Do you ever get tired of spending tons of money and time, making each party different or over the top for each kid? For the last couple of years, we have let the kids choose ONE theme for all four birthday parties. Last year, they chose Pirates. Our youngest choose Jake and the Neverland Pirates while the older kids preferred The Pirates of the Caribbean.It makes it so much easier for planning, budgeting, decorating, and partying.
This year, we gave them a choice between LEGO and The Hobbit (through the process of elimination). We enjoy giving them big parties and letting them invite as many friends as they want. Usually, we have about 10-15 kids show up for the celebration. In years past we’ve tried combining birthday parties but found the kids of different age groups didn’t play together well enough to do it again.
With The LEGO Movie release this year, The Hobbit theme didn’t stand a chance.
Keeping the guests and birthday kid entertained can be challenging, expensive, and time-consuming.
Here are the activities we came up with for younger kids:
• LEGO BINGO game
• Pinewood Derby Race (except they make their own cars out of LEGO’s)
• Watch The LEGO Movie (we had it running in the background)
• Build LEGO’s
Unfortunately, we only planned for two hours for the party. In hindsight, we should have planned for AT LEAST three hours. The kids had so much fun building the cars and racing them that it took about 45 minutes before we moved on to another activity.
For the other kids’ parties we’ll add an additional hour or two that way the older kids will have time to socialize. We also have some “building’ games planned for the older kids that involve building structures out of dry spaghetti noodles and gum drops (Brian, the engineer, once had similar games at work).
For decorations, a friend of ours made LEGO bricks out of Styrofoam. We placed them sporadically throughout the kitchen and living room. We used a Silhouette machine to cut out LEGO bricks and swirls to hang with clothespins and twine or stick to the wall. We also had the letters of Parker’s name in photo frames from IKEA. They’re $.99 per frame and we got five colors: red, yellow, green, blue, and orange. The LEGO man head was one of the focal points at the food table. I even used the stuffed piñata for decoration up until time to play the piñata game. We had the kids put together some of their LEGO sets and placed them around the living room and kitchen. Also, Katie made a LEGO holder for the utensils.
Over the years we’ve grown tired of eating cake because there are so many birthdays so close together. The past few years we’ve been doing cupcakes. We’ve found them much easier and quicker for a large group. We still do cake when the adults have a birthday. I bake and decorate 48 cupcakes and tailor them to the theme. The birthday kid always has something special on it with one candle. This year, we placed a candle in the hand of a mini-figure named Emmet (from the LEGO Movie). In addition to the cupcakes, we had the following tasty treats:
• multicolored gum balls
• Saltine crackers
• honey graham crackers
• LEGO shaped chocolates
Our thoughts behind the finger foods were color and squares or rectangles.
For drinks, we’ve learned to just do water. We had four colors of cups and wrote their names on each of them in permanent marker. We also put LEGO shaped ice cubes in the middle of the water for effect! Note, the LEGO ice cubes didn’t look like LEGOs after an hour or so.
The kids had their own unique adventure in the convenience of our own home. We were frugal in our purchases and used what we had to make this party a success! We took photos of each group of decorations so it will be easy to set up for the next three LEGO birthday parties! Everything is Awesome!!!!
LEGO Key Chains
Our kids really love coming home with a small gift bag when attending other birthdays. We wanted something nice for our guests to take home. We really liked the LEGO key chains but they were about $3 to $5 in the store. Instead, we got a bunch of LEGO bricks from the pick-a-brick wall at a LEGO store. If you don’t have a LEGO store nearby try this set at Amazon. Brian ordered a bunch of key rings from Amazon. Brian his smallest drill bit and a drill press to make the holes. We all pitched in with pliers to finish the job. These were a HUGE hit and were less than 50 cents each.
LEGO Coloring Pages
Click here for LEGO coloring pages. You might have to dig around but there are hundreds of pages to be found. I would just share my collection of LEGO coloring pages but they’re licensed and it would be just as easy for you to find them yourself.
Try Googling these keywords:
We used LEGO molds like these to make the chocolates and crayons. We had to get two sets b/c the crayons will containment the silicon molds. You can’t use the same molds for food and crayons. There are lots of different types of molds out there. We ended up needing MANY more LEGO brick molds to speed up the chocolate process. Luckily the same store that sold the LEGO-like molds as well. We ended up making some from both molds. The kids didn’t mind the miss-match. In fact, this was our first experience tempering chocolate and making it from scratch. We ended up buying a HUGE 10 lbs block of chocolate to use. We made two or three batches and they turned out amazing. The chocolate taste was rich and the color was smooth. However, with all of the other preparations we felt we were falling behind and switched to the cheaper wax-based chocolates to finish up. There is a significant difference in taste. You can see the difference in the smoothness of the color. There’s no comparison.
Here are the LEGO Crayons: We found it easy to manage by placing them individually into a toaster oven (make sure to cover the aluminum tray with foil). We found that temps just below 450 Deg F were effective. Anything over that caused some burning with the wax. The hardest job was breaking the crayons into smaller pieces. We used name-brand crayons because the cheaper (if there is such a thing) did weird things to the colors. We just used broken crayons for this project. It took all six of us about three hours to complete this. We did this one lazy afternoon about three months before the first party. Since we had four parties to prepare for, we split the crayons into groups of 4 with a good number of colors in each. This way each birthday group would see a fresh set of crayons. The Bricks took significantly more crayons to make. Overall we tried to keep like colors together but ended up having lots of fun near the end. Be sure to not use the crayon molds for anything food related. Once the wax gets heated it will never come out of the silicon molds. To get perfect LEGO studs and sharp corners on the people we would use a toothpick to remove air bubbles while the wax was hot. Yes, we used the freezer to cool them down more quickly.
LEGO Themed Bathroom
We were in the middle of remodeling our bathroom and trying to decide how to decorate when one kid said, “Wouldn’t it be awesome if it were LEGO…. everything is awesome!!!” Well, we were in the process of slowly purchasing items for the Birthday party. We found the Lego head online for about $30 and thought it would be cool. We couldn’t justify spending the $30 for the parties but, for permanent bathroom decoration? You bet!
The LEGO table was actually built by Brian about three years ago off of an article he read on IkeaHackers.net. The table design was a mix between two or three other table designs from that website. He ordered the green LEGO base plates from LEGO.com and just glued it on. Just go to IkeaHackers.net and do a search for “LEGO Table”. This is the table Brian used for inspiration. We apologize for the horrible photo of the LEGO table.
From Brian, “To cut out the holes I had to place blue painter’s tape in three squares on the top of the table where I was to cut. This keeps the table from getting scratched up and helps make a clean cut. I had to find a jig saw blade long enough to cut through the double table top. After cutting through the VERY thin wood you’ll find a cardboard-like corrugated filler. Use an X-act O (the knife of Exact Zero) to do fine cutting and finishing to make sure it was a snug fit. I didn’t want LEGO falling into these cracks or kids messing with it. So, I used the beige painter’s tape in and around this void to give it a “closed” edge. I made sure the tape wouldn’t be visible when I placed the green container inside. I ordered the base plates from Amazon LEGO Baseplate. I used E6000 craft glue to glue down the baseplates. I made extra careful to get the glue close enough to the edge that there would be a nice hold but not too close so the glue wouldn’t show. THE MOST IMPORTANT thing!!!! If you glue the baseplates side by side then LEGOs won’t fit properly. There should be a tiny gap. Make sure you take a couple of sturdy bricks or plates to get your spacing correct.
We found this pre-made LEGO Bingo game online. Brian snagged it from a website but we’ve forgotten from which one. We’d love to give them credit. We got LEGO 1×1 pieces to act as markers and put them in zip lock bags. We printed and cut out the playing boards from this PDF. We pulled the Bingo pieces from a bucket. This game was a much larger hit than expected.
Last year we purchased a Cameo by Silhouette, which is like a Cricket. We chose that brand and model for two reasons. 1) The Software was superior to the Cricket software and allows you to cut out anything you desire. Yes, the latest Cricket software has this feature but the Silhouette software seems much better to us. 2) Although the Cricket was once developed and headquartered here in Utah (I think), Silhouette is still a local company. We wanted to show our support. I love scrapbooking but with four kids I never have the time. We didn’t purchase the Cameo for scrapbooking but rather for seasonal decorating and the occasional school projects. We found it cheaper to buy paper on sale at Michael’s and cut out our own designs than to buy Fall, Easter and Halloween decorations from the store. We also use it for St Patrick’s day and to make gift cards. So far we’ve use it on two or three of the kid’s school projects. Things like Science Projects or book report posters, etc. It saves a lot of time and makes things neat and clean.
Ok, Brian was in charge of the invitations, he’s the Photoshop guru. We saw the idea online and he follow the instructions to make the kid’s names match the LEGO logo. He then grabbed a LEGO baseplate image from online and created the invitations. Brian made the invitations sized to 4×6 so they could be printed at Walgreens. We have a nice photo printer but we live right by a Walgreens and we save a lot of money having them print the invitations. We just upload them to their site and pick them up at our convenience. Here is a .PNG file that you can Right Click and Save As on your computer. You can open it up in Photoshop, Fireworks, or GIMP (free download). The LEGO font (called LEGOTHICK) can be found by doing a quick search. When you do the text, Brian suggests following this online guide from the article How to Make Text Look Like the Lego Logo Using Gimp. Even though he had Photoshop, he downloaded GIMP just because these instructions were so easy to follow. He then exported the image as a PNG into Fireworks to pull it all together and do the text. We used the same process for the letters for the kid’s names.
More Decoration Links:
Dollar Store Hurricane – to show off your bricks. We also keep an eye out while at second-hand stores and while garage selling for items like this.
LEGO head cookies. While we didn’t make these, they were on our to-do list.
LEGO Soap. While we originally wanted to do LEGO soap as gifts for the other kids we instead decided to do crayons and chocolates.
As a special treat, here are links our project files and idea folders on Dropbox. We’ve even included the Silhouette library and fonts, game files, etc.
LEGO Decoration Ideas – Just various graphics that helped me come up with things to do. Disclaimer; many of these images were grabbed from Pintrest. There’s no real way of giving credit to the original artist. If you know who some of the original artists are, please mention them in the comments.
LEGO Game Ideas – LEGO Bingo game and a couple of mazes.
LEGO Invitations – Save time, here is the LEGO THICK Font file and Photoshop files ready to go to create your own invitations. Just read the tutorial on how to do the name in LEGO and you’re ready to go.
LEGO Letters – These are the letters we needed to spell all of our kids’ names.
LEGO Silhouette Library – Yes, we’ve even included the raw Silhouette files for you to download. They may also work in other programs. These include the LEGO cupcake flags, LEGO minifig cutouts, the LEGO bricks, and spirals.