About a month ago we held our son's 6th - yep, SIXTH birthday! It might seem like a small number but every day I'm so grateful we're the ones who get to raise this little boy. He's so energetic, fun, hilarious, opinionated and caring. I love throwing parties for him and this one was the most fun yet.
He has developed a love for geography and I decided to mix that with his love of action/super heroes and wild adventures. (Think super hero, TinTin, Diego, Wild Kratts all rolled into one.) There are spy parties and there are safari style parties out there and I wanted a bit of both. So, the Detective Explorer Agency was born.
I spent less time on the table displays and more time scheming the print design and the party activities since I knew that would be what Jack cared about most. I also wanted it to be fun for the parents and family that joined us so, as usual, I made them play a little part. I'll explain later. :D
Before I continue I just want to say a HUGE Thank You! to both my mom and my mother-in-law, both basically took care of last minute food prep and setup. There were many who helped as they arrived but these two ladies were the lead. We would not have eaten at a reasonable time if not for them. I am blessed to have them!
And now for the party details!
The invitation was a combination of world explorer and private detective. I wanted to include clues for the recipients so I came up with a clue card and added a map on vellum paper. The kraft card folders also included guests' ID cards for when they arrived at 'headquarters'. Also included was a reply card with an area where attendees could include a code name of their choice. I loved this reply card idea for a children's party invitation inspired by my friend Kori of Paper and Pigtails. (Their code names were later included on their name badges and table settings.) Guests were called on to aid the search for the missing number 6 as agents of the Detective Explorer Agency. Jack was so excited when he saw the brown envelopes return in the mail.
After a bit of time checking things out agents were requested to pick up their clearance badges which included getting fingerprinted. Once cleared for training the agents were sent to the waiting room where they finished adding string to their binoculars (original craft inspiration here) and spent time coloring either a map or an outline of number 6s so the missing Number 6 could be easily recognized while traveling the world. Support staff and retired agents (adults) also had their own clearance badges as well.
All seven continents were visited, starting with Asia where training was to take place. David had a little bit too much fun creating the laser field. The kids loved it though and David and another dad took their chances getting through. Once they passed this test they were sent through the obstacle course to test their agility. Amazingly there were no agents sent away, everyone passed and was cleared for travel to North America, Africa and then Australia for fuel and supplies.
Each agent was given a bag of supplies for their mission that they were able to take home as their party favors. (see end photo for what was inside.) Each bag and cup were labeled with their Agent names.
To begin the hunt agent photos were taken for their files. The agents were trained to interview the adults for information about where the first clue could be found in their search for the missing Number Six. (The adults were instructed to say they had seen either letter S, letter U, or letter N when the agents asked them if they had seen any suspicious characters around.) This lead them to the sandy beaches where they had to dig for fossils and anything out of the ordinary. It was there they found clue number 1 - the sneaky Letter S.
Agent M (me/mommy), was handed a secret message with instructions as to where the next clue might be found! This time it was in a minefield in South America. Each bomb had to be carefully inspected and some had to be detonated until finally the undercover Letter U was located.
Agent M was given a final message that said there was an adult who was harboring the final clue. A "support staff" agent was "hiding" - in plain site - the final letter ... the nefarious N. The agents gathered their clues and put them in order to learn that the missing Number 6 was being held in the SUN in Antarctica!
No longer is Number 6 Missing! Case Closed! Time to celebrate!
I put together the half globe cake but guests mostly enjoyed the chocolate cupcakes with the other desserts.
Agents took their supplies home which included their "Australian" palm tree cup, magnifying glass (both from Party City), binoculars, compass and agent sunglasses (amazon), notepad (walmart, covered in a composition book pattern labels) and pencil and of course, their detective clearance badges. "Retired Agents" and "Support Staff" were thanked for their assistance at headquarters with a "trail mix" for happy trails as they left for home.
Thanks to our friends and family for sharing a couple of their photos with me! And thanks to all agents who assisted and supplied Agent Jack with supplies for future missions.