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Wednesday, November 03, 2010

5 * 2 = The Ben 10 Party

I tried hard to convince the kids that they can have a Ben 10 party only at the age of 10.
And failed miserably.
They were very clear that they wanted a Ben 10 party only.
So push came to shove and I had to comply.
So here are the details of the Ben 10 party on a budget!!!
First of all, I had to aquaint myself with the Ben 10 character. I always assumed 10 is a number with some significance in the cartoon but it is simply derived from Ben Tennyson so there ended the matter of why we should or should not celebrate a Ben 10 party at the age of 5!

I went through Wiki sites and did lots of google searches to aquaint myself with the character and plot. I extracted characters that I would use to build games around. I made a huge list of possible Ben 10 theme games, borrowing from various sites/ blogs and ideating on my own. In the end I eliminated games that required too much logistic preparation like Ben 10 poster coloring relay race or were slightly unsafe like "Upchuck"- the character who has huge digestive capacity- I wanted the kids to compete to eat alien slime - green jelly or simply green/ yellow candies or maybe drink some green juice. But I discarded the idea ultimately.

Ben 10 "Collaterals"

The Cake
A 5 kg Ben 10 cake to feed a 90 strong alien force, with supposedly alien figures (grrr not) positioned in strategic corners. We had candles with figure 5, Happy Birthday letters and the magical relighting candle for luck!

The Decor

For once the menfolk out-ideated the women folk - they created a cool poster of Ojas & Tejas on a Ben10 body- courtsey design team of the husband's office. I tried hard to put green & yellow balloons only but a few other colors were also sneaked past!

The Planned Gifts

To set the mood, Ben10 gifts were bought - Ben 10 toys, lunch boxes, water bottles, stickers, crayons, color books from Nana, Nani, Mausi, Mamu

Alien colored -blue green Love birds & Ben 10 Football and alien gun from Paati, TaathaThe attire
Green & Yellow T shirts to wear to schoolAfter a morning of cake cutting
Ben 10 alien force T shirts, caps and watch for the games time before cake cuttingBlack Ben 10 T shirts for the cake cutting and the dinner partyBen 10 Themed Games
The spoils of war
Ben 10 toys - bubble, rubik cube, phone were the stakes for the games, along with a few candy bags thrown in. The original Ben 10 merchandise are expensive- I found a lovely lot of Ben 10 stickered toys that served the purpose for the theme party.

The games
Breaking the Ice- A Ben 10 Badge was frozen in an ice cube. The kids had to melt the ice cubes using water in the tub provided and free the badge. The badge served dual purpose- a nice keepsake and also a tactful party invitee identification.
Items needed for the game- a small plastic disposable cub, the badge/small toy.
Procedure- Freeze half a cup of ice. Free the ice from the cup, place the badge (wrapped in the plastic pouch it came with) in the cup, pour half a cup of water and place the ice on top. The water is at the bottom, badge tends to float to the surface, the ice on top prevents the badge from coming to surface and floats on top. Freeze the cup again. The ice above and the water below traps the badge in the centre else the badge will float to the top and the fun is lost.
Before starting the game I asked the kids lots of questions. What is ice made of, how do you melt ice and other such scientific questions. Well, maybe I phrased the question wrongly- but when I asked what does ice contain- Ojas & Tejas answered "badge" loudly even though they had promised they will say it has nothing as it is a surprise. I conducted this game first before the ice melted and also so that all kids could have their badges to wear. I kept a towel on hand to immediately wipe the ice cold little hands.

(Mummy) Unwrap- A Mummy character turns up in one of the Ben 10 episodes. I used that to build an idea for a game. Wrapped Ben 10 bubbles in newspapers and threw them around. Kids had to run around and find their "gift" and "unwrap" them.

It was fun to see them quickly tear the wrapping and then exclaim to each other- look I found a bubble, then another one says- me too! The bubbles served dual purpose too- it was a nice toy to take back since kids in upto 5 years age group are more interested in toys than food. And also- it was a distraction break when games for older kids were being conducted. We needed to just tell them- now all of you should blow bubbles and we peacefully conducted games for other age group.Crash Site Clean up- was the original idea- to create an Alien crash site, fill it with junk along with Ben 10 mobiles, cubes & bubbles and wrap them in green paper (alien theme) and ask the kids to clean up the site. Well, logistics & time famine was a problem and I was not sure the alien crash site would look like a space ship crash site at all so in the end, we just hid the "finds" around the play area- behind cars, in the garden, in a helmet and all and asked the kids to look for such green wrapped stuff.

Hoopy Loopy- We arranged Ben 10 cubes, bubbles, toffee bags on the ground and gave them a ring to target at a gift. The gifts were anyway given on the second chance as they could not really target them right4 Arm Ben 10 Relay- Kids had to do the traditional lemon and spoon race in pairs. Instead of lemon I used a bouncy ball. It was fun seeing kids chase the ball that would bounce away everytime they tried to do a test step or two. Wild Vine- is a character that can lengthen itself. I used this idea and superimposed it on a corporate team game I have heard about. Divided the kids into 2 groups and instructed them to try and make the longer chain using themselves and any other object they could get their hands on- within a given time frame of 1-1.5 minutes. So it is not only team work but also strategy- you need to ask for dupattas from various aunties, remove your shoes/ jacket even, pick up bats, cycles, leaves and all. I appointed the husband and neighbour to assist each team in strategising. I liked the dead palm leaf of one team and the way they held a one leg up pose to increase the length and the final clincher from the other team- an auto happened to come and park right next to Ojas and the husband just instructed Ojas to touch the auto to attach it to their chain. Toffee bags were distributed as gifts. Return Gifts

Ben 10 toys- car, truck, phone, plane, remote car, remote boat for the younger kids. A pretty bead bracelet with a dry flower trapped within a square shaped plastic casing for the older girls and a whacky hound tooth shaped green plastic pendant with an insect trapped within for the older boys.

Cake Cutting

Notice how Donut has stuck to the black and green theme

With the family

The Grandfamily PhotoThe Snacks
Kid friendly Lays chips packet, Appy tetrapack, Samosa prepared by the Bihari caterer, cake - bare minimum with multiple repeat servings. The chips and juice were big hits as usual and kids were asking for the chips by colour of pack!
The Dinner for close friends and relatives
Starters- Fish fry, Daal vada, Samosa
Cold Drinks
Main course- roti, puloa, mixed veg, paneer, chicken curry, dahi vada
Dessert - cake, gulab-jamun
The Best part of the Day as per Ojas & Tejas- The spoils of the war- Ben 10 stationery, phonics based books(yay from both me and kids), scrabble (yay from me), lots of board games (yay from me), remote cars (yay from the kids), Puzzles (yay from kids).
Well, I can safely make an accurate trend report of- what to expect each year as birthday gifts for the first 5 years of your child.
Additional Notes on Logistics
1. Game bags- individual game bags prepared in advance
2. Return gifts- Life becomes a blur when you are distributing return gifts-with kids behind you asking where is my return gift, aunty I don't want this and all that. I tend to blank out on names even at the end of the party. Gift wrapping and writing individual names on each gift is an option that I did not exercise. Instead, I collected identical gifts in individual bags and either wrote names on each gift on the packing or stuck a piece of paper with the list of names to whom the particula set of gifts were to begiven. This way, anyone can distribute the gifts on yourbehalf.
3. The Helping Hands- the caterer did all the cutting, serving, cleaning and all. Photography was delegated to sis/ neighbour, my neighbour helped in the games and during the final wildvine game- it helped to appoint an adult to direct the kiddy team to strategise - all at the last moment so that even they are involved in the game and thinking on the spot rather than preparing and coming.
4. A roving eye- During such large parties, it is sometimes difficult to keep track of all guests. Hubby & I were on our feet all the time, keeping an eye on all guests' needs, circulating, chatting, introducing them to other guests (well, some of them happened to find their company client in the midst of my guests is another matter altogether- small world eh!). We may have not done full justice to all guests but I guess we did ok. Since the parents were there, the relatives were taken care of and we took care of the friends
5. Gate Crashers - Since the party was in the building premises, I had to use all my tactical reserves to firmly prevent gate crashers as I did not want to fall short on food for guests who were eating in the end. Anyway, this is a topic for another post but yes gate crashers are bound to come and one has to play it by the ear, keep extra stuff/ gifts handy to avoid shortfall.
6. Gifts- Always keep a few extra stuff handy- you never know when someone loses their gift or wishes to change theirs or an extra guest turns up


Sue said...

Awww, no wonder non-invitees also landed up. It looks like a fantastic party, Itchy. Taaliyaan for your enthu. :)

Sue said...

BTW love the outfits for the boys. Including the baby cousin!

artnavy said...

fantastic- and i missed your cake the most...

Devasena Hariharan said...

so nice. I just love the cake

I was waiting for this post. Donut looks so cute.

U have great organizing skills.

Mama - Mia said...

OMG!! OMG!! charan kahan hai aapke?! :)



Gayatri said...

- Nice Games
- Give yourself a pat
-'Cause you've done it again..
- Absolutely Awesome Party :D
- A Perfect 10 :)

R's Mom said...

Oh My God..are you for real!! you actually organized so many games on the Ben 10 Mama Mia said..aap ke charan kahan hai and like Gayatri said..a perfect 10!!! you rock..

Itchingtowrite said...

thanks guys!!!

Swapna Raghu Sanand said...

Amazing, you are fantastic. I loved the Ben10 theme coz my son is crazy about it. Your post gave me terrific ideas. Also, the pics were great. Loved the games you suggested like break the ice. Also, loved that cake. Awesome.

Super Mom, your sons are never going to get over you! Touchwood.

Mamma mia! Me a mamma? said...

Brilliant planning, brilliant execution! I got exhausted just reading this!!