Daddy Cool: "Can I stay as a robot?"

SO LET me get this straight: you are having 12 six-year-old boys to your house for two hours? You had better hope for a nice day, that way they can all play in the garden..."

The parting words of a friend rang in my ears as we woke to persistent drizzle on our son's sixth birthday. There would be no letting off steam outside, where the shouts and roars would escape to the sky. Today it would all be indoors, every sound contained within four walls. A dozen boys waiting to be entertained, a dozen boys looking forward to being let loose on someone else's toys. There was a momentary shudder as we wished we had booked a magician, but then set about trying to make the best party we possibly could.

As we had asked everyone to come as their favourite character, we ushered in Buzz from Toy Story; the Hulk, complete with painted arms and legs; a Ben 10 alien; Superman x 2; a dinosaur; and Indiana Jones, with whip and hat. Our boy was resplendent as Doctor Who in his new red bow-tie and braces.

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Game one saw those who wanted to play divided into two teams. The first in each team had to put on a pair of my shorts, one of my old shirts, a jacket and woolly hat before struggling down the hall and back, before taking them off and passing them on to the next person. They loved it. Boys disappeared under outsize jackets, hats fell over their noses and they all shouted for their friends to get in and out of the clobber.

Next, each team was given a piece of newspaper cut out in the shape of a kipper and a suitable supplement (a well-thumbed Spectrum sufficed). The idea was to waft, bash and coax the kipper up and down the hall. Frenzied thwacking of newspaper ensued.

Our final game was for one volunteer from each team to be turned into a robot; just an excuse to wrap them from head to toe in more newspaper. "Can I stay as a robot?" asked Indiana, covered in FT pink.

They sat down to a picnic of pizza before the pice de rsistance: the Buzz Lightyear piata. For almost 20 minutes they battered him to infinity and beyond.

There wasn't a tear or tantrum all afternoon, as if the party gods had taken pity on us.

As we contemplated a cold beer and a carry-out curry, we were glad it had rained after all. And as Doctor Who said, it was "the best day ever".

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• This article was first published in Scotland on Sunday on 20 June.