Knights Quest -4yr- Parchment Paper Invites
April in Lexington, Kentucky, USA
For my son's fourth birthday we had a medieval knight party. I have always tried to be creative when it comes to the kid's birthday parties. It's the only day that is theirs alone and they don't have to share the attention with a sibling. Plus I figure that by a certain age my boys will no longer let their mom be involved in the celebration so I'm taking advantage of the time they give me when their young. Planning a medieval knight birthday party is easy to do; all it takes is a little creativity and time.
Invitations: First I started with the invitations to set the mood and feel for the party. I used simple parchment paper to print out the invitations and rolled them into scrolls, tied with a red velvet ribbon, and burned the edges to make it look old. The wording is also important. My invites read, Hear Ye! Hear Ye! Nobel Knights and Fair Ladies your presence is requested at a celebration honoring the 4th year of Sir (child's name) noble birth. The (last name) Castle, (address), will be hosting the feast and festivities on (date) at (time). Please RSVP to Lady (your name) by (date). I found some cool crest of arms clip art that I put in the corner to make it look more official. I hand delivered the invitations to our guest but you can mail them in special tubes to your guest instead.
Decorations: Next I transformed the backyard into the grounds of the royal palace. I used red/purple/and gold for the color scheme; streamers, balloons, and cloth flags hanging around the fence and the deck. I used construction paper to make different shields and strung them together with twine to create a unique garland to hang around the banquet hall (our deck) where the kids would be eating. We made a special throne for the birthday boy by draping a dining room chair with purple satin and tulle and placing it on a platform so he sat above the guest at the table.
The table was covered with a purple table cloth and decorated with gold plastic plates, cups, silverware, and napkins. We used my son's castle and medieval toys as a centerpiece for the table. We made a banner to hang over the front door that said Welcome to (your last name) Castle! I lined the sidewalk leading to the front door with a red plastic tablecloth that made it look like red carpet. On either side of the front door was a balloon tree made with helium balloons tied to an anchor (again we used the colors red, purple, yellow, and gold) Most of the decorations were bought at the local dollar store except the cloth material which I found in the dollar bend at Wal-Mart.
Costumes: As the kids arrived they were greeted by the King and Queen of the castle (my husband and I) using our best English accents. I made simple tunics for each child by folding a piece of 1 x 4 material in half with a hole cut out for the head. The hem line was cut in zig zags and scallops and I made crest out of sticky-back felt to represent each team. One team was red with purple Maltese-crosses on the chest and the other was purple with a red fleur delis. I found foam swords and crowns at a local craft store to complete the ensemble. We made shields out of cardboard, covered them with alumin foil, and stapled elastic pieces on the back to hold onto. While the kids were waiting for all the guest to arrive, they decorated their shield with left over felt, glitter, jewels, and various other art supplies I had laying around the house.
Activities: The kids were sent on a Quest for the King's Treasure. I created a map of our backyard which leads the kids to each challenge. The first challenge was to Feed the Dragon (basically a beanbag toss). We made a dragon head out of cardboard with an open mouth. I used mismatched socks and dried beans to make beanbags to toss. The kids had to feed the dragon to move on to the next challenge.
The second challenge was a jousting contest between the two teams. I used pool noodles bought at the dollar store so that no one got hurt. The kids used their shields to block out their opponents attack with the pool noodle. This was a huge hit (no pun intended).
The third challenge was to Sword the Knight (a version of pin-the-tail on the donkey). I found a cool Knight drawing online and used on overhead projector to blow-up the picture and traced it onto a poster board. I made mini swords with each kids name on it from construction paper for them to place on the knight. The kid who came closest to the knight's hand got to lead the others to the final challenge.
The final challenge was to Slay the Dragon. I bought a dragon pinata online and the kids used a wooden sword my husband made to hit the pinata. The candy inside was used to fill the goodie bags. Because the kids were young we did not blindfold them, it still took several turns before breaking it open. I found a cardboard treasure chest at a local dollar store which held the King's Treasure. Inside was gold goodie bags for each kid to put their candy in. The bags also contained medieval coloring pages, fake gold coins and jewels.
After the quest was completed my husband knighted each kid with a real sword. They each received a personal copy of a Knight's Code of Honor to follow. These were also printed on parchment paper, rolled into scrolls, ad tied with a red ribbon.
The Feast: After being knighted by the King, the kids were lead to the banquet hall (aka our deck) to eat. Because of the time of day, I had the party (2-4), I didn't have to provide a full meal. We had snacks, cake, and ice cream.
Snacks: Dragon scales- tortilla chips and salsa Knight's Quest mix- trail mix Wizard's magic potion- mixed fruit salad
Cake- We had a red velvet sheet cake with an icing drawing of a knight fighting a dragon. There are several recipes out there to create a castle cake but I took the easy way out. We served the cake with ice cream.
Drinks- I made a simple punch with rainbow sherbet and ginger ale and called it Knight's grog. At the end of the party the kids got to take home their goodie bags, costume, and swords. It was a great party and one that I hope my son will always remember.