Minecraft Party -12yr- Lots of Crafts
Laura in Kitchener
March 2013 Winner
Minecraft Party for 12 year old - Minecraft is a very popular computer game that involves building worlds with blocks that have different characteristics, combining different block ingredients to make new items, and in survival mode, dodging various monsters as you use the blocks to meet your basic needs. The graphics are classic 8-bit style which means you can build to your heart’s content without running into memory problems. It also means that decorating with this theme is very easy! Flash had trouble deciding between an amazing Race party with a survival theme, and a Minecraft party, so we decided to go with Minecraft but incorporate his favourite parts of the survival party into the Minecraft theme. We tend to keep our guest list small including only closer friends so that we can do more things and have more of a visit. We’ve found that larger groups tend to be more chaotic than fun for us. And we’re pretty good at creating chaos even with smaller numbers! I was a little concerned when the ideas I found on the internet seemed aimed at the 7-8 year old range, but since I know the local kids are pretty keen about the game, I figured I could manage to still make it a pretty cool party for the older guys.
INVITATIONS: I created the invitations by taking a photo of Flash then using Picassa to pixelate it so that it resembled Steve (the main character of the game). We used a Minecraft font we scanned from the box (not sure if this is kosher in terms of copyright?), filled in the background with pixelated green shading and added the party details. On the back I drew a picture of a creeper (the main monster of the game). I made 3 of these per sheet of cardstock and cut them out like bookmarks. I also sent some by email, and just scanned the front to send.
CAKE: This was easy, but a tough decision since there is so much potential here, and all of it is pretty easy to do. We could have made a Steve head, a Creeper, or a stack of different building blocks, but in the end we went with a cake just like the one you can build in the game. I made a marble cake (although a checkerboard one would have also been pretty cool), then iced it with a thin layer of seedless raspberry jam followed by a marshmallow crème fondant recipe I found on the internet (if you search marshmallow crème fondant, you can easily find it). I reserved a small bit of it and coloured it with a little beet juice to make it red and made pixelated squares on top. I also served creeper brownies which were regular brownies with avocado icing (also found with a quick internet search) and squares of chocolate.
ACTIVITIES: We had the parents drop their kids off at the park so we didn’t need to drive them around at all. Orienteering: To keep with the survival theme, we had an old-fashioned orienteering activity set up in the woods. Not many kids have done this since geocaching has become popular, but everyone had already tried geocaching, and Flash wanted to do something new and a little more skills-based. We had three stations set up, and at each, instead of punching your card, you could collect small wooden cubes we’d painted as various Minecraft blocks. I was going to just do it like an egg-hunt, but was afraid we’d end up polluting the river with unfound blocks. Stashing them as caches meant they could be better contained. My older son, who was dressed as a Creeper, then interrupted the group and chased them to the boats. He didn’t explode YET. We live near a shallow river (maximum depth is about 15), and have access to several canoes, so we used these instead of the little round boats found in the game. We called the pfd’s fireproof vests so the kids would wear them with the Minecraft theme (Creeper is a monster that has a bad habit of spontaneously combusting). We then paddled a few km downstream to a parking lot near our house where we dropped off the canoes and walked to our house.
At the house, the guests could use the crafting table to assemble their collected blocks into various items. This provided them with key items for the later quest (diamond swords made from cardboard, and bows & arrows from the $ store), and torches for seeing in darkened rooms. The torches were just small finger-lights (tiny LED flashlights) placed in a paper cone with orange and yellow flame tissue paper over top. To get a diamond sword, the kids were given a cup from which they had to use their wooden pickaxe (popsicle stick) to excavate a candy diamond that was frozen in layers of juices and pop. It was my only real nod to the mining part of the Minecraft theme. It also provided a small snack before the rest of the activities. The crafting table was just an inverted cardboard box with black electrical tape outlining the different squares to be used for crafting. There were also items that could be used at the following stations:
Redstone building: One of my favourite ideas was to make redstone blocks (blocks used to build electrical circuits in the game) from squishy circuits. Squishy circuits are made from two different playdough recipes one that conducts electricity, and one that does not. The recipes and instructions can be found here: http://courseweb.stthomas.edu/apthomas/SquishyCircuits/ In the spirit of creativity that is an integral part of the game, I simply left a few project ideas out on the table and they could build their own creations as desired. Since a couple of them hadn’t yet worked with circuits (most had since done something like this in school or science camp), I also had a little tutorial that talked about short circuits & safety. One thing to mention here is that it’s important to have backup batteries, and also, to remember that conductive parts that are embedded in the dough will likely corrode, so plan accordingly (use long wires & strip the ends so they can be trimmed back and used again later, and don’t pull out your most expensive components for this activity). Kids can make batteries from layering the dough itself, but these will not be very powerful (might light up an LED, but not likely drive a motor). You can get parts from Radio Shack or Circuit City, but if you have a surplus store near you, you may be able to get parts much cheaper, so it’s worth shopping around a bit. LED lights and sound makers were the most popular additions.
The kids were more challenged trying to incorporate the motors. Building/smelting: Kids with different coloured blocks made from Fimo could form those blocks into whatever they wanted and Smelt them in their furnace. We also had perler beads I wanted to try and get rid of, so I found some pictures from the game. They could form their shapes in trays and iron-melt into pins. The pin backs came from the craft section of the local dollar store and were just glue-gunned onto the backs of the pins once they were cool.
Paper Making: In the game, sugar cane not only makes sugar, but also paper (papyrus?). So we pulled out our little $ store frames that have screening stapled onto them, had the kids shred their construction paper cubes of sugar cane (these also had baggies of sugar in them for the pie activity) and pop them into the blender. Add a little water, blend and pour onto the screens, press together, then roll out between old pillowcases and their paper was left to dry during the quest. We also gave them the option of adding small seeds to their paper so they could plant it later on (farming is a big part of the game). We used eggs, sugar, milk and pumpkin to make pumpkin pie. This was a tough one since this is exactly the wrong time of year for pumpkins, but I didn’t think the kids would get very excited about making mushroom stew (another recipe in the game), and with the cake and brownies, I thought that something with slightly less sugar and fat might be a better choice than cookies. We ended up taking off the label of a can of pumpkin and added our own orange Jack o’ lantern face to the can instead. I had a muffin tray ready, and the kids could spoon in some crushed lady finger biscuits in lieu of crust. The kids just had to combine the rest of the ingredients, then add some mineral dust spices to the batter, pour it in the muffin cups and bake. Another idea would be to bake bread, and if you have a bread machine, this might work well, but I don’t, so I didn’t. Fire Demos (by my older son dressed as a Creeper):
COSTUMES: Creeper: son dressed in green long-sleeved t-shirt and made a cardboard box head painted green with black face pixels He cut some out for the sake of vision. Dragon: described below Steve: we sponge-painted pixels on a large paper grocery bag to make a Steve face, and painted the While the pie baked, the kids went on an Ender quest. Not being an avid game player myself, my own understanding of this is a little wanting. I’m told that it is the End quest of the game, where you need to defeat the Ender dragon and gain access to a portal. But here’s where my confusion comes in that portal takes you back to the regular game so you can just go on playing. That doesn’t sound like the End to me, but my kids assure me it’s all good, so I stopped asking questions.
First they needed to find the Ender pearl and blaze rods to create the Ender portal. We just followed a hot/cold search pattern until someone found each. If you have more time, you could come up with more creative search ideas. This gave them access to the portal room, in which there were portal blocks spread in game formation (folded towels). Some had Ender pearls already, but they needed to add theirs to the ones without. Once the pearls were found and placed, the portal was entered meaning the dragon and silverfish came into action. We did this by turning off the regular lights and turning on black lights we had from Halloween. I’d sponge-painted various blocks of paper with an assortment of glowing paints and tonic water, and also used fluorescing office paper blocks. I had them hung on the walls randomly around the portal room. This is a very easy party in terms of decoration!
The dragon had a mask with glowing eyes and gloves with glowing nails. Otherwise, he was dressed all in black. It doesn’t need to be an elaborate costume mask with dragon eyes & the claws were very effective and leant mystery to the whole effect. The ender crystals were actually buckets wrapped in fluorescent paper that had another ring of paper that could fold down and hide the fluorescent paper. There were four of them (more might have been better in retrospect). We’d intended to have an LED and a pressure pad for each one, but ran out of time so ended up doing it manually with paper. When hit, the dragon needed to recharge by gaining energy from a working crystal. Hitting a crystal put it out of commission until an adult (or the dragon) threw in a silverfish to reactivate it. When all 4 were out, a single hit to the dragon would defeat it. About the silverfish spawn: at the portal, silverfish spontaneously spawn and create havoc. We used these a little differently than the game when we threw one and it entered the ender crystal bucket, the crystal would reactivate. It was a wee bit chaotic. Eventually the dragon was defeated and food was served.
FOOD: Along with the cake, pie and brownies, we also had lots of cubed food including cheese cubes, melons and melon cubes, cubed mangoes, square crackers of assorted types, tall sandwiches cut into cubes, etc. We also added food items found in the game including eggs (hard-boiled), apples, golden apples, baby carrots and bread. I made agar (vegetarian jello) of different colours and cut it into cubes. Drinks were various juices. We decided to pass on rice crispie squares, even though they’d look pretty awesome, just because we figured there was enough sugar on the table already.
GOODY BAGS: For loot, the kids could take home the things they made, except for the more elaborate electronics. These included the diamond swords, bows & arrows, Perler pins, Fimo creations, homemade paper, and torches. If you want to add candy, there are lots of options from rice crispie squares, to chocolate rock candy, sugar crystal pops, etc.
THANK YOU NOTES: I sent all of these by email. During the party (mostly upon arrival), I took a picture of each guest. I then used Picassa to pixelate the photos and used a similar format as I did with the invitations. The wording was Thank you for coming to Flash’s party. Hope you had a BLAST!. What is great about this is that even blurry shots work well.