Idea No.


Here There Be Dragons Party 9yr



May 2010


Laura in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada

Runner Up


My son wanted a dragon party for my his 9th birthday. Ideas on the internet seemed for the very young, and he was after something a little more authentic, especially since he would be the youngest one there. We'd already done Harry Potter and medieval themes, and he wanted something different.  Using a Viking font, I printed up these invitations on regular computer paper:  Here there be dragons  Be there hereby notice given that a contest of great daring will be held for those of fearless heart, cunning skill and unparalleled bravery at the location of _________at the number of __________on Sunday, the Nth day of the nth month of the year two thousand ten.  Willing competitors are requested to respond to the contest organizers their intent to participate.  The contest is held in honour of the ninth anniversary of sir _______'s birth and will commence at 2 o'clock pm to be completed at 6:15  o'clock pm. Dinner will be served. Medieval attire is optional; please dress for mess.  Adding out personal details.  I then soaked them one by one in tea and hung them to dry. Once dry, I set up a candle beside our stainless kitchen sink and proceeded to char the edges of each invitation. I did it by the sink so that if the paper were to catch fire, I could just drop it into the sink and either let it burn or wet it to put it out. Luckily, that wasn't necessary.  Once they had cooled on a baking sheet (in case there were any embers I'd missed), I rolled them and tied them with a ribbon and my son hand delivered them.  Activities:  We started off by making shields from fire resistant cardboard. I made a loop of duct tape on the backs of each as a handle. I had printed several pages of heraldry symbols to help inspire the kids, and set out tempera paints, glitter glue, construction paper and white glue. This was the first thing so that any later arrivals could just join in without a lot of instruction.  Then the kids were given a wire coat hanger, two elastic bands and a recycled plastic spoon to make clothes hanger catapults I found online. I did not yet supply ammunition (that was for later), but once they each had one, we all repeated together The Catapult Credo: Catapult Credo  I, (name) do solemnly swear that I will refrain from launching non-authorized ammunition in my catapult, and will furthermore refrain from aiming any catapult at a living thing unless authorized by an authorized authority to do so.  Once they said this, we put away the catapults for later (with the promise that they'd get to use them later), and went on our dragon hunt.  I set up clues directing the kids all around the neighbourhood. We live in a unique area, so the hunt went to an outdoor skating rink, a ski hill, a local park, a bus (public chariot) stop and back to our house. The clues were all in rhyme, and were fairly cryptic, but definitely not difficult.   1.The place to board the chariot That carries the masses But yowon't need coins,  Nor tickets, nor passes (bus stop)  2.The son of 9 men is the name of this place 3 fields of sport do grace This sports fan watches all year long,    not moving at all, standing strong! (Morrison Park 9 men refers to the game 9 Men's Morris)  3.If you come to this place hoping to skate, I fear that you've come a couple of months late  4.Up and down and up again, This place has a hilly terrain Don't board this magic carpet ride It's lucky charm is not bonafide  (magic carpet lift for the local bunny hill called Rabbit's Foot)  These eventually led to a cupboard in which my husband hid dressed in a Chinese dragon costume we had already. He was curled up under blankets, and we had plastic Easter eggs with chocolate eggs inside, LED flashing lights, a black light, and paper mache dragon eggs painted in fluorescent tempera paint, some chocolate coins and fake jewels all around him.  The trick was to take the eggs and treasure without waking the sleeping dragon. Predicable results, of course!  Once each kid had their eggs and treasure, they opened a paper mache dragon egg to reveal a dragon t-shirt. These were either red or yellow, and the colour determined the team to which that guest would now belong.  I made the t-shirts by purchasing plain shirts on sale at Michaels (use their online coupons!). I then found a simple dragon image online, altered it to our purpose and printed it out, then used it as a tracer to make a clear plastic stencil out of a sheet protector. I used black tempera paint and ironed it to make it permanent. Then, after a quick snack of cereal mix and punch, we started the games. I admit, I went for some repeats here, but they were well-loved, so all was good.  1.Jousting: for this, I made a tippy bucket from a plastic ice cream container. I punched a hole in either side about 1/3 of the way up each side and tied an end of rope through each side. Then I punched 4 very tiny holes in the bottom using a heated metal bbq skewer. When ready for the game, we filled it about ¼ full of flour. To play: we hung the bucket from a tree branch about a foot above the tallest kids heads when piggy-backing. I used a skipping rope to make lanes and armed each piggy-back team with a pool noodle for a lance. The kids had to run from opposite ends toward the bucket and try and flour the opposite team and avoid getting floured themselves.  2.  Catapult practice we used various targets, including a paper mache dragon left over from another party, an a picture of a fire (the ammo was wet sponges). The kids had fun adjusting their catapults for maximum power/range.  3.Capture the flag, with cardboard castles and water balloon ball and chains for the prisoners. Each team has a cardboard cast, a bandana flag and a dungeon area beside the castle. If a person was hit by a sponge (canon ball) they had to wear a water balloon around their ankle and wait for a teammate to free them by stomping on it for them. The kids were allowed to use the catapults for this, with small wet sponges as ammunition.  We then headed in for some more quiet games. My older son did a little dragon research and put together some dragon trivia questions from various sources (real-life reptiles, such as the Kimodo dragon, Chinese dragons, Dragonology, the Cressida Crewell books, & Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them). The kids worked in teams to gain points for correct answers.  Then we had our feast. The themed food was:  - agar (vegetarian gelatin) jewels (make it with ½ the liquid and used various colours, then cut into diamond shapes and serve in a clear bowl) - sword in the stone cheese ball: regular cheese ball coated with poppy seeds to make it look grey, add skewers with fruit on them and a strip of fruit leather looped at the top for a word handle - loaves of round unsliced bread and hard cheeses - round table cheese pizza - ale (ginger ale), cider (apple juice) and beer (rootbeer) - tea-dyed dragon eggs (from Jan Brett's website), or just hard-boil eggs, roll them to crack the shells, then dye life for Easter; when you peel them they with have  a dyed crackle effect - fire cupcakes dye the icing yellow/orange/red without mixing well; swirl the cupcakes in it to frost, then add a slice of strawberry to the top  We also had veggies and dip and hummus and pitas.  The cake was a simple castle cake made by using two batches of regular cake to fill a total of 4 - 9 round pans, except I used an 11 x 17 pan for each batch, then cut it down the centre to make 4 layers. I iced it with a cream cheese icing base (tinted light grey), then made a rolled fondant icing to make stone shaped to cover it. At the corners I rolled 4 cardboard tubes and iced them as well, and cut the fondant to make the top castle edges. For the door, used a much darker grey as the background and put lighter grey strips for the portcullis over top. I used a clean Playmobil dragon and had it climbing up over the back of the castle.   The coolest was that I made a box to hold the cake (cardboard, reinforced and covered in adhesive plastic) and made a chamber beneath for dry ice. I cut a small hole in the bottom and threaded a bendable straw up between the cake and dragon right by its mouth. When I slid the container of dry ice and hot water into the chamber, after about a minute, the dragon would breathe smoke. For added effect, we used sparklers instead of candles on the cake. They stand a little higher, so the dry ice won't extinguish them.  After dinner, we awarded prizes to the winning team and consolation prizes to the others. These were in the form of egg and jewel themed candy (bought on sale after Easter), and everyone got a fireball jawbreaker. They also had their dragon shirts, shields, jewels and eggs from the dragon's den and catapults to take home with them.  To make it more like How to train your dragon, the shields can be round, and you can make Viking helmets from plans online. Instead of castles, make Viking settlements or long boats, etc. You can also make and fly dragon kites if the weather suits! 

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