Serenity’s Animal Jam Birthday Party
Serenity is 8 years old! So hard to believe! The theme for her party this year was Animal Jam =) She’s been an Animal Jam member for over a year now, and she still absolutely loves it. You get to create animal avatars and journey around the world of Jamaa, playing mini-games and learning random animal trivia. You collect gems and diamonds, and can use them to buy more animals, pets, dens for the animals to live in, and things to decorate the dens and for the animals and pets to wear. It’s a lot of fun, and a nice intro to online gaming. It’s run by National Geographic.
Anyway, we kept circling how to actually translate the game to a birthday party, and finally I asked her if she wanted to actually play the game on the computer during her party. She thought that sounded like fun, but since we could just scrounge up 6 computers that did limit the guest list a lot. Since we were just inviting 4 people (she insisted that DZ get a computer during the party, and that he be included in the sleepover, she is SUCH a great sister =), I realized we could actually do a slumber party too! That led to Animal Jam Live!
So we turned our lego room into Jamaa! With shops and everything. All the kids received gems as they arrived, and they went upstairs to spend them buying a den to sleep in. In the den shop we had three A frame tents, Maia’s lace tent, two crazy fort castles, and a cardboard house to use as bases for whatever den they wanted to build. Then I had all my fancy fabrics, cushions, and the entire contents of my linen closet out for them to use to decorate the dens. They built really creative and amazing dens! Serenity chose the cardboard house, and turned it into a Beach House Den. She used satin fabric in yellow and blue for sand and water, and a hula skirt for the roof. Donovan made Cosmos Den, sort of a jungle feeling den using the a-frame tent and a green mesh camouflage netting. Lillyan picked a Gingerbread House den, so she used the crazy fort pink castle and added lanterns and pinwheels for candy. Abby made Peck’s den, using an a-frame tent and lots of different purple fabrics. Liz made a Haunted Pet den. She used an a-frame tent, grey tablecloths, and the castle wall fabric. I had to get out the Halloween tub so she could buy some cobwebs, bats and spiders. It was such a surprise! She wanted it to be spooky, and it did turn out cool! =) Anika didn’t spend the night, but she still built a Snow Fort, which was beautiful!
The dens cost 25 gems, and they started with around 30. The kids spent a few gems on plushies in the plushie shop. We pulled all the stuffed animals and arranged them on the shelf by size, and charged 1 gem for small, 2 for medium, and 3 for large. Serenity bought Snowy right away, that was very important. Eric set up an hourly spin for them to get more gems. (You get a daily spin on Animal Jam, and the kids always ask to at least get enough time on the computer for their spin because if you go every day the multiplier for the spin goes up. So we knew we needed to have spins at the party =) The kids LOVED this. After the den shop emptied, I put out the furniture shop with lots of decoration, pillows and blankets for them to spend their gems on. They bought lots of silk flowers, scarves, leftover party decorations from old parties, all kinds of things to make their dens really cool! And at bedtime, Eric had a “Midnight Sale.” He sold them glow sticks and flashlights to enjoy in their dens at night. I’m fairly sure they did not get a lot of sleep. DZ maybe crashed a bit after ten, and they were fairly quiet by 11, but at midnight Abby and Lillyan ran down the stairs to tell me Serenity hit her head and was crying. She and Liz had moved into Anika’s Snow Fort, and there wasn’t space for them both so she rolled into the little bench which was the only thing we left in that room when we turned it into Jamaa. I put them back in their original dens, and didn’t hear any more from them till morning. Morning came REALLY early, before 7am. So in true slumber party tradition there was very little slumbering.
Besides decorating their den, we also had an Animal Jam photo booth. They have one in the actual game too =) I put out all the dress up supplies, and if you’ve ever been to our house you know we have lots of dress up stuff. I made each Animal Jammer a new felt mask too, designed to look more like the animals in Animal Jam. So Serenity got a purple koala with aqua blue swirls, DZ got a snow leopard in black and red with red flames, Anika got a white arctic wolf with yellow lightning bolts, Liz got a cat (actually an arctic fox since the game doesn’t have a cat, but it looked the most like a cat) in pink and blue. Abby got a wolf in lavender, and blue with black moons, and Lillyan got an otter in green and pink with stars. They were fun to make, I kind of want to make more in more colors, but I resisted making extra choices. Oh, I did have on extra Snow Leopard that was my first attempt at a mask. Eric claimed it =)
The girls had plenty of time on the computer too! And Samantha, our friend from Texas, met them online! That was a fun twist we could have with a LAN party. The cool thing about having your animal jam buddies in the same room with you is that they could go on adventures and work together more easily! So Serenity got to do the Lost Desert adventure with people she actually knew, and they could get much further than when you are playing with random people. And Lillyan cured Serenity of her fear of phantoms. Phantoms are little black and purple bad guys, and they show up in a lot of the adventures, so Serenity hadn’t played those kinds of adventures much. Lillyan helped her get over her fear and she has been loving all the adventures since. Like the Search for Greely and The Hive. Fun stuff!!! And it was so cute listening to Lillyan encourage her, she is so sweet! But after an hour or two on the computer they left to go back to Animal Jam live! Made me so happy =)
I also set up a pet shop with the brilliant idea that the kids could choose their own fabric and I would make them a pet to their specifications, just like they do in the game. I bought a pattern from ikatbag.com, Menagerie. It’s a great pattern, very simple, and with minor modifications can be used for a wide variety of animals. And that’s how I stayed up until two a.m. on my sewing machine after the Animal Jammers were tucked into their dens. Lol. I am nuts. It was really fun though. I managed to get Anika’s done just before she went home. She wanted an arctic wolf to match her mask, and she chose a pretty blue pattern with solid blue accent. I used the fox design from the pattern mostly and just changed the nose a bit. Then Lillyan and Abby came to the pet shop, and they wanted a Sugar Glider. Well, of course the pattern didn’t come with a sugar glider, so I combined Kangaroo and part Dragon with much bigger ears. They turned out cute and crazy, in a rainbow pattern for Lillyan and black and pink spots for Abby. They look just a little alien though. Liz wanted a cat, which was way easier. I made that in the morning, so it was a good thing they got up so early. Serenity wanted a fox with a blue zebra print and yellow accents. I just finished hers two days after the party, but she loves her. She is even making her accessories all on her own! And she tucked her into her den tonight. =) I love it, my kids so rarely play with stuffed animals it’s particularly happy. Donovan originally wanted a turtle, in phantom colors (purple and black). Then he wanted to have one exactly like Abby and Lillyan. So I switched his animal to another Sugar Glider, but I talked him into keeping it phantom colored because I didn’t want to make exactly the same thing again, and that was what he picked when he was not copying the big kids =) He loves the loooong tail he can swing his sugar glider by =) And then he made her a jet pack! He got toilet paper rolls and some strips of fabric, tied it to her back, and stuffed colorful fabric inside for fire. I LOVE it!
Donuts. Of course =) OK Country Donuts outdid themselves this time, making bunnies, koalas and tigers in wild colors, just perfect for Animal Jam.
It was a great party! Serenity’s first words to me in the morning were, “I love my party Mama.” And DZ asked if we could have Animal Jam all week. So, success! They have made new dens every night, and are thoroughly enjoying Jamaa and their new pets.