My youngest, who has a Christmas-time birthday, asked for a LEGO Ninjago or a Ninja party (in his head, these are basically the same thing).
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Once, many years ago, I thought it was great to make birthday parties complicated. Somewhere inside me, there was this feeling that the more over-the-top the party was, the more it proved I loved my kid and provided everything for him. Well, eventually, I came tripping back to reality. Now, I love making the party easy so I can be stress-free and enjoy the party (and the days leading up to the party) with my kid.
I went to the Pinternet for this theme, but surprisingly there weren’t many Ninjago party tutorials and ideas out there. But here is what I pieced together for an Easy LEGO Ninjago / Ninja party…
I started with favors, because those are always the trickiest part of parties. Without going on a rant, I don’t understand party favors and, frankly, I usually don’t want them either. We don’t need more cheap, plastic toys or candy around our parts. We are plush with those things…they grow on trees here…they multiple like rabbits…But since favors are kind of required, I decided to try to come up with something that could be useful and fun.
I bought some cheap TShirts from a big box store and created a freezer paper stencil using these LEGO eyes here. I already had fabric paint, but you can get some at Michael’s. Freezer paper stenciling is probably the easiest way I have ever experienced to customize fabric. If you are not crafty, GOOD. This is for you. You can see a tutorial on freezer paper stenciling here. Some people get all creative and use Exacto knives and special cutting machines. But here’s my secrert – scissors.
The eyes were a bit more tricky than the mask. I gave my parents cheese and wine and they began to think about cardboard stencils and Exacto knives (they must have read that tutorial) but in the end we used a Sharpie.
And done! That was the hardest part of the party so if you aren’t as committed to saving a buck, as I was, Etsy has shirts you can buy. I can be pretty cheap, though, so this was the option we went with. Although does the cheese bribe count in the final spending tally?
We gave these to the kids as soon as they arrived so they could wear them as Tshirts OR
as NINJA MASKS.
See a tutorial for how to wear a Tshirt as a Ninja mask here. But this is a skill that comes in handy year-round, parents.
When you have kids at your house, you have to have some planned activities or they end up throwing pinecones over the fence into the community pool (go ahead, guess I how I know).
(the Ninja birthday banner was from my friend who had used it for her son and no longer needed it)
The biggest draw to this party was the Ninja Obstacle Course. With most of the kids wearing their new Tshirts/Ninja masks, we gave them a few times to practice the obstacle course.
Here were our obstacles:
- ride a scooter between orange cones
- PVC pipe hurdles – we didn’t make these, we borrowed them from a neighbor, but you can find a tutorial here
- a balance beam – my husband made this with an extra 2×4 and old stumps that he hammered and screwed the board on top of
- through a tunnel made by stacking pine straw bales then laying a tarp across
- throw frisbees into a trash can
- run through the extra bicycle tires
As you will note, this obstacle course was made with whatever we had laying around, or that our neighbor had. It wasn’t fancy, we didn’t spend any money on it (the pine straw we use to mulch flower beds), and the kids LOVED it. We timed them running through the course and they spent an incredibly long time doing this, even allowing for kid-attention-spans. They were hooked. When it comes to creating an obstacle course, the only thing you need is a creative way of looking at what you own.
Eventually, we stopped the Ninjas and prepared them for the pinata.
I had extra party bags in my stash that I could use. As we kept the invite list very small, I didn’t think it was necessary to buy any, and I didn’t care if they were all the same color. Using these ninja stickers from Amazon, I quickly made bags for the kids to put their pinata candy in.
Oh, and it was a windy day. The rock has nothing to do with decor or the theme. It was just a rock to keep the wind from blowing the bags around (#therealworld).
Leftover stickers that came in handy for decorating.
The only Ninja pinata I found was this one from Amazon. When not being bludgeoned, it made for a great decoration on the snack table (which had bulk gluten free snack items from Sam’s – because I don’t have the patience to wrap pretzel sticks with toilet paper or whatever).
This pinata was so strong and thick! It took quite a lot of whacking to get it cracked. I was nearly pummelled by a 5-year-old with a stick many times, but I don’t mind putting my safety on the line for my kids. Eventually, the birthday boy went to town and got it down. After that, it was happy chaos.
Even gluten free, we had to do cupcakes. I just used a gluten free box mix from the grocery store and made white cupcakes with chocolate frosting, as requested. NOTE: at the party, we had the epiphany that gluten free cupcakes would NOT work for kids with nut allergies. Usually these mixes are made with almond flour.
I did a quick large-tipped frost (which is not necessary, use your spatula) and used these cupcake toppers, again from Amazon, to stick to the theme.
Let’s face it, hosting any party costs some money. But ultimately, this was one of the cheaper ways to do it. Our major expenses were: cupcake toppers ($7 for a set of six); pinata ($19); gluten free cupcake mix; wrappers & frosting; sticker eyes ($7 for 18); Tshirts ($4.99 per shirt); yellow helium balloons; candy for the pinata and snacks from Sam’s. I already owned the fabric paint, freezer paper, tablecloths, paper products and everything we needed for the obstacle course.
All in all, we totally karate-kicked this birthday party to the ground!
Like Birthday Party posts? Read this one here about a Santa train-themed birthday party or this one here that was an old-fashioned party in the park.