My son’s 5th birthday party was 3 days after the opening of STAR WARS: The Force Awakens so picking the theme was a no brainer.  Besides, it didn’t matter where I went, I was inundated with Star Wars merchandise for loot bags.  The challenge was creating a little activity for them.

Building on my Birthday Puzzle post, I wanted to make a multi-stage “escape-room like” challenge for them.  So, I had to script a scenario.  After speaking to my son, it was obvious he didn’t want to be a “good guy” so there went my destroy the death star idea.  Parents, the coolest bad guy is not Darth Vader, it’s Boba Fett!  So, the scenario was that the kids are bounty hunters and Darth Vader is sending the lot of them out to find the Millennium Falcon.

The game was laid out in my basement and I kept the group small.  I figured I could handle about 5 or 6 kids.  Most of them were neighborhood kids so I knew them already.  That actually helped me in customizing the clues.  Our neighbor’s kids go to a French School, my son is learning Mandarin and another kid is even learning Abacus!

I collected the loot bags, and locks and brainstormed the scenario over weeks.  However, detailing out the clues was left to the last minute and did take the whole night before.  However, I was happy with the result and felt ready for the kids.

How did it turn out?  Well when the kids got to the basement it was pure chaos as you’d expect.  Trying to explain the game and scenario was a bit tough.  However, my plan was to play a scene from Star Wars to set the mood.  That worked like a charm actually.  Nothing like a big screen to get all the kids to sit down and pay attention.  So I played a quick clip where Darth Vader sends a cadre of bounty hunters out to find the Millennium Falcon.  After that, the kids were a bit more focused and I could set them loose on the challenge.

Watching the kids work through the challenges was the fun part of course – for them and the parents.  At this age, we did have to guide them along to keep things moving but it was helpful that there was an 8 year old there who helped with reading the clues and instructions.  Alas, each kid did get a chance to contribute so I was really glad I customized the puzzles.  At the end, they found the Millennium Falcon in a suit case – along with all the other loot bag treats.  Another successful birthday party!

Well, I hope the short video clip gives you an idea of what I set up but if you’d like me to post more detailed instructions, “Like” my post on Facebook and post a comment.  If there’s some interest, I’ll put the details together next time!

My mission through Daddy Engineer is to encourage people of all ages to enjoy engineering play.  Between work, kids and actually doing some of these projects, there’s little time left for blogging but I hope you enjoy my efforts.  Let me know what you think, your feedback and encouragement is much appreciated.

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