Thomas Party -1yr- PBJ Train Sandwiches
Cherie in Granada Hills, CA USA
I'm a huge fan of Thomas the train so for my son's first birthday I decided to make it the theme of the party.
Invitations: I took a picture of my son in an engineer hat, blue stripped overalls and wearing a red bandana around his neck. I had a picture of Thomas in front of him and train tracks all around the border. With the wording of Make tracks to Amar's 1st Birthday Party. Train Depot located at: Our address. RSVP to the station master: My Mommy . These were professionally done I found them on ebay. They were printed on actual photo paper and everyone called to say how cute they were. I made return labels on the computer with Thomas on one side and our address on the other. I also made labels for the back of the envelope that read " All aboard ! Amar's Birthday Express" These I used to seal the envelope shut.
The party was 4 hours long so I had planned for 2 snack times. One set of snacks I had laid out so people could eat as they came and the other I laid out after the activities. For the first snack I had peanut butter and jelly sandwiches cut in shapes of trains. Sugar cookies shaped as trains that I had made, outlined in blue icing and wrote every kids name on each one. With a sign that said "Engineer's find your cookies!" The kids loved searching for their cookies.
I also had made Thomas molded chocolate lollipops. I used a Thomas the train mold I found on ebay. I wrapped each lollipop in clear plastic and tied it with blue and silver ribbon. The lollipops were then stuck (using floral Styrofoam) in a silver tin bucket. I had 4-5 buckets placed all through the snack table. I also made rice crispy squares. For the adults I had my mom help out and make tandoori chicken, and Chaat (famous Indian snack. Indian style Tortilla chips topped with yogurt, chutney and spices).
It was an extremely hot day, so we planned for lots of drinks. We served Mango smoothies (homemade), lemonade, blue colored punch as well as the usual coke and sprite. For plates and cutlery I bought the Thomas themed plates, cups, napkins table cloths and clear cutlery. I had a circus train that had 3 compartments that you could put animals in from the top, but I took the animals out and put spoons in one, forks in the other and napkins in the third. Everyone thought that was the most creative thing! Next to the 'Cutlery' Train was a sign that read 'Express Café'.
Decorations: I purchased Thomas the train Mylar balloons and red, blue, yellow balloons. I made bouquets out of these. One Mylar in the middle surrounded by a few latex balloons and placed them on the floor all around the room. I made signs out of paint sticks that read "Railroad crossing" and placed them in silver tin buckets with coal around them. I got the paint sticks from home depot (free) painted them white and then used the glue gun to make the X. These were placed at the cake table on each side of the cake.
I also made train tracks on the floor starting at our drive way and going through the garage and into the house. The tracks were made from painters tape. In between the tracks I made signs on the computer that read "Amar's Birthday Express" "All Aboard" "Toot Toot". So after every few empty tracks I put a sign. Every table was covered with a Thomas the train table cloth and had Thomas trains on the side or in the middle. I was lucky that my son recently received trains as gifts and I could put them all around the house. I also had a parents sign-in sheet, that read " Dear Parents, please leave your email address so the station master can email you pictures of the party" This was good for me so I didn't have to call around to get the emails.
The main room for the party was our garage. We totally cleaned it out and what we couldn't clean out we stuffed to one side. I then got fabric with traffic lights from the local sewing shop and hung the fabric from the ceiling so you couldn't even see the junk that was left over on the side! Nobody knew there was stuff behind the curtain we had stapled the fabric so well. Plus I didn't want any children going back there and getting hurt.
The other side of the garage wall I covered in brown paper and stamped with trains. I got a rubber stamp from Michael's and blue and red paint. I alternated the colors. Also on the wall I made a huge yellow railroad sign out of yellow poster board that I got at Wal-Mart. I cut it in a circle and with a really thick marker made an X and put two R's one on each side of the X. As well I had a Train Happy Birthday Banner hung on the wall. It took me 2 days to finish the wall but it added so much to the theme of the party, it was perfect.
As everyone arrived I had Thomas coloring pages for the kids to keep busy and I had bought supplies to make foam bookmarks that they could decorate with other foam pieces. I had made a sign that read "Art Ville" and had Thomas's picture on the side. As well we had a "Tattoo station, again I made the sign on the computer. They could also snack on the sandwiches, cookies etc as they kept busy.
Half hour into the party the train arrived. Yes the Train- we had rented a trackless train for the party which was the highlight of the party. The train could seat 24 people so even some of the adults could go with their kids. The train left from in front of our house and went around the block. The Engineer (driver) was really good, he got the kids involved by singing and shouting Hooray! Etc Every child got a Thomas the Train Visor and a plastic train whistle. At first I wasn't going to get the hats but it was so hot that day I decided it would be better for the kids. The train was with us for 2 hours and everyone got to go on the train more than once, the whole time they were blowing their whistles.
At the end we brought everyone outside and took pictures with the train. Even the Grandma's and older aunts and uncles had fun. By the way did I mention it was a party for 75 people. My husband and I have a huge family and we had to plan for the young and mature to have a good time. My son was dressed in overalls and his engineer hat just like the train driver, which made for a cute picture. I kept the coloring pages, tattoos and bookmarks out the entire party so while kids were waiting for the train to come back they had something to do, but I noticed that even some of the parents made bookmarks for themselves.
I had my two elder nieces in charge of the coloring station, bookmark station and tattoo station. I bought Engineer hats for them so everyone would know that they were helpers at the party. They also wore jeans and had bandanas coming out of their pockets. I also had a pin the #1 on Thomas , which is just like pin the tail on the donkey. And had made a bean bag toss game for kids to throw bean bags into the hole of a thick cardboard. The cardboard was covered with pictures of different types of trains. This kept the kids very busy.
After the train left we had snack number 2 which was macaroni and cheese and popcorn chicken for the kids and Chinese spring rolls and noodles for the adults. Everyone was hungry from all the fun and it was hot outside so they appreciated the second snack. After the second snack we cut the cake. I had made the cake myself. It was a 3-D stand up of Thomas on a round sheet cake. I used Oreo’s for the wheels and in the window I had written my son's name on both sides. Thomas was placed in the middle and I had grass (made of icing) coming out all around him and all around the bottom of the cake. I used fondant icing for the face, eyes, mouth and eyebrows- so it looked very real. Nobody could believe that I had made the cake. I also served ice-cream in the shape of a train. I got 3 blocks of ice-cream scooped out a little from the top and filled them with candy. For the wheels I again used Oreo cookies and for the steam engine I used the top of an ice-cream cone. I had covered all the sides of the ice-cream blocks with colored sprinkles. The candy train turned out to be very cute.
After the kids had enjoyed cake and ice-cream, Piñata time was next. I had a Thomas the Train pull string piñata, I was afraid the kids would hurt themselves with the other kind. In the piñata I had tons of candy and wooden tops that my uncle had made. The kids loved the tops and I appreciated them because my uncle made them with love for his nephew's friends and cousins.
Once the cake was cut and the piñata was opened the guests started to leave. As they left I gave each kid their goody bag. I didn't buy the Thomas the train goody bags because I couldn't fit the all the stuff in the bags so I bought brown bags. The bags were bigger than the normal lunch bag size. I used the same rubber stamp that I used on the wall and stamped both sides of the bags with the train. It took time because I had to wait until one side dried before doing the other. I then made labels that said "Engineers Luggage- XXX child's name" and then the child's name.
I also made labels that read "Destination- City of XXXX" I filled in the XXX with whatever city the child lived in. So the bags had trains all over them, and small Destination labels all over them with one label at the top (after I rolled down the bag at the top) that said "Engineer's Luggage". The parents were really taken back with the effort on the goody bags. Inside I had Thomas stickers, Thomas blower, a pink train play set for the girls and blue train play set for the boys. I was lucky to have found these at the dollar store. As well I put one book about trains in every bag along with a little candy.
The party was a huge success. Everyone loved it. The best advice I can give-Start planning early.
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