Racecar Extravaganza -3yr- Race Care Hot Dogs
Mary in North Ridgeville, Ohio, USA
We just celebrated one of my sons' third birthday with a "Birthday Racecar Extravaganza". It was a big hit and a lot of fun to plan!
I printed his invitations on the computer on to paper with a black and white checkered border and a large red racecar at the top. They read, "Announcing ... (our last name) Speedway's Birthday Racing Extravaganza -- The Joshua 3.00! Rev up your engines and race on over to win the title of Joshua's Esteemed Birthday Guest! (Date, time, and location) Please, return the enclosed entry form or call(phone#) to register." For child guests, I enclosed "entry forms" asking for name, division(age), choice of racecar color(red, blue, or yellow), and their racecar number(any one or two digit number, except 3 which belonged exclusively to the birthday boy). I also enclosed self-addressed and stamped envelopes to ensure their return.
To decorate, I strung black and white checkered pennants around our family room and then hung racecars pictures down from the ceiling that I cut from a magazine, pasted on poster board and cut out. The kitchen was decorated with checkered pennants and red, blue, and yellow balloons. I draped white bed sheets from the ceiling to make it appear as a "hospitality tent". Black and white checkered pennants lined the fence of our backyard and clusters of red, yellow, and blue balloons. Using black and white checkered flags, I outlined a 50 foot "racetrack" in the yard and used spray paint to draw the Start/finish line. The sidewalk to our house was also lined with racing flags.
ACTIVITIES -- 1)Vanity plates - Upon arrival, the children were directed to the family room to make vanity license plates for their racecars. I cut various color foam sheets into appropriate size rectangles and painted "Joshua's Birthday" across the top and the date of the party on the bottom. I provided stickers for the children to decorate their license plates and self-adhesive foam letters to put on their names.
2)"Contract a Sponsor" - Ahead of time, I drew pretend sponsor logos on poster board and cut them out. The "sponsors" were things to do with birthdays and parties(i.e. Cakemart, Balloonco, Confettios, Streamers, Yearwiser,etc.). The children tossed bean bags and whatever logo their bean bag landed on was their sponsor. They took the logo to put on the front of their racecars.
3)"Find your number" - I gave them the numbers they chose on their entry forms cut out of neon poster board. They had to find the matching number which I had hidden in our living room. They each then had two numbers to put on either side of their car.
4)"Prepare your Racecar" - The children were directed outside to decorate their racecars. Using bankers boxes, I cut out the bottoms, spray painted them the colors the children chose on their entry forms, attached elastic straps for their shoulders, black construction paper circles for the wheels and a styrofoam plate with a brass fastener for the steering wheel. The children attached their sponsor logos, numbers and vanity plates to the car and then decorated them with foam hearts, stars and other symbols that I provided.
5)"Gear Up" - When their cars were complete, I gave them each a racing helmet(purchased from Birthday Express) and took instant Polaroid pictures of them in their cars. I attached the pictures to pit passes I made prior to the party(On cardstock, I printed, "Official Pit Pass for Joshua 3.00" and their name and car number. I also typed beneath their name and number, "Esteemed Birthday Guest Cup Winner.")
6)"The Starting Line" - On a piece of poster board, I drew a starting line and made racecars from paper numbered one through ten. On the board and back of racecars, I attached Velcro circles. The children took turns lining the cars up at the start line in order from one to ten (Younger children could just line them up miscellaneously). This activity could be done at any time during the party.
7)"The Joshua 3.00" - After the pictures were complete, the children lined up at the start line of the "racetrack" in their "cars" and were told to rev up their engines(make noises with their mouths). At the firing of a cap gun, they took three laps around the track and were awarded with winner medals at the end. The kids really enjoyed the race, and actually raced several times for fun.
8)"Pit stop" - Using two Little Tikes coupes, I attached construction paper circles to the wheels and put plastic cups on the back for gas tanks. Two at a time they raced to see who would be the first to "change the tires"(with different color circles provided) and "fill up the gas tank" using a pitcher of water. They loved this!
9)"Repair the track" - I planned this activity but did not set it up due to the threat of rain. Using about 50 feet of cardboard(13 2ft wide, 4ft high boxes) to create a race track, I cut out two holes per child of different shapes and sizes. I intended to give each child two of the cut-outs and have them find the holes in which they fit.
For lunch, I served "racecar dogs" -- hot dogs with carrot slices attached to the bun with toothpicks for wheels, a triangle of cheese placed on the back for the tail, and number threes piped on the sides with ketchup. I also had ham and cheese sandwiches, macaroni and cheese, potato salad, baked beans, Jell-O salad, and a fruit and veggie tray. For the cake, I used Wilton's 3-d coupe pan and decorated it like a racecar with the number three on it. I then placed the car cake on top of a 13x18 sheet cake bordered with black and white checks.
Party favor bags included two die cast racecars, a flashlight keychain, a checkered race flag, racecar stickers, Hotwheels fruit snacks, Edos moldable candy and a Nestle Crunch bar. The kids also had their "racecars", medals, helmets, and pit passes with their pictures to take home.
It really was a very fun party to plan and execute, and the children looked adorable in their helmets and homemade cars "driving" around our backyard. I was so pleased the weather held out for us!
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