But I've been feeling more burn out the last few years- my daughter so far, has wanted and had sort of lackluster princess and the pea party (3 year olds who arrived as beggars, and left as princesses complete with the "pea" under the mattress test), last year was a ballerina party, they all left with homemade tutus. This year I wanted her party to be as fun as she is- She asked for a spy party...
So here is what we did, because with back to school it's always a tight budget time of year-
For the loot bags, I bought 4 packs of 2 buttons that could be decorated-(target when I was cross border shopping, teacher's back to school section) and printed out their secret agent code names on them. We got 3 packs of mini notebooks from the dollar store,they were tiny hardcovers that looked spy-like. I printed out dossier files on each of the kids, photo, code name, stats, etc and glued it into the first several pages of the books so they'd have files on each of their co-spies. I also jumbled up their names and made a name scramble for them to sort out, and glued it in after the agent files so they could figure it out easily since they're not all solid readers yet.
I grabbed tiny telescopes a the dollar store 3 in a pack for $1. Magnifying glasses from the dollar store (lucked out there, they were decent ones). We got mini periscope/spy scopes at a local toy store, they were 1.25 each, but work pretty well so it was worth it. We also included mini flip notebooks, a pen, disguise glasses with fake nose/mustache on them, fake beads for dressing up, I printed out some free online spy word search printables, and then they had loot bag candies from the pinata as well.
It was supposed to be an outdoor party. We were going to do water balloon toss (the balloons look like bombs). Water balloon passing until the balloon popped, was the plan. Obstacle course, face painting for disguise training, and then follow clues to locate the pinata and smash it up.
On the driest summer I can remember... it began to pour rain at midnight the night before party. We had to change the games pretty quickly.
We ended up doing relay races with the bombs and claw gripper hands, one girl would run with the balloon bomb and pass it to another girl who would have to run back using her claw hand and drop it into a basket. They enjoyed that one a lot. We then modified it and they had to line up in two teams and run with the balloon between their knees and drop it into the basket. Whichever team got their bombs over the fastest, won.
They sat in a circle after that and we played bomb passing. An essential skill for agents. When the music stopped the one with the bomb was "blown up" and out.
For round two we added a balloon, and round three, another. 3 balloons, 8 kids, it was loud and crazy, they had trouble hearing the music stopping and starting over their laughter-
We also played what time is it Mr spy, where they had to creep up and steal bombs from the head spy and get back to the starting line, and statue freeze where one person counted then they all froze in a position and couldn't move while the person who was "it " was looking at them.
They liked that one too, but more space to play (vs my tiny living room)would have been good. We also blindfolded them and they had to put the secret documents into the briefcase (pin the tail on the donkey basically).
For our pinata, since outdoors was still not an option, I used spy decoder markers to write clues to where I hid the pinata, like "it's not in a room with a fridge", and then I folded them up and inserted them into bomb balloons and blew them up. (one written clue per kid). We also took a photo of the closet where we hid the pinata, and cut it into a simple puzzle and did the same thing, put it inside bomb-balloons and blew them up.
Then the kids were all given one of each. first the decoder clue ones. They had to use the special pens to reveal their message. Luckily from the clues alone, none of them knew the location. They "detonated" their other bombs and worked together as a team, taping together puzzle pieces and then they went off in search of the door they revealed.
We couldn't let them swing a bat in here, so they got to tear at the pinata with their hands, for 5 seconds each. less time might have been better, because with 8 of them, the last kid almost didn't get a turn.
The candy bags popped out and there was much rejoicing!
Then we did presents and had some cake. It was da bomb! Literally. It was shaped as much like a bomb as I could. My daughter had wanted fondant spies creeping up the sides, so I did one climbing the side to put out the "fuse", one hanging on the number 6, one running from a bomb ...some spy foot prints and a magnifying glass, the word "kaboom" on it. And made it rainbow layered inside.
The kids seemed to think it was cool, and my daughter was happy. Overall they seemed to enjoy the party. There was a ton of laughter, and no crying, so I'm going to say it was a success, and it really didn't cost that much. I think I spent under 60$ including food.
We printed little agency thank you notes (who even knew there was an agent font in word?) and stapled them to their bags.