Modern Knight/Maiden -4yr- Catapult the Castle
katie in tipp city. ohio usa
For my son's 4th birthday this year he decided he wanted a knight party. He has several little girl cousins and friends so I decided to make it a universal/gender neutral party with lots of bright colors (I wanted it to be like a outdoor renaissance carnival or celebration).
INVITATIONS: I kept the information pretty minimal. I designed a 4x4 white square invitation that had a illustration of king arthor fighting a old-style dragon and placed that in the left hand corner. At the top it read "M**** is turning 4". I used an ornate letter "m" (like at the beginning of story books) for the first letter in my sons name and made the "4" large and red in a modern font. I added the date and time and such and then I matted and backed the white invitation with a bright green card stock. To add some pizazz I found a multicolored harlequin diamond patterned paper (12x12 paper) and used that as the envelope. I placed the square invite in the middle of the paper and cut triangles at each edge. It creates a star-like pattern and when you bring all the triangles together it creates a cool envelope. I sealed each envelope with red wax with a stamped shape in the middle.
DECORATIONS: to bring in the carnival feel I made paper pennant banners hung from orange string and strung them up all around outside and in. each pennant was a different pattern (striped polka dot the diamond patterned paper and some solids). I also used several paper lanterns of different sizes and colors and hung them above the food table and in our large flowering bush. We tossed in the colorful balloons and the tables all were covered in a large red and white gingham print and some others in stark white tablecloths. I bought gold plastic cups and silverware from the party store robins egg blue plates and red napkins. The kid's gold cups I decorated with large jewels that I hot glued on. The main decoration was the cardboard castle with tunnels and secret passages. Made out of 4 refrigerator boxes (making the towers) and 3 washer boxes (connecting the towers and making tunnels) the castle was the biggest hit.
I fastened all of the boxes together using 2" gold fasteners from an office supply store. I painted the boxes gray and painted gray toned stone on the towers. To decorate the caste I made torches out of rolled up (cone-shaped) tan construction paper and cut up pieces of a yellow plastic grocery sack. To add a little depth I cut out a flame shape of orange construction paper and stuck it in the middle. I also added 2 flags to the front 2 towers. I used white foam sheets and added a green lower case "m" in the modern font out of a bright green foam sheet. (the left overs from this sheet will come in handy for the gift bags) I attached each flag to a dowel rod.
ACTIVITIES/GAMES: I've always found that the best and most stress-free parties happen when you let the kids play organically and not force them into lots of scheduled activities. I like to set out a lot of options and let them use their imaginations and play at their own pace. I had a large table set out with all of their costumes and accessories. My husband made a catapult out of spare wood trim we had lying around. It was a small catapult that you release by stomping on one end. It made it safer to not have anything swinging back and hitting the kids. I made bean bags out of red and white polka dot fabric and dried black beans for the kids to launch at the castle and they had fun running after the lightly flying bags and trying to catch them. We also had a dragon pinata stuffed with sweets that the kids took a stab at right before present time (that way the kids were preoccupied with their goodies while my son opened his gifts)
COSTUMES: I wanted to keep the costumes minimal with the july heat so I had sheilds swords and knight helmets laid out for the boys and hats wands and jewelry for the girls. I made the shields out of cardboard and painted them a robins egg blue. I used the colorful diamond patterned paper in the middle of the shield and a red dragon silhouette in the middle of that. I hot glued cardboard handles on the back. I was really lucky to find foam pool swords at the dollar store that were perfect for a bunch of rough boys. Not one little one was hurt by all the "fighting". I made the knight helmets out of silver posterboard and used a template to assemble them that I found online. I bought skinny silver elastic to add to the sides so that they would stay on while the boys ran around. For the girls hats I used pink poster board and made large cone hats with colrofull ribbon hanging down from the top and added large red construction paper polka dots all around. The finish it off I used more ribbon on the sides so that they could tie them around their face. I found silver sparkley star wands at the party store and bought little rings and sticker earrings and put them in little green take out boxes lined with bright pink paper. I had all of this organized on a rectangular table under the bush with the lanterns so that the kids could pick out there accessories.
PARTY SNACKS/CAKE: I just had finger foods since we had the party after lunch time but we had lots of colorful fruit and jello and cupcakes ( all decorated with light green orange and yellow icing and multicolored dots and stripes and shapes on the top). We also did root beer/cream soda floats with striped straws.
FAVORS: all the kids got to take home their costume accessories as well as the candy from the pinata. I bought white paper gift bags for each child to put their candy in. on the front of each bag I used the same green foam and modern lower case font from the castle's flags and I put the first letter of each child's name on the bags. I weighed each bag down with a few handfuls of candy and set them out on the table with all the costume accessories. They looked so sharp and graphic and added a great punch to the table. This was my favorite party yet! The kids never stopped playing and even some of the girls got in on the sword fights. The best is that I can reuse all of the decorations (lanterns pennants) for any other party! "