Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Elena's 8th Birthday--The Octothon!

Elena chose the theme "sports" as her birthday party this year.  I morphed this into "games"--so we played 8 silly games, "minute-to-win-it" style.  We decided to invite her entire 2nd grade class, as well as a few neighbors.  I expected a packed house.

I am waiting to post pictures until/if I have permission from parents, so a description will have to do for now.

E's party guests arrived, and she asked them to pick an egg from the bowl.  Inside was the color pink, purple, or orange (Elena's favorite colors)--corresponding to the Team color.  Each kid wore a hat for their color team.  Each team would earn points for each game.  The winning team got a special choice at the end of the party.

1--Dizzy Izzy
The weather wasn't cooperating, but I decided to try anyway.  This game is a relay race, where each person runs to a bat, then spins around it 8 times with one end of the bat on the ground and their forehead on the other end of the bat.  Then they run back (not necessarily in a straight line) to tag their teammate to take their turn.  First team finished wins.  For this game, E had to run around the bat instead of putting her forehead on it.  No biggie.

2--Kid Outburst
I thought of 10 items in a category, and each team had one minute to try to guess all ten items.  Categories were things like "pizza toppings", "types of soda", "vehicles", stuff like that.

3.  Rump Shaker
I made LOTS of boxes out of cardboard, and used duct tape to secure the box on each kids' backside.  Inside each box were 4 ping pong balls, labeled with the corresponding team color.  The kids had one minute to try to dance/shake/jump their balls out of the box.  Each team got one point for each ball that ended up on the floor.

4.  Nuts and Bolts
I had three trays with lots of nuts and bolts of different sizes (they all had a match).  The teams had one minute to match them all.

5.  Can Sorting
I put increasing amounts of money (coins) in 8 different (empty) soda cans.  Each team had to sort them  by value according to weight.  This was probably their least favorite game--it was pretty difficult.

6.  Volcano
Each kid got a roll of mentos.  Working as a team, they had to drop a mento into an open bottle of diet coke sitting on the ground.  Kids had to stand up, and drop the mento from head-level.  As time went on, they could get progressively closer to the bottle, but could also end up with a facefull of diet coke.

7.  Grapevine
I had strung grapes on one end of a thin string, and attached them to a long PVC pipe using duct tape.  With the team lined up in a row, I positioned the string of for each grape so that it could reach the mouth of each kid while they were standing in place.  Each kid had to blow their grape (pendulum-style) and then catch it in their mouths.

8.  Spaghetti relay
Each kid got a piece of spaghetti.  They had to walk to a table, maneuver a piece of rigatoni onto their spaghetti, and walk back to tag their teammate--all without using their hands.  This proved pretty difficult for everyone, but there were lots of laughs and helping by the adults at the table.

The winner of the Octothon was Elena's team (Team Orange) by ONE POINT!  The winning team's reward was they got to pick one of the day's games for the grown-ups at the party to play.  Of course they picked Rump Shaker, so all us adults had to do it!

Thanks to all the kids--great sports, all of them--and especially to both sets of E's grandparents who helped with the party.  And a big thank-you to all the grown-ups who played the final game!

My dearest Elena,

I can't believe you are eight years old now!  You are a wonderful big sister, a good student at school, and a great friend.  Even when times are challenging, you have the maturity to think things through, talk out problems, and try a fresh approach.  You are diligent with your therapies and have more independence than ever.  We love your funny stories and silly ideas.  Vivian loves you to pieces.  You are the hardest working kid I know.
You've had a few Disability Awakenings this past year, which I'm sure can be an unhappy reality check.  Even so, you have a strong sense of self, something of which your Daddy and I are really proud.  You are an amazing, intelligent, thoughtful, and inspiring girl.  We love you always, in all ways.  I'm so thankful I get to be your mom.

Happiest of birthdays to you!


ChinaSuse said...

I volunteer at a camp for kids with brain injuries and I think they would love some of these games. So creative. Do you mind if I use the ideas and if you found them somewhere would you mind sharing? Thanks!

Margot said...


Nice game choices! Some of those games sound really challenging!! Glad Elena wants to challenge herself and had fun. The note was touching. Elena is a great girl.