This post contains affiliate links at no extra cost to you. Thanks for supporting my site! See my full disclosure here.
My son asked for a dragon party. Come on buddy, give me more to work with. I had him narrow it down for me, there are so many types of dragons! Chinese New Year dragons? Cartoon dragons? How to Train your Dragon dragons? Vikings and Dragons? Knights and Dragons? WHICH ONE?! He eventually humored me and picked Knights and Dragons, emphasis on DRAGONS! And I’m here to share with you all the details: Invitations, party games and activities, decorations, and of course I wouldn’t leave you without some free printables.
A Royal Invitation
Usually I design an invitation in photoshop and we have them printed as photos or cards through Walmart or Costco. This time we just printed them right at home on some cream colored cardstock. Then we burned the edges to make it look a bit more authentic, and you know, old.
I can personalize these invitations for you as a digital file ($7), if you’re interested just email firstname.lastname@example.org with the details. I can also put together the invitations by printing and burning them for $4/invite (includes shipping) Just email to start the order. I also included a free editable version of this at the end of the post.
Decorations Fit for a King (or Queen, or a group of Knights in this case)
These decorations could easily be adaptable to any Royal or princess type birthday party, but in our case they were for a group of Sirs Knights (and one Lady).
DIY Cardboard Castle
The crowning jewel of my party set up was the cardboard castle I made out of 11 boxes. I have a fun reel on instagram that shows the process I went through if you want more of a visual version.
The general gist is I used 4 (matching) boxes for the base and taped open their bottom flaps with duct tape. I used 5 boxes for the next level up with the center box being the door way that I cut an arch into. The middle three boxes I also cut turrets in. Then for the top level I added 2 boxes, one on either end, and cut turrets into those as well. Finally I cut four windows, two in each bottom level. This cardboard cutter will make your life a lot easier, but of course you can just use a utility knife.
At this point none of the boxes were attached in any way, just stacked on top of each other. Next I moved everything outside where I spray painted it (I used Winter Gray). Then I moved it all back inside where I was going to have it for the party, and this is when I tried to tape the boxes together a little bit. I also cut arches in the bottom level of the boxes so the kids could actually crawl inside the castle. Lastly I added some torches, dragons and a banner that said “Miles Manor”.
I just used black wrapping paper for the banners and some images I cut on my cricut with red and silver cardstock.
The torches are black cardstock with tissue paper inside. I just stapled them together, took just a minute or two per torch! It would be totally doable to do a ton of these down a long hallway or something.
And a SUPER cheap way to make a big impact is to hang plastic tablecloths as curtains around the room (Just use some sticky tack!)
The tablescape featured the cutest paper products and goods that came in my Royal Knight party box from Adorn Party Shop.
Look at those plates! Swoon!! They really were adorable and the whole box was such a great addition to the party. My favorite were the knight helmet party hats! Cuteness overload when the kiddos put those on. Be sure to check out their website, the box saved me so much prep time (and they have other themes too!).
Each place setting had a plate, cup, napkin, fork, knight party hat, shield dessert plate, dragon egg and burlap pouch with their dragon riddle inside. All of this came in the Royal Knight party box except for the dragon egg.
I lamented a long time over what dragon to get for the kiddos to take home. These worked out pretty well, some of the pieces are hard to assemble, but they are a nice size and the kids had a blast with them. (I saw some of them lugging them to church the next day, hehe).
I wrote a little poem/riddle to go along with their Dragon that they got to take home and raise. I printed it on the same paper and burned the edges just like the invitation. And I’ll include it as a free printable for ya!
The centerpiece was a real showstopper that my mother in law made! She used foam eggs, thumb tacks and nail polish to create these amazing Dragon Eggs!! My favorite was the silver one.
Can you believe that? She wouldn’t tell me how long it took, but she individually painted each tack with nail polish! We used a couple wreathes stacked on top of each other and some easter grass and sticks for the nest. And we had some balloon dragons hanging overhead protecting their nest.
I actually spray painted the dragon balloons silver because I thought they were a little too busy looking. It sort of worked, the first can I used worked really well and then I used a cheaper spray paint when I ran out and it didn’t work so well. You’ll have to check out the video for footage of the balloon dragons because apparently I didn’t get a photo of them- whoops! (Although you can kind of see it in the photo of the drawbridge below).
When we decided on the theme Knights & Dragons I knew two things I wanted right away: a castle, and a drawbridge entrance. A drawbridge would be a snap in a doorway, but I didn’t have a doorway to work with so I really had to think on it. I eventually used 3M hooks and fishing line to suspend the drawbridge in midair.
I made a really long paper chain out of black construction paper and hooked the top loop around the fishing line that I had strung from one wall to another. Then I did a second chain and did the same thing. I used part of a cardboard box that I spray painted the same color as the castle for the actual drawbridge and stapled the bottom chain to the cardboard plank on either side. Finally I used my cricut to cut the drawbridge gate (which I learned is called a portcullis) and then taped it all into place. I used some left over cardboard as little walls to make it more like the “entrance”.
Knights & Dragons Activities
In general I try to have one craft/creative activity and two games at a party. Then there is time for food, presents and free play. I usually start with the craft as the kids can start working on it right when they arrive and it keeps everyone involved in something right away while you wait for all the late comers to trickle in.
Decorate a Shield
Our crafty activity was for the kids to decorate their own shield. After all, with a day of dragon-slaying ahead they needed some protection! If you want to see more behind the scenes of how we made these shields you can check out my Instagram Highlights. But the general jist is that I made a template out of poster board and then we traced the shape onto some scrap plywood we had. Dad cut the shields out and birthday boy sanded them all. I added straps to the back with some left over faux leather I had from Halloween costumes. Finally I spray painted them Silver and added their names with the cricut. I also made a reel on Instagram showing the process of making these.
When the kids arrived I had all their shields laid out on a couple tables with carbon paper, paint pens galore, pencils, and lots of dragon drawings I had printed off (just found a bunch of cool dragon outlines online). They could do their own original design, or use the carbon paper to trace a dragon and then color it in with the paint pens.
Some of the kids really took it seriously and spent over a half hour working on their shields, it was so cute!
I got this fantastic idea from Babyccino, you can check out her full blog post about it here!
Look at our one lady, surrounded by all her Knights. How cool did her shield turn out?
After they finished their shields we headed over for some target practice to really hone their Knightly skills. I found these little castles at Walmart during Valentines season, they are actually valentines boxes. I put a point value on each one and just had the kids shoot at them racking up points (like pinball in real life kind of).
Dragon Slaying Obstacle Course
And lastly we had the actual Dragon Slaying Course for the kids to complete. This was quite a big hit, and as a bonus got the kids quite tired. We had 8 dragons scattered around our property with an obstacle they had to get through at each one before they could “slay it” (just used their little foam swords to hit the cardboard dragon).
The obstacle course ended in the dragon pinata that they got to “slay” by hitting it. The trick was: they had to complete the obstacle course to earn one hit on the pinata. Of course they all wanted to hit the pinata several times so they ended up doing the course over and over (and it took about 5 minutes to complete). So we filled a good 30-40 minutes before the pinata even broke! I told the kids ahead of time don’t worry about the candy when the pinata breaks, we’ll wait for all the kids to come and I already had bags that were partially filled with candy (candy eggs since it was around Easter and we called them dragon eggs) for each kid anyway.
Obstacles included: dodge the fiery darts (red yarn course), wind tunnel of doom (refrigerator box with big fans blowing), Volcano mountain (climbing dome we have in our yard), cross the mote (walk across our seesaw without falling), rescue the damsel in distress (rope course where we tied two ropes from one tree to another and they had to balance across the bottom one while holding onto the top one), scale the castle wall (climb up the rock wall on our swing set), and finally the pinata! (Did I miss any?) I didn’t get any photos so you’ll have to check out the videos to see some of the obstacle course in action!
After all the obstacle course and pinata fun we headed inside (where they got to see the dining room for the first time!) for cake, presents, and play!
Speaking of cake, can you believe this amazing cake my mother in law once again pulled off? If you’re a regular around here you’ve seen her amazing pyramid cake, ship cake, ocean cake, harry potter cake and more! Isn’t he adorable? The fire is made from melted jolly ranchers and the wings are made out of that candy coating chocolate!
Friends, I couldn’t leave you without some free printables to help you on your way. I have a generic version of the Invitation that you can use as well as the dragon riddle! I love pic monkey for editing files like this. You can open the invitation JPEG file in pic monkey (or any photo editing software) and add text there. Or you can always order them from me! (Just email email@example.com to get your order started). Just click on the images below to be taken to the google drive link where you can download these files.
You guys! I hope this has been helpful for you as you prepare for some special memories. If you’d like to follow along on Instagram or Pinterest I would so appreciate your support! And I love when people tag me in their photos or send them! (remember I might not see them if your account is not public).
Shop This Party
Some ideas and links to get you started!
- Royal Knight party box from Adorn Party Shop
- Off white cardstock/parchment paper for invitations and dragon riddle
- spray paint
- cardboard cutters (they will make your life a lot easier if you’re going for the castle)
- dragon eggs (these were a little hard to push in some of the pieces but overall the best option I could find and worked out pretty well)
- Balloon Dragon (these were OK, I felt a little pricey but I couldnt find anything better to use).
- Foam eggs
- Swords (these were OK, very short, but noone got hurt so that’s a win!)
- Carbon paper
- Dragon pinata (he was small, but sturdy!)