how to throw a kick-ass LEGO birthday party

I may not be much of a baker, but if you want to throw your kid a fun birthday party at home, come to Mama. Having 17 six year olds in one’s apartment is not something I can necessarily recommend, but I have survived it. When Connor turned eight this month, despite my repeated suggestions that we have his party anywhere else but our apartment (a bowling alley? a movie theater?) he was adamant: he wanted a “house party” again this year. “I’ve already told everyone,” he explained calmly. “It’s going to be a LEGO party.”

I had to admit, this seemed like a very good idea. I got a bunch of Legos out while his many guests arrived for his 7th birthday last year, and I had to tear most of the boys away from them 45 minutes later. They hold kids’ attention; they have to sit down to use them; sounded good to me.

The only real requirement was lots more Legos, since most of my boys’ collection has been fashioned into creations like this zoo–

which cover every surface in our home and must not ever, ever, be taken apart. Good news- my centerpieces were already complete. Bad news- I needed to restock. I had great luck on Ebay buying people’s only slightly dusty collections of random Lego parts. Even on Ebay, Legos are not exactly a bargain, but I still spent a lot less buying two thousand or so of them than I would have taking a dozen kids to Chuck E. Cheese.

Connor assured me he and his friends would just build Legos the whole time, but I knew from past experience that Plans C through Z need to be complete, lest you have a pack of idle boys stirring up trouble in a home without a basement rec room or backyard. That’s why I am so grateful to online resources like Under the Sycamore, another mom blog written by a truly spectacular photographer and crafty-minded mother. Seriously, her crafts and her pictures will make you feel quite inadequate, but she’s got lots of great ideas- like using hot glue to make your gingerbread houses stick together. Not that I have a glue gun around.

Anyway, Ashley (author of that blog) threw a Lego party for her six-year-old, and it was from that jaw-droppingly perfect party post that I got the idea to print out Lego coloring sheets from the internet to have the guests color as they arrived.

By the time everyone got there, the party was already 25% over and no one was bleeding from the nose yet. Success!

We then dumped out the Legos and told the kids that they should build something awesome because there would be a contest. They took to this idea most enthusiastically, and came up with the idea that they should work in teams. They chose their teams peacefully and got to work.

They were really sweating the contest part, so I kept dropping hints that everyone would be a winner. The truth was, I had Lego minifigures for everyone, and my categories for judging had not been made up yet.

After half an hour or so of building, each team gave us a complicated description of their space station, or whatever it was they created, and I nodded solemnly, pretending to take copious notes. Then prizes were awarded, for categories such as Best Moving Parts, Best Pirate Ship, and Awesomest. As predicted, everyone was a winner.

From there, we were on to pizza and cake. I made a Lego cake. It was not pretty. Connor loved it anyway.

Just when the kids were starting to surf a sugar high, I pulled out my list of activities cribbed from and announced another contest: who could pick up the most Lego pieces with a pair of chopsticks in 30 seconds? 3 sets of chopsticks, 3 kids played at a time, and by the time they had all had a turn, the dads were ringing the doorbell for pickup. (Yes, all moms dropped off, all dads picked up. Seemed like a good system, even though I had nothing to do with it.)

On the way out, each kid got to take home a sizable chunk of their team creation and some Mad Libs, which have nothing to do with Legos but were a big hit.

And now we still have mountains of Legos to play with.

This was an easy party and the kids really seemed to love it. If you have a Lego lover, I recommend giving it a shot!

Anyone else still braving birthday parties at home?