This was such a fun party to plan for my 7-year-old!!! We kept it very simple since my husband had surgery earlier this summer, and I’m about a week or so from having my baby. There is so much more I could have done, but the kids don’t know the difference, and honestly, probably don’t care. They all had a blast!!
Invitations: I incorporated some different ideas from the web. Here are ours (Sorry for the weird coloring in the picture… Not sure what happened when I went to edit out the specifics):
Here’s what it says:
Dear Private ______ (name of child you’re inviting)
Here is your top secret mission: Operation _____ (boy’s name) 7th (age) Birthday
Please report to basic training at Fort ______ (our last name) (our address) on Wed. Aug. 10th (date) at 1300 Hours (1:00) PM in your fatigues. Be prepared to engage in combat until 1430 Hours (2:30 PM). (we just translated them into military time but included normal time in parentheses)
Please notify Sergeant _______ (our last name) if you will be in attendance: _______ (phone number or email)
Sincerely, Sergeant ______ (boy’s full name)
Some of the boys wore army clothes (we had 2 dressed from head to toe, including hats) and some of the boys did not. Many came in green shirts. You could provide something like a headband (cut strip of camo fabric) for each boy, if you wanted.
Starter: I always like to have a starter activity to keep the kids entertained while waiting for everyone to arrive. When they first arrived, they had to enlist in the army (or write their name on the list). When done with that, they were issued their dog tag. None of the boys knew what these were for, so I explained as they enlisted. I got these at our local party store. They were 50 cents a piece. I simply wrote their names on the tags with a Sharpie. The boys loved wearing them!
Once they had enlisted, their first task was Jet Fighter Training. My dad (retired Air Force) made sure to tell me that jets/airplanes are not in the army, but it was more just a military theme anyway. I got some books from the library on making paper airplanes. I provided paper, markers, crayons, scissors, tape, and the books, and they set to work on making their own jets. Once completed, they would practice flying them around the backyard. Some of the boys didn’t know how to make paper airplanes, so other fellow soldiers helped out. It’s nice to have an extra set of adult hands here.
The boys then entered Boot Camp. My husband was the drill sergeant and whipped them into shape. They played Drill Sergeant Says (Simon Says) and did some physical feats, such as jumping jacks, running from the enemy, push-ups, balancing over a swamp, and army crawling through an obstacle course. He had these boys in line and shouting back at him: “Yes, Sir.” It was really cute ’cause they were totally into it. If someone got out of line, he’d get them back on task. He did a great job!
Their next portion of Boot Camp was Grenade Practice. We bought water balloons at the party store that looked like grenades and had an “enemy” for the kids to hit (our enemy was simply an empty bucket–I think a laminated face would be cool though!). They first took turns trying to knock over the enemy, then they worked together. Some kids don’t like to get wet or are more sensitive so we decided not to have the boys hit each other. We told them they were all allies, or friends, and we don’t bomb our allies. They loved this!
The next task was Shooting Drills. We provided water squirters for each boy and had them work together to fill a bucket in an allotted amount of time. At the end, because it was so hot, we let them shoot each other for about 5 seconds (’cause once again, I didn’t want any tears). Then guns were put down, and they were back in formation. It would also be fun to do a target instead and see who could hit it.
Their last task for Boot Camp was Medic Practice (didn’t get pictures of this one). We talked about not leaving anyone behind, and there were a whole bunch of hurt soldiers lying around. We provided each boy with a medical bag (paper bag with a red cross on it), and their task was to rescue all the hurt soldiers. I had simply thrown plastic soldiers around the yard, and they went on a hunt to find them. We gave each boy a certain number to look for so that they all had the same (just a personal preference).
It would also be fun to give each child a patch when all their tasks are completed (it could be as simple as a decorated label). I didn’t have time (energy) to put this together. But my husband is so good that he had them all line up and shake his hand, and he congratulated each one. They seemed fine with that! 🙂
Cake: Okay, seriously, this was the most simple cake I’ve ever made, and I love how it turned out! I bought a fudge marble cake mix. We made it according to the instructions on the box, but I died the yellow cake mix green. I did mine in a cookie sheet so that I had a nice big cake to work with. I frosted it with dark brown frosting, then sprinkled crushed cookies on top to look like dirt (I bought chocolate teddy grahams). I then decorated it to look like a battlefield with plastic soldiers. The boys loved it, and actually thought the cookies were real dirt!! When you cut into it, the inside looked like army camo, which was really cool, too!
Finish: We then opened presents and spent the last 15 minutes or so letting the boys play army by themselves. My son had a prop for every boy (his own idea), and they had a blast playing until their parents picked them up!
It was such a simple party. I didn’t even do party bags: They got to take home their dog tags, wounded soldiers, and jet they had made. My decorations were simple, as well. There was a lot I could have done to decorate, but I kept it very simple for my own sanity.
This party lasted an hour and 1/2.