The Kid had big plans for his birthday party, including a large cardboard rocket that two kids could ride in at a time. (That was talked down from one rocket per child.)
One of his other plans was a jet pack for each (to make up for not everyone having a rocket). I was going to borrow some small hurdles for the jet packs (I had borrowed them last year for an obstacle course and the kids ended up using them as jet packs), but they weren’t available. At the relative last minute. (Because I didn’t ask until the relative last minute.)
I suggested we make coupons, and as each friend arrived, they would receive a coupon to be traded in for a “powerful, invisible jet pack.”
And so it was.
As kids arrived, I gave them a coupon (about which they were confused). Once most had arrived, I opened the “jet pack station,” where each child was fitted for a powerful, invisible jet pack and given instructions on how to use it.
They ran around the yard, flying all over the universe.
What delighted me even more was feedback I got from parents afterwards.
“[My child] showed me how to put it on!”
“I’ve been hearing about it for three days!”
“[My child] is worried that he left his broken jet pack on the ground and The Kid is going to step on it.”
So much better than tangible pretend jet packs. Mission (somewhat accidentally) accomplished.