Idea No.


Anil's Repair Shop 5yr - Paint Can Favors



April 2009


Patricia in London, United Kingdom

April 2009 Winner

Handy Manny Party

THE IDEA:  This year, my son turned 5, and he decided he wanted to have a Handy Manny and tools birthday party.  As opposed to just tossing up Handy Manny decorations and having food, we decided to make it unique to our son.  Thus, the idea of Anil's Repair Shop was born.  Handy Manny and his tools would soon be making a very special trip to help open Anil's Repair Shop.  

ANNOUNCEMENTS:  Having decided on a theme, Gammy (my mom) and I set-off to work.  First, I designed a website using our family domain that would be the online reference for our guests.  It included any electronic versions of announcements that we sent out by post, directions to the party venue, menus for the food, a classified add for handykids, employee announcements, and more.¨Next, I designed a save-the-date card.  The card had save the date spelled out in wood planks font, the date, and it read:  Get your tools ready.  Handy Manny and his tools are coming to Anil's Repair shop, and we need handy kids to help us build some birthday fun. 

For invitations, I designed personalized invitations that I had printed by a local printer.  I designed a frame of wood planks in the Handy Manny colors (green, red, blue, and yellow) and a wood grain background.  The text read:  Come on handy kids, we have a job to do!  Anil is turning five. Help us celebrate with Handy Manny and his tools.  Job Date:  April 15; Shift Hours:  11:30 am to 2:00 pm; Job Site:  Anil's Repair Shop, Venue information and address.  In a smaller font on a clip art of Manny's toolbox with tools, I printed:  Job site information available at There will be painting, building, and loads of fun.  Vests will be provided.  I also included an image of Manny. 

REPAIR SHOP PRODUCTS:  Twenty-six handykids signed on for employment at Anil's Repair Shop, and it was time to get the shop products (favors, crafts, and so forth) in order.  Although my son was the shop owner, it was clear we would need some capable shop managers to lead the handykids.  Having enlisted the help of my husband and friends, we decided they would be fitted with manager's uniforms.  Gammy had baseball caps and jerseys personalized with the brand Anil's Repair Shop.  The T-shirts read Happy 5th Birthday Anil on the front left shoulder and the back was a shop sign I designed for Anil's Repair Shop, essentially weathered wood plans with old nails with the shop name and slogan on it and a hammer and saw.  The birthday boy also had a baseball cap and T-shirt. 

The party favors were next on the list.  We didn't want to give away a loot bag of candy, so we decided to stay with the repair shop theme.  We purchased empty paint tins (a little larger than a gallon size), and I personalized each can.  Staying consistent with the shop branding, one side of the tin read:  This party tin has been specially created for Name.  Compliments of Anil's Repair Shop.  On the opposite site, there was a small note for each employee that read:  Dear Name, I hope you had a nice time at my party.  I am very happy you were able to help me celebrate turning 5!  This is a small token of my appreciation.  I hope you will enjoy it.  Thank you for making my day extra special.  Your friend, Anil.  The tin was filled with:  a ruler, erasers in the shape of tools, mini-flashlights, kids tape measures, stickers of tools, Handy Manny and his tools stickers, a magnetic doodle board, a hair-do-Harriet magnetic board (girls), a mini-bulldozer magnetic board (boys), a carpenters pencil, a box of chocolates shaped like tools (homemade using a chocolate mold), and an orange citrus cookie dipped in white chocolate (homemade using tools cookie cutters). 

Every handykid needs to be safe, so we provided the employees with uniforms the day of the party.  Each child received a safety vest.  On the back of the vest it read:  Anil's Repair Shop.  The front of the vest was personalized with the child's name and the crew they would be working with (see below).  These were easily made using T-shirt transfer paper.  Additionally, the children each received hard hats - yellow and pink.  They were also personalized with the shop name and child's name.  Outfitted and ready for building, the kids would need a project.  The boys each received wooden toolboxes which looked just like Manny's red box.  We assembled these prior to the party, and the girls received trinket boxes.  We supplied each kid with paints, brushes, stickers, jewels, and wooden letters which the boys used to spell their names on the toolboxes.  Using these supplies, the handykids were able to decorate a nice craft to take home.  

ANIL'S REPAIR SHOP DESIGN AND LAYOUT:  It was now time to get the shop in order for the grand opening.  Having hired a venue, it was easy enough to layout the room such that the adults could enjoy adult conversation, beverages, and a nice lunch while the children painted, constructed, and then enjoyed lunch in the employee canteen in a different area of the room.  For decorations, I kept with the colors red, blue, yellow, and bright green.  Gammy supplied all the great Handy Manny items such as plates and napkins, mylar balloons, blow outs, and much more.  We also had personalized balloons printed that read:  Anil's Repair Shop (with tools graphics) in yellow and red balloons that read Happy 5th Birthday Anil.  We also used construction cones to decorate and various road signs such as party area, work zone, stop, construction ahead, party ahead, and so forth. 

As the guests entered the shop, they were greeted by a large banner that read, Welcome to Anil's Repair Shop.  You break it We fix it!  The the employee registration table, each child received a vest and hard hat.  The children were all told which crew they would be working with for the projects.  There were three crews - a green crew, red crew, and yellow crew - each with a foreman. 

The parents were then able to retreat to the adult area.  The adult tables were covered with red cloths and each table had a bouquet of helium balloons as a centerpiece which were weighed down by a small orange cone.  The adult buffet included:  roasted corn-fed chicken breast with honey, soy, ginger and garlic; wild and jasmine rice salad with coconut, mango, crispy shallot, peanut and coriander;  roasted butternut squash with pine nut, cinnamon, coriander, chilli and lime yoghurt; French beans (and yellow beans) with chilli jam, parmesan, blood chard leaves and lemon; mixed new season and yellow tomato salad with fennel, red onion, dill and parsley;  strawberry and vanilla cupcakes; baked chocolate and hazelnut tart; lemon and mascarpone tart; parmesan and red onion focaccia; mineral and sparkling water, diet drinks, and red and white wine. 

Before the children set off to work, the shop manger did a quick role call and had the kids play a game of Manny says to help them warm up for the jobs ahead.  It was a good way to get the kids excited and to allow time for the last few children to arrive.  In the middle of the room, we taped off a very large area using orange cones and tape that read caution kids at work and kids party zone.  This area was marked off with signs that read kids at work as well.  Each of the four corners of the work area was decorated with a bouquet of helium balloons to give it a festive look.  Within the work zone, we marked off three crew areas.  Using large plastic table covers, I taped a red, yellow, and green cloth to the floor.  This helped the kids identify where they should sit based on their work crew, and it also helped to protect the floors from glue and paint.  On each floor cover, we set out the toolboxes, trinket boxes, and the paints and supplies in craft cups.  The kids were able to paint and decorate their boxes. 

After crew clean-up and leaving the crafts in the drying area, it was time to head to the building site.  Against one wall of the venue, we set up three building sites.  We again taped them off with caution tape and signs that read Construction site.  Caution:  Hard hat area.  Fortunately, the long wall also had three distinct areas that wet set-off by columns and the walls set in a bit.  The crews were each supplied with common household items such as boxes in various sizes, packaging tape, safety goggles, scissors, and kids tools such as hammers, tape measures, gloves, and screw drivers.  Each crew was given the task of building a whatever they wanted.  The key was working as a team and the goal was having fun!  We ended up with a castle, a skyscraper, and a semi-detached Victorian home. 

By this time, the employees were ready for some grub.  It turned out to be a beautiful day, and the venue we used had some magnificent ceiling to floor windows that lined an entire wall.  Along this wall, we set up the employee canteen for the children.  It included a long table for the kids to eat. We had place settings with all the Handy Manny essentials.  The birthday boy's seat was marked by a sign that read Handyman Anil and several Handy Manny mylar balloons.  The children enjoyed a lunch of pizza, hummus, carrot batons, and fresh fruit.  We also set the treats table along this wall.  The birthday cake and tools cookies were set on a table that had a big arch of balloons over it.  The arch was made from the red helium balloons that read Happy 5th Birthday Anil.

After lunch, it was time to collect the craft projects from the drying area.  For this, everyone received a personalized bag.  The kids were able to take home their projects and any supplies they wanted.  As the children left, they stopped by the employee payment and bonuses table.  The favor table had a large banner Handy Manny banner over it that read Happy Birthday Anil.   Here the children picked-up their paint tin filled with party favors, some helium balloons, and a big thanks for coming!  It was a fabulous party, and my son had such a wonderful time. 

We can't wait to see what next year brings.  As he get older, he becomes more imaginative.  No telling what next year will bring!  I hope these ideas will help others, and I look forward to visiting here again for more inspiration!

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