On 4th July our biggest boy and beautiful, minecraft-crazy aspie, Gabs turned a big 6 years old!!! I can’t possibly have a 6 year old! I don’t understand it at all. But I pretended I accept that he really is 6, did his bidding and threw him a full-on Minecraft Pool Party. It was the hottest week of the decade so far in London, hitting 32 degrees and one of the school mums said, “Pleeeeease can you let them have a paddling pool party this Saturday?! It’s so hot!” With 4 days to go to the party and having zero activities planned for twenty Year One children, let alone anything minecraft related, I cried, “HELL, yeah!” without accounting for the fact we didn’t actually own a paddling pool.
The invitations were downloaded for free from a now defunct graphic-designer’s blog. Feel free to grab the jpg.
The party started at 2:30 (which I correctly guessed was precisely the earliest minute I could get the party ready if I got up really early and worked all day.)
I basically planned this party by stealing ideas from other mum’s blogs found on pinterest. I plan all my kids’ parties by making a pinterest board, couldn’t do without it:
The main feature of the party (apart from the pool) was probably the incredible grass-block cake made by the inimitable Michelle from May The Cake Be With You.
It looked amazing just as it was, but we also put some of Gabs’ minecraft figures on top and it was perfect. Michelle has made three cakes for me now and every single one exceeds my expectations. I heartily recommend her.
For the birthday boy we got this minecraft t-shirt to wear from Argos (but cheaper, through hotdealsuk) and the torches came I think from Amazon, from his Aunties Tara and Jen.
As we didn’t have a paddling pool, we had to nip out to ToysRUs for one and spend all night putting it up and then returning it for another one in the morning when it, of course, turned out to have a hole in it… We got it inflated and ready only just in time – man, those things take an age to fill! 5 hours to get it to the top. I don’t want to think how many gallons of water that is. But it was totally worth it:
I had tried to give everyone warning to bring costumes but just in case I filled a tub with the boys’ spare costumes and another with dry t-shirts and shorts, and two big tubs for wet and dry towels. I also had a creeper bean-bag throwing game set up which was really easy to make with a load of green poster paint and a black marker and some minecraft beanie-toys to throw.
Probably my favourite feature of the party was the playlist of minecraft songs I made for Gabs on YouTube. The most-requested by the whole family was “It’s All About My Base”, which we played so many times while I set up the party it became like the official theme tune for Gabi’s 6th Birthday:
It took me a while to figure out how, because I’m not very tech-savvy (hoping Gabs will step in and teach me sometime soon now he’s six) but I managed to link my youtube account to our TV in the living room and have the playlist of minecraft parodies of loads of current/recently popular hit songs with some really great animations playing when people arrived. It came in handy once they’d got cold and tired of the paddling pool as the living room became a bit of a dance floor.
Most of my ideas for this party came from various blogs that I found via Pinterest, on my new favourite party-planning website Catch My Party. I had really hoped to link to the individual blogs that helped me but they all seemed to have moved around since I pinned them. If you browse Catch My Party you’ll come across them all.
One of the most useful was the free printables from Printabelle where I got food labels, a Happy Birthday Banner and some other small signs.
For the other decorations including the creeper-face cups and balloons, I used a template from My Sugar Coated Life. At first I tried the black marker like she suggested but this was a disaster probably because I had ridged cups and had only used paper instead of card. Instead, I used the template and black sugar paper from a local art shop and stuck the faces on with double sided photo stickers.
Possibly my favourite craft bit of the party was making the TNT party favours (which I just used as part of the party food) and they were probably the most popular “food” item too.
The party food was kind of random. I had already downloaded the food labels and went along with the general premise of only serving foods they actually have in the world of the game. Luckily the party was between mealtimes so it didn’t quite matter and the kids loved it. We had watermelon for minecraft melon, chicken nuggets, strawberries as redstone, carrots and apples, chocolate matchsticks as “sticks” and silver-coloured plastic cutlery as “diamond tools”. We had a sign from the free printables over the table saying “Party Food, Nom, Nom, Nom!” which my four year old found hilarious and parroted all day long. I still don’t quite get it.
The kids’ drinks were different cordials poured into empty water bottles with “healing potion” labels. I left the kids to mix their own with the water as a “Mixing Station” and served my parent-friends prosecco (never, EVER throw a kids party without it!), beers, juice and coke.
Inside, I set up a “crafting table” with printouts of minecraft pictures for colouring, glue and loads of different gems and “ores” for sticking on and a minecraft lego set. I really added it just to have something “mine-crafty” indoors to carry the theme and was pleasantly surprised to find a few of the girls actually staying there a long while and making some arty stuff.
Once everyone had gone crazy in pool (oh, the screaming!), eaten all the food and had a dance to the minecraft songs, we did the cake.
The party bags were meant to have creeper faces on but I ran out of steam! At least they were green, and aswell as cake and sweets, had some crayon blocks that looked vaguely minecrafty and some plastic toys.
And then since the kids were all having a pretty great time and we mums were getting pretty merry on the prosecco and it was a gorgeous sunny evening, we just kept the party going for a few more hours until it started to go dark and the kids were sleepy! It was a brilliant day. A lot of work to set up, but totally worth it. Gabs absolutely loved his party and all his friends ran up to me at school on Monday to tell me what a great time they’d had, so we might do it again next year!