So here we go: Evan's Ninjago Birthday Party!
We kept this party small. He invited only six friends; his "most Ninjago-ish friends," meaning: The kids from his class who also play with Ninjago and who know the characters, story line, etc. This was helpful, actually, as it would have been a bit much to have to, for example, explain to novices what a shuriken is, or the fact that Lord Garmadon becomes Lord Garmitron in The Final Battle, and Lloyd Garmadon is the son who is bad but becomes good, and Zane is the robot ninja, and Nya likes Jay, and the stone army warriors are, for a brief time, controlled by the brown ninja, who isn't really a ninja, but he helps the ninja, so.......see what I mean? It's a good thing I'm a fast learner. And that Evan is a walking Ninjago Encyclopedia.
But small parties work best for us, anyway, and this was a Just Right number.
When each guest arrived, he received a red Ninja Band (pictured below). These are just strips cut from a red t-shirt. About half chose to wear theirs as headbands, and half as belts. The Goodie Boxes are Ninjago-colored Chinese take-out boxes. I printed "Ninjago Eyes" onto self-sticking labels, cut them out, and stuck them on. (All images used on decorations and invitations were found on Google Images or the official Ninjago website.) Each box contained a Lego Minifigure, two homemade origami Ninja Stars, and some Ninjago stickers.
For the decorations, we made gold, red, and black Chinese lanterns and hung them all over the party area. I think I'll recycle them next Chinese New Year, actually, because I liked them so much...
We ordered helium balloons in the Ninja colors (black, white, blue, green, and red). I printed large "Ninjago Eyes" onto cardstock, which I then taped to the balloons.
I wrapped juice boxes in the same Ninjago-colored construction paper and added more Ninjago eyes. These, I printed on address labels to make adhering them to the juice boxes quick and easy.
Here's the table set-up. There are Chinese lanterns, in different sizes, hung from the windows on all sides of the table.
I also made a birthday banner, as I do for all birthdays. For this one, I used the Wonton font (I downloaded it, free, from dafont.com). I also found some black dragon images on Google Images to separate the words.)
Super simple, and just enough for a 3 pm birthday party.
Of course, no birthday party would be complete without games. We structured the games around a Ninja Training Schedule. Each child received a card with the Schedule of Games printed on it. After each game, he received a sticker. When his card was filled with stickers, he had completed his Ninja Training and had achieved the much-desired Green Ninja Status. If you know Ninjago, you know this is Very Special. All of the games we played were quick. I wanted to keep the kids moving. (That lesson was learned as a kindergarten teacher. Keep 'em busy, keep 'em happy.)
Party Game #1: Sensei Says
We played this like Simon Says, with each kid getting a turn to be Sensei. It went very well. Until Max said, " Sensei says, 'Kidnap!'" Which was, at once, surprising, alarming, and hilarious. The kids had no idea how to 'Kidnap!', which was refreshing. I suggested instead, "Sensei says, 'Touch your nose?'"
Party Game #2: Pin the Veil on Nya
Nya, Kai's sister, doubles, undercover, as Samurai X. While undercover, she wears a veil to mask her true identity. The storyline begged for this game. Unfortunately, I forgot to take an after picture, but the "veils" were just red pieces of construction paper cut to shape, with a roll of painter's tape on the back.
Party Game #3: Jay's Target Practice
I was kind of grasping at straws for the game to represent Jay ("Ninja of Lightning"). Ultimately, we just gathered soft golf balls (the dense foam ones that don't bounce much) and containers of various shapes and sizes. The kids tried to get the balls into the targets, simple as that. And yes, just about as chaotic as you would expect it to be when 6 six-year olds, 1 five-year old, and 1 three-year old all start tossing balls at the same time in the same vicinity. You may want to give this game some more thought.
Party Game #4: Kai's Obstacle Course
In our basement playroom, we made a "Ninja Hop" (hopscotch) game using painter's tape on the rug. From there, the kids had to crawl through the Underworld (play tunnel), perform three acts of Spinjitzu (three jump spins on the trampoline), and ride the dragon (horse ride-on toy) to the Shrine of the Shurikens (a large bin filled with ball-pit balls, with origami ninja stars hidden within).
Party Game #5: Zane's Shuriken Toss
So each kid ended the Obstacle Course with a Shuriken (the directions to make origami ninja stars can be found online or, if you purchase cool metallic origami paper, ahem, in the enclosed instructions). The Shuriken Toss involves trying to knock balloons off pedestals, using the found shurikens...
The pedestals are covered paper towel rolls stuck into Lego brick bases.
After watching the Target Practice, we played this game one-at-a-time...those ninja stars have SHARP points. It was a great group of kids, though, who were just as happy to cheer on their buddy as to play themselves. (Such a lucky boy, my Evan is, to be surrounded by such nice friends.)
Party Game #6: Cole's Brick Blast
This was the favorite. By far. And all you need is a doorway, an uncle who will repeatedly reset the "bricks" and, waiting behind the wall, pretend to be Lord Garmadon, taunting the young ninja to just try to find him. Oh, and someone in the house with a penchant for online shopping. Amazon and Zulily boxes work best for this game. Kohl's boxes work well, too. Just sayin'.
And finally, it was time for cake.
A pre-candle blow-out ninja chop is optional. But a good choice.
Oh, this was a fun one. And, for the first time, Evan's nerves didn't get the best of him. There was no pre- or post-party fever. There was no mid-party meltdown. There was just pure fun and happiness. Pure NINJA fun and happiness.
And now, for the pre-party photo shoot pictures....
Evan took this one:
Practicing Ninja Moves
He had to move the hair from off his forehead in order to show his "Ninja Face."
Six Year Old Love.