Bring Your Own Dump Truck -3yr- Load of Dirt
Kathy in Leander, TX USA
My 3 year old son adores Bob the Builder, Handy Manny and all construction-related toys & characters, so since I have 3 boys, we have accumulated a lot of Bob/construction paraphernalia. I always try to choose a theme that I can pull decor for the party from our personal arsenal of toys. This not only helps defray costs but encourages them to play with the toys they already have after the party. Win-win.
Also, our front yard was in serious need of attention so my husband was talking about getting a load of dirt dumped on the front yard. I convinced him to wait until the bday party (1 month later) so we could let the kids play in it first. He conceded and we purchased a entire dump truck full of dirt (NON ORGANIC BY THE WAY!!! VERY IMPORTANT DETAIL IF YOU LET A BUNCH OF KIDS CRAWL AROUND IN IT!!) This was a fantastic splurge that proved better than a bouncy house!
INVITATIONS: On the front, I cut out colorful scrapbook paper a mountain and then put a big dump truck sticker in the middle and a circle stamped BYODT (bring your own dump truck). The inside read: Second year of building is complete. Phase 3 begins! We will be breaking ground on DATE of your party at the LAST NAME OF BDAY KID Construction Site at ADDRESS. Your shift begins at TIME OF PARTY. Company Paid Lunch will be provided. Crew boss BDAY KID'S NAME will provide Hard Hats and Hammers but wear work clothes and please bring your own Dump Truck! Please contact the Shift Foreman MOTHER'S NAME if you are unable to make your shift at MOM'S PHONE #.
DÉCOR: The party was obviously in the front yard centered around the big pile o' dirt. We used a ton of caution tape to keep the kids from going into the street (although we live on a cul de sac, so fortunately this is not a huge issue). We got plastic cones and put them everywhere. We had scoured the thrift stores for building toys (dump trucks, shovels, tools, etc.) and put them all over the front yard. I also bought a bag of plastic bugs and had my kid bury them in the dirt prior to the party so the kids could make fun discoveries. Then, using concrete blocks from the hardware store ($2 each) & scrap wood we had lying around, I made benches for the parents under the trees so they could sit in the shade & watch the kids. I stapled a Bob the Builder tablecloth & Happy Birthday banner onto the fence.
PARTY SNACKS: I lined our wheelbarrow with a black trash bag, dumped a bag of ice & set up a drink station with bottled waters, sodas and juice boxes. Then I set up a folding table where we put all the lunches prepackaged & labeled in brown paper bags decorated with construction stickers (there were turkey & cheese or pb&j's with a bag of chips, bag of carrots, & a small apple and there were plenty for grownups & kids alike plus I had extra sandwiches for extra hungry folks). The other end of the table is where we put the presents. The birthday boy got an old school lunch box that was construction orange that I discovered at Goodwill.
CAKE: I set up a card table covered with a blue tablecloth where I put the cake. I baked 2 chocolate cakes and crumbled them into the back of a brand new Big Tonka Dump Truck (a gift for the 3 yr old) and stuck a Bob the Builder figurine and a couple of other Bob vehicles on the top of the dirt" pile. The we scooped out the cake (with a plastic shovel of course) and a scoop of ice cream into bowls and covered with chocolate sauce. This was a rocking success and bar none the easiest cake I ever made!
GAMES & ACTIVITIES: We just sent each kid decked out in a simple orange vest & canvas apron that my mom had sewed that we filled with plastic screwdrivers hammers saws and misc. tools and a plastic hard hat all of which we had been gathering from various thrift stores or the party store.
These also doubled as the FAVORS since they got to take these home with them afterwards. As they left I reminded them to take all their stuff (apron tools vest & hard hat) and gave them a sheet of construction themed stickers (Bob Handy Manny Tonka etc.)
This was an EASY party because we were able to set up everything beforehand and then just let the kids play. We invited 25 kids and their parents and every single one of them showed up. The weather was perfect and comfortable both in the sun & the shade and as a result the party lasted for several hours with the kids playing non stop & the parents just hanging out. All the invitees were our closest friends and family and it was a great time to enjoy each other's company. "
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