How I redeemed my 'good mom' status with a Skylander Party

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By Kelly Bevan McIlquham, Publisher, Berkshires Macaroni Kid October 16, 2018

I joke with friends and family that I used to be a "good mom” (which to me really means "fun, creative mom") when my teenagers were younger. I often tell people I rocked the toddler and elementary school years but after that... eh, not so much. 

  • When my kids were toddlers and preschoolers I planned storytimes at my house with friends and their children complete with story-related crafts. 
  • I WOWed my kids with elaborately themed birthday parties, complete with scavenger hunts and hand-drawn cardboard characters with faces cut out for super-cool photo ops. 
  • And often made foods that only Buzz Lightyear and the Little Mermaid (or one year five little Batmen) would love. 
  • I even used to host an annual Night Tree Party for the holidays based on the book "The Night Tree," by Eve Bunting. All our friends would come over, we'd eat great food, read "The Night Tree," and then all the kids would gather in our art room and create edible ornaments that we would hang outside on our blueberry bushes for the animals to eat.

Yup, when I was a “good” I was a Party Planning Master, and my kids (and their guests) loved it.

But when my new friend and community partner Ellen Gorman at the Moving Arts Exchange in Great Barrington, approached me about doing a party together, I hesitated. It’d been a while (I hadn't been that party planning "good mom" in a while) What would we do? What themes appealed to younger kids these days?


Then came the release of the new Skylanders Academy Season 3 on Netflix, and BAM my brain instantly went into party planning mode, the "fun, creative mom" in me was returning and even if I wasn't playing party planner to my own kids, I could help throw one for kids in Berkshire County.

Of course, Ellen agreed to host immediately and as we began brainstorming. On a whim, I asked Ellen, "Would you be interested in choreographing a Skylanders dance for the kids to learn?" That’s all I needed to say. Thirty-minutes after hanging up the phone, I was sent an email with a link to a YouTube video with the theme song from Skylanders, and a message "Here's the song I chose, I've already made up the dance.” Ellen was on top of her game. Now it was my turn.

I scoured the Internet and reached out to fellow publishers for ideas and decided on fun and simple. 

First the food

I decided upon a fellow publisher's idea, Spyro Dragon Food and Pop-Fizz Potion (basically make-you-own treat with popcorn, pretzels, goldfish, and M&Ms, and mini water bottles). 

Then the craft

I aptly named that after a Skylander character, too, and Crusher's Crafts were born — a bright green cup decorated with Skylander stickers, stars, and party-goers initials, and something to hold their dragon food in while they watched Episode 1 of Skylanders Academy Season 3. I also printed some Skylander coloring pages from the Internet.

The decorations

Add a few balloons and table clothes for decorations, and labels for your tables and a Skylander Party was ready to begin.

The party

As our guests wandered in we put on an episode of Season 2 to remind our little Skylander Academy screeners about things that happened in the previous season. Some chose to color and watch, while others decided to get started on their craft.

Once everyone filtered in and Crusher's Craft table was empty, the kiddos filled their newly decorated cups with Spyro's Dragon Food, grabbed a bottle of Pop Fizz's potion, and sat down to screen Episode 1. And what happened next?

Absolutely nothing. It was utter silence in our mini-theater as the kids glued their eyes to the screens. They were mesmerized by the characters, and the action, and besides the occasional crunch of popcorn, or the rattle of M&Ms as someone went back to create another batch of Dragon Food, nothing could take their eyes away from the television. I took the kids' utter silence as a pretty good sign that the episode was a hit among our guests.

But an even bigger hit? The Skylander Dance. Following the screening, Ellen brought the kids into the dance studio, and even the shyest and most uncoordinated of the bunch got in on the action — and they were all pretty darn good. The kids laughed and giggled, and within 15 minutes, a routine was born. Check it out belowโฌ‡๏ธ

Following the dance, some kids wanted to watch the second episode of Skylander's Academy, but as balls began landing in our screening room coming from the dance studio the kids abandoned the screen and discovered A Skylanders Obstacle Course awaiting them — with mats and hula hoops, balls for an impromptu game of Skylanders Dodgeball, and more. It was difficult pulling everyone away for the final Skylanders raffle and to say goodbye.

And as partygoers were leaving with their bag of Skylanders loot, we were asked when we'd be having another party. 

I think Ellen and I are onto something ... and even if I'm creating fun-filled themed party's for other people's kids, I feel like the "good mom" has returned or at least has morphed into a "great MacKid publisher." So stay tuned for more themed parties from MAX and Berkshires Macaroni Kid in the future.

Here's a peek at the Skylanders Academy Season 3 Trailer:

* I was compensated and received some party favors this article/review, yet all opinions are my own.*

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