Construction Vehicles -2yr- Excavator Cake
Jennifer in Collegeville, PA, USA
My son is SUCH a fan of construction vehicles that we often detour around our intended destination to go past 2 local construction sites in order to "see some diggers!" So, of course it was only natural that we have a construction vehicle theme for his 2nd birthday party.
I bought invitations and paper products from BirthdayDirect.com, with construction vehicles on them. On the invitations I included a note to parents to "dress kids for construction, as we anticipate destruction." We decorated both inside the house and outside with orange, yellow and black balloons, and used yellow "caution!" tape instead of streamers. We put out 4 small orange construction cones lining the walkway to the front door as well. Everyone commented on how cute the house looked! I used the constuction vehicle vinyl tablecloth on the main eating table where the kids sat for cake. It was big enough that I cut off one end and used it as a runner over the half-wall that separates my dining room and my kitchen. I also got a construction vehicle mylar balloon which I used to designate the birthday boy's chair at the table.
As the guests arrived, I had set-up some play areas in the living room: one with all kinds of construction picture books, and one with our Bob the Builder duplo lego toys, which were a big hit. We then had the birthday boy open his presents right away. Some of his gifts included trucks and books which fit our theme so we put those into play right away, too. He also received a sand and water play table, which we had set-up outside prior to the guests arriving, and let him see it before everyone got there.
Following the gift opening, we sent the children (ranging in age from 2-6 years) outside to the various play areas: the new play table which we had filled with sand and the toys that came with it, our play work bench with all our play tools and construction hats, a truck station where we had all the big plastic construction trucks, and another station under our front tree (in the mulch) where we had small trucks and shovels so they could dig and dump the mulch and dirt. I also set-up a coloring station outside on the folding tables under a canopy, and had made copies of truck coloring pages that I printed from the Tonka website-- these were also a big hit. While the kids were playing, my sister played tattoo artist and went around to each child with some temporary construction vehicle tattoos that I had gotten from BirthdayDirect.com. The kids absolutely loved the tattoos-- my boys wouldn't let me wash their arms that night after the party for fear of the tattoo wearing off!!!
The kids happily played outside for a long time while we fired up the grill and made hot dogs and burgers for dinner. By the time dinner was ready, the kids were all hot and sweaty and in need of cool drinks and some food!
Following the meal, I had all the kids sit on the living room floor and watch a little bit of the video called "There goes a Bulldozer", which they LOVED-- this allowed the parents to finish eating, clean-up the plates and juiceboxes, and prepare the table for cake and ice cream. Again, I used the construction vehicle cake plates, napkins and party hats and blow-outs that I got from Birthday Direct.com. The birthday boy got to wear a Little Tikes yellow hard hat instead of a paper party hat, while we sang "Happy Birthday." As soon as the cake table was ready, We brought the children into the dining room. My son hadn't seen the cake before then, and he was so excited that I had made him a cake that looked like a big, orange excavator (his favorite)!
For the cake, I used a Wilton rectangular pan, 11x13, and cut and pieced it together to look like the excavator, spread across 1.5 large cake boards. I tinted the icing orange for the cab and lever, and brown for the scoop and the tread-like wheels. I used Wilton icing tints for better coloring than the standard McCormick dye colors. I also used extra cake pieces to make a pile of "rocks" under the scoop, and crumbled vanilla wafers over top to look like dirt. I also crumbled vanilla wafer pieces directly in the scoop to make it look like it was actually scooping. The kids LOVED the cake-- it was a HUGE success, and I am so proud that I designed and made it myself!
Following the cake and ice cream, we played "Pin the wrench on Bob the Builder", a game which I had picked up at a local party store. It was the only actual party game we played (due to the wide range of ages of the children), and it was a big hit as well. Following the game, I passed out the goody bags, and everyone could go back and play if they wanted. At this point, it was close to the scheduled end of the party, so families started transitioning the kids to leave. For the goody bags, I used clear cello construction vehicle bags I had gotten from the dollar store. Each bag included a pack of Bob the Builder fruit snacks, a construction vehicle-shaped sand mold toy, a sheet of Mrs. Grossman's construction vehicle stickers, and a whistle.
The 4 "older" boys also each got a truck-shaped pez dispenser in their bags. There were also 2 babies in attendance, so they got 2 of the sand toys and a tonka dump truck-shaped teether in their bags instead of everything else. Most of the parents used the promise of opening the goody bag in their cars to lure the kids away from the party and go home-- some were having so much fun playing at the stations outside that they didn't want to leave!
Overall, the party was a huge success, we got some great pictures and video, and my kids are still talking about it! It's a great summertime theme, and since the parents knew to expect "destruction", the kids were appropriately dressed and getting dirty was not a problem.
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