Please allow me to veer off course for a post to share Maxine’s Minecraft themed 7th birthday party. There was lots of running, and watermelon too – so you might be able to say it had a healthy living theme. Sort of. Except for the blue jello. Blue jello that was probably not made from Organic, Locally Grown Smurfs. I’m trying not to think about it.
Do your kids play Minecraft? Mine sure do. I might even call them “Minecraft Addicts”. This is why it came as little surprise when Maxine requested a Minecraft birthday party this year.
(If you’ve got Minecraft Addicts living under your roof, take comfort in the fact that Tomorrow’s Enterpreuners are Playing Minecraft Today and that Minecraft is More Than Just Another Video Game.)
Here’s the thing though: I don’t play Minecraft. I hear a lot about it, but putting together a Minecraft birthday party is not exactly simple if you don’t know a Creeper from an Enderman or what you use to kill either of those creatures.
Our Minecraft party brainstorming began with a request from the girls that Zak dress up as an Enderman and “like, you know, chase everyone around and stuff”.
This is an Enderman:
When Zak (who also plays Minecraft) agreed to be an Enderman, I started to think about what it would take to put a Minecraft party together, even though I’m a Minecraft Noob.
With that introduction, here’s how Maxine’s 7th birthday party went down, in chronological order. (i.e., very different from the order that I figured everything out!)
Since we have a small city backyard and our party was hinging on Zak chasing kids around in a homemade Enderman costume, we decided we’d host her party at a local park with lots of room to run. We got there early to set up, which included moving some picnic tables together near the playground so the kids would have a place to play while we waited for everyone to arrive.
As our little Minecrafters made their way over to our picnic tables, their first task was to make their goody bags. They had to cut out and tape a Minecraft chest (used for storing items in the game, which appropriately, would be used for storing things they got during the party) and could then write on or decorate their bag as they liked.
I also had a some paper cutouts for them – Creepers, Chests and Steve. For those with Minecraft accounts, you can print paper cutouts of their own “skins” (that they have likely designed themselves) to make 3D paper versions of their personal Minecraft characters.
My girls were delighted with this when I originally showed them, but the cutting is pretty detailed and intricate.
There was a slight breeze that day that made this activity a little challenging, especially for some of the littler kids. They lost interest in this before they were done, so we wrapped up this activity and told them they could take them home to finish them later.
With goody bags ready, we moved onto our next task: crafting pickaxes.
While planning this party I came to learn that before you can “craft your pickaxe”, you need a “crafting table”. (I quizzed all the kids as we went along… “what do you need before you can craft a pickaxe?” Group answer: “A crafting table!”)
And so they were instructed to run to
a picnic table the crafting table across the park where we would craft our pickaxes.
When we got to the crafting table I asked “what do you need to make a pickaxe?” (Answer: “Sticks!”)
I threw craft sticks (think wide popsicle sticks/tongue depressors) into the grass and told them to pick up 4 sticks each.
At the Birthday Girl’s request, we made “gold pickaxes” and used yellow duct tape to adorn our pickaxes with gold. I handed out strips of yellow duct tape as we went, the big kids helped the little kids and the whole crafting process probably took 15 minutes or so. I had them tape toothpicks (with a little speech about being careful to not hurt themselves or each other!) to one end of their pickaxes because they would be using them to pop balloons later.
A real Gold Pickaxe thing:
(the toothpicks were later removed for safety reasons, but it was taped on and hung off the right side by about an inch)
Pickaxes ready, it’s time to mine!
(Be sure to notice the sad-faced birthday girl on the far right who was bummed that her pickaxe wasn’t as perfect as she wanted it to be.)
Once their pickaxes were ready, we left our crafting table to head back to the party picnic tables for some mining.
(Even this guy got in on the fun.)
As a part of the pre-party set up, we blew up one balloon for each kid (8 total) and tucked 3 slips of paper into each balloon with different kinds of Minecraft ore.
We found these colored foil wrapped chocolate coins at Party City and I put together a simple Word document with the names of each ore that Maxine assigned to each color. (24 coins total / 8 kids = 3 coins each)
The kids lined up and were instructed to pop one balloon with their pickaxe and find the slips of paper from the balloon and then come to me to collect their ore.
The balloons were scattered among a small area, they were all delighted to chase balloons, pop them and then see what they got. (They traded coins/ore later too, which is something they can do in the game so that worked out well!)
The next thing they had to do was kill a chicken, pig or cow – animals you must kill in the game for food. We told them before we could have a snack, they had to hunt!
Once you’ve killed a chicken, pig or cow, you will be rewarded with Minecraft snacks!
That’s a pig, in case you were wondering – and be sure to notice my fancy Minecraft diamond earrings.
(Also let it be known that I was told by multiple children that you use a sword to kill Minecraft animals, not a pickaxe. Alright gang, let’s just roll with it, OK?)
Our party was in the afternoon after lunch, so we served Minecraft themed snacks.
Red licorice for “TNT”, pretzels for “sticks”, melon for “melon”. (Clever!)
Blue jello for water blocks and Peanut Butter with honey (pre-mixed at home) to spread on rice cakes.
Peanut butter and honey on rice cakes has nothing to do with Minecraft, but at least it’s a little protein.
(We also served colby jack cheese cut into cubes that the kids decided to call “gold”.)
And then. (And then!) And then it was time for The Enderman.
With everyone sufficiently sugared up, it was time to run.
Turns out that Minecrafters chase the Enderman (instead of the other way around) to kill him for Ender Pearls. Maxine requested that Zak “teleport” around the park.
Translation: Zak spent 20 minutes running sprint intervals between trees, dropping Ender Pearls (bouncy balls) every time the kids tagged him.
For me, the best part was the pedestrians on the paths watching Zak run through the park in long underwear, black work shoes and a box covered with black construction paper on his head all while being chased by screaming kids.
We divided the kids into groups (little kids then big kids) so they could take turns chasing the Enderman and collecting Ender Pearls to put in their chests.
After our Enderman game we adjourned to a blanket for presents,
and then birthday treats!
“What the hell is this thing?” you’re surely wondering? Me too.
A Minecraft Desert temple!
Rice crispy treats were the perfect solution for a party in the park because I didn’t need to be overly concerned with how I would transport them or needing to keep them cold.
(P.S., these were very yummy and I love that you don’t need marshmallows. I will be making these again for sure!)
The Desert Temple was Zak’s idea and design.
The small blue square on the inside of the desert temple is very significant… don’t ask me, I just make the treats.
It wasn’t the most perfect or prettiest birthday dessert ever, but the kids knew exactly what it was and got a big kick out of it – so I’m calling it a success!
With their blood sugar surely spiking, we let them loose to spend the last 40 minutes or so playing on the playground with their golden pickaxes (toothpicks removed!) and burning off blue jello and rice crispy treats.
The party was three hours long and I was surprised at how quickly the time went. I don’t really love planning parties and I am NOT crafty, but you do what you gotta do for your kids and I was happy with the way it all came together. Knowing very little about Minecraft left me feeling very overwhelmed at first, but I managed to chip away at it piece by piece. (Block by block!) Zak was a big help too with the planning and preparation, and I’m very grateful he was willing to run around the park in his underwear because that definitely made for a lot of laughs and entertainment. I put this post together to share our ideas if you might one day find yourself scrambling to plan a Minecraft party of your own!
Thanks to the world wide web and my children (and husband) for answering all my Minecraft questions, we were able to put this together with just a couple days of true planning. We started brainstorming a few days out, spent one afternoon searching the web for ideas and making lists. Two trips to the craft store, one grocery shopping trip and one visit to the party store later, we were ready to go for an afternoon of fun with a few of our Minecraft loving friends. There are not a lot (if any) Minecraft items in stores (yet! but I’m sure it’s coming) so be prepared to search through Google Images and to use a bunch of colored ink from your printer too.
More Resources: (and where I found a lot of ideas and inspiration with what we put together)