Friend Melissa (and Friend Melissa's husband Thomas, who is a hands-on, in-the-trenches dad like my own dear spouse) put on a great Army-themed seven year-old boy party a few weekends ago. The new recruits began their training by running an obstacle course around the backyard. Upon completing the course, they earned their field backpacks, which were stocked with Nerf guns, Velcro-tipped missiles and parachute toys. Challenge #2 was target practice using the Nerf guns, and challenge #3 involved tossing plastic parachutists off of a backyard fort.
The piece de resistance was a Nerf gun variation of "capture the flag."
Great party, and I enjoyed watching my younger child that day. Pretty clearly, he is a second-born with a significantly older brother. I watched several kids skip through the timed obstacle course ahead of him, each of them evidently unconcerned by the clock. And I watched my child watch those other children through narrowed eyes. He memorized the course, made note of his competitors' mistakes and inefficiencies, and, when it was his turn, put his shoulder down and tore through that sucker. Not all stereotypes about birth order are true, but the one about after-borns being more competitive bears out in our house: six year-old Connor definitely would have skipped through the obstacle course. Stopping to pick dandelions along the way.
Six year-old Parker has learned from an older, and now considerably wiser, master. Six year-old Parker refused to remain on the playing field while changing out his Nerf ammo. Like any good soldier, he retreated behind a tree or a bush. And then he went into full-on sniper mode:
Big brother would have been proud. Clearly, little brother listens to him. Although, I think, little brothers are born snipers, anyway.
Here are some Army party ideas courtesy of The Hostess With the Mostess blog:
"Cake Grenades." Me likey. I also like these cupcakes, although I cringe at the thought of what all of that dark green food coloring could do to little faces, hands and - um - digestive tracts.
Same issue with these "Cake Bombs" from the Pizzazzerie blog (are cake bombs substantially different from cake grenades? Discuss). But they are so gosh darned cute that they might be worth the trouble.
Also love the camo popcorn - popcorn, green M&Ms, watermelon Jelly Bellys. Perfection.