LEGO Party Tonight! January 12, 2008Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, lego.
For her 6th birthday, my daughter declared that she wanted a LEGO party.
Actually, she wanted a Star Wars LEGO party. We managed to get LEGO elements and Star Wars elements together in the party, but there was very little cross-over.
There is a LEGO store near us and we thought of actually having the party there. LEGO stores will actually host birthday parties most of the year. However, they block out the holiday season because it is so busy, any my daughter’s birthday is right in the middle of it.
So we had to make out own LEGO environment.
Down at LEGOLand, just north of San Diego, they have a building where you can build LEGO cars and race them on a set of very nice ramps. We decided to recreate that experience for the party.
The first thing we did was build the ramp. Here it is:
It consists of an adjustable leg folding table from Costco with one set of legs folded up and duct tape covered cardboard strips to act as crash barriers along the table portion of the run. The race surface is twelve feet of black rubber runner, placed non-slip side up, and laid on the table and across the floor. It ended up being almost too good of a surface, as the tires on the LEGO cars gripped it with such tenacity that any irregularity on it would cause the cars to veer from 45 to 90 degrees with wicked suddenness.
Ripples and bumps in the rubber runner also caused cars to run off course, so the track spent the night before the party laden with heavy books to smooth it out.
Along with the track, we had to get vehicles to race on it.
LEGO has a line of nice, five dollar car kits called “Tiny Turbos” that fit our need and budget.
LEGO usually has only four models available at any given time in this product line, but they happened to just change over the line before Christmas, so we were able to have eight different cars represented on the track. They were:
- 8130 Terrain Crusher
- 8131 Raceway Rider
- 8132 Night Driver
- 8133 Rally Runner
- 8148 Eagle Roadster
- 8149 Yubi 5
- 8149 ZX-9 Turbo
- 8151 Adrift Sports
There were going to be more than eight kids, so we had some duplicates. Because of this, I took one of the kits and changed it to make a custom 9th car for my daughter.
And here is it doing a pre-party test run on the track:
You can see the advertising logos on we put on the crash walls.
At the party, each child got a kit. Since it was a pack of 5 and 6 year olds, help was provided for those who needed it.
The races were pretty popular. A couple of the racers had enough after a few runs, while other had to be dragged from the track when the party was over.
Here is a start featuring models 8151, 8130, 8132, 8133, and 8148:
There turned out to be two keys to victory on our track.
The first was clean tires. A freshly built kit with unused tires would roll much more reliably than a car with tires that had picked up a layer of lint and other road grime. (I tried to keep the track clean by keeping people from standing on it, but children will not listen.)
The second was length of wheelbase. The longer the wheelbase, the straighter the run. And of all the cars in the mix, kit 8132 had the longest wheelbase, so it dominated track, running straight and true compared to the others.
When it came to the Star Wars aspect, we had some decorations and the cake my wife made.
Underneath the frosting the cake was chocolate on one side and yellow cake on the other in something of a dark/light reference. Darth Vader was standing on the dark side, of course.
We also set up displays of some of our LEGO Star Was kits and minifigures, but kept them out of reach of the kids.
The party was a big enough hit with my daughter that she said she wanted another LEGO party next year.
Of course, she is getting older, and my influence is going to start waining soon as peer pressure kicks in, but maybe it will still be a LEGO party next year, even if it involves pink LEGO bricks.