Maddie and Hannah Modelling Birthday Mii Shirts

Maddie and Hannah Modelling Birthday Mii Shirts

Planning birthday parties for children is an annual ritual that drives most parents insane. Even the most loving, patient mums and dads are sometimes brought to their knees by birthday party madness! I’ve likened the experience to wrangling a herd of cats high on catnip! Over the years, I’ve planned, organized, and entertained kids’ parties with a wide variety of themes, from the Olympics to pirates, princesses to Star Wars. So imagine my surprise when Dan, my close friend of many years and father to my adorable nieces, recently asked me to help with a Nintendo Wii birthday party. The idea for the party came from the birthday girl, my now 10 year old niece Hannah. (Note – Clever child! Takes after her uncle you know!)

Hannah and her big sister Maddie were already well underway with planning the party when I arrived the day before. They wanted to hold a ‘Wii Olympics’ , with each of Hannah’s ten guests taking part in a competition based on playing several Wii games. Dan pointed out to them that the game section of the party had to be completed in two hours. Like most bright creative children with huge imaginations, they thought it would be a snap to have ten excitable young girls play at least THREE activities from THREE Wii games in TWO hours. After much high level diplomacy and subtle persuasion, we managed to ‘convince’ Hannah and Maddie that TWO activities from TWO Wii games was a better idea. The competition would consist of singing two songs from the High School Musical 3 version of Sing-It, plus one round of Wii Bowling and one round of Wii Tennis.

To add to the occasion, Dan came up with the brilliant idea of letting the girls design their own Nintendo Mii characters which could be printed and ironed on shirts to wear as a party souvenir. There’s a great web site called Mii Editor that lets you design Mii characters and save them out as images. Not to be outdone by this flash of inspired thinking, I suggested we also let the girls print out their names in colour above their Mii. At this point, Dan and I realized that our future success in kid’s fashion couture was assured. The only thing to do was test our product on two willing young fashionistas!

Here are the steps we took:

The girls used the Mii editor to design their characters and we saved them as PNG images. We also made sure the image background was completely white.

The image was transferred to a Microsoft Publisher document, the name typed in and displayed as a reverse mirror image.

The image was printed out on heat sensitive transfer paper, carefully cut around the Mii character, and then ironed on a light coloured shirt.

And what did Hannah’s guests think about these trendy shirts?

Hannah's Mii Birthday Party Gone Wild!

Hannah's Mii Birthday Party Gone Wild!

It’s fair to say that the party was a great success. The universal comment from Hannah’s friends was that making your own Mii characters and ironing them on shirts was ‘totally cool’. The Wii games went fairly well for the most part; some of the guests preferred hanging out in Hannah’s room when they weren’t waiting for their turn on the Wii. We also made sure to provide other activities to keep the kids occupied. Making your own ‘Happy Face Pizza’ and keeping plenty of snacks available helped keep the party to a level of manageable chaos!

Lessons the grownups learned from this experience:

We originally thought of bringing in a second television and a second Wii to speed up the Wii Olympics so all the girls were actively busy. In retrospect, it might have been a good idea.

Letting the girls plan the birthday party (with some gentle guidance from the grownups) made them feel actively involved and responsible for the enjoyment of their guests. When we saw a potential planning problem, we took time to discuss the issue with the kids and let them come to a solution they were happy about.

We set up and tested all our equipment ahead of the party so we could be ready to hit the ground running. You can never be ready enough for a birthday party.

One fascinating observation I made was that every young lady at the party took great pains to make their Mii characters resemble themselves.

And the most important lesson I learned is that uncles who are bass baritones should NEVER try singing the male tenor or female parts of High School Musical 3 in front of their nieces!

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