We had a birthday party to attend on Saturday, and another coming up today (Monday). Which, for my kids, means days of eager anticipation.
There will be sugar, loads and loads of sugar! There will be balloons! There might be games, swimming or even a pinata. And the crowing glory, there will be goody bags. Oh happy day!
To my ears though, the words “birthday party” sound like “gifting stress”. I love kids. I love toys. I love kids who love toys. I love buying toys for kids, who I love, who love toys.
I do NOT, however, love toy stores. At least not the mind-numbing, over-stimulating, battery-powered ones that feature oddities like giant giraffes walking the aisles scaring the spit out of small children, and three story germ-fests they refer to as “fun parks.”
The toy stores that I do love, would invariably lead to bankruptcy if I darkend their doors. They are full to the brim of lovely toys made of real wood and cloth, that require real thought and imagination but also (perhaps rightfully) require a small fortune to cross the counter.
It is HARD to find gifts that thrill the kid, please the parent, don’t cost a mint and are just fun to give. We have, in the past, gotten favorite books to share, magic tricks, craft supplies, puzzles and board games. We also like to visit the educational supply store for science experiment kits. What are your favorite birthday party gifts?
The first party of the weekend, was for a little girl turning 5. For her, we settled on The Little Island, by Margaret Wise Brown, and a gloriously soft little black, stuffed kitten that shows up in the story. I had to wrench it out of Ryder’s hands though, amid indignant tears and curses. He wanted that kitty, BADLY, poor boy!
The boys also made the birthday girl a lovely shell mobile that went along with the theme of the story too.
One gift down, one to go.
We love our cousin Jacob, a LOT, and he turns 5 Monday, a major milestone, as you know. So, the boys wanted to make him something really special. They decided on their latest favorite toy, the rubberband gun.
They glued and nailed. They painted:
They came up with this:
If you should find yourself feeling covetous right now (admit it, you want one), you can visit our tutorial, over on the side bar for a close up look at the gun-making process. Be warned, some of the photos are pretty blurry. My guys have no patience for the photographer.
In the end, we felt that something was lacking.
Maybe some scary alien creatures at which to shoot?
The boys drew them on Shrinky Dink paper, and then we shrinky dank in the oven. Once cooled, we popped on a couple of clothespin feet, and voila, knock-downable targets! (It’s a word if I say it is)
It didn’t take my little men long to discover that the aliens can be stacked. This way, when you hit them, you get a very pleasing, massive crash 🙂
We had to do a great deal of product testing, of course. The designers also felt it necessary for me to redraw each moster on paper, and then write his profile, including name, points earned by knocking him down, and his secret power. My favorite was “Bug Attack” who “shoots icky goo out of his ears.”
Giant giraffe and his mindless wares successfully avoided, once more.