Posts Tagged ‘birthday parties’

Army Tank Cake

Monday, January 16th, 2017

tank-cake

We created a fabulous tank cake to celebrate modern history. We lit it up with a sparkler in the barrel of the tank. It looked cool all lit up! This army party was perfect for my teen son’s birthday.

How to Make an Army Tank Cake

  1. We baked three rectangular cakes because we wanted the wheels to be the height of Oreo cookies. It depends what recipe you use for your cake, but we used two regular cake mixes for the base of the tank, stacking them after they were cooled off. Then we cut a square out of the third cake and placed it on the top of the tank.
  2. We frosted the whole thing with chocolate frosting. I’m sure we used at least two tubs of frosting from the grocery store. Don’t scrimp on the frosting.
  3. We placed Fruit Roll-ups along the sides of the tank cake, to make the tracks. Then the Oreo cookies were placed on both sides, on the edge. The barrel was a Pirouette. I wanted to be able to stick a sparkler into the barrel, which is why we didn’t use a Twix chocolate bar like we originally brainstormed. If you are not lighting the barrel with a sparkler, you could easily use a Twix chocolate bar.

army-party

How to Create a Centerpiece for an Army Party

I threw down a black bed sheet onto the table and sprinkled some sand in the middle of the table. I placed a LEGO tank in the sand, and I sprinkled toy soldiers around like confetti. For more instructions on how to make this centerpiece, watch my tutorial: LEGO Tanks of World War II.

tank-centerpiece

Grenade Balloons for Decorations

We decorated the room with grenade balloons, which I must say were extremely difficult to blow up. That’s because they were water balloons! If you are celebrating this army party in the summer, you could have outdoor activities involving grenade water balloons.

You can have your guests dress in camouflage if you want to make the experience even more authentic.

grenade-balloons

Tank Piñata

We also found a tank piñata, which was the reason my son chose this theme. (He saw this tank piñata hanging at the party store and wanted it.) Whacking a tank is very satisfying, especially for boys, making this a fun activity to end this army party!

tank-pinata

For more hands-on activities for modern history, check out my modern history unit study!

Old-Fashioned Movie Birthday

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2016

old-fashioned-movie-cake

If you want to throw an old-fashioned movie birthday party, you have come to the right place! I will show you how to make a cake in the shape of an old movie camera. I will also tell you about some activities you can do for a movie party, besides watching a movie!

How to make an old-fashioned movie camera cake:

Let’s start with the cake. You will need to bake three cakes; the first two will be rectangle cakes, and the third will be divided between two circle pans. You will assemble the pieces this way:

movie-camera-cake-2

I trimmed the sides of the first rectangle cake for the center section of the cake. I cut the bottom and side trapezoids from the other rectangle cake. (You can eat the cake leftovers while you work!)

I wanted the circles on the top of the cake to be smaller than a cake pan, so I used a round plastic container as a cookie cutter.

cake-circle

The finished cake is at the top of this post. I found some large letter stickers at a hobby supply store, and I stuck them down on white card stock paper and taped them to toothpicks before stabbing them into the cake.

Decorations for a movie party:

home-movie-screen

You can tape curtains to the sides of your television. We used the curtains from our puppet theater, but you can just hang some cloth and tie the sides. No sewing is required. I found a movie gadget that opens and closes for the scenes being filmed. I bought it at a party supply store. We used it for the skits described in the activity below.

movie-party-decorations

I also found some Hollywood decorations at a party supply store, which I hung from the chandelier, but you could just cut out a silver star out of card stock paper. I had silver star confetti and silver streamers. I placed a black bed sheet on the table, and the silver streamers ran down the sides. A camera was placed in the middle of the table on top of the confetti.

Movie party activities:

dress-up-box

Grab a basket or dress-up box and place different hats, scarves, glasses, and other accessories into it. (We found some stick-on moustaches at a costume shop!) The kids can break into teams and practice a fun skit with the materials in the basket. Then they can present it to the audience. You can film the skits.

outdoor-movie

During the second half of the party, we watched an outdoor movie. If you don’t have a projector, you can watch the movie indoors on your television. We hung a sheet outside and used the projector from my speaking engagements, and we watched “The Princess Bride” outside. We had a great time at our old fashioned movie birthday party!

Airplane Cake

Friday, October 21st, 2016

airplane-cake

I’m going to show you how to make this cool airplane cake. My son recently had an airplane-themed birthday party, and we placed his model airplane in the middle of the table on top of some sand as the centerpiece for the table.

We baked a rectangular cake and up-ended it on a cutting board. I cut out the shape of an airplane. The wings weren’t long enough, so the cake that was cut out of the sides–I used this extra cake to expand the length of the wings. I also placed a triangle on the front of the plane.

airplane-party

I placed foil on an upside-down cookie sheet. Then I frosted the cake with chocolate frosting. If you want to use candy for a propeller, you can add that detail.

airplane-cake-party

We looked for an airplane piñata, but we couldn’t find one. We saw a beach ball piñata, and we covered it with blue and green tissue paper to create a world. The world, after all, is for traveling. Airplanes help people to travel around the world!

world-pinata

We covered the entire piñata with blue tissue paper first and let it dry. Then we cut out continents from green tissue paper. I outlined the continents with black Sharpie marker.

If you want to see our Airplane Unit Study, it is in the large Modern History section of the Unit Study Treasure Vault!

MC Escher Party

Friday, October 7th, 2016

MC-Escher-Party

My 16-year-old son has always loved MC Escher, so this year we decided to throw him an MC Escher party for his birthday. MC Escher is a modern artist who depicts surreal scenes like stairs impossibly going up and down, or water flowing up and down at the same time. He uses a lot of salamanders and fish in his designs, and he makes tesselations (rotating shapes), which you will see below in our art projects.

MC Escher Party Invitation

First we printed this coloring page, and we pasted the colored fish (we used colored pencils) onto light blue card stock paper. We outlined the fish to make them stand out, and we wrote the party information inside the card.

MC-Escher-invitation

MC Escher 3D Shapes

I found {aff} this book with perforated MC Escher 3D shapes. The pages are colorful and thick, and you fold each shape according to the instructions, gluing or taping the shapes together. The patterns on the shapes are from the artist’s famous paintings.

MC-Escher-shapes

We used these 3D shapes to decorate the center of the table. I used little fish crackers as confetti. I also gathered the art supplies that we needed for our tesselations.

MC-Escher-3D-shapes

MC Escher Cake

I had to think long and hard about the cake, because the thought of making stairs go up and down on a cake seemed impossible. I toyed with many other ideas until I settled on this one. I found gummy fish at the store, and at that moment I knew what I wanted to do.

cake-waves

First I baked a rectangular chocolate cake, and I tinted the frosting blue. I used a fork to make waves. Then I placed the fish coming and going, as they would in an MC Escher painting. It came out great!

MC-Escher-cake

MC Escher Art Project

Here is a fun art project you can do with tessellation, where a shape is repeated over and over again, covering the entire paper:

We made modified shapes based on an equilateral triangle. We rotated the shape, using it as a stencil over and over on our paper.

tesselation-drawing

Here are some of the finished tesselations:

MC-Escher-tesselation

drawing-a-tesselation

MC-Escher-tesselations

Didn’t they come out great? My son thoroughly enjoyed his party!