Idea No.

16509

Fire Engine Party -4yr- Fire Safety Coloring

Award

Date

August 2007

From

Allison in Shreveport, LA, USA

Special Mention

Fireman-Fire Truck Party

My son wanted a fire truck theme for his 4th birthday party. 

For the invitations, I found a coloring page with a cute fire engine on it.  We colored it together and then scanned it.  I then took a profile picture of him wearing a fire hat and used photoshop to place him as the driver.   I put that picture on the front of a foldover card that said Sound the alarm! Report to the station! It's Patrick's four alarm birthday celebration.  The inside said:  Calling all junior firefighters:  Report for training at Station #4 10:00 am, Saturday, July 21, (address).  Firefighters may get wet in the line of duty Please dress accordingly.  Call the fire chief if you'll miss the training:  (phone number). 

For decorations, I used red, orange and yellow balloons and streamers all over the garage and on the mailbox, and we gave a fire hat to each of the children as they arrived. 

I had several stations set up for free play.  Each was labeled with a sign that had the same fire truck picture as the invitation:  

1.  Fire Safety coloring pages and word puzzle pages about fire safety set out on a table. 

2.  Obstacle Course:  pull on rainboots, a fireman's coat (raincoat large enough for the biggest kids there decorated with duct tape to look like the real thing) and a fire hat.  Then crawl through a tunnel,  and climb to the top of the playset to rescue the stuffed cat and slide down the slide.  Then take all of the gear off.  

3.  Draw fire on the burning house we drew the outline of a house on the driveway with sidewalk chalk, and the kids colored it in and drew flames coming out all over it.  (This was actually preparation for a later activity.) 

4.  Put out the fire:  (this was a real hit)  I cut pieces of red, orange and yellow cellophane to look like large flames and attached them around the outside of a second floor window.  I found water sprayers that are basically a 2-foot long syringe (from dollar store).  I set out a big bucket of water (you could also use a baby pool), and even the smallest kids figured out how to dip the end into the bucket to suck the water up into the tube and then squeeze it to shoot the water out.  The easily shoot about 20 feet.  These were out fire hoses.  They tried to put out the fire by shooting at the cellophane attatched to the window.  (Of course, the children ended up wetter than the window  but that is fine on a hot summer day in Louisiana!) 

After the children had been playing for about a half hour, the main attraction arrived.  A fire truck pulled up to the front of the house carrying a volunteer firefighter who actually works at Patrick's preschool.  He had no idea it was coming, so the look on his face was priceless as they drove up with the siren on. 

The next little while was spent letting the kids play on the truck, talk to the firefighters, have their pictures taken with them, etc.  They turned on the hose and let the children take turns spraying the water out, and they also let the kids try on some of their heavy gear.  Great photo opportunities! 

When the novelty of the firetruck started to wear off, we gathered everyone for a couple of other activities.  We had the firefighters explain stop, drop and roll to them, and then we had them all practice it in the grass.  They loved it, and it was really funny to see that many kids just rolling in the grass.  

Next, I called everyone's attention to the chalk drawing of the burning house and asked the children what we should do about it.  They said that it needed water, so I brought out our wagon loaded down with water balloons (about 200 of them).  They threw the balloons at the drawing to put out the fire, and the drawing mostly disappeared.  I wasn't sure how that would work beforehand, but the kids loved it and it worked great. 

Next it was time for cake and ice cream.  I used the fire engine cake idea that is posted on FamilyFun.com but added my own ideas to it.  I made the engine mostly white with just one red section and red accents (too much red food coloring really makes my stomach churn).  Patrick had even told me that he wanted a white fire truck like some of the ones that he sees around our town. 

I then constructed a brick wall with windows by using those little layered cookies with royal icing as the mortar.  I melted Starburst candies (red, yellow, and orange) and shaped them into flames then attached them to the windows with royal icing to make it look like a burning building. 

Then I got two little firefighter figures (playmobil) that came with a fire hydrant and hoses, and I set them up like they were standing next to their fire engine (cake) putting out the fire on the wall.  It turned out really cute (if I may say so myself!).  I wasn't sure that the one recipe of cake would be enough to go around, so I also made a batch of cupcakes topped with white icing and some more flames made of starburst.  The party favors were the fire hats and fire hoses (with a tag on them that said thank's for helping me put out the fire and the same fire truck picture.  The kids had a ball, and I think that the firefighters did as well.  I took them each a gift certificate and a plate of cookies to the station the next week.   

As a note to end with:  I tried for a couple of months to figure out how to get a real fire truck to the party, and the city fire department said that they could not do that.  I had pretty much given up on it and had plenty of activities planned to have a party without a fire engine there. 

About one week before the party, I found out that the man from Patrick's school was a volunteer firefighter for the parish (county) fire district.  I called him, and he said that the parish fire dept. (that's like the county in other states) is happy to visit birthday parties, and he would be glad to work out the details for me.  I don't think that I even realized that there were two separate fire districts in the area. 

So if you are trying to figure out a way to get a fire engine to your child's party, keep after it until you exhaust all possible options.  You never know when you might stumble upon a lead!

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