Thomas Tank Engine -5yr- Activity Stations
HT in Torrance, CA
We rented the recreation room from the local parks and rec department in our city since our house isn't really suited for entertaining large groups. It was about $130 for three hours.
My wife was in charge of food and invitations. She made invitations into the shape of tickets like many of previous posts had mentioned. Parents RSVP'd by either calling us or e-mailing us. We set up an e-mail account entitled Sir Topham Hatt. Many of my son's classmates thought it was cool that they could e-mail Sir Topham Hatt. It was also an easy way to dispense information or ask questions to those parents who e-mailed us. We also e-mailed the parents a link to the internet photo album we created after the party.
For decorations, I got butcher paper and painted tracks that would encircle the entire rec room which would be a guide for kids to stop at certain stations. We had a total of seven stations.
Station #1 was a place for people to drop off presents and make customized Thomas cups. We got smooth red plastic cups and cut up some old stickers from my son's old coloring books. Along with some foam sticky letters, kids were able to make customized party cups.
At Station #2, kids could make trains out of pre-cut pieces that we bought from Oriental trading and the end product was a photo frame shaped like a train that could be placed on the fridge.
Station #3 was the Thomas Calendar table. We printed out Thomas Calendars from dltk.com that kids could color. I made them on cardstock so they could be a little sturdier. I originally thought about having them color and cut out Thomas masks (thomasandfriends.com), but I thought it was a little too difficult for this age group. I made one for my son, and he liked it though.
Station #4 was the cookie decorating station. I made train shaped sugar cookies and kids decorated their own cookies and ate them.
Station #5 was the Thomas tattoo station. I just left some tattoos that I bought in bulk (again from Oriental Trading) with some spray water bottles and hand towels. Parents helped their kids put them on, although many of the kids could do it themselves.
At station#6, kids could make customized foam bookmarks. I had foam letters and geometric shapes, and many of them ended up making trains instead of bookmarks.
Station #7 was the photo op station. This was the one thing I was most proud of. I used an old teacher's trick where I made a transparency of one of my son's Thomas coloring pages. I shined it against some butcher paper, and traced the life size image onto the paper. I then colored it in. The picture was of Tidmouth Sheds with James, Percy, and Thomas. I cut out the faces of the trains, so that kids could put their heads through the holes and I had a family friend take pictures. I did the same thing with Sir Tophamm Hatt as well.
I then glued the pictures to large pieces of cardboard so that they could be free standing. The kids and the loved it. Although when some kids wanted to take group pictures, they were fighting" over who would be Thomas. Let's just say we had to take several pictures with kids rotating trains. A lot of the dads who came to the party posed as Sir Topham Hatt.
I created a lot of stations because we invited a lot of kids and didn't want there to be a log jam at any one place. By the way kids didn't have to follow the tracks they could walk anywhere they wanted. Some did however follow the tracks faithfully. If you don't have as many guests you won't need as many stations. We also brought my son's train table and set up the tracks and the kids played with trains for a bit. We took a whole bunch of his other trains put it in a large clear container and whoever guessed the correct number of Thomas trains in the container won movie tickets.
In the center of the room was the main eating table. Parents were able to sit down while watching their kids because we were in a relatively confined area. Since we were at a park some parents let their kids outside to play on the playground equipment. The food was typical finger foods: chicken nuggets fruit and vegetable tray chips & dip etc. The cake was from the local bakery with a Thomas image on it. The favor bags were just simple bulk toys that we got from Party City but the kids appreciated the crafts more. My wife and I could've saved us some money if we knew that.
We played some simple games "Pin the Number on Thomas" "Thomas Piñata" and Spilt Coal. I divided the kids into four teams. I painted four boxes to look like "troublesome trucks" and painted black marshmallows as coals. Each kid got a spoon and they used them to pick up as many pieces of coal and place them in their designated truck. The team that got the most pieces got to choose from the treasure chest. It didn't happen but I was scared that kids would try to eat the marshmallows.
It was a lot of work but I was happy to do it since it was my son's first real birthday party. Let's just say that he's not gonna get one like this until he's ten. I'm a teacher and so I got a lot of help from my students who volunteered to help me with the prep work."
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