games (ie red vs. black). They also give the boys a feeling of anticipation and participation. Alternately, there are caps and visors with the "flame" symbol that come in black, yellow, or red.
1) Relay races outside - line all of the kids up in 2-4 lines based on the number of kids at the party. Have them race to a spot, return, and tag the next player in line. The first team to finish is the winner. Instead of prizes for the winners, have them be first in line for the next game
2) Potato sack race - can be run the same way as above (in teams), or everybody for themselves.
3) Skateboard race - you'll need a few skateboards and divide up the kids in teams like above. They need to get themselves and the board to a point and back, just like the relay race above, except they need to either sit backwards on the board or lay on their tummys. Whatever it takes to make them less coordinated and make the race harder.
4) Paddle ball challenge - everybody gets a paddle ball and starts paddling when the parent says "go!" They need to stop paddling when they break rhythm. The winner is the one who can keep paddling uninterrupted the longest. This will require either a lot of concentration from the parents, or a relaxed approach. The kids will probably keep better track of who wins and who cheats.
5) Nerf ball hoops. (similar concept to above, but can be done indoors if the weather is bad)
6) Ninja attack - divide the boys into two teams, line them up in front of two separate magnetic dart boards, each team throws darts (Ninja stars)at the board, high score wins.
7) Pin the tail - buy a poster from Wal-Mart that echoes the theme in some way and pick a complementary element from the poster to be the "tail." Photo-copy that piece of the poster and cut out enough of them for each boy at the party. Follow the usual pin the tail on the donkey routine.
8) Pinata - I use a pull-string for the youngest kids, but nothing beats the fun of whacking a pinata with a bat outside. I also mix small novelty toys and stickers with the candy so this isn't all about the sugar.
At the end of all the games, award each boy one of the dragon necklaces for their hard work and competitive spirit. If it doesn't seem too hokey, you can tell them they have passed all of the tests and are now ready to become a true American Dragon. Wash up and provide snacks/cake/ice cream. Open gifts. Send them home with the rest of their goody bag, their pinata loot, and a baloon. Dragon Up!!!