A Minecraft Un-Party

If you’ve been following One Artsy Mama for awhile, you know that this is the time of year I usually share lots of posts about a certain Little Crafter’s birthday party! And when we party around here, I mean we all-out party. Themed food, decorations, handmade favors…the stuff Pinterest is made of. Three years ago, we had the Ultimate LEGO Party. Two years ago, we were all about Pirates. Last year, we rocked the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle theme {and in fact, the invitations and “Sewer Slime” from that party are still two of our most popular posts to date}. So, this year when LC announced that he wanted a Minecraft party, I immediately started brainstorming. But things didn’t turn out the way I expected.

minecraft unparty

Honestly? It was really hard for me. This whole experience was a lesson for me in letting go. If you’ve got a minute, I’d love to share how things went and what I learned.

In the past, we’ve had huge parties and invited lots of our friends and their kids. In fact, we’ve had so many people that if some weren’t outside while others were inside they’d have all barely fit in our town home. As many of you know, we moved in March, so I was excited about having more space for more people. As it turned out, though, that wasn’t what Little Crafter wanted at all. His main goal was to play multi-player Minecraft with a few close buddies. He named off five classmates he likes to play with plus our neighbor boys, so that’s who we invited.


As for me? I had to let go of my fears that there would be people who were upset about not being invited. I had to remind myself that this was his party, not mine. At seven years old, the guest list should reflect who he wanted to spend time with. Since our focus was on this small group of boys, not entire families like in the past, we decided to have the party during the day on a Monday. Believe it or not, that ended up being awesome because no one was on vacation or busy doing family activities. Every kiddo he invited was able to attend, which was a big deal.

Last year, my friend Vanessa created an absolutely fabulous 3-D TMNT cake that blew my mind. In previous years, my friend Clem created unbelievable cakes for our parties. I was envisioning a pixel covered cake covered with some of LC’s favorite Minecraft characters, or at the very least, some cupcakes with cool Minecraft toppers. But that wasn’t what Little Crafter had in mind at all. When I asked him what he wanted for dessert, his answer was donuts. Those Entenmann’s donuts that come in the pack of plain, powdered, and cinnamon. So that’s what we had. And the world kept on turning.

Even though my plans for a fancy cake weren’t meant to be, I at least thought I’d have fun putting together a collection of themed snacks. I saw all kinds of cool things on Pinterest where people made different foods to resemble various aspects of the game and most of them seemed easy to do. Then, I started thinking about the actual kids who were coming and their various allergies and dietary needs. Four of our guests are gluten-free. Three are dairy-free. Two can’t have red dye. One is a vegetarian.


I realized that it was more important to have food that all the kids could enjoy. I asked the moms for ideas and came up with a table full of snacks that was safe for everyone; strawberries, melon, bananas, popcorn, tortilla chips, gluten free pretzels, and gluten free cookies. We did have goldfish and donuts too for those who could eat them, but for the most part, everything was fair game.


It was the sweetest thing to see the relief in one child’s eyes when he realized he could eat just about anything on the table, and I felt like it was a gift to the moms that for once they didn’t have to pack special snacks or worry about their kiddos missing out on all the goodies. People are more important than Pinterest. Lesson learned.

When we first started planning the play date, I had no idea that Little Crafter wanted to handle the decorations all by himself. As it turned out, he had a plan in mind and he had a blast carrying it out. He took his Minecraft stuffed animals, the Minecraft canvases we painted a few months ago, and his mini-figure collection and spread them out all over the main level. What’s more, he was insistent on creating a little sign to go with each mini-figure that labeled it with its name.


It was hard…SO HARD…for me to let go of control and give him free reign to decorate to his heart’s content. But you know what? He was beyond proud of himself and couldn’t wait to show each guest all his hard work. I had no idea it would mean so much to him.

I had plans, man. Awesome plans. I even came up with a super-adorable craft idea that would be easy for the kids to do all by themselves. I planned these Minecraft Cubes and pre-cut all the card stock and set up a table where they could create to their hearts’ content.


Want to know how many of the kids actually made one? ZERO! Not one single kid. Not even Little Crafter. Want to see what they did?

DSC_1665Yep. They used our wifi network to connect into the same Minecraft “world” and spent most of the party playing together on their devices. And they were thrilled. They were collaborating and communicating and creating, just not in the way I expected.

The whole thing was a great experience for me because I had to learn to let go and re-adjust my expectations. I had to refocus my priorities and in the end, I had a bunch of very happy kids. I’d say that’s a win-win.

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