Idea No.


Handy Manny Twins -4yr- Screw Driver Invite



May 2009


Lisa in San Jose, CA  USA

Runner Up

Handy Manny Party

My twin girls were turning 4 and I wanted something a little different. There were many trendy cartoon characters that had been featured at recent birthday parties we had attended, so we wanted something a bit different. They girls decided on Handy Manny because he hadn't quite taken off yet or become too popular in our area.  The only challenge was that our local stores had none of the supplies, so Handy Manny balloons, stickers, banners, plates, tablecloths, and napkins all had to be ordered from the internet. I added red, blue and green as the accent colors for everything else the cups, forks, streamers, and confetti for tables.  

INVITATIONS - Handmade invites were made out of brightly colored red, green, and blue cardstock with stickers of tools and Handy Manny. The invitation itself was on a 3x5 piece of cardstock that resided in a larger cardstock envelope. The top of the actual invitation had ribbons that were used to remove the invite from the envelope. The invitations were hand-delivered to 24 little friends of the girls, along with a rubber screwdriver that resembled Manny's screwdriver, Turner.   I added stick-on googly eyes so Turner looked like the real television character. The invites read, Come on friends, we have a job to do. Celebrate with Handy Manny and his tools too! Its K and L's 4th birthday, you see. Help us make it the best it can be. The (last name) construction site is where the fun will be on Sunday April 26th  shifts begin at 3. Time will be given for a dessert and coffee break. Don't forget your work clothes get ready to clean and rake. Contact the Shift Foreman if you are unable to report to work. No gifts please.  

DECORATIONS  We started with Do Not Enter yellow construction tape all over the front and back yard, streamers, dozens of helium balloons, and Handy Manny birthday banners. At a teacher supply store, I found construction cones that we put up the entry-way and in the front yard. We attached more cones to helium balloons and had those decorating the food table. Since I could not find Handy Manny pinatas, I purchased two generic ones. I took large Handy Manny paper plates and cut around the characters, then hot glued the many characters to each pinata. Worked perfectly! We had 6 tables one for food, one for dessert, and three activity tables, all of which had brightly colored Handy Manny tablecloths. When the children arrived, each received a nametag that said Handy (name) and I had the child's name written in. These were made on my computer and included Handy Manny insignias that I downloaded from the Playhouse Disney website.  

ACTIVITIES  At the onset of the party, one activity table had two dozen containers of Play Doh and more than 3 dozen assorted rolling pins, stamps, and tool-shaped cookie cutters that the children could play with until every arrived. About 25 minutes after the start of the party, the doorbell rang and a huge wrapped gift arrived. The twins opened the gift, surrounded by all of their friends. Inside was Pat who is Manny's hammer. All of the Handy Manny tools were part of a tool box set that I picked up at a teacher supply store.

I had stuck googly eyes on Pat, and he was attached to a note written to the girls from Handy Manny. The note read, Hope you are all having fun at the birthday party. I've sent Pat to help you all with a task. One of the most important things I try to do is put on a construction hat if I have to do hard work. You will all be doing some hard work today. I am sending Pat with some stickers of us and other construction items that you can use to decorate your hats. Inside the box were a construction hat for each child, personalized with a Handy (name) sticker on it, and an assortment of stickers that included tools, cars, trucks, and construction items.

About 10 minutes after the box was opened, the doorbell rang again and another gift was delivered. This time, the twins opened it and found Manny's saw named Dusty with eyes and a note from Manny. The note read, I heard that many of you like coloring, so its time for you to get started. I am sending Dusty to help you start coloring some really big pictures of me and my friends. Have fun!  I found downloadable coloring pages from the Playhouse Disney site and had them blown up to 3 foot by 4 foot posters one for each child. The children were coloring their posters all over the driveway with dozens of boxes of jumbo-sized crayons that don't break easily when used by little hands. When the children were finishing up their coloring, I brought out six saucers with bubble liquid and bubble wands that were used to make huge bubbles.

A few minutes later, another gift arrived. The girls opened the gift and included another note from Manny including his plyers, Rusty. The note read, Are you having fun? I sure hope so. I talked to Mr. Lopart and he says the school needs some new plants. Now you are going to do a bit of gardening. I am sending some flowers that are here with Rusty.  You can plant the flowers into your own pots and take them home. Maybe when they grow to be really big flowers, you can take them and plant them at Mr. Lopart's elementary school.  Don't forget to wash your hands when you are done. Have a parent help you. Have fun planting!    This activity included small pots and saucers, potting soil, stickers, and plants, including flowers, tomatoes, and zucchini. The kids each picked out the small plant they wanted and, with the help of parents, planted their selected plants in the pots, put stickers on the pots, and watered them the way Handy Manny would.

Shortly thereafter, the doorbell rang and yet another gift was delivered. Manny's tape measure Stretch was attached reading: I have one last activity for you. If you want to try something new, I am sending my friend Stretch who will has some really cool new painting pens. You can use them to spin and draw on round sheets of paper. Inside the box were paints and a spinner with round sheets of paper. When you take the spinner and move it, the paints can be dropped on and spread as the spinner spins, making really bright, colorful pictures. I purchased the spinner and paints from the teacher supply store, but later found out that paper plates in a salad spinner could likely have done the same thing. The parents and I  hung the newly painted pages out to dry on clothesline in the backyard, which added even more to the decorations.

When it was time to do the birthday cake, another box arrived. By now, each time the squealing was louder and the ripping off of wrappings was quicker. This time, I had the parents prepped and the grandparents with video cameras and cameras in hand. Inside the box were two large plastic dump trucks. Inside the back of each truck was a mini-birthday cake with candles on top, one for each of our daughters. I carefully pulled out each of the trucks and cakes, and everyone sang Happy Birthday to the girls. Once the candles were blown out, I brought out a cupcake cake that I had made at a local bakery. It was shaped like a football field covered with grass and had a plastic sheet with white icing that said Happy 4th Birthday on it. Also on the cupcakes were rubber tools (with googly eyes) and a mini Handy Manny figurine. The kids were so excited to see the different cakes and cupcakes and were soon covered with the yummy frosting! 

SNACKS -  We had a variety of snacks since the time of the party was after lunch and before dinner. We had veggie trays, cubed cheese, crackers, and a fruit tray. The juice boxes for the kids were all covered with handmade Handy Manny labels. We had mini hot dogs and veggie dogs in a clean, new paint tray. Another paint tray had mustard and ketchup, as well as paintbrushes to put the condiments on the dogs.  

FAVORS -  As each child was ready to leave, the twins gave them party favors. To start with, each child received a personalized bucket and shovel. The labels were identical to the Handy (name) ones the children were already wearing. Inside the buckets were a Handy Manny book, bottle of bubbles, box of jumbo crayons, and a container of Play Doh. Each item had a special label thanking the children for coming to the 4th birthday party. The bucket also contained a large candy bar with a Handy Manny label that I designed using pictures from the Playhouse Disney website and stickers that I had ordered for the party and scanned onto my computer. I tried to make sure that everything in the bucket, including the bucket, were items the children would regularly use. My husband and I really wanted to avoid the little toys that break and become a mother's nightmare to clean up.  

All in all, it was a great party. You know it's a success when four year olds can be overheard saying, This is the best party ever!  The only challenge now is how I outdo this party next year when the twins turn 5!

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