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.
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.