For the first few years having kids, I was able to pick their birthday party themes.
Dr. Seuss, pirates, race cars.
Subtly, I could sway them to pick a theme I liked or one that I had lots of good ideas.
This year, my middle child (the stubborn one) turned four and everything changed.
Six months ago he announced that he wanted a “Ninjago” birthday party and I was fairly certain that I could change his mind.
As his birthday approached, he was still resolute.
What about a chef party? Or an artist party?
Ninjago was not my favorite pick. At all.
I don’t love cartoon themed parties anyway, but this one just felt like it was a fad – something they will like today and forget tomorrow.
But, he was convinced and I’m a big fan of letting kids have an opinion and making their birthday parties personal.
So, Ninjago it was.
And I did the best I could with it. (Thanks to Pinterest)
I had to keep it very simple, because his birthday really snuck up on us and we only had a few days to prepare.
Here’s the deets:
We did ninja headbands for each kid as their party favor – plain white fabric with a simple stitch and written with sharpie (inspired by Craft, Interrupted).
For lunch, we had chicken tacos and this “Great Devourer” veggie tray (idea via Catch My Party).
Here’s the cake – the main thing requested by my foodie son – a chocolate Ninjago cake. It was not hard at all using the step by step instructions from Life as we Know it. I just used a regular cake pan and some simple sculpting. I even forgot to buy black icing for the eyes, so I cut them out of construction paper and laid them on the face. He loved it and it was delicious.
This Nothing Bundt Cake Knock-off is my favorite birthday cake recipe – I make it for every party. It’s dense enough to manhandle for stacking and shaping and it always tastes even better the 2nd and 3rd days.
My six-year-old came up with the beverage – green lemonade labeled “Snake Venom.” He also loves Ninjago, so he had lots of ideas to help with the party.
We also had “Ninja Stars” for the kids to decorate and throw around – we found the origami directions here.
For games, we did a simple laser maze out of streamers in our backyard – it wasn’t super complicated, but it the kids seemed to like it.
We also did a team contest where the kids had to dress up two of the dads as a ninja using streamers. It was silly, but they giggled and had fun making their dads look crazy.
We really love birthday parties around our house!
(Shirts made by me – inspired by Play 2 Learn – but I used reverse applique & fabric paint)
I really hope that it is one of the things my boys remember about their childhood – not that they were Pinterest-worthy, but that they were made to feel special and celebrated each year in a way that speaks their language.
Even if that means “Ninjago.”