an afternoon of sports & competition (AKA a very Zoran birthday)

Zoran turned seven this week. 

So of course we did a little bit of celebrating. 

Good old Smokey Bear happened to be working close by on Zoran's birthday, so he agreed to deliver some birthday cupcakes to Zoran's class.

It took us some time to actually find Zoran's class since they were in PE, so I spent a bit of time wandering up and down the halls with Smokey bear carrying piles of cupcakes.

This is a very good way to cause a lot of disruption in Zoran's (or probably any)  elementary school.

The next day we had his real party. He had some friends come over after school Friday. He actually had quite a lot of friends come over after school. I'm pretty sure they just invited people (continuously increasing the size of their moving party) as they walked home.

I did not closely monitor who he could invite nor follow up on who was coming. He does have a lot of friends, and I didn't want to make him choose which he could invite and which not. The result was an awful lot of Friday afternoon chaos. They came through the yard at a dead sprint, split into three groups to enter three different doors, spread throughout the house, and just went crazy. I think the excitement of a party was nearly too much to handle. I literally had to lift kids out of the top of Zoran's closet, scare them out of my craft closet upstairs in my office, and get them out of the laundry room where they'd climbed on top of the folding counter and began making tunnels in my clean laundry. (Yes, I immediately realized it was unwise to let 20+ kids in my house when I had about 20+ loads of clean laundry stacked in my laundry room.) This was all within the first five minutes of their arrival.

Of course it was raining so I couldn't just send them outside.

Instead I gave them a snack and started shuttling them to the community center since the weather sort of dampened our plans.

Zoran wanted to do a sports themed sort of party.

Well, first he wanted  a dance party. Once he started describing it to me sounded pretty much like his party last year. I'm glad he liked that party, but it seemed we should do something a little different, and Zoran's other favorite thing (besides music) is sports.

We decided to do a sort of tournament of all sorts of sports games and skills. This would've worked better if  it hadn't poured all morning, but moving our contests up to the community center worked really well. How lucky that we were just able to use that space.

ready to test out their long jumping skills
Lining up for race heat #1

We did soccer and basketball shooting competitions, a football passing contest, a race, and long jump and push-up competitions. I was sort of amazed how patient the kids were in the parts where they had to wait their turn. They liked cheering for each other and, of course, keeping track of scores to see who was ahead.
Zoran testing his passing accuracy

Lettie takes a turn
Figuring out how to organize the whole thing was a little tricky since I needed to let it be somewhat competitive (since that's the whole part Zoran likes about these games) but also needed to not let the competition get out of hand. A handful of Zoran's closest friends are just as competitive as he is.

Did you know they have football shaped Oreos? What a perfect party snack!

The solution I used for this extreme competitiveness (and some non-competitive or little kids, too) was to have kids win tickets for each event they entered (for chances at overall prizes) rather than just give the prizes to winners straight out. Every kid who tried an event got a ticket for it. Those who won the events got three. It seemed to work pretty well to keep the kids who get excited about winning still feeling like they were competing to win but everyone else still feeling like they were in there close too.  Also, it was pretty cute to watch the tiny kids write their names on their tickets. And it gave them something to do after their turn while waiting for the next event.

Lettie & Zoran: celebratory chest bump
Zoran has wanted shirts for his party since I made Azia's friends some for her party (and he didn't get one). I had this I was going to put on the front (with their names on the back). This probably only seemed cool to me because I'm an English teacher.

 Zoran overruled me.

He wanted shirts with initials on them like Azia had. Of course they were also supposed to be Yankee blue, but there were no $2 shirts on sale that color so we had to go with black. I cut up old jeans & did denim letters which is sort of Yankee blue, so I think it worked out okay--except I had no clear idea which kids were showing up so some kids who I knew were coming didn't get shirts with the right letter because other kids ended up with them and a whole handful of kids didn't have letters on theirs at all. (I bought about 6-7 extra shirts just in case, because I hate not having things for all the kids who show up.) We went with all the same color because I was convincing Zoran that we were all going to be on the same team rather than start grouping kids together against one another. So they kind of looked like a team of ninjas rather than athletes, but oh well.

Iyezk getting a little boost from Uncle Dev. That basketball hoop is pretty high when you're only 4.

I wanted to get a big group picture. When I told them to all get by the wall and look at me this is what they did. I gave up my posed group shot plan very quickly. This seemed about as good as we'd get.

 At least some of the girls are good at this picture taking stuff:

Annalysia, Gracie, Lanie, & Ahni
I thought Zoran's original plan was just to invite a couple of his close guy friends. Then he told me a couple girls he wanted to come, too. When I asked him about it he explained, "Well, just cool girls."

I guess this bunch made the cut.

After the games we went back to the house for cake and ice cream and awards.

I bought a basketball, football, & soccer ball for prizes. We drew names from our bucket of tickets they got for winning the games to see who got the big prizes.

I also made candy bar certificates for all the kids so everyone got an award.

They also all got little sports bags to put their loot in.
Dev and Jenna passing out awards.
Zoran had a sort of muti-sports themed cake to match the rest of the party.

We wound down the party after cake and ice cream and some present opening.

Zoran got a new bike since he's been riding the tiny one he got when he was four. Unfortunately he' still barely big enough for the next size up! I don't think he can actually sit down while riding this.

What Zoran really wants is a dirt bike. Unfortunately he does not currently have parents who can afford to buy him a dirt bike ,so he has started a fund with the money he's already earned and the birthday money he got. Maybe by next year he'll have a dirt bike.

Face painting wasn't on the agenda but I left the paints out in plain sight. So, we did a little of that at the end too. Most of the kids went home with some sort of design by Azia or Jenna.

And what better entertainment for the after-party of his sports party than a pull up competition?

This is one of the only presents Zoran specifically asked for. They did pull ups at school last week. He wasn't quite the best in his class. Unacceptable. So, he plans to practice.

Not sure if he's going to let Bryce keep practicing with him. . . he was the first grade pullup champ Zoran wants to get ahead of! :)

The boys spent the last couple  hours of the night playing with legos.

This is such a nice, quite activity.

Maybe next year we should just have a four-person lego assembling party.

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