26 May 2017

An Action Packed Sports Party - with Bubble Soccer

Action Packed Sports Birthday Party

Scrag turned NINE last month - the boy who was a baby when when this blog began is now an energetic, sports-loving rugby player whose hero is Usain Bolt and who can kick goals and dunk baskets with the best of them.

Bumper Ball Sports Party Invitation available on my Etsy ShopSo of course his birthday party had to involve Sports. Action. Running. Competition. BALLS.
The birthday boy helped me plan every detail, from the food to the guest list to the games - there would be very little sitting around for guests at this party!

With me being not exactly the sportiest of mothers (ahem), I was a bit nervous about running the show (I don't even know the offside rule yet) - until I came across the Bumper Ball website, and asked them to help make this party epic by bringing their crazy bubble action to our gig. The birthday boy was delighted when they said yes to partnering with me for this party (and so was I ). Meanwhile, the invited guests were counting down sleeps.

Here's how the party went....


The beginning of the week looked like rain, so I planned to set up the eats inside, hanging flag bunting and setting up the buffet ahead of time. I needn't have bothered, cos on the day the sun was shining and we moved the whole thing back outside.

Sports Party Setup - Our Homemade Gym

We'd decided to set up our outdoor covered area as a "gym" where the guests could "work out" when they arrived. I created a logo ("Jono's Gym" based on "Gold's Gym") in Photoshop for signage which helped create the atmosphere. We dragged the treadmill and rowing machine out of the garage, set up a weights area and borrowed some boxing gloves for the punching bag. The gym was a huge hit.

Dude, spot me???

Reusing bunting from parties past, and adding some more European flag bunting (super cheap from Ali Express) made the whole thing very festive.

Sports Party Setup and decor

I created a football (soccer) field table cover from a $2 plastic table cloth and white electrical tape. It would have been even cuter if I'd realised Kiwicakes have these amazing grass tablecoths available...

Easy soccer field table cover made with white electrical tape

...but the kids weren't even looking at the tablecover to be honest - they were looking at the...


Food was as sports themed as I could get it. Scrag and I had spent time on Pinterest together getting ideas, and he was very specific about what he wanted. I did my best!

Sports party themed food

  • Sports Ball Cookies: Plain "vanilla wines" topped with a circle of orange or white fondant  and turned into soccer balls/basketballs using black fondant
  • Sports Ball Cupcakes: Vanilla cupcakes with squiggly buttercream "grass" frosting; sports balls are white Kool Mints (football) and orange Tangy Fruits (basketball); detail is added by drawing with an edible black marker
  • Mini Hotdogs: Small red cocktail sausages (aka "cheerios") inside a par-baked dinner roll with ketchup and a squiggle of mustard on top - the perfect size for party food
  • Basketball Oreo Pops: Made by poking iceblock sticks into Oreo cookies, then dipping each one into melted orange candy melts. (Tip: Melt the "melts" in a china bowl over a pot of boiling water; add canola oil to give a smooth, runny consistency to allow for easy dipping - Mine would have worked better if I'd used real Oreos instead of cheap Wheelies which kept falling apart - but you get the idea).

Sports Party themed food - Sports ball cupcakes, cookies and mini hotdogs

We also had...
  • Cheese balls, Doritos and green popcorn
  • Orange segments (of course) plus some grapes and melon for a bit of healthyness
  • Sausage rolls (not themed - we just had them because the birthday boy loves them!)
**Cake decorating gear, edible pens, fondant and candy melts all supplied by Kiwicakes 
**Paper straws, cups, napkins, popcorn boxes from Ali Express with free shipping
**Soccer Ball Plates from here


I was originally planning to just have personalised sipper bottles and plenty of water to drink, but Scrag had other ideas, requesting that I make some of my famous soda bottle labels, in the style of PowerAde and stick them on coloured fizzy drinks.Oh well. I figured the kids would probably need the sugar boost with the non-stop activities Scrag had planned for them.... (He was pretty chuffed with how the drinks turned out).

Sports Party Drinks Station - fake powerade with homemade labels

We took a box of "Water for everyone" down with us to the local sports ground when it was time for the games. Everyone had their own specially labelled sipper bottle to use and take home afterwards (found super-cheap on Ali Express). We set up a Hydration Station and made sure everyone stayed hydrated!

Sports Party Hydration Station - individually names sipper bottles make a great take-home gift


After the kids had worked out in Scrag's Gym, tucked into a Sporty feast and battled out a few rounds of foozeball, they walked around the corner to our local football club where we had set up cones and a hydration station and were ready for action.

First up, a game of "rippa" rugby (aka tag football) - with my homemade "rips" decorated with the symbols of Scrag's two favourite countries - Brazil and New Zealand. I made these from felt, a belt loop and a tag, which velcroed together. The game is primarily touch rugby but instead of touching (or tackling) a player to get the ball, you have to grab their "tag" and pull it off. After three rips in a row, possession changes.
We ended up with two very competitive teams: Big Brother captaining a team of Scrag's friends vs. Little Brother captaining a team of cousins + sis. Intense stuff!

Bumper Ball (Bubble Soccer) is fabulous Fun!

When the Bumper Ball guy arrived, fun really began.
The pictures say it all really. It was meant to be a serious "scored" game of bubble soccer but it turned into simple joyful mayhem with everyone landing upside down plenty of times, and much laughter.

Happiness is - Bumper ball at your sports party

Having Bumper Ball at our party really gave the whole day a sense of excitement and anticipation. it was The Main Event that the kids couldn't wait for.
As a non-sporty parent I was very glad to see the van pull up and those giant wearable balls appear.
Hilarious to watch, and fun to do (apparently). I mean, just look at those faces!

Bumper Ball is loads of fun
With bumper ball you end up Upside Down a fair bit...
Just Chillin on our bumper balls

Scrag is mad on Usain Bolt and his Sports Party would not be complete without some running races. We'd planned to have a whole bunch of different ones, but time got away on us so we ended up just running a series of relay races (with our pool diving sticks serving as batons).

Running Relay Races... again and again... all the way round the football field

Scrag was mostly satisfied with  the way his plans played out in real life, though he did wish we could have run more races. On a real running track. With lanes and a starter gun. But we do what we can, right?


This cake was very very simple - but did the job and the birthday boy was impressed. It was another one of my amateur, slightly wobbly DIY efforts (don't look too close) but it was ooohed and ahhhhed over by the birthday boy and his pals and then gobbled up with glee.

Wow Mum, I love it!

A simple two-layer chocolate cake, with green buttercream between the layers and on top, then overlaid with a homemade fondant soccer ball. I'm always relieved when my ideas work out - and this one actually did!

I turned a metal star cookie cutter into a pentagon by straightening out the sides. Rolled out white fondant, cut out pentagon-shaped holes. Rolled out black fondant, cut out black pentagons to fill the holes. Pressed pentagon-shaped impressions over the rest of the white fondant to give it a 3-D soccer ball effect. Positioned a side-plate over the rolled out fondant and trimmed around it - oh look a DIY Soccer Ball Fondant Cake Topper! Then I *carefully* placed my new cake topper on top of the cake. Which I smeared with green buttercream first, to help it stick (and make it taste better). Any pentagons that dropped out, I carefully replaced once the main topper was in position...

DIY Fondant Soccer Ball Cake Topper

Voila! A DIY Soccer Ball Cake!

(Amazing "Grass" Patterned Cake Board from KiwiCakes)

DIY Fondant Soccer Ball Cake Topper - a bit wobblybut made with love and received with joy
Soccer Ball birthday Cake
The birthday boy and his pals loved his birthday cake

So there you have it. An action packed birthday party for a sports-mad nine-year-old. Done and dusted and enjoyed by all.

MASSIVE THANKS TO THE GUYS AT BUMPERBALL.CO.NZ for helping make this party so epic! We thoroughly recommend Bumper Ball for amazing party fun for all ages (7+). They operate in locations all around New Zealand and come to you at your venue (park, sports field or huge backyard). LOCATIONS AROUND NZ: Check out the regions they operate in around New Zealand.

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