Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Ninja Party: Putting it All Together

Ninja madness struck our home this year as our soon-to-be 7 year old decided that this was his theme of choice for birthday celebration this year.  Lego Ninjago was obviously behind this fascination! After spending some time on the Lego Ninja homepage, I realized that the story line would be a bit complicated unless all the guests were Ninjago fanatics. By broadening the theme to NINJA we could have fun that appealed to everyone.  We found some great books and even a documentary on Ninjas at our library to get us in the Ninja mood!  We created a knife ninja-tation to invite our guests and whet their appetites for fun...

We decorated the house with plenty of red ribbon, Asian style tassels, ninja throwing stars, and ninja faces...
We started the party by giving everyone homemade ninja masks and a belt.   I looped the belts through a small dragon bag from Oriental Trading  so the Ninjas could store their masks when they weren't wearing them. 
I shared the "story" of the party with each of them while we were getting settled, that first we would learn about traits of a Ninja with a craft project, then we'd practice using our minds like a sensei, and once we'd mastered using our body strength like a ninja, we'd move on to weapons practice.
  
PART ONE:  Asian Scroll Craft Project
We turned our garage into an art studio and made Asian style calligraphy scrolls, because the pen is the ultimate ninja weapon!  I wasn't too sure if the weapon-wrestling crowd would be interested in this activity at all, but the boys really had fun with this, especially showing their creations to their parents at the end of the party.
PART TWO:  Think Like a Sensei Games
We played two games based on the mental powers of a ninja master. One, "tip the hat off the blindfolded sensei," didn't work very well indoors... it was raining so we had to cram into a small room.  There wasn't enough space between the blindfolded person and his attackers for the sensei to ever develop a baseline sense of peace before the onslaught began.
Luckily, the other sensei game was a big hit...   I dispersed four Chinese coins (Oriental Trading) to the kids while Sensei was in the middle with his eyes closed. Once he opened his eyes, the kids had to "switch", pretending to hand the coin to another boy if they didn't really have one or actually transferring the coin if they did. The sensei got four guesses (switches) to find the coins.  Everyone wanted a turn!


PART THREE  Body Strength Games
We used our bodies, martial arts style... first, cracking foam boards with hands,
then another board with feet (thanks to Target for the foam pieces).  The ninjas were good sports about picking up the styrofoam pieces before we moved on to the next game!
 Lastly, the ninjas smashed a kick bag pinata

Inside the pinata were starburst candies and stuffed ninja throwing stars.


PART FOUR  Ninja Weapons Games
We divided the boys into two groups, one played skeleton bowling (an obviously Ninjago inspired game here!) with foam nunchucks in our hallway. 
The other group played Pagoda Towers, where teams built towers out of boxes that I had covered in red or black wrapping paper and then tried to knock each other's down with the stuffed ninja throwing stars. 
Next, we knocked down lollipops with foam launching missiles (this was supposed to be a dragon game but I didn't get that part figured out....) The lollis were stuck in a thin foam board.  More fun than that was using skeleton boxing pens to knock ping pong balls into the (lego) pagoda. 
Lastly, the ninjas crawled under a hallway of flames (we were supposed to knock the flames down outside with the nunchucks but the rain! I already had the flames made, thought they might be able to battle them in the hallway, but then when I saw how wild the boys were, we just had them crawl under!).  The "flames" are paper tubes hung from 3 expandable curtain rods that criss-crossed the hallway.
PART FIVE  Cake and Presents
No explanation needed here! A simple ninja mask cake was tasty rather than fancy: homemade triple layer chocolate cake with lemon buttercream frosting in the middle and chocolate on the outside... Yum!
PART SIX  Sword Fight & Take Homes
We were supposed to have a sword battle outside (with balloons) while we waited for parents, but we ran out of time... the boys took their swords home. However, ninja battles are a common scene in the neighborhood!  The swords attach to the belts through a loop.

Party favors included costumes and props from the games as well as a handful of sensei and ninja finger puppets.


20 comments:

  1. LOVE it! I wanted to do a ninja party this year, but my kids had other plans.

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    1. ... how about a ninja Mother's day? :)

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  2. I LOVE that you've shared this blog. I'm trying to plan a similar party for my son, so I goggled and found your blog. You appear to be a very clever crafter; I think I shall click the Follow button while I am here.

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    1. :) good luck to you, and thanks for stopping by!

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  3. I LOVE your blog. I always had elaborate parties for my 4 kids (who are now in college) so your blog brings back wonderful memories. I also would love to buy some of your finger puppets for my pre-K class. They are wonderful!

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    1. Do your kids still talk about their parties? Phew, four of them a year might wear me out... :) Let me know what you would like for puppets. I have a box of extras for a good cause! :)

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  4. Looks fun! Just saw Finally in First's post about your finger puppets and I'm now your newest follower! They are AMAZING. My Kinders would LOVE them! Any way I can get you to sell me some?! :)

    Growing Up Teaching

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    1. Thank you so much for your kind words! I would be happy to make some for you! Send me a note with your wish list!

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  5. Do you have a pattern for your stuffed ninja throwing star? Your party looks fabulous ! Thanks for your time, Kristin

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    1. Thank you, Kristin! Drop me your email address (crackofdawncrafts@gmail.com), and I'll pdf it to you!

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  6. What is the idea behind the "knock the hat off sensei" game? I understand sensei is blindfolded and the kids surround him and attempt to knock his hat off, but are there any additional rules? It seems like the hat would get knocked off fast. I want to try this for my friend's Ninjago party next week!

    Thank you!

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    1. My thought was that the kids approaching sensei would have to be quiet in their approach or he would hear them. At a friend's party, it worked better in a bigger space and to give sensei a pool noodle to help catch attackers (if they were touched, they had to return to outer circle). Good luck and let me know what you ended up doing!

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  7. I was wondering if I could also get the pattern to your stuffed ninja throwing stars? Your party looks like it was a blast! I hope I can pull mine off!

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    1. No problem, but I do need your email address. You can post it in a comment here. I will delete it after I send you the file.

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  8. WOW! My soon to be 6 year old has developed a Ninjago fixation and wants a ninja themed birthday and your blog here is amazing. THANKS SO MUCH! I am so inspired and it looked really fun.

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  9. Hi Cheryl. My son is having a ninja party and I'm in love with your knife invitation! Could I pay you a fee to make them? I would need 25.

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    1. I'm so sorry to have missed this... if you still need them, I'd be happy to do them for you. I'd need your party details and email address. If you leave your address as a comment, I won't publish it.

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  10. Fabulous party, I really LOVE it! i want to do a ninja party for my brother 's daughter, this year.
    Ninja Swords

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  11. This all looks great! just wanted to ask you how the tip the hat game was supposed to work?

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  12. Hello!

    I am a writer for ParentMap.com and ParentMap magazine (a Seattle-area parents' magazine) and I am producing an online article about Ninja birthday parties. I'd like to feature your amazing Kick Bag Pinataon our website. I would describe the project and publish one of your images with credit to you and link back to your blog. Our print publication is distributed across 60,000 homes each month and our website receives more than 1.5 million page views a month.
    I will need a high-res photo, horizontal (landscape) orientation if possible
    Please let me know if you agree to be featured!

    Thank you,

    Tiffany Doerr Guerzon
    www.TDGuerzon.com

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