When my sweet Callum told me that he wanted a How to Train Your Dragon party for his birthday I wasn’t a bit surprised. Ever since Christmas we have been watching that movie pretty much on repeat. And you know what? I don’t even mind! It is one of the least annoying kid movies ever. It’s a truly awesome one! Watch it if you haven’t already. You won’t regret it!
The birthday boy requested a “dragon power suit” for his How to Train Your Dragon party. Luckily his Grandma Paulette (my MIL) is an amazing seamstress and loves to spoil him rotten. I think her gift was a hit, don’t you??
My sweet mama was the ULTIMATE kid birthday party planner. We always had the cutest, most creative birthday parties growing up! She was truly the best mom ever! SO. MUCH. FUN!! I miss her. Anyway, I wanted to throw a How to Train Your Dragon party worthy of Sally Westover (my mama). I set out to do things fun but not “blogger perfect.” Well, it’s not “blogger perfect” (I did send Evites, after all!), but I ended up putting WAY more time and effort into it than I had originally intended, so I decided to share all of the details here on the blog. And I am so glad that I did! All those late nights were totally worth it! The kids had a blast, especially my boy. He may not have any memories of this party down the road, but I don’t think I will ever forget the joy on his face during the festivities. So worth it.
Can I show you everything that I did? Prepare yourself for picture overload. I tried to control myself by putting most of the pictures into collages at least so that you don’t have to scroll through a MILLION. Let’s get started!
Each guest was greeted to Dragon Training by this poster that I made. This photo of four letters was the only “Viking Font” that I could find, and although I found it on Pinterest it led nowhere, so I just dusted off my former elementary school teacher poster making and bubble letter writing skills and went for it. I am pleased with the way it turned out. It was evenly colored, I promise, but the massive snowstorm we had that day messed with my photos a bit.
Paired with this rad “zippleback” dragon that I spotted at Savers for $4 I think it made for a really fun greeting to all of our little dragon trainers. Or at least to their parents. Since, you know, all of the guests were between the ages of 1 and 4 and can’t read. Oh well, at least their moms were impressed. Sheesh. :)
And here is the room that greeted them within. Please try to ignore my mom’s awful peach and blue decor. The remodel starts Monday. Literally. The kitchen remodel starts this Monday. More on that in another post…..or 20. Ay ay ay, I can’t WAIT until it is done!
First things first: THE FOOD. I ask you: is food not the main attraction of every party?! I think so. Even parties for little ones. Now, as we discovered while discussing the welcome sign, these particular little ones are so little that they can’t read, so the food signs didn’t mean anything to them. But I was quite pleased with them, so that’s what counts. I’m such a dork. :)
I did tell the little dragon trainers what each food item “was,” and they were amused. They were all quite taken with the “Dragon Food,” actually. (Swedish fish with sour gummy worms mixed in. If you’ve seen the movie you *get* it.) *WATCH OUT FOR EELS!*
My personal favorite thing, aside from the cake, is the juice boxes. I love, love, love how they turned out! And they were easy peasy. Simply wrap your juice boxes with brown construction paper and tape it to the box. Then wrap a thin strip of gray construction paper around the bottom of the box and tape that into place. Finally, cut “horns” out of the gray construction paper and tape them to the back. Minimum work, maximum reward!
And now we come to the grand finale of the food extravaganza…..THE CAKE!!!! I spent way too much time thinking about this cake. I looked at picture on Pinterest of stunning How to Train Your Dragon cakes. I thought about making a giant dragon. I thought about building (or forcing my artistic BIL to build) fondant cake toppers to put on the cake of Hiccup and Toothless. I mulled and mulled and Pinned and Pinned. And then it hit me: a Viking helmet. I could get a domed cake pan and add horns. DONE. Yeah, let’s just say that I spent more time thinking about this cake than I did making it. I wish I was joking. Read on for the crazy-easy instructions.
Alright, people. Here it comes: the easiest seriously impressive looking cake you will ever make. Start with a domed cake pan. Or, if you drive all over town and everyone is sold out of them you can buy a soccer ball pan in frustration and hope that no one notices. *Ahem.*
Next you use a cake mix to bake the cake. That’s right: a cake mix. KIDS. DON’T. CARE. For my birthday?? Oh, I need a from-scratch divine, moist chocolate cake, and for my husband’s birthday he needs a from-scratch cheesecake. But for a bunch of four year olds? Use a box, people. Just use a box. Oh, and while you’re buying that cake mix grab a tub of frosting too. Seriously. Read on before you doubt me.
After baking your cake and allowing it to cool do yourself a favor and read this tutorial from our one and only Courtney over at Sweet C’s Designs. She has entitled it “The Easiest Way to Ice a Cake Ever.” And you know what? It IS! I couldn’t BELIEVE it worked and how it looked SO SO SOOOO much better than when I just frost the old fashioned way. I’m not spilling her secret here, so head over to that tutorial if you want to join our secret club of lazy bakers. It’s a really cool club to be a part of, I promise. ;)
Now let’s talk horns. I bought some plastic bananas and spray painted them and planned to shove them rather briskly into the cake. Plastic SPRAY PAINTED bananas. Yeah…….that was stupid. Luckily I have a friend, Jennifer, who is a seriously talented cake designer (check out her cupcake topper business if you are preparing for a big event!), and she saved me from myself by suggesting that I make them out of Rice Krispie Treats instead. Brilliant, right?! And there was no ingesting of spray paint by toddlers. Minor details…. ;)
So I made RK Treats shaped them with my hands, and stuck kabob skewers in the bottom. I wish I had stuck in two skewers per horn, just for the record. I think they would have been a bit more stable. When they were cool I melted vanilla candy coating and dyed it gray with a bit of black gel food coloring. Then I dipped those bad boys and let them harden overnight. Right before the party I stuck them onto the cake. Do not do it sooner. They are still pretty heavy and started to slide after a while.
Alright. Now that we are done talking food let’s talk activities. I saw this cute party on Pinterest from Bug, Boo, & Bean and was really inspired by it. I obviously got the idea for a welcome sign from her, and I loved her idea of making helmets, shields, and swords from cardboard for the little dragon trainers to decorate. I decided to use foam board, poster board, staples, and duct tape to make my Viking necessities. I wanted them to be “clean” looking. Foam board and duct tape are usually so overpriced, but I found both at Dollar Tree for….well, a dollar. Score.
All of the kids decorated their shields and swords with crayons and dragon stickers, but it was hilarious to me to see the difference between the rowdy boys who slapped on two stickers and then ran off and the girls who meticulously covered their shields with coloring and stickers.
However, once it was time to “fight” they all got pumped up. Maybe a bit too pumped up. But man did they have fun, and don’t they look cute?!
Before we move on to the games let’s take a second to look at the centerpieces on the “weapons prep” art table. They were so simple, but they added exactly the touch of cute that I was looking for. If you want to make some like them you just need to grab some half sphere styrofoam shapes, some cardboard, and some gold spray paint. Spray paint the styrofoam shapes. Cut horns out of cardboard. Push them into the styrofoam shapes. Spray paint the horns. Done. Yep, it’s that easy.
Alright, people, and now it is finally time: IT IS TIME FOR DRAGON TRAINING! This was the most time consuming part of the actual How to Train Your Dragon party, and yet it took practically zero time to prepare. I thought about what we could do for “dragon training” while I was working on the shields and swords, and I came up with the following ideas that would prepare them for the skills that they would need to have when fighting dragons:
* JUMPING PRACTICE for leaping over flames and swinging tails
* STOP, DROP, AND ROLL PRACTICE in case they catch on fire (Throwing in a little education there….former elementary teacher. It’s just a habit.)
* STRIKING PRACTICE, a.k.a. hitting a dragon pinata I accidentally came across at a locally owned toy store
* RUNNING PRACTICE
* OBSTACLE COURSE to combine all skills.
Man, oh man, did the kids have a ball! I barked orders at them and they took it all sooo seriously. It was so dang cute.
Pinata time! Check out the determination on that little redhead dragon trainer’s face! CUTEST! And how about the fact that Bapa (grandpa) ended up having to beat the thing as hard as he could before giving up and having me tear it open with my hands? Good times, people. Good times!
One of my childhood best friends was at the party with her two little girls (I love that we are still friends and have kids that love each other!!!!) and reminded me of a time when I got a mild concussion from being whacked in the head at a party because I dove for the one piece of candy that fell out of a pinata while someone was still hitting at it. Oh, and did I mention that I was in seventh grade at the time?! I have problems.
Bring on the obstacle course! The obstacle course combined all of their “skills.” Silly and simple, but fun! Jade wisely kept her distance and just eyed the craziness from above.
And now it is the moment that we have all been waiting for: IT IS TIME TO FIGHT DRAGONS!!!!!!! When my friend saw my husband crawling out of the other room wearing this ridiculous dragon hat (from Dollar Tree!) she grinned and said, “Wow. You have a husband that really loves you.” I replied, “And a father and father-in-law!” as the grandpas emerged in the same dragon hats. I truly am surrounded by the best men! I am way too lucky. None of them even flinched at this idea! They rock!
The fight was ferocious, but in the end we remembered: you can’t train a dragon with fighting and cruelty, you can only train them by being kind and gentle. And so the dragon trainers dropped their weapons and made peace with our wild dragon crew.
Each dragon trainer was rewarded for their bravery and valor with a dragon trophy. I saw these toy dragons at Dollar Tree and grabbed a ton of them. I also grabbed the styrofoam blocks from the Dollar Tree. Then I simply glued the dragons to the styrofoam and spray painted. Voila!
So, so proud of himself. Isn’t he just the BEST?!
When it was time to send our fearless dragon training recruits out into the cold, cruel world we sent them with a little goodie bag containing a dragon toy (the same ones I used for the trophies) and a pair of “dragon socks.” I can not even begin to tell you how exhausted I was when it was all over! Incidentally, the day of the party was MY birthday, so I retired to my room for a snuggle nap with my little dragon boy and let Daddy and the grandparents clean up. I think I earned it!
Happy Birthday, Sweet Boy. I hope you loved your How to Train Your Dragon party as much as your mama did.