Firefighter's Birthday -4yr- Cardboard Fire Truck
Kirsten in Bethesda, MD
For my son’s 4th birthday we threw a small firefighter’s birthday party -
INVITES I made invites w/ die-cut firetrucks from the local craft store (Yellow cardstock folded in half w/ embellished firetruck on front). Outside read - Sound the Alarms! Jonah is turning 4. Inside was inspired by a previous submission - Get the hoses ready, and plan to douse, the birthday candles at our firehouse. Put on your hats and firefighter gear. Come celebrates Jonah’s 4th year. Then - Firefighter Training. Jonah’s Firehouse. Date, time etc. Don’t forget to sound the alarm and let us know if you’ll be here. When the kids arrived they were given navy t-shirts (craft store) onto which I’d sewn real firehouse patches (found them in bulk from various region on E-bay). They boys still wear these to school a year later. There was an inflatable fisher price fire truck and a firetruck Id made from a refrigerator box.
HOMEMADE FIRETRUCK: This was a huge hit but admittedly a bit overboard (crafty moms will have fun with this) - I painted the outside red and cut a large hole in front and two side windows. The cardboard that I cut in front I folded down and used as a dash board onto which I secured two cardboard steering wheels with plastic bottle caps as horns (glue gunned screws attached to the wheels let them really turn. I put assorted plastic caps between the two steering wheel - they actually turned - I used a glue gun to attach screws and punched them through the cardboard dash as well. Inside the box I put two chairs. On the outside of the box I had a silver bumper and long rectangular box on top spray painted silver for the lights.
ON one side of the truck was a fake ladder - wrapping paper tubes w/ toilet paper tubes for the steps - again spray painted silver. This was glued to the truck to the boys disappointment. On the other side was a panel with more plastic lids to turn, water pressure gauges (round white paper w/ slash marks) and hose attachments (shaving cream plastic lids). I made hoses from the cheap gray piping insulation tubes found at Home Depot. I then glued blue and silver mylar tinsel (for making gift baskets) in the end of the tube for water and used black duct tape at the to look like a nozzle. These actually fit into the shaving cream lids so the boys could hook up their hoses to the truck.
ACTIVITIES: In keeping w/ firehouse b-day we decided to be somewhat educational.
1) We talked about what firefighters wear and then had a get dressed like a firefighter relay race (no winner - more like get dressed really fast). There were childrens firefighter coats (I borrowed from other moms), clunky adult boots, adult gloves, plastic firehats, and their hoses. They were hilarious trying to get on and maneuver the adult boots and gloves. We then let them play for while in the firetruck.
2) Talked about smoke and needed to crawl low under smoke - we took clothesline, cut it into several long pieces to which we tied black streamers (smoke). A couple adults then held the clothesline and shook the smoke while the boys practiced crawling low underneath it to and EXIT sign. We were surprised how long this activity lasted.
3) Safe to Play vs Stay Away - We talked about things that were safe to play w/ and things that were dangerous to play w/ (matches, lighters, gas grill, electric tools, stove . . .). They then had a scavenger hunt to look for the birthday cake using this information. They were handed an envelope with two pictures in it - one was a picture of something safe to play with that was in our house. The other was dangerous - stay away. They were then instructed to go to the thing that was safe to play with in our house where the next clue was. (e.g. - picture of real stove vs picture of children kitchen set or Matches vs easel) Each envelope had a child’s name on it so noone would feel left out of opening an envelope (side note - good chance to use developing skill of recognizing own name).
4) Firetruck piñata.
CAKE: The cake was inspired by another reader and familyfun.com. Looked like a firetruck which was supported by cake columns w/ oreos on the end, licorice ladders on the side, gum drop lights and sirens. - Taking red all the way I used red velvet cake which surprised the boys as it is not a common cake in this area. Party favors were the items the boys accumulated throughout the party - shirts, hoses and hats.
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