Idea No.

9351

Digging & Dumping -4yr- Chocolate Money for Pay

Award

Date

August 2004

From

Laura in Columbia, Missouri, USA

Special Mention

Construction Party

For my son's 4th birthday party I decided on a construction digging & dumping theme. I got some great ideas from this website and also came up with many of my own. Here's how I put it all together to make a great party.

For the invitations I used plain black greeting cards. On the front I taped a yellow die-cut dump truck and inside was taped the party information, which I had printed on orange card stock and trimmed with edging scissors to create a "rocky" edge. The party info was printed using a construction looking font and stated:  Daniel W is turning 4 and there's a lot of work in store; Help us build some birthday fun on [date]; Work hours: Your shift begins at __:____PM and lasts until __:____ PM; Construction site: Daniel's home @ [address]; We'll be digging and dumping so dress to work the dirt; Call the site boss ([mom] @ [phone #]) with any questions. I also used construction truck and tool stickers to help decorate the invitations. Three children were invited, so a small party of four children (including the birthday boy) was easy to manage. (The birthday boy's little sister was there too, mostly hanging out at the water cooler and serving as site supervisor.)

Decorations were simple. We had yellow, orange, and black balloons tied to the mailbox and also a bouquet of balloons on the gift table. Otherwise I just decorated the deck and tables with yellow ôcautionö tape purchased at a home improvement store. I also wrote in the driveway with sidewalk chalk the names of the work crew and also the ôplansö (1. Fun and games, 2. Dig into food, 3. Presents for everyone).

Activities/games: When the guests first arrived, they each got a yellow construction hat (which I had personalized by spelling their name with stickers on the back) and an orange work apron (which was also personalized with their name written on it) to wear. The hats came from a party supply store and the work aprons came from Home Depot at no charge. Guests could sign in at the site, i.e., play with sidewalk chalk, until everyone had arrived. Then we went over the work plans. All the kids sat on the tailgate of my husband's old pickup truck to hear the instructions for the first game. We had a big cooler of ice water there too, which fit with the theme and allowed the kids to get their own drinks throughout the party. This setup on the pickup truck also made for a great photo opportunity. Because not all the kids knew each other and to avoid conflict when choosing teams, I had the kids draw homemade tokens (metal lids from Durkee onion cans with stickers on them) to determine the two teams and who would be a digger and who would be a dumper.

The first game was a relay race that was set up in the yard. Two lanes were made using the yellow caution tape tied to mini orange construction cones. Halfway down the course was a hula hoop to the side of each lane that had 15 rocks (aka golf balls). The diggers started at one of the course with a child-sized wheelbarrow and pushed it to the pile of rocks and dug them with their shovel (a sand scoop). Once all the rocks were in their wheelbarrow, they pushed it to the other end of the course to their dumper teammate, who then pushed the wheelbarrow to the beginning of the course and dumped the rocks into the back of a toy dump truck. The number two team received Tonka truck paint with water books and the winning team received a Play-Doh tool set.

The next game involved digging in the sand box to find tools (pictures of toy tools taken with a digital camera and mounted on cardboard and covered with packaging tape) to put in their tool aprons. Each partygoer got a sand scoop and rake to use, and whoever found the most tools in 1 minutes won the game. The prize for winning was the Rescue Hero action figure Jack Hammer.

After that game, the kids had free play in the sandbox while refreshments were being prepared.

Food:  The kids sat at a child-sized picnic table on the deck and chocolate brownies (instead of cake) were served out of the back of a large Tonka dump truck (cleaned, with plastic wrap lining the bottom) using a (sand) shovel. (The chocolate brownies resembled a load of dirt in the truck.) We had orange sherbet, and orange, yellow, and black sprinkles were dumped on the sherbet from a mini Tonka dump truck. The drinks were color themed as well, as guests could choose between orange drink and yellow lemonade. To make sure those who had not won a game won something, I strategically placed stickers on the bottom of two plates and those guests won stickers.

Treat bags:  After the birthday boy opened presents, treat bags were handed out to the party guests. They were orange gift bags onto which I had taped a section of the yellow caution tape. (I also put the children's initials on these so they wouldn't get mixed up.) The contents were:  pad of construction paper, small plastic Tonka dump truck filled with a bag of chocolates that looked like rocks, mini construction hat filled with a bag of building block candies, construction worker Pez dispenser, construction/tool stickers, picture of a construction truck to color (which was printed off the Tonka website), and a maze (which was also printed off the Tonka website).

As each guest left, I thanked them for their hard work and paid them with coin-shaped chocolates. The guests also got to take home their construction hat, work apron, and two (sand) digging tools. My son wore a t-shirt that had digging and dumping trucks on it, which I had bought on clearance, and I wish I had thought to buy extras as giveaways for his party.

For the thank you cards I used the same kind of plain black greeting cards I used for the invitations. On the front I taped a picture of the crew on the tailgate of the pickup truck that was taken at the party and on the inside was taped the thank you on orange card stock. (Thank you for coming to my party and helping me to celebrate my special day. Also thank you for the [gift] I really dig it!) I also used more construction truck and tool stickers to decorate the card. I bought things over the course of a few months as I saw them and I don't think the party was very costly, though I didn't add up all the costs. Most of the items were purchased at dollar stores, party supply stores, and craft supply stores. Some of the prizes were bought at a great discount and cost next to nothing.

The party was a great success and I had a lot of fun planning it. My son loved it too!

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