Those in the know know that my eldest boy loves Pokémon. While it certainly isn’t my preference that he constantly wants to watch the show on Netflix or that he talks incessantly about different Pokémon, their abilities, and recent battles, I can’t help but enjoy watching him embrace this current passion.
When Cameron’s fifth birthday rolled around earlier this month, he insisted on having a “Pokémon Party”. That left me trying to figure out how to get the house ready, plan a themed party, and host a dozen 4-6 year-olds along with caring for the needs of my newborn. In short, I had so many other things to do, I needed to figure out how to plan an easy yet awesome Pokémon party.
There are some amazing ideas for hosting a Pokémon birthday party online. I wish I had a chance to do more, but I avoided anything that took too much prep. I also had to make sure that everything was aimed towards preschoolers and that everything could be done indoors, since we’ve been buried in snow all month.
The coolest way to host a theme party is to create a story arc from the beginning to the end of the party. This is the best way to make the party seem way more awesome than it actually might be. The story for a Pokémon Party is clear:
- Capture your Pokémon
- Collect Badges
- Train Your Pokémon
- Rest at the Pokémon Centre
- Travel Across The Land
Here’s how the story plays out at the birthday party:
Capture Your Pokémon
- Styrofoam balls
- Markers or paint, depending on the time you have available and the age of the children. (Also, you can consider pre-painting the balls)
- Googley eyes
- Pipe cleaners
- Any other decorative item that could stick into the styrofoam or decorate it, like popsicle sticks or gems.
As soon as kids arrived at the party, they were encouraged to be creative and make their own Pokémon. They all got a styrofoam ball and created their Pokémon by colouring it, drawing faces, sticking feathers and pipe cleaners into it. Some kids spent time colouring the whole ball one or two colours (I apologize to their parents for how messy their hands were when they went home. Warning: Markers on styrofoam smudge.) Some didn’t use markers at all, but used the eyes, feathers, and pipe cleaners to make their Pokémon unique.
Level Up: While we didn’t do this, you can make this activity even cooler by encouraging kids to name their Pokémon. Then, snap a picture and send a parent to the computer to make Pokémon cards for each newly created Pokémon. Search “Pokemon card generator” on Google to make this process easy.
Before the party, I found images of Pokémon badges. I replicated the image multiple times and printed it. Then, I glued the paper full of badges onto poster board and cut them out. These would be the Pokémon badges that the kids would collect throughout the rest of the party.
I gave each kid a party cup with their name written on it. The great thing about this was that the homemade Pokémon generally fit in the opening of the cup as well. This would be both their Pokémon’s home and their badge container.
Level Up: Learn what each of the badges mean and create games that reflect each badge. This may be more appropriate for older kids or a longer party.
Train Your Pokémon
Pokémon need to train in order to be ready for battle and to evolve (or so I gather). This part of the party involves a game that uses those cute little Pokémon the kids just made. Because I’m all about easy, I grabbed three cardboard boxes and set them up so that each one was a little further away from the kids. The kids stood in a designated spot and tried to throw their Pokémon in each box. They first tried to get it in the closest box. If they landed it, they got one badge. Then, they tried to toss their Pokémon into the second box. If landed, they gained two badges. Finally they threw for a third time and tried to get their Pokémon in the box that was furthest away. If they made that throw, they got three badges. Kids who landed all three boxes finished the game with a total of six badges.
Level Up: Pick your kid’s favourite Pokémon and decorate each box with an image of the three evolution stages of the character. The first box can have the un-evolved Pokémon, box two can have the intermediate evolution and the third box can picture the fully evolved Pokémon.
Now is the time to get creative with party games. You can even set aside those little Poké-guys, but be sure to pick games that let the children continue to collect badges. Consider age and time limits when picking what game(s) to play. I made sure that everyone came out of the game with at least one badge, and we only really had time for one “battle” party game, so we did the balloon race.
Here are some Pokémon inspired party games that you can try:
Spoink Balloon Race: Spoink is a Pokémon who bounces on a spring and has a pink bubble on its head (who comes up with these things?). For this game, all you need is starting line, a finish line, and some (pink) balloons. Kids run to the “finish line”, grab a balloon, and then try to get it back to the start by bouncing the balloon on their head. We pitted three kids at a time against each other at a time. The winner got three badges, second place got 2 badges, last place got 1 badge.
Pin the Tail on the Pikachu: This is pretty self-explanatory
Gotta Catch ‘Em All: This game is particularly awesome if you have an outdoor space for the party. Hide Pokéballs (you can make these with ping pong balls. Place balls in an egg carton and paint one half of each ball red). The aim of the game is to find the most Pokéballs.
Pokédex: If you plan in advance, you can purchase tiny little Pokémon in bulk from Amazon (affiliate link). Fill a dish tub with beans and hide the Pokémon. Give kids a small amount of time to find as many Pokémon as they can. Consider letting the kids keep the Pokémon they find! If you can’t get tiny Pokémon, hide badges instead.
Meloetta’s Song: Meloetta is a Pokémon whose melodies can make the Pokémon who hear them happy or sad. This game is played like musical chairs, but instead of chairs, party-goers walk around in a circle around Pokéballs (see above for how to make them) while music plays. There is always one fewer Pokéball than player. Once the music stops, everyone tries to grab a ball. The person who doesn’t get a ball is out, and the game continues until only one Pokémon trainer is victorious.
How Many Caterpie?: Fill a jar with gummy worms and have kids guess how many worms are in the jar.
Rest at the Pokémon Centre
When the games are over, everyone returns to the “Pokémon Centre” for snacks, cake, and presents. Snacks and cake can be themed for the party, including Squirtle Spit or Lickilicky Liquids (beverage of choice), Pikachu Popcorn, Chimchar Chips, Charmander’s Fire Tails (cheezies), Mewtwo Melon Balls, Jigglypuff Jello, Wailord Water, Tagela’s Tangles (liquorice).
A Pokémon cake can be as easy or as hard as you make it. I made a round cake and covered half of it in strawberries to make a Pokéball. You can also do something similar with cupcakes or make Pokéball cake pops. I’ve also seen Pikachu cakes.
Travel Across The Land
(There’s a lyric in the Pokemon theme song that says “I will travel across the land / Searching far and wide / Each Pokémon to understand / The Power that’s inside).
I decided to forgo treat bags this time (though it is totally possible to create cute little Pokéball treat bags). Instead, I picked up prizes from the Dollar Store. The kids counted their badges and the person with the most got to pick the first prize. Then, the person with the second highest amount of badges got to pick the second prize, and so on. My prizes were pretty simple – things like foam swords and silly putty and dinosaurs. However, if I had an unlimited budget, I would have absolutely chosen to have a plush Pokémon for each kid.
And that was our Pokémon party.
What TV show themed birthday parties have you thrown?
I am a member of Netflix’s Stream Team and as such I have been compensated with a complementary Netflix subscription and a few other perks. The stories and opinions are all my own and have not been bought.