Being Mama · Kids

Building Big Birthday

In March, BB turned 7! Two weekends ago, we had his “pretend birthday”, as BG called it. I thought it would be fun to share some of the fun with you.

It took some time to hone in on a “theme”, but based on his love of building and inventing and “architecturing” and creating, we decided on “Building Big”. The main idea was to provide lots and lots of cardboard to build things. (I joked with friends that we were having a birthday party that involved his favorite thing: making stuff out of garbage. If you have a 6-7-8 year old, maybe you know exactly what I’m talking about.)

cardboard city

We started with invitations. We were both inspired by this photo we found on Pinterest.


So BB drew his own version that we used for the evites.

We planned a few activities and set about collecting supplies. I put a call out on Facebook for cardboard boxes, and friends came through, dropping them off on my porch periodically. And fortunately, Husband’s office was getting updated paint and carpet the week before, so we had plenty of boxes leftover from the temporary move.

colorful straws


binder clips

craft sticks

pom poms

I picked up most of the rest of the supplies from the dollar store.

The night before the party, I panicked and thought we might need one more project, so I pulled out an idea from my old teaching days – building a geodesic dome. Big problem – we didn’t have any newspapers. After discovering “packing paper” on Amazon, I called a local storage/U-haul rental place and learned that they sell it in 10 lb. boxes. I sent my father-in-law (in town visiting and helping Husband build a fence in the back yard) out for two packs the morning of the party. Of course, it turned out we didn’t have enough time for dome building, so we are now the proud owners of 20 FULL pounds of packing paper. (They wouldn’t take it back.) So we will have paper for a variety of art and building projects for years to come.

Here are the projects that DID happen:

Blueprints: We set up a huge piece of wood on top of two saw horses to create a “work table” in the den. When guests arrived, they got to work on “blueprints” for projects they might want to design. This lasted about 3 minutes before everyone moved on to BIGGER and BETTER.

Building Big Party: building with marshmallows

Marshmallow Towers: Toothpicks and marshmallows. They built cool structures for a while, but then mostly they just wanted to eat them. Of course. Because, MARSHMALLOWS!

Building Big Party: Making Robots

Robots: We had 6 inch pieces of 1 x 2 wood for each child (thanks to father-in-law who, after buying ridiculous amounts of packing paper, cut these boards just moments before the party began – you’re a champ, Pops!). Using a table of random supplies, the kids could built their own robots. Or helicopters. Or whatever they imagined.

Building Big Party: Pretty Supplies

I loved how pretty and colorful it all looked.

Building Big Party: Making Robots

The kids were hard at work.

Building Big Party: Cardboard Construction

Meanwhile, out back on the porch (it rained, so we had to find cover!), some of the kids got to work on their cardboard creations, using duct tape, painters tape, and any other supplies they could find. Some built cars, some build hideouts.

Building Big Party: Cardboard Construction

Here, my father-in-law is helping build a horse!

We took a break for pizza, but before I could light the candles on the birthday cake, the kids ran back outside to work on their projects. I loved seeing how engaged and creative they all were.

Building Big Party: Treat Bags

And I loved the treat bags, too. (Inspiration found here.) We collected lots of random supplies at Target and the dollar store.

Building Big Party: Treat Bags

I made a list of all the supplies and tasked BB and BG with dividing up.

Building Big Party: Treat Bags

It looked like random bits of junk, but it turned into a “Creative Building Kit” to continue the fun once the kids got home. (BB realized it contained all the supplies to make a napkin parachute, among other things.)

Building Big Party: Treat Bags

I used an architecture font to create labels for the treat bags.

Building Big Party: Treat Bags

Here’s everything ours contained.

All in all, it was a pretty great party. I left the jars of supplies out all week, and BB and BG continued to make all sorts of things with the leftovers. There’s something really cool about piles of pretty supplies that make ME want to create, and they inspire the kids as well.

However, we have yet to use any of the packing paper. So if you’re moving sometime soon or are just in the mood to build, oh, I don’t know…a geodesic dome out of rolled paper tubes, I’m your gal!

Chocolate Cake Strawberry Frosting

P.S. We DID finally serve cake. Husband baked it – chocolate cake with strawberry frosting, made from fresh strawberries. Oh my gosh, it was delicious. Confession: the leftovers didn’t even make it 24 hours. Yum!




8 thoughts on “Building Big Birthday

    1. He did! And a few friends dropped by after school to play and asked, “Do you still have all that cardboard?” What was fun at 4 is still fun at 7!


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