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Posted by Maxine Cleminson - - 17 comments

My twin sons turned 4 last week, and I decided to throw them a party that would appeal to them, their friends, and their big brother too! I settled on a Knights & Princesses theme as both the Shouty One & the Chubby Cheeks one are very keen on playing castles & knights. I also thought this theme lent itself to a 'joint' party for twins! I simply asked the boys to choose a colour for their arms... so the Shouty One became the Red Knight & his brother the Blue Knight! Furthermore, the theme could include other medieval characters for those children who'd prefer to be a Princess or Wizard!

Setting the scene
We are very fortunate to have a large backyard with room for the kids to play, so despite the high heat & humidity here in Texas, I thought it would be fun to create a medieval castle and jousting pavilion for the kids to party in!  This sounds far harder than it really is!  I simply recycled cardboard boxes (I was also generously given a large sheet of cardboard by the warehouse people at a local store... it's worth asking) and cut them into the shape of castle walls with battlements.  I did contemplate painting the cardboard to resemble stone walls, but struck gold with this fab roll of wall decor used to create a castle effect for parties indoors.  It is 30' long and 4' wide and was ample to cover the castle I made.  I simply stuck it on the cardboard before cutting out my panels.  I created the effect of windows by sticking on short strips of black duct tape.  A few medieval shields cut-outs stuck on and some pennant flags and the castle was complete.  To assemble in the garden, I used garden canes taped onto the panels and pushed into the lawn for stability.

To create a medieval jousting pavilion, or tent, I simply added some decorations to an existing garden canopy/gazebo that we have.  I used sticky tape to attach alternating sheets of red & blue paper (just normal letter sized craft paper) to the inside edge of the canopy... this resembled the pelmets on a knight's pavilion tent at a medieval joust.  I then taped lengths of coordinating ribbon to each of the corners.

I put the kids' party table under this pavilion and simply used paper tablecloths to cover it.

Party food
The party was a mid-afternoon occasion and so I provided a light buffet of finger food that would appeal to kids & adults alike.  I kept to known crowd-pleasers rather than trying to recreate a medieval feast (no roasted peacock washed down with mead!)... so provided finger sandwiches, homemade scotch eggs (a favourite with the grown ups), cocktail sausages, fruit & veggies, chips & dips & goldfish crackers.  However, I was delighted to stumble across these delicious Pepperidge Farm Chessman shortbread cookies in my local store, which coordinated perfectly with the theme!

I also created medieval looking serving platters from over-sized, rectangular 'gold' paper plates, adorned with adhesive-backed craft gems.  These were only on the serving trays (not the kids' plates... for which I used plain gold paper plates) and I ensured that caution was exercised when allowing the children to help themselves to food... the jumbo gems, while fairly obvious, could potentially pose a choking hazard with smaller children.

I created a dressing up station for the children to select their chosen themed costume at the start of the party.
I spotted a great tutorial for making simple knights' tabbards from felt on pinterest and made up a selection of red & blue tabbards for the kids to choose from.  I also made some very simple princess capes, also from felt, that could be selected as an alternative.  I bought some brilliant party hats by Meri Meri to finish off the outfits.  These are designed as party hats, rather than costume hats, so they are quite small, but I thought they looked adorable set at a jaunty angle!

To complete their outfits, the children could choose to decorate a knights' shield or princess wand.  I bought craft kits for this activity and they were a huge success.

No party is complete without some traditional party games... so we had two!  A round of the British favourite, pass-the-parcel, and a more locally-inspired pinata!  I bought a dragon shaped pinata that I then slightly adapted from the traditional design (where you hit it with a stick until it bursts... not such a great prospect with a lot of 3 and 4 year olds) into a pull string one.  See this tutorial here.  I filled the pinata with candy (obviously!) but also with some themed mini toys... plastic rings and little knights action figures.

The favourite party game (by far) was throwing wet sponges at the 'naughty' Daddies in the stocks!  I used some of the cardboard off-cuts from my castle to create a set of medieval stocks that I taped onto a hanging basket stand in our garden.  I simply painted wood-grain effect with brown poster paint, added a sign saying "Ye Olde Stocks", glued on some aluminum foil studs and cut out holes for head & hands. The kids LOVED throwing wet sponges at the Dads!  Lots of fun!

The Cake, treats & goody bags!

I have made forays into the world of cake pops before and considered making some for the party.  However, I was totally inspired when I spotted some JUMBO marshmallows in the supermarket... I've blogged before about "cheats'" cake pops that don't actually use cake at all!  They were the perfect shape for some Knight's Helmet pops... and because the marshmallow is lighter and fluffier than cake the larger size still worked!  I simply pushed the marshmallow onto the lollipop stick with a small amount of melted candy to secure (as you would when making cake pops).  Then I dipped them into some melted gray candy (I achieved this by mixing white and black Wilton Candy Melts), and while still wet I attached an oval shaped cut out of gray-tinted fondant icing.  I used silver dragees to be the bolts on either side of the 'visor' (attached with a tiny amount of melted candy) and then used a black candy writer pen to draw vertical lines on the visor for the grille.  The final touch was to attach a real craft feather (obviously not to be eaten) to the top, again while the candy was still wet.  Once dry, I printed and cut out some paper shields, used a hole punch to make small holes top & bottom and then slid the shield onto the lollipop stick.  A final dusting with some silver Wilton's Color Dust and they looked fabulous!  Furthermore, they tasted absolutely divine as you would expect with marshmallows & chocolate... a match made in heaven!

For the boys' cakes, I went down the tried and tested route I have used (and blogged about) before.  I made a cake and covered it in plain white fondant icing before 'painting' it with edible colors.  I made two castles for the boys to stay with the Knights theme.  I simply baked a square cake (using my very reliable and delicious chocolate vegan cake recipe), cut the corners off slightly and then covered it in fondant.  For the towers, I used empty toilet paper rolls, covered in foil and then a thin layer of fondant icing.  I attached these to the cake by slightly wetting the fondant and pressing them against the cake.  Once set, I painted the cake. For more details on using this technique click here.  Once the 'paint' was dry, I created a moat & drawbridge  on the cake board by sprinkling colored sugar (just add a few drops of food coloring to sugar, stir and allow to dry) onto some melted chocolate that I had thinly brushed onto the board.  I added a row of chocolate chips for the river bank, and a small square of fondant (painted brown) for the drawbridge.  The finishing touch for the castle turrets was to stick on some ice cream waffle cones (with a little black frosting).  The candles were attached to the cones with toothpicks and some melted chocolate.

As you can see below, the boys were delighted with their cakes!!

Finally, for goody bags that the children could take home along with their costumes and pinata spoils, I filled some very cute plastic medieval goblets with a few more treats.  The cups were quite small, but I managed to fit in a couple of themed finger puppets, a packet of gummy bears and a few lollipops.  A clear cello treat bag, tied with some gift ribbon at the top finished them off!

I hope you've found some inspiration & thanks for taking the time to visit my blog!

For the Kids Friday

17 Responses so far.

  1. Mary Ryan says:

    This.is.fabulous! What a wonderful party. I can't believe the backyard castle. I made a cardboard ship today (talk like a pirate day is Wednesday) and was feeling pretty clever with my paper towel roll mast, but wow! Great job!

  2. Mama Max says:

    Hey Mary! Only just seen your lovely comment so I apologise for not replying until now! Thanks so much... I really appreciate it when folks take the time to comment!

  3. icakepops says:

    What a great inspiration for our Brave-themed party. Wonderful ideas!

  4. My son is turning 4 and is having a knight and princess party. I'm trying to keep things as simple as I can and I love the knight tunics! I was just wondering how you made the little princess capes?

  5. Mama Max says:

    Hey lizziewizzie!!! They were VERY simple.... A rectangle of pink felt (approx shoulder to floor height by about 36"), fold down a hem of 2" on one of the long sides and machine or hand sew leaving both ends open and finally thread a length of ribbon through the hem you've created and gather the fabric to create neckline. You can stick on embellishments like sequins or felt flowers using hot glue gun or sew them on or you even add a lace trim around the edges! The beauty of felt is that it doesn't need edging as it doesn't fray!!!
    Hope this helps and thanks for visiting my blog!!!

  6. Thank you so much! I just know that the tunics and princess capes will be a huge hit :) The party isn't until next month, but I will be sure to let you know how it turns out!


  7. Cindy says:

    This is such a Great Idea ! My granson loves Mike the Knight. We were thinking of using that theme for his 2nd birthday party, so this will certainly help with everything ... Thanks so much for posting this !!!

  8. Anonymous says:

    I have looked at a lot of sites for ideas for my princess and knight party and this is the BEST by far. Very comprehensive and great pictures.

  9. Congratulations, it is wonderful!

  10. Kelly C says:

    How CUTE! We are going to try and duplicate the castle for a "Carnival" for our homeschool group! Can you tell me how many boxes you used and how much wall paper you used? This will be a festive addition to our booth! I will order through your link so you get credit! ;) (also how many garden canes?) Thank you!!

  11. Mama Max says:

    Hi Kelly, Thanks for the lovely feedback! I used one huge sheet of cardboard that I scavenged from a local craft store... they use them as pallet dividers on their trucks. It was approximately 10' square and I cut it into 4 strips that were 2.5' high and 10' long. For the tower, I used a tall cardboard box that was designed as a clothes transporter (a friend had just moved house). To stake it out I used 3-4 canes per strip, with a few extra for the tower! Hope this helps!

  12. Anonymous says:

    LOVE the idea of the stocks. Think the daddies will love it as much as the kids! Alex

  13. For the birthday girl, create a "princess throne", a chair decorated with flowers, extra balloons, a large bow and any sparkly, princess details you find.You can also visit: http://tiny.cc/princesses-party-FL

  14. Great idea with the candles on the spirals !!! i'll use . Thanks

  15. Sherezada says:

    This is the coolest birthday party idea ever! I love everything--the costumes, the decorations, the activities! I can only hope my little man will want a party like this when he's older (he's only 2 now). Thanks for sharing your wonderful ideas!

  16. Thank you for some great ideas! I wanted to de-girlify my daughter's princess party, to make it a great party for both boys & girls.

  17. Christina says:

    Where did you find the the shields of armor craft kits? Iam searching with no luck.. Thanks!!

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Mama Max

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