Dear Jack: Your Reptile-Themed 9th Birthday Party

9 years.

Dear Jack,

This year for your birthday party, I feel like it’s safe to say that both Mommy and I were feeling a bit ambitious, as we hosted ten of your 9 year-old friends at our home. Notably, there were all boys.

You were very involved in the planning process, though. The theme: Reptiles.

It was your idea to start out by having all your friends paint a wooden snake at our kitchen table.

Next up on the agenda was to play “Pin the Tongue on the Cobra”… of course!

Then, I took you and your friends out on a scavenger hunt hike around the walking trail in our neighborhood:

Jack’s 9th Birthday Scavenger Hunt Hike

As a group, the following items must be discovered and tasks must be completed.

If not, no one gets pizza or cake- and Jack can’t open his presents- he has to give the presents back.

-Corn cob

-American flag

-Poisonous berries

-7 dog poop signs

-P on door

-Owl on door

-4 painted metal signs of flowers- blue, red, green, yellow

-Predators’ flag

-3 signs of a man with a floating head

-Everyone throws a black walnut into the woods from the top of the stairs

-Everyone runs backwards across a wooden bridge

-Everyone sits on a bench at the same time

-Everyone yells “Happy Birthday Jack!” on the same side of a tunnel, while he’s on the other side

(I helped you all out by pointing to the big letter “P” on our neighbors’ door, as that’s the letter that their last name begins with.)

It was perfect timing- because by the time we all returned to our house, the pizza had just been delivered.

I can not remember the last time I had Domino’s pizza, but I was thoroughly impressed!

And of course, the finale of the party was letting you all have a massive swordfight with inflatable snakes out in the cul-de-sac.

Your birthday party went so well that I suppose we could get away with hosting it at our house again next year!

Love,

Daddy

Leading My Son and His Friends on a Scavenger Hunt Hike through the Creek, in Search of “Toxic Rocks” to Defeat the Villain, Red Rover

Last month my 3rd grader son and I left from the Cub Scout orientation meeting broken-hearted. I myself was in Cub Scouts for 4 years back in the late 1980s and early 1990s. It was a major part of my childhood.

But it’s not set up the same way anymore. At the meeting, the adults were ultimately informed that if we wanted our sons to be in Scouts, we would be volunteering to be the actual leaders.

In a household where both parents work full-time, I knew that it would be unwise to commit so much of my time to what would ultimately be a part-time job that would indirectly pay other people’s salaries, in the likeness of a multilevel marketing pyramid scheme.

So I decided to start my own group; for all the boys whose parents couldn’t commit to the actual organization.

I set up a “scavenger hunt hike” at a nearby park with a creek. Once all the boys arrived, along with a few younger sisters, a villain who called himself Red Rover popped out of the bushes.

He explained that his great-grandfather originally own the land, but instead of being able to inherit the land, it was given to the city as a public park.

Therefore, Red Rover hid 8 “toxic rocks” along the creek, which would dry up all the water if the boys couldn’t find them all within the following hour.

Here’s a video of that event:

As I expected, all 8 toxic rocks were found within the hour. Therefore, Red Rover returned from the bushes, in an attempt to take them back from me.

This led to a low-budget Marvel style fist fight between Red Rover and me.

Here’s the video for that part:

The boys (and their sisters) enjoyed playing on the park afterwards, as my wife had brought some snacks for the kids to enjoy as well.

And some might call this a major coincidence, but my friend Ben showed up after the scavenger hunt hike rough-house with the boys.

It was a plan that came together!

Now that the launch went well, I am excited to plan the next event…