September 3, 2012

Space Party

My son Evan's space party for his 8th birthday was a real BLAST!


I would have to say that the inspiration for this party came from two things.  1 - we own a rocket launcher, and 2 - my husband works for a company that designs stuff for NASA.  Access to space stuff was great motivation.  And as I have said before, I can talk up any party idea enough to make my kids fall in love with my ideas :)  They truly never mind, and always love what I come up with.

The majority of the details and activities came from this amazing party on Life Frosting.  So I give her the credit for coming up with all of the great ideas.  She has WONDERFUL parties posted, so check them out sometime.


I saw many cute invitations as I was searching for ideas on all of my favorite party sites, but just wasn't finding the perfect idea.  While browsing space wallpapers I found this photo from NASA and got the idea for these invites with my little astronaut as the star!
Front and Back.
I took a photo of my son's face, and using Photoshop Elements, I combined the two (adjust the layer opacity of the face) and made him a space walker!  For the back I just Photoshopped out the guy and added the text.  The wording came exactly from the invites on Life Frosting, so check out the link above.  The font was called fixedsys.  I tried to find the link for the photo, but can't find the exact one.  It's a pretty common photo though, so if you do a Google search for Manned Maneuvering Unit you should find it pretty easy.


As kids showed up, we started them with Weightless Practice by doing Anti-gravity Arms.  Have you done this before?  I used to do it all the time as a kid.  You hold your arms straight down at your sides and push up as hard as you can.  While doing this, someone is holding your arms down at your sides.  Do this for about a minute, then have them let go and relax your arms. Your arms will float up in the air by themselves!
Top left, clockwise: Anti-gravity Arms, Target Practice, Nuts, bolts and washers for Shuttle Repair Relay.
Then the kids lined up to do target practice with a UFO (Frisbee) and foam Rocket (my son is holding it) through a hula hoop tied to our trampoline.  I got the Frisbee and rocket at Target.

For the Shuttle Repair Relay I explained to the kids how astronauts train for missions under water in their space suits.  We tried to simulate this by putting two washers on a bolt, then screwing on the nut while wearing dish gloves underwater.  I filled two plastic tubs about 6 inches deep and we divided into two teams and raced to see what team could finish first.  I had four sets of nuts, bolts and washers (from Home Depot - the square ones are in the cement section) so that when a boy finished we would take out a completed one and drop in the loose parts for the next boy to start on.  It was pretty tricky, especially for the younger boys, and took quite a while to complete.  I should have had something for the kids waiting, or those finished, to do when it wasn't their turn - like find a "Moon Rock" (we had already done it).
"Moon Rocks" made for Starbursts and tin foil.
Moon Rocks were made ahead of time and hidden around the yard.  Each boy got to find one and then put it in their treat bag.  Yes, they look like baked potatoes, but are a big handful of Starburst candies wrapped in tin foil.
Thanks to ATK Space Systems for loaning the demo video and composite parts.  And free coloring books also!
As I mentioned before, my husband works for a company that makes parts for aerospace companies including NASA.  That company is ATK and they make the booster rockets for the space shuttle, among other things. My husband talked to his boss, and they were able to let him check out a video and some composite parts.  He did a short demo for the kids and we watched some of the video that showed a shuttle launch, jets taking off, etc.  They thought it was pretty cool - and it was!

We actually did the rocket launching at the very end of the party because their parents had to drag them away!  Literally. Each kid got to make and decorate their own rocket.  If I would have had time I would have just made the rockets ahead of time, had them decorate with stickers and markers, then launch.  So the actual construction took a little time, but they still enjoyed it.  But the best part by far is launching their little rockets about a hundred feet into the air.  They had fun trying to catch them too.
Rocket launching!  The highlight of the party!
For plans on how to make a PVC rocket launcher go here for one similar to ours, or just do a Google search.  There are many different ways to make them.  We make our rockets by rolling a piece of cardstock around a piece of PVC pipe that is just bigger than the one we launch off of (3/4 inch on launcher, 1 inch to roll on).  Tape it well with clear packing tape along the entire seam.  Tape over one end of the tube well and make sure it is sealed.  This will be the cone end.  If you don't tape over the end, air will get through and the cone will blow off.

Cut a 3" circle of cardstock for the nose cone (I just trace around the inside of the tape roll).  Cut a line from the edge to the center, then roll it into a cone and tape.  Tape it to the top of the tube.
Rocket fin pattern.  Print on 8 1/2" x 11" cardstock and follow insturctions on where to cut.

Tape three fins to the bottom of the tube like in the photo above, and then decorate and launch!
I hope the directions make sense.  Looking at the photo will probably help the most.


Years ago I helped do a space themed Blue and Gold Banquet for the Cub Scouts in our area.  I ordered this album for it, The Science Fiction Album - City of Prague Philharmonic (4 disks), and have actually used songs from it for other events, like a haunted house, and an alien themed Halloween party.  Songs from 2001: A Space Odyssey, E.T., Close Encounters, and Star Trek made great background music, not to mention Star Wars of course.  I highly recommend this great album.  Actually listening to it as I do this post.


We tried to keep the food pretty simple for picky 8 year-olds.  We had "Flying Saucer" pizzas, "Asteroid" cheese puffs, "Meteorite" grapes, and "Galaxy Juice" drinks.
The space food and display table.
I made the star ice cubes from unsweetened colored Kool-Aid in my star ice cube trays.  I should have sweetened them!!  They were okay with the "Galaxy Juice" sprite from 2-liter bottles poured over, but when they got smaller and people started popping them into their mouths to suck on they got a very tart surprise!  Kool-Aid has a lot of citric acid in it.  They did make the Sprite interesting colors though.  The label is clip-art from Microsoft Publisher.

The backdrop was made from a black plastic tablecloth and wall decals from the local Dollar Tree store.  I also got the space shuttle die cuts there.  Boxes were placed underneath the plastic to add levels and height.

The table was close to the same with the addition of silver star die-cuts from Zurcher's party store.  We had silver cups and plates.


I got the idea for the cake from the Family Fun crater cake.  I didn't want to take time to serve up the cake at the party, so I made patriotic cupcakes to go with it.  I was excited to find the space playset at our local party store Fundaze.  I may have squealed with delight!  It came with the rocket ship, flag and space men.  I think I got the number 8 sparkly candle either there also, or at Zurcher's party store.
Space backdrop and Moon Cake.
The cake was a chocolate cake mix baked in a stainless steel bowl.  I used canned frosting with crushed Oreo cookies mixed in.  The craters were made with gray Necco candy wafers.  I suggest buying several packs to get plenty of gray ones that aren't broken.  The only store I found them at was also Dollar Tree.  Love that place.


The favor bags consisted of Mars Bar, Orbit gum, Milky Way candy bars, Starburst Moon Rocks, Pop Rocks, glow sticks, squirt gun, airplane finger flyer, patriotic bendy straw and Tootsie rolls, parachute dude,  an ATK coloring and activity book, and a completion certificate.  My husband got the activity books from the HR department at work and they were awesome.  They had puzzles, space facts, and full-color paper airplane pages to fold.  He also ordered some space erasers and dehydrated space food through work (the actual stuff they send up with the astronauts) but it didn't make it in time for the party.  We used it at a family party a month later.
The treat bags with Space Shuttle die-cuts for name tags.
Completion certificates we put in the treat bags.
At the time of this party NASA was doing a fun "Send Your Name to Mars" program on their kid's website.  You could register and get your name on a computer microchip that would be sent to Mars on the rover Curiosity.  I entered my son's name and printed him a certificate telling about it.  Well, this rover just landed on Aug. 5, 2012 and my son thinks it is pretty cool that his name is now on Mars!  You can see how it landed here.

Other Parties to Visit:

Need more ideas?  There's a fun Robot Command game at Birthday in a Box, and don't forget to visit Life Frosting where I got my inspiration for this party.

Good luck planning your own space voyage, and don't forget to leave comments or e-mail me with questions.  I LOVE COMMENTS!  If you use any of my ideas, please let me know in a comment.

1 comment:

Snipper said...

What a fantastic party! I want to come, too! I'll bet everyone will remember this for a long time. Thanks for all your hard work and inspiration!