Superheroes – 5th Birthday

Nearing his 5th birthday, my son was coming out of a major Batman phase and just getting in to Star Wars.  I wasn’t ready for a Star Wars party, though – too much fighting and not familiar enough to the sweet 4-year-old girls who were some of my son’s best buddies.

So this party had “all kinds of superheroes.”  I covered the craft table with a cheap blue pastic tablecloth and stapled on pictures of every superhero my kids could think of – firefighters, Star Wars and PBS’ Wordgirl included.

Nametags & Goody Bags
If you’re planning a party in the next 3 months, keep an eye on Target’s Dollar section.  My kids spotted animal superhero-themed bags there - perfect for both boys and girls, big and little kids, who aren’t all crazy for Batman.

And if an adult in your family wears an ID badge to work that snaps back when it’s pulled, then you know how much little kids like them.  Walmart sells a pack of colored badge reels in their office supplies section - they made great nametag holders clipped onto the bags.

Superhero Craft
I like to set up a craft table at parties, and I toyed with making costumes.  But we’d already made capes for my daughter’s 4th birthday, and every time I mentioned homemade masks or gloves, my son said, “Great.  My friends can all wear those, and I’ll wear my Batman costume.”  So I decided that we’d moved beyond cute, matching costumes.  Sigh.

Instead, the children decorated ornaments.  I confirmed that all of them celebrate Christmas, and bought a jumbo box of colorful glass balls from Hobby Lobby.  The World’s Greatest Marker, Sharpie, makes a silver metallic color that wrote perfectly on the ornaments.  Adhesive jewels and small stickers (including superheros) worked, too.  Clear Elmer’s glue painted all over with paintbrushes helped everything stick.

We collected my son’s superhero toys and put them in the living room.  We even dressed my daughter’s Polly Pockets in little capes, to make sure the girls were represented.

For the first half-hour, it was as though we had 2 parties – the girls decorated ornaments and the boys played with the toys!

Wonder Woman Lasso Game
The kids lined up to try to lasso a liter coke bottle by throwing a pool ring tied to a length of gold cord.  On each of 4 bottles, I’d stuck a picture of a small treat – an eraser, a candy cane, a Hershey’s kiss and a silly band.  The children won whichever treats they lassoed.  This took a lot longer than I expected, so I ended up handing out the treats and moving on.

Rescue Kitty
This activity that doesn’t involve fighting was a hit with everyone – boys and girls.  Learning Express has 25 cent cat figures that my kids always play with when we’re in the store.  I had one for each child and set up a ladder in our foyer.  The kitties were lined up on the top 2 rungs, and the kids had to climb up the ladder to rescue one.  I also stuck a cat Snuggimal up there for good measure – they could tickle the momma cat’s tummy and let her know they were saving her babies.  For safety, the ladder was brought out just before the game and put away right after.  An adult spotter encouraged each child to hand him her chosen cat before climbing back down the ladder.

Break Boards
Foam food trays from Walmart spray-painted with Krylon paint that looks like cement (also from Walmart), had the kids breaking “boards.”  They wanted to do this again and again.

Mr. Freeze Froze the Superhero Ducks!
My son loves the rubber ducks from Oriental Trading, so I’d already ordered Superhero Rubber Duckies.  But I didn’t have a plan for them until I came across this blog.  Immediately, I grabbed a duck, stuck it in an applesauce cup full of water, covered it with tinfoil to keep it under, and stuck it in the freezer.  Great!  Each child got their own frozen duck cup, a wooden spoon to bang on it and a little packet of salt to help speed up the melting.

Tie Up Mr. Freeze and Catwoman
After I suggested that the kids should punish Mr. Freeze for freezing their ducks, my husband appeared wearing a winter hat, gloves and scarf.  He was joined by Catwoman – a mom wearing cat ears – and I directed the villains to two chairs.  The kids took turns wrapping them up with toilet paper.

We tied black and blue balloons on my son’s 3-wheeled scooter and made a “road” down our hallway with Hot Rod Duct Tape that I saw at Target.  One at at time, the kids rode the scooter down the hall and back.  At the turnaround point, they high-fived an inflatable Batman.

Lego Batman Villains
My son is a huge fan of the Lego Batman game for Wii.  And early in our planning we’d found some foam batarangs that he really wanted to use.  I printed out pictures of Lego Batman villains onto cardstock, adding their names underneath so other kids could identify them.  Then I cut them out and added stands, paper doll-style.  I covered a long box (the Bad Guy Box below) with a black sheet and set up a cardboard Gotham.  The kids threw the batarangs and tried to knock over the villains.

This was more trouble than it was worth, and the batarangs were a disappointment (small enough not to hurt anyone but too small to do anything).

Walk Over Laser Beams for a Ring Pop
The parents hanging around watching really appreciated this one.  In our master bedroom, I set up a museum-type security system.  The kids had to walk over “laser beams” to get a ring pop, one of which was nestled in my engagement ring box.  This was another one-at-a-time activity, but as soon as they finished they headed into our bathroom to recover stolen money (pennies hidden in a sand table).

Refreshments for Grown-Ups, Too
Since it was close to the holidays, I encouraged parents to stay and visit.  Along with water and soft drinks, we served egg nog, a shrimp tray from Costco and Paula Deen’s Pesto Cheese Blossom.

For the children, my son chose a Batman cake from Publix and grapes.

Silly String at Bad Guys
I didn’t want to scare anyone with bad guys, but it was a superhero party, after all.  So I chose 4 popular “bad guys” – The Grinch, Darth Vader, The Sea Witch and Captain Hook – and painted them on the sides of a big cardboard box we had in the attic.  I knew that each child would be familiar with at least one of them and I figured that painting them would reduce the scare factor.

It was cold outside, so I set the box just outside our back door and had the kids, one at a time, stand at the door and shoot silly string at their bad guy of choice (I stood outside and turned the box).  The biggest hit in a party full of hits.