At age 3, my son loved his knight costume from Marshalls that we found for $5 the day after Halloween. He and his sister were crazy about The Backyardigans and would act out the entire “Tale of the Mighty Knights” episode dressed in plastic knight accessories. So we were all excited about a Knights & Princesses theme for Luke’s 4th birthday party.
A castle drawn on kraft paper and a long plastic tablecloth cut in half for a red carpet worked for our front door, which was guarded by two holiday toy soldiers wearing knight helmets. I also hung a flag banner made with fabric rectangles folded over twine and adhered with Stitch Witchery.
Shields & Cone Princess Hats
Upon arrival the kids could play in our living room where we’d put out every knight/castle/princess or dragon toy in the house (see end of page for our favorites). Or get started at the craft table, which was our dining table set up with shields and princess hats.
Valiant Knight Create-Your-Own Shields are nice and sturdy – in fact, Luke liked them so much I found them all hidden in his closet before the party. And the cone hats were a big hit – I knotted strips of tulle and ribbon and threaded them through the tips of metallic cone party hats from Party City. The girls decorated them with stickers and jewels and never took them off.
See Family Fun for a knight tunic idea. I added twine around the waist. And instead of having the kids make family crests, I cut a fleur-de-lis shape from glitter foam sheets and stuck it on the chest. They turned out great, but no one wore them (except for my good sport of a husband).
I also had a Dollar Tree knight helmet for each boy (everyone wore these) and a foam star wand with her name on it for each girl.
We put Oriental Trading’s fairy tale ducks under an upside-down laundry basket with a toy dragon on top. The kids lined up and whacked the dragon off of the basket with a lance (actually, a pool noodle with colored tape wrapped around it). Each child could rescue one duck to add to his goody bag.
I bought just one of these foam bow and arrow sets on ebay and a plastic set from Walmart. The kids had the most luck with the foam set, although we had to set the bow for them. But everyone was excited to try it – they aimed at a target I’d drawn on a piece of kraft paper and taped to a door. As a prize for trying, everyone earned a stickhorse or stick-unicorn from the Dollar Tree.
We had a few committed archers – while my husband spent time with them, I set up a simple obstacle course with leftover cone party hats. The children who finished with the archery “trained” their horses by riding around the cones. They earned a princess crown or knight ring.
A Dragon Stole the King’s Treasure
My husband, wearing a gold crown and the afore-mentioned tunic, told the children that a dragon had stolen his treasure – would they please help him find it? I’d taped green paper footprints to the floor and the kids – full of urgency – followed them into our bedroom.
Tucked in our bed was my son’s dragon costume, with its head on the pillow. We told everyone we’d entered the dragon’s house and he was sleeping. Quiet and tiptoeing, the kdis continued to follow the footsteps into our bathroom.
Buried in the sand in our children’s Step 2 sandtable were 5 rolls of shiny new pennies. The kids were so excited to fill their knight cups that they almost didn’t notice the framed dragon pictures that served as decorations in the “lair.”
Fighting the Dragon
My husband had made a wooden sword and the children took turns fighting a dragon pinata. Actually, I had already destroyed the dragon pinata by trying to stuff too much in it, so I bought a dinosaur pinata at Party City and added wings and construction paper fire coming out of its mouth. The kids hit that thing with gusto!
Other books we had on hand: The Mighty Egg Sitters (Backyardigans), Puff the Magic Dragon, The Knight and the Dragon, Richard Scarry’s Peasant Pig and the Terrible Dragon, Princesses are not Quitters, and The Bravest Knight.
Fighty Guy Cupcakes
At the time my son called all of his knight toys, superheros, Power Rangers, and army men “fighty guys.” I found cheap plastic knight figures on ebay like these and used them as cake toppers for blue-frosted Publix cupcakes – my son was thrilled. The knight guys also ended up in the pinata.
Our Favorite Knights/Medieval Toys/Activities
Animal Planet Dragon Mother and Babies Playset
Safari Limited Knights and Dragon Toob
Orb Factory Sticky Mosaics Castle
Melissa & Doug Folding Medieval Castle
Little Adventures Princess Dress