Idea No.

16512

Thomas Tank Engine -3yr- Ticket Office

Award

Date

August 2007

From

Taunya in Houston, Texas, USA

Runner Up

Thomas Tank Engine

We just had my son's train party yesterday, and several people who had come to the party mentioned that I should submit this idea online so that others could enjoy it, and since I had originally checked here for ideas, and then expounded upon those seen here, I decided that maybe someone else might be able to benefit from few more ideas - so here it goes: Invites -- Much like the others mentioned on this site, the wording said All Aboard to Celebrate (Name's) 3rd Brithday Please meet us on (date) at (location - which just so happened to be at our house) Track #: (address)  Train Boards: (start time)  Returning: (end time)  RSVP to the Station Master (Mom's name number and email) I printed this on premade cards from Papers So Pretty.  These are cute invites but pricey.

Party Details: I love hosting parties at my house but I wanted the kids to be in some way self directed so that I didn't have to lead them around to each activity.  So I decided on having train stops or stations for the kids.  Before the party I had found a sticker book at Michael's craft store called Keeping Track of Thomas and in that book they had 5 train stop pictures.  So I took each of those and made a card that said " All Aboard!  Stop and complete the task at each Railway Sign and become A Really Useful Engine!"  Then below that were each of the 5 Thomas stickers - one with flags on it (identifying the Engine Shed) one with a a railroad crossing (identifying the train depot) one with a train on it (identifying the quarry) one with a suitcase on it (identifying the docks) and one with a ticket on it (identifying the ticket office)  I then took the card to a printer to have enough colored copies made for each of the guests at the party to use as a checklist.  Then I tried to duplicate each of the stickers on poster board to use as signs at each of the stations/stops.  So once the kids arrived at the party they walked up the sidewalk which had been converted to railroad tracks using blue painters tape and entered into the house. 

Upon entering they were greeted by my daughter who was manning the TICKET OFFICE - their first station/stop (which I created using a lemonade stand that I found at Target and covered up the lemonade sign with the Ticket Office sign I had made and the instructions printed on a poster beside the ticket office stating: "Welcome to (last name) station  We are so happy you are here.  Please take your boarding pass and board the train outside.  Once you have gotten to your destination find the cargo box that matches your boarding pass to receive your train gear and get this party started on the right track.") My daughter then gave each guest a boarding pass which I had made with blue cardstock cut out to look like a ticket (using jagged scrapbooking scissors) and various die cuts glued on it - a different die cut for each guest.  (For example: my son received a ticket with a frog on it his friend got a ticket with a caboose another friend got a ticket with a rocket ship etc) 

Then they went outside to board a trackless train that we had rented.  The train took them down the culdesac to find a cargo box.  These cargo boxes are actually just brown bakery boxes that I had stamped (my son's initials) Cargo Co. on the front of the box and on the top I had glued one of each of the die cuts - so that each child could look to find the Cargo Box that matched their boarding pass.  In the box was their train gear (an engineers hat red bandana wooden train whistle and their checklist) After finding their box and getting their gear they boarded the train again to return back to the house to finish up their checklist.  (One station down - 4 to go!) When they got back to the house they could choose to go to any of the other stations in whichever order they wanted. 

The rest of the stations were:  The ENGINE SHED: (instructions at the station stated: "Good Job! Thomas James Spencer Molly and James have all been very busy engines.  They all deserve a brand new coat of pain for all of thir hard work.  Please pick  a paper engine to paint.  Then roll as many trains through the pain and onto your engine as you would like.  When you are finished please place your engine on the paper with your name on it so that it will have a place to dry.") An area of floor was covered with butcher paper where they got to choose their own red/yellow/blue/light blue/green paper engine cut out. Then there were trays filled with various colors of washable tempra paint with one cheap wooden train sitting in each tray.  That way they could use the wooden trains wheels to pain designs on their paper train cut out.  I made sure to put a box of wipes nearby in case we had any painted fingers but it was all a pretty clean process because the kids could hold the top of the train while they rolled paint onto the wheels with very little mess.  The kids loved this!

The QUARRY: (instructions stated: "Oh no!  Those silly troublesome trucks have been very naughty.  They have spilled coal all over the tracks and now I need your help.  Please stand on the line and try to throw all of the coal back into the truck so that we can clear the line.  You are a very useful engine!  Once you fill the truck please empty it by the line for the next visitor.")  So at this station/stop I had put a silver metallic painted cardboard box that I made to look like a troublesome truck along with a blue painters tape line about 2 feet away from the box and about 20 beanbags that I had sewn with black fabric and beans inside (to look like coal)  The kids had fun throwing the bags into the troublesome truck.

The DOCKS: (instrcutions stated: " Uh Oh!  Cranky the Crane has dropped a cargo box full of treats and prizes into the sea.  Please help fish out some of the goodies before it is too late.  Cast your pole into the sea 3 times to see what you can find.")  My dad was hiding behind a blue piece of fabric that I had hung and each guest got to cast their line and receive 3 prizes. 1.) a small bag filled with magic grow beans - capsules you put in water and they grow to become some form of transportation - a bus plane train etc. 2.) a lollipop 3.)a bag of small M&Ms

The TRAIN DEPOT: (instructions stated: Please Help! Thomas James and Salty seem to have gotten lost somewhere along the branch line.  I need your help to find them.  Please board the train and try to find ONE of our many lost engines.  If you spot one blow your train whistle to let the engineer know when to stop so you can bring the engine back safely.  The ONE engine you find is yours to keep so try to find the one you like best.")  The kids got back on the trackless train outside and they went on another ride in search for little Thomas Percy and Salty water squirters that I had found at Target (They come in a pack of 3) and placed along the sidewalk and in the yeards of our neighbors.  (I had written a letter to each of our neighbors to let them know that this party was taking place at our home that their would be a tackless train and to be extra cautious when exiting their driveway and that there might also be several train party favors along the sidewalk which would be part of a party game. 

This little detail wound up being great because on our first pass down our street almpst every neighbor came out of their house to wave at all of the little ones as we passed by - it was super - and so were my neighbors!)  It wound up that if the train was full of passengers the engineer just stopped when he heard the first train whistle blow and then all of the kids deboarded and found their engines and then returned to the the train instead of the train having to start and stop a bunch of times.  But it was still so much fun for the kids to search for these little lost engines. Once all of the tasks were complete we had a bounce house in the back yard for the kids to play with and truly by the time everyone finished their tasks it was time to eat and have cake. 

My mom made a round cake with primary Thomas colors on it and then places a few engines on top.  It was very cute.  On the party tables were Thomas the Tank engine buckets full of pretzels and goldfish for the kids to snack on.  And to eat we had a watermelon fruit bowl (just take a large watermelon split it in half scoop out the inside to use as a bowl cut up the watermelon and other fruit and put inside the "bowl") chips/salsa veggies with ranch dressing chicken nuggets etc.

After cake and ice cream right before they had to leave they came to me with their completed checklist and received a cellophane baggie with a red green and blue train cookie inside -- all for being really useful engines! Overall the party was a huge success - I got a lot of compliments. I hope I have described everything well enough for you to understand.  Since I am such a visual person it is always easier to see pictures but hopefully you all get a good enough idea to understand what I am talking about and take these ideas and put your own stamp on your vert own PERFECT TRAIN PARTY!!!!"

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