Gabi’s 6th Birthday Minecraft Party!

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.

minecraft-invite-by-craftysusanita

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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:

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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.

 

IMG_4704It 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:

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

 

 

Gabriel’s Planet Faux-Pas

Those of you who follow my blog will already know about my – probably Aspergers – four year old, Gabriel and his gigantic obsession with astronomy, planets, stars, anything vaguely space related. But specifically our Solar System and the order of the planets and the sizes of the stars, from ours right up to the biggest known stars in our Universe. In fact, the only way they are managing him at school currently is to allow him to draw and label the solar system over and over for half the day while we’re waiting for him to be “statemented” and they can get an extra person in the classroom for him. He then comes home and does exactly the same thing for around two hours after school. Oh, and did I mention every second of every day that he’s awake he’s is talking at us, constantly telling us facts like “Mummmeeee? Pluto’s orbit crosses Neptune’s… Dadddeeeee? VY Canis Majoris is a red hypergiant… Riegel is a blue supergiant, Titan is yellow, did you know our Sun has hydrogen and helium?” He barely stops to draw breath from one end of the day to another and it is exhausting to listen to but we kind of love it. He is so completely passionate and his little face lights up with glee reminding us of those crazy super-animated physicists talking on the History channel’s ‘The Universe‘ programmes who we find really sweet! “Obsessed” doesn’t quite cover it.

So, I was delighted and amused when Gabs came home from school with something he had written which wasn’t planets-related and which I’m pretty sure – judging by the spelling – he had done all by himself:

I had to get him to translate it for me. It says,

“To my Gabriel..”

(he wrote it to himself in the manner of little love letters I write to him sometimes!)

“… and I love my Lucian (his little brother) and I love my mummy and my daddy and my cousins. Actually the most I love my mummy but daddy does silly things. Why does Daddy do silly things because he does..”

Sounds spot on to me! 🙂

So, back to planets. Gabs spends a lot of time watching his favourite learning videos on youtube and he often gets me to type things like “Space videos for kids” and “Sizes of the Planets” into the search bar as those are his favourites. He particularly likes one where they start with a closeup of Earth and then each frame zoom out showing the relative sizes of bigger and bigger planets, the whole solar system and then the bigger stars like Pollux, Aldebaran and VY Canis Majoris. This pen comes down and circles Earth to draw attention to how tiny it is in comparison! I’ve never watched it all the way through but I know he finds it hilarious because eventually Earth becomes invisible in the scale and I hear him snorting away to himself…

Anyway, I should have paid more attention to this particular video because here’s what I found when I came downstairs from bathing Lucian last night… Gabs had drawn the “Earth is Invisible” video frame by frame, sounding out the names himself and missing out most of the vowels in the process, but I knew what he meant and he showed me Oh, so proudly which order they went in…

Earth, Venus, Mars, Mercury, Pluto

Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Earth, Venus, Mars, Mercury, Pluto

Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Earth, Venus, Mars, Mercury, Pluto

Sun, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus...etc.etc..

Sun, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus…etc.etc..

Arcturus, Pollux, Sirius, Sun, (Earth)

Arcturus, Pollux, Sirius, Sun, (Earth)

“Ahh, how sweet!” I thought.. “He’s remembered the video exactly  and tried to ‘sound them out'”! And then I saw the last one:

Antares, Aldebaran, Betelgeuse, Riegel, Arcturus, Pollux, Sirius, Sun, and WTF.

Antares, Aldebaran, Betelgeuse, Riegel, Arcturus, Pollux, Sirius, Sun, and WTF!

Antares, Aldebaran, Betelgeuse, Riegel, Arcturus, Pollux, Sirius, Sun, and WTF!

Errr, wait a minute…. “WTF”?!!! Wtf?! 

A quick look at the end of the video revealed all (skip to 1:05):

OOPS!

He was very excitedly telling me,

“Look Mummy, that’s Rigel, and that’s Sirius, and that’s the Sun, and that’s Whatoof! Hahaha, Whatuff! Where’s the Earth gone!

He was so delighted by his discovery of this new word – which from the context he understood perfectly to mean something along the lines of “OMG!” – that he kept holding his hands out to the side and pronouncing it dramatically,

“Whatuff, whatuff, whatuff Mummy!”

And then he went back to his drawing:

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*Sigh!* I had to take his little collection of artworks into school and explain what had happened in case he decided to write it while he was there, but he hasn’t… yet! If your kids have done anything similar which has got, or nearly got you in trouble I’d love to hear about it!