Idea No.

18099

Thomas Train -4yr- Candy Train Craft

Award

Date

June 2008

From

JENNIFER in CLARKSTON,MI USA

Special Mention

Thomas Tank Engine

I did a lot of research online and picked out the best ideas and formulated my party from there.  It was for my nephew who was turning four. 

INVITATIONS:  First of all, I made realistic looking Thomas-themed train ticket" invitations and passed them out a couple of weeks before the party. I included a note from the "conductor" asking the child to bring the ticket to the party.  I expected 20 children (boys and girls) to attend.   

DECORATIONS:  I kept the decorations simple.  I covered a few tables with a few solid red and blue table covers and one Thomas themed table cover for the main table. I bought a dozen balloons and two Thomas foil balloons and tied them in groups of three around the house. I bought a Thomas themed Happy Birthday banner and two Thomas swags and hung them in the main entry. And that was it! 

ACTIVITIES:  With so many children invited I punched a hole in the bottom of the ticket.  The plan was to direct each child to the stations and as the child completed each they get their ticket punched.  I planned out 5 "stations". In addition I set out Play-doh with a few tools and train cutters and molds at a kid's picnic table for any early arrivals to the party.  I also set-up many of the birthday boy's train sets in other areas of the house including a train table that was fully set-up. This also helped to handle any overflow at the craft stations.  I marked each station with a place card and a title. 

Station No.1 - Color Thomas party hats! I took a page from a Thomas coloring book and scanned it in my computer. I then printed it out copies on heavy cardstock and pre-cut it to make Thomas party hats that the children could color.  I punched holes at each end and inserted a pipe cleaner to fit to each child's head. I laid out lots of crayons so they can color with little mess. 

Station No.2 - Make Tracks! I found an easy train craft where blue construction paper trains were cut and glued onto black construction paper. I used three Styrofoam meat trays each containing different color paint (red yellow and green) and a toy train. The child was to run the train wheels through the paint and then onto the construction paper. I also provided cotton balls and glue to be added onto the picture as steam. I made sure there were a few white crayons lying around so that parents could put their child's name on it. 

Station No.3 - Get a Thomas tattoo! Easy enough. I provided lots of different Thomas themed tattoos as well as other boy and girl oriented tattoos for those that did not care for Thomas. Also I left out a couple of wet washcloths in a Tupperware container to make it easy for the mom's to apply the tattoos. 

Station No.4 - Make a Candy Train! All of the stations were a hit but this one was one of the best. Basically the train is made up of assorted candies: a pack of Juicy Fruit gum for the base a Lifesavers pack as the middle part a Hershey's miniature and a caramel as the conductor's cab an upside down Hershey's kiss as the smokestack and four round peppermints as the wheels.  I stuck scrapbooking glue dots onto each candy piece and separated them into individual bags for each child to assemble on their own.  All they had to do was peel away the paper revealing the glue dot and assemble accordingly. I set out a finished candy train as an example. Very little guidance was required except for a few of the younger children. The glue dots worked out perfectly because it had a strong bond. Children kept coming up to me asking if they could make one.   

PARTY SNACKS: From the moment the party began I had already set out all of the food since the party was scheduled from 11:30am to 2:30pm.  That way the guests could eat whenever they felt like it. I selected easy foods like pizza popcorn chips string cheese small individual packages of: Teddy Grahams animal crackers and Ritz bits a fruit tray and frozen yogurt pops (in order for it to stay chilled) and juice boxes. I set out water and pop for the parents.   CAKE After I felt that most of the children completed the majority of the stations we stopped to do cake and sing the birthday song.  I bought a mini pre-made cake that happened to have Thomas colors on it.  It was the perfect size.  After that we quickly moved on to the last station. 

GAMES: Station No. 5 - Cupcake Walk! This was by far the most fun for the children.  I had previously done this at my niece's preschool class party so I knew it would be a hit. Before the party I laid out 2 sets of stickers numbered 1-10 in 2 large circles on the floor. I stuck small squares numbered 1-8 in a conductor's hat. As the children walked along the circles to the music I'd pause the music and pick a number from the hat.  As groups of two children won they would get their cupcake and have a seat to enjoy it. 

As the numbers grew smaller I moved the rest of the children to one circle and continued the game until the last child won. Earlier in the day I had pre-scooped Neapolitan ice cream in foil cupcake liners and set them in the freezer.  This made it a breeze when it came time to pass out the ice cream to about twenty kids.  The children did not have to wait long after receiving their cupcakes before getting ice cream.  The moms thought it was the neatest idea.   Afterwards the children immediately when out to the backyard to play. Instead of bringing the children back in to sit for the opening of gifts we brought the gifts outside to the birthday boy.  It worked out beautifully even though that wasn't what I had intended. The children went back to playing until the end of the party.   

PARTY FAVORS:  Instead of giving out traditional party favors the crafts served as their party favors. So as each child arrived I handed them a small gift bag with their name on it. They took that with them throughout the party. And as they left I added a small bag of jellybeans with a card attached that said "Thank you for coming to Adam's birthday party!  We hope you had fun!"

THANK YOU NOTES I sent out thank you notes in the form of a music cd with a selection of Thomas songs.  I have to say the whole party was a huge success.  It went even better that I had envisioned.  I was so pleased.

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