Friday, 26 April 2013

A Fourth Birthday Knight Party

My (now) four year old has been crazy about knights for quite a while. 

I think it may have started with me showing him the film "Bedknobs and Broomsticks". If you've seen this marvelous old classic, you'll remember the final scene where all the suits of armour come to life to fight off the bad guys.  Hamish was so taken with this that it's now the only part of the movie he wants to watch, and he'll watch it three or four times in a row if I let him.

There is a camping supply store here in Darwin that, for some reason, has a suit of armour in it. Full sized, with a helmet with a visor that lifts up and a big axe. He's called the "big axe guy", apparently, and we have to visit him (and open and close his visor) every time we go to the shops. As I said- He's crazy about them!

So it was no surprise that he asked for a knight party. We started by sending our knights and princesses a royal invitation to join the celebrations. 


Hamish really wanted to have his party at a park, so we chose one of our favourite local parks and crossed our fingers for fine weather.

I kept the decorations simple with balloons to help our guests find us... 

Some cute bunting (that I didn't get really a photo of.  You can sort of see it tied to the tree in the pic below) and the birthday boy's new mini suit of armor (Thank you, Grandma!) as table decoration...

Costumes added a real sense of authenticity. As per the invitation, Hubby and I were King and Queen of the realm...


and our beautiful boys were all brave knights...


The red costumes are store bought. The purple tunics I made by cutting the fabric to fit and cutting a hole for the head. This particular fabric didn't require hemming (win!) so I then stenciled the lion by first printing the shape onto photo paper and cutting it out. I used gold fabric paint and a stiff paint brush.

We had a few spare costume supplies on hand too... 



Hamish was very excited to have his friends- three gorgeous princesses and a dashing knight- join us in the fun...


One of the best things about having a party at a park with a playground (or two) is that most of the entertainment is done for you.

 
 The kids had a lot of fun just running around, climbing and sliding...


Having a large area to play in meant we could set up a couple of knightly quests too.



We made a jousting field with rope and plastic stakes and used a helium-filled balloon as a target.


The horses and lances were made with pool noodles. You can see the horse tutorial here and the image I copied for the lances here.

Knights and princesses were challenged with riding their horse and hitting the target with their lance while trying to be faster than their opponent.

We also set up a tent in which our guests could shelter from the sun, do a knightly puzzle or simply relax and view the jousting.  The tent is just a camping table, with a point made from our Crazy Forts.  Cover the whole thing in an old sheet, add bunting and a flag and you've got a medieval-style tent.

After all that jousting and playing we needed nourishment. 

The only thing I know about medieval food is from a Heston Bloomenthal special where he served prehistoric Lamprey and made a fruit platter that was actually made of meat (yikes!) so I played it safe and served... (I missed taking a pic of the) mini sausages and...

 Chicken drumsticks 

Corn on the cob 

Flaming arrows
(These marshmallows dipped in white chocolate and coated in red sprinkles proved very popular)

 
Shield cookies
(Transporting food is the worse part of holding your party at another venue. These got a little bashed up.  To make the shields I softened some choc buds and stamped them with a metal wax seal then pressed them onto shortbread cookies.)
Knight pops
(Note to self: some icing pens don't set hard and will get mushed during transportation.  Also, cake pops and hot weather don't mix.  I should have learnt this lesson after Rohan's first birthday party, but these knight pops were just too darn cue to resist.)


With everything we try our hardest to plan, there always has to be something that goes wrong! For this party, it was the cake... a Lamington Castle.

I was so afraid of the Lamingtons going stale that I left the cake until the morning of the party to assemble. Which, in hindsight, was silly. I should have assembled it and refrigerated it to let the buttercream frosting set hard. Needless to say the whole thing collapsed in the car on the way to the park and another three times during the party. 

By the time we sang Happy Birthday the whole structure was held together with copious numbers of wooden skewers!

But, the kids thought it was amazing and it was a nice way to finish our medieval luncheon. 

To finish, because it was rather warm by this stage- especially in a velvet frock!- we had a castle verse castle siege using water balloons. My boys had been to a party last year where the water balloon fight was their absolutely highlight, so we decided to do one... Knight-style.

Hubby cut and assembled two castles out of large, cardboard boxes. 

I painted some brickwork on them and the kids helped me make two different shields for identification. The lion one was to match the logo used on the invitation and the boys' costumes.  Liam designed and painted the shield for his castle.


Once at the park, the castles were hammered into the ground with tent pegs.  My eldest son spent the morning filling water balloons, so we divided the kids (& grown ups!) into two teams and then had an enormous amount of fun trying to drench one another.

If you plan in doing this yourself please be aware that you will need lots of balloons. Seriously fill two 120 packets. It's a tedious job but you will need want to use them all. Especially if, like me, your Hubby is immune to water balloons!  Seriously, I could not get even one to burst on him!


At the conclusion of the festivities, our guests took home a little treat bag. The knights bags had stickers, bouncy balls, bubbles, blowers and sweets, while the princesses had stickers, jewels, bubbles, blowers and sweets.



An amazing, fun day!  Happy Birthday, my gorgeous brave knight xx

8 comments:

  1. Sarah, this all looks fantastic!
    I love the themed food and the castle vs castle water fight looks like so much fun!

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    1. Thanks, Lauren. Ridiculous amounts of fun!

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  2. Wow - what an amazing party - looks like you all had a ball too! xo

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    1. It was really a great party! Thank you, Hana x

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  4. This is one of the best parties I've seen! So many great ideas you came up with. Thanks for all the inspiration. May I ask, how you made the invitations and where you got the castle image used on some of your food signs?
    - Jenn

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    1. Jenn! How did I miss your comment? I'm so sorry! The invitations were made in Word with various free fonts I downloaded and printed onto embossed paper. The castle image was found on a google image search. Hope my reply isn't too late for it to be helpful : )

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