For Pim’s ‘knights’ themed birthday party last week, we had the idea of letting the boys decorate their own shields. I always like to do something a bit creative with the kids to offer some ‘downtime’ before the more active games we played later. My husband had made 8 shields out of thin beech plywood, with bands (from cheap winch straps), and rivets. He used a round plate to make the design, and an electric jigsaw to saw out the shields. I was impressed by how fast he made them, by the cool-looking end results, and by the sturdiness of the shield! Oh, and the materials we used were really cheap — I think we didn’t spend more than 10 euros for the 8 shields together.
Shields in the making
I printed some different images of coats of arms like dragons, lions, and unicorns, and bought carbon paper (didn’t know it still existed, but it does!). As a first party activity, each boy transferred a drawing onto their shield using the carbon paper. Taping the printed paper and carbon paper to the shield helped to keep everything in place. The magic of tracing the drawing and automatically transferring it to the shield kept them interested! Afterwards, they used markers to colour and personalise their shields. I was so impressed by their concentration — they loved this activity and were so serious, and so proud of the results!
Transferring the design using carbon paper
Colouring and decorating
Of course we couldn’t resist sewing 8 tunics for the knights the night before the party (including a tiny one for Ava!), and to get a few plastic party helmets to go with the outfit. (Swords were forbidden — for obvious reasons…)
Games (or ‘knight’s challenges’) included: Obstacle course in the kids’ bedroom (under the bed, over the bed, jump 10 times, somersault, etc.), pin the fire to the dragon’s mouth (like pin the tail to the donkey), mastering the yoga warrior pose, and killing the piñata dragon (finally they were allowed to use a sword!). All the kids got a score card around their neck, and each time they had surpassed a challenge they earned a sticker. Only with a full card did they earn their official ‘knight certificate’, which, printed with a Medieval type font on brownish paper and with burned edges, looked impressive enough!
Pin the fire to the dragon
The party bags (do you remember the stamp we made?) and the knight certificates
It was a fun party and the kids loved it! We were pretty exhausted though. I’m glad I don’t have five overactive 5-year-old boys in our house every day!