"Mom. I want a lego birthday party. I want my friends to come, sit down and build a big lego project and take the lego project home."
"Huh?" I responded, in the midst of reviewing college essays.
"My friends. My birthday. Legos and lots of them."
I looked up and said, "Okay. That's fine. But if that is the birthday you're going to have, you can only invite 5 kids."
Son looked dismayed and said, "WHY?"
"Bigger lego kits cost more money - so if that is what you want, you can't have as many boys. Think about it." Secretly I actually hoped that he'd go this route because that would just mean a lot less chaos for me.
"Okay. Five boys. I can decide which five boys?"
And so it was. I figured five boys, six bigger lego sets (the ones that cost $9-$10), some simple treats, and bam - I'd have a party with minimal fuss, which was what I really wanted. I managed to find a great deal on the size lego set I wanted (buy one, get one 50% off) and bought a couple of varieties. The lego sets would be their project during the party and their party favor. Simple streamlined and exactly what the Son ordered.
However, a week before the party, Son entered the party space and casually remarked, "The girls always get some nice decorations. How come I don't have any?"
"Uh...you need decorations too?"
"Yes. I just want something that goes from here to there," and he pointed to wall where he wanted his decorations. My heart sank. What was I going to do?
Turns out - I was going to make legos. I had cardstock, in all the appropriate colors and the only thing I needed to buy were foam squares to help raise the circles off the cardstock. And that's all I did.
Each child followed the instruction booklet inside their lego kit and built their own. I was lucky and I recruited my nephew, two of my students, and Daughters (all great lego builders) to all be assistants for my young lego builders. My nephew in particular, who is a young lego master, was extremely helpful as he was able to troubleshoot when a couple of the builders ran into trouble. If you're going to go this route, I definitely think having people who are experienced with legos helping out. (I'm good at building too, but I didn't want all the stress. :) )
I used half pan sheets (I borrowed some from my friend) to keep the legos from individual kits in one place and to help organize the children. It's definitely a worthwhile idea.
I purchased sets similar to this one at a brick and mortar store. I bought a selection of sets (more than I needed) - three different kinds all similarly priced, so that kids could choose the one they wanted and I simply returned all the extras. After the kids choose, hide the rest so no one is tempted to change their mind.
The half sheet pans which are super nice to use.
I did not plan to do decorations, because I figured it wouldn't be all that important to Son. I thought wrong. At the last minute, I was inspired by a picture I saw which created lego shapes with paper, and decided to do the same. I had to come up with my own dimensions however, and these are the ones I came up with using 8.5x11in cardstock.
Square (2 x 2 legos) - 4.5 x 4.5 inches
Rectangle (3 x 2 legos) - 6.5 x 4.5 inches
Mini lego (1 x 2 legos) - 2.25 x 4.5 inches
Large rectangle (2 x 4 legos) - 8.75 x 4.5 inches
I basically cut my 8.5x11 sheets of paper, down the length, into a 4.5 inch strip and a 4 inch strip. The 4.5 inch strip I cut into the various sizes for the blocks, and the 4 inch side, I used to cut the 2 inch circles. If you have a 1.5 inch or a smaller punch, by all means just use it. (I go for the modern representation, and my legos are NOT to scale.)
2 inch circle punch which I just used it to punch away.
These foam stickers allow you to create some height from the circles and lift the circles off the cardstock, giving the illusion of legos.
I made a bunch of different blocks in a variety of colors, and made a garland with some, a mobile with some others, and then a randomly hung some strings of them....
Since Son spends all the birthday parties he goes to surrounded by food he cannot touch, I wanted to have a birthday party for him FULL of food he could eat. In years past, I always made a cupcake that he could have in conjunction with a dairy and egg rich cupcake for the guests, but this year, I decided that he should have a birthday with his friends only full of food that he enjoys. I kept it simple, as it was only going to be a snack and not a full blown meal and he told me what he really wanted to have.
Dairy and Egg Free Banana Muffins
Mango Rice Crispy Pops (I just substituted freeze dried mango for the strawberry)
Hummus, pita chips, and carrot sticks
Water, in mini water bottles
Son loved his birthday, and at the end of the day, gave me a huge hug and said thank you. He also sat in the middle of the living room for about 4 hours straight opening various lego birthday presents and didn't budge from his spot building, rebuilding and playing with all of his toys. It was a lovely, quiet (SOOOO QUIET) birthday party, it's one I'd like to recreate for each Daughter.