How to Throw a Pokémon Birthday Party

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How to Throw a Pokemon Birthday Party at Mommy-Miracles.com

Those in the know know that my eldest boy loves Pokémon. While it certainly isn’t my preference that he constantly wants to watch the show on Netflix or that he talks incessantly about different Pokémon, their abilities, and recent battles, I can’t help but enjoy watching him embrace this current passion. When Cameron’s fifth birthday rolled around earlier this month, he insisted on having a “Pokémon Party”. That left me trying to figure out how to get the house ready, plan a themed party, and host a dozen 4-6 year-olds along with caring for the needs of my newborn. In short, I had so many other things to do, I needed to figure out how to plan an easy yet awesome Pokémon party.

How to Throw a Pokemon Birthday Party at Mommy-Miracles.com

There are some amazing ideas for hosting a Pokémon birthday party online. I wish I had a chance to do more, but I avoided anything that took too much prep. I also had to make sure that everything was aimed towards preschoolers and that everything could be done indoors, since we’ve been buried in snow all month.

The coolest way to host a theme party is to create a story arc from the beginning to the end of the party. This is the best way to make the party seem way more awesome than it actually might be. The story for a Pokémon Party is clear:

  1. Capture your Pokémon
  2. Collect Badges
  3. Train Your Pokémon
  4. Battle
  5. Rest at the Pokémon Centre
  6. Travel Across The Land

Here’s how the story plays out at the birthday party:

Capture Your Pokémon

You’ll need:

  • Styrofoam balls
  • Markers or paint, depending on the time you have available and the age of the children. (Also, you can consider pre-painting the balls)
  • Googley eyes
  • Feathers
  • Pipe cleaners
  • Glue
  • Any other decorative item that could stick into the styrofoam or decorate it, like popsicle sticks or gems.

As soon as kids arrived at the party, they were encouraged to be creative and make their own Pokémon. They all got a styrofoam ball and created their Pokémon by colouring it, drawing faces, sticking feathers and pipe cleaners into it. Some kids spent time colouring the whole ball one or two colours (I apologize to their parents for how messy their hands were when they went home. Warning: Markers on styrofoam smudge.) Some didn’t use markers at all, but used the eyes, feathers, and pipe cleaners to make their Pokémon unique.

Level Up: While we didn’t do this, you can make this activity even cooler by encouraging kids to name their Pokémon. Then, snap a picture and send a parent to the computer to make Pokémon cards for each newly created Pokémon. Search “Pokemon card generator” on Google to make this process easy.

Collect Badges

Before the party, I found images of Pokémon badges. I replicated the image multiple times and printed it. Then, I glued the paper full of badges onto poster board and cut them out. These would be the Pokémon badges that the kids would collect throughout the rest of the party.

I gave each kid a party cup with their name written on it. The great thing about this was that the homemade Pokémon generally fit in the opening of the cup as well. This would be both their Pokémon’s home and their badge container.

Level Up: Learn what each of the badges mean and create games that reflect each badge. This may be more appropriate for older kids or a longer party.

Train Your Pokémon

Pokémon need to train in order to be ready for battle and to evolve (or so I gather). This part of the party involves a game that uses those cute little Pokémon the kids just made. Because I’m all about easy, I grabbed three cardboard boxes and set them up so that each one was a little further away from the kids. The kids stood in a designated spot and tried to throw their Pokémon in each box. They first tried to get it in the closest box. If they landed it, they got one badge. Then, they tried to toss their Pokémon into the second box. If landed, they gained two badges. Finally they threw for a third time and tried to get their Pokémon in the box that was furthest away. If they made that throw, they got three badges. Kids who landed all three boxes finished the game with a total of six badges.

How to Throw a Pokemon Birthday Party at Mommy-Miracles.com

Level Up: Pick your kid’s favourite Pokémon and decorate each box with an image of the three evolution stages of the character. The first box can have the un-evolved Pokémon, box two can have the intermediate evolution and the third box can picture the fully evolved Pokémon.

Battle

Now is the time to get creative with party games. You can even set aside those little Poké-guys, but be sure to pick games that let the children continue to collect badges. Consider age and time limits when picking what game(s) to play. I made sure that everyone came out of the game with at least one badge, and we only really had time for one “battle” party game, so we did the balloon race.

Here are some Pokémon inspired party games that you can try:

Spoink Balloon Race: Spoink is a Pokémon who bounces on a spring and has a pink bubble on its head (who comes up with these things?). For this game, all you need is  starting line, a finish line, and some (pink) balloons. Kids run to the “finish line”, grab a balloon, and then try to get it back to the start by bouncing the balloon on their head. We pitted three kids at a time against each other at a time. The winner got three badges, second place got 2 badges, last place got 1 badge.

How to Throw a Pokemon Birthday Party at Mommy-Miracles.com

Pin the Tail on the Pikachu: This is pretty self-explanatory

Gotta Catch ‘Em All: This game is particularly awesome if you have an outdoor space for the party. Hide Pokéballs (you can make these with ping pong balls. Place balls in an egg carton and paint one half of each ball red). The aim of the game is to find the most Pokéballs.

Pokédex: If you plan in advance, you can purchase tiny little Pokémon in bulk from Amazon (affiliate link). Fill a dish tub with beans and hide the Pokémon. Give kids a small amount of time to find as many Pokémon as they can. Consider letting the kids keep the Pokémon they find! If you can’t get tiny Pokémon, hide badges instead.

How to Throw a Pokemon Birthday Party at Mommy-Miracles.com

Meloetta’s Song: Meloetta is a Pokémon whose melodies can make the Pokémon who hear them happy or sad. This game is played like musical chairs, but instead of chairs, party-goers walk around in a circle around Pokéballs (see above for how to make them) while music plays. There is always one fewer Pokéball than player. Once the music stops, everyone tries to grab a ball. The person who doesn’t get a ball is out, and the game continues until only one Pokémon trainer is victorious.

How to Throw a Pokemon Birthday Party at Mommy-Miracles.com

How Many Caterpie?: Fill a jar with gummy worms and have kids guess how many worms are in the jar.

Caterpie

Rest at the Pokémon Centre

When the games are over, everyone returns to the “Pokémon Centre” for snacks, cake, and presents. Snacks and cake can be themed for the party, including Squirtle Spit or Lickilicky Liquids (beverage of choice), Pikachu Popcorn, Chimchar Chips, Charmander’s Fire Tails (cheezies), Mewtwo Melon Balls, Jigglypuff Jello, Wailord Water, Tagela’s Tangles (liquorice).

A Pokémon cake can be as easy or as hard as you make it. I made a round cake and covered half of it in strawberries to make a Pokéball. You can also do something similar with cupcakes or make Pokéball cake pops. I’ve also seen Pikachu cakes.

How to Throw a Pokemon Birthday Party at Mommy-Miracles.com

Travel Across The Land

(There’s a lyric in the Pokemon theme song that says “I will travel across the land / Searching far and wide / Each Pokémon to understand / The Power that’s inside).

I decided to forgo treat bags this time (though it is totally possible to create cute little Pokéball treat bags). Instead, I picked up prizes from the Dollar Store. The kids counted their badges and the person with the most got to pick the first prize. Then, the person with the second highest amount of badges got to pick the second prize, and so on. My prizes were pretty simple – things like foam swords and silly putty and dinosaurs. However, if I had an unlimited budget, I would have absolutely chosen to have a plush Pokémon for each kid.

And that was our Pokémon party.

What TV show themed birthday parties have you thrown?

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Dear Cameron: A Love Letter to a 5 Year Old

Mom’s preamble: this letter wasn’t written or published on your actual birthday, but this was the year when we welcomed Logan into our family. On the day you turned five, Logan was only seven and a half weeks old. So, I hope you’ll forgive me for the lateness on this. 

Dear Cameron,

A Love Letter to a 5 Year Old | Mommy Miracles

You probably know this, but I’m the oldest sibling too. Through my eyes, my parents, your Nana and Papa, always took pity on my sisters and tried to remind me how hard it was to be younger. You see, Papa was the youngest of two boys and Nana was somewhere in the middle of four children. I assumed that they just couldn’t understand the plight of the oldest child and so I vowed to remember how it felt to be the oldest when I had kids. I wasn’t even adversed to giving my oldest child special privileges, just because I understood.

Fast forward to your fifth birthday. This year, you didn’t only turn five, but you became a big brother all over again, all in the span of a few weeks.

A Love Letter to a 5 Year Old | Mommy Miracles

I admit that our family is currently in transition. I’m juggling being your Mom and Gavin’s Mom and Logan’s Mom, and as such, I’m relying on you a whole lot. I’m relying on you to turn on the television and put a show on that both you and Gavin can enjoy. I’m relying on you to entertain yourself a lot. I’m relying on you to not be too loud and to be kind and to not only avoid causing issues, but stop them if they arise.

You’re five. Only just.

A Love Letter to a 5 Year Old | Mommy Miracles

Sometimes, I feel like I’m not being fair to you. I’ve actually felt like this for a while. Maybe even since Gavin was born. You’ll never be a mother, but some day you might be a dad. I’m not sure if dads experience the same guilt that moms do, so maybe you’ll never understand this, but buddy? Sometimes I feel like I can never do the right thing. I have this impossible task of parenting the people who each of my children individually are: raising you to be a good human being while also nurturing you and making you feel loved the whole time. Or, at least, that’s my goal. Maybe I don’t do such a good job. And maybe it all just seems unbelievably unfair to you, even though you’re not quite sure how to vocalize that. I get it. You’re the oldest. I expect more from you, naturally. I expect things from you that any parent would expect from their five year old. I expect you to listen to your Dad and I. I expect you to be responsible for your actions and your reactions. I understand that because you’re five (and only newly five at that), you’re not always going to be good at these things, so I am trying to lead you through so that someday you will be.

But you also have a younger brother who reacts better to quieter redirects. You have a baby brother who requires a majority of my time.

So I worry that recently, while you’re doing your best to be a big helper and trying to be all that I am relying on you to be, our interactions are so often about those times when you, quite naturally, fail.

You’re only five, of course.

A Love Letter to a 5 Year Old | Mommy Miracles

But I want you to know, however you remember these days (and I know you’ll remember some of it), that I notice. I notice the way you lovingly and gently nurture Logan. I notice the ways you are quick to stop what you’re doing when I ask for help. I notice the way you are the best of friends with Gavin (he would have such a hard time with a new baby if it wasn’t for you.) I try to thank you and tell you how proud I am of you. But it is true, even when I don’t remember to say it out loud. You’re an amazing kid, Cameron.

Since those days when I assumed your Nana and Papa could never possibly understand the plight of the oldest, I’ve come to learn that parenting isn’t always easy. While you navigate the world as a five year old for the first time, I’m navigating parenting for the first time with you. For as hard as I know that is for both of us, I hope you still love this journey that we are on together as much as I do.

Four brought so many adventures. I watched you play team sports and learn to skate and start speaking French and spell your name and become a big brother all over again. Five means more of that plus school. I can’t wait to share that with you.

Happy birthday to my boy who loves to move fast and to win and Pokémon and babies.

A Love Letter to a 5 Year Old | Mommy Miracles

I love you always,

Mommy

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An Unlikely Loneliness

An Unlikely Loneliness | Mommy Miracles

I thought it would be the run that night that saved me. It had been a day; a day where I was the one apologizing to my kids. The toll of parenting these three kids, one of whom is a newborn, day and night manifested itself through me in anger and swear words and aggression and exhaustion. One request too many for a cookie after an uneaten meal resulted in a crying kid being put in his room, not because he needed to calm down, but because I did.

It isn’t the three kids that do this to me. It is just being in the trenches of parenting. I remember feeling like this after one and two kids too. I don’t think it is because I am a bad mom. I am just a human mom who is currently at everyone’s beck and call running on too few hours of sleep.

When I admitted to my online friends how much I was struggling that day, so many of them reassured me that it was normal. Three kids even seemed like the magic number to trigger regular trips to a therapist, if the majority of my friends are to be believed. When my husband’s text in the middle of the day asked what I needed, my answer was simple: I needed to get out of the house and be alone for a while.

Please, let me be alone. Away from the constant needing and touching and noise.

So that night I got out, by myself, and went to the gym. I jumped on the treadmill and watched some cable tv (a novelty for me). As I was putting on my boots in the change room after my workout, I saw a familiar face. I smiled and said “hi”. She wasn’t a close friend, but we were connected through Facebook after our children went to the same daycare for a time. She was with another woman who also was a Mom from that same daycare, though I had not met her before. We chatted on the way out of the change room, exchanging niceties and asking about each other’s children. As we drew closer to the doors that would lead us to the parking lot, we slowed to a stop and kept talking. It was easy to talk, especially with the common daycare experience.

I have never found it easy to make good friends. I think I’m friendly, but I never know how to take it to the next level.  I always worry that I am being presumptuous or that people don’t really like me or that I won’t have anything to say. So I wait to be approached and I wait to be invited, which I suppose is one of the reasons why I find it hard to make friends.

For as much as children make me crave adult friendship, they also blessedly make it easier to talk to other moms. It is clear that we have an obvious common interest. This is never more obvious when pregnancy or a newborn is involved. For as much as the asinine pregnancy comments annoy me, it is incredibly sweet that people suddenly become exponentially more friendly when you have a big round tummy. And even us introverted mommies need a friend.

Every day I talk to incredibly amazing women online. They are true friends, but there is no face to face connection. And maybe I am starting to realize that I need that. Maybe, when I so desperately just need to be alone, I really don’t want to be alone at all.

I have been craving adult companionship lately. I don’t want to miss swimming lessons because I’ve come to love my hour-long discussions with the other Mom with a newborn. I look forward to sitting with a couple of other hockey Moms at practice. I’ve even made myself go out on a limb, clicking “yes” to Facebook invitations for a local book club where I don’t know anyone and a hockey mom outing where I’ll barely know anyone. While I have friends who live in this city, they’re pretty much all a half hour drive away, requiring planning and schedule juggling, and it has been nearly impossible to see them during this long winter while my time has been co-opted by a newborn. What I wouldn’t give for a friend or three in my own community – someone to go for a run with, or even a walk around the block. Someone I could run into at the gym or the library. Someone with kids in the same programs as mine. Someone to share a coffee with without needing a day’s notice.

When I came home from the gym that night, I felt refreshed and invigorated. But it wasn’t the run that did it for me. It wasn’t even being alone. It was because I spent time talking with other women.

I guess that even while I’m surrounded by so many people here at home, I might just be lonely.

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