Polar Express Party -7yr - Pajama Party
Karen in Campbell River, BC, Canada
Polar Express Birthday Party
My son's birthday is in December, so we decided to combine a Christmas and Train theme into one based on the popular Children's book, "The Polar Express".
The invitations: If you look on the internet at various train sites, or even search under "The Polar Express", you can find various clip art that is wonderful for invitations. I simply printed them off of the computer, making them look like boarding passes with all the birthday info. Tie a candy cane to it with some pretty gold ribbon, and there you go. The "address" is the "Train Station", at platform #..... Invite the kids to come dressed in their pajamas, since that's what happens in the story.
The decorations: Our house was already decorated top to bottom in Christmas stuff, but we cut out snowflakes out of the flat bottomed type coffee filters and hung them all over from the ceiling as well. Balloons, streamers, and a Happy Birthday sign were over where we would eat cake. Leading up to the door was a train track drawn with sidewalk chalk. In the yard were signs saying "Reindeer Crossing", "Welcome to the North Pole", and on the door: "Polar Express Train Station-Platform #530". We also had railroad crossing signs in the house and outside. Admission to the train was a can of food for the Food Bank.
I found it very hard to find any plain train type party goods where I live. I know that one can find them in the USA on the internet. So in place of train stuff, I simply cut construction paper placemats into the shape of a train engine, and used Happy Birthday party plates, napkins, etc. The children each got a cute plastic mug to drink out of that also went into their goodie bags. I scattered snowflake confetti all over the table, as well.
Cake: I cut a 9X13 inch cake into a train engine shape, frosted it with grey tinted frosting, and decorated it with M&Ms, jelly beans, and silver dragees. There are various types of train cakes you can make if you look around on the Net. We just had cake and ice cream; I didn't make more food since most of the kids usually don't even eat it. We had hot chocolate and apple cider to drink.
The best part of the party: We invited Santa! Didn't tell the kids though. Santa had a jingle bell just for each child, just like in the story, and he sat down and read "The Polar Express". Just imagine your child's face when they open the door and SANTA is standing there! A friend of ours asked someone he knew to do it for us. We were very touched. Each child got their picture taken with Santa, and we sent them with the thank-you notes.
The goodie bags: You can put all kinds of things in the goodie bags. I made up some ornament kits (great craft ideas on Familyfun.com), and included a mug with some homemade hot chocolate mix. Some candy, the jingle bell, and a note that said "You've been naughty so here's the scoop-all you're getting is snow man poop!" with some marshmallows. I figured that 6-7 year olds would appreciate the humor. Christmas stickers, and I even saw some wooden train whistles at the dollar store.
The bags themselves were just plain white paper bags onto which I drew a Railroad crossing sign, and the kid's names. I didn't want to make things too Christmassy, since it's a real birthday theme. And again, finding train stuff was impossible.
Games: For our party we went to the local pool, that was being completely decked out like Who-ville (the Grinch who stole Christmas), complete with The Grinch himself. So I didn't plan any games. However, here's some ideas jelly bean guess fill a jar with candy and have the kids guess how many are inside the winner keeps the jar AND the candy. Santa stuff divide the kids into two teams one child in each team must put on a large once piece underwear suit. The other kids have to stuff him with balloons to see which team can fit the most inside him/her.
Snow blowers: (I saw this in Family Fun)If you take some paper towel tubes, paint and decorate them, then divide the kids up they have to blow cotton balls into a cup-the 1st team to do it wins. Musical presents…wrap a small gift, put in another box, re-wrap, etc. Play it like hot potato, but the person who ends up with the gift gets to unwrap a layer. The last kid gets to keep the gift. Find the bell-in the story the boy loses the bell…you could do a scavenger hunt, and the items at the end are the bells!
Or if your kids are like my son and doesn't like to do games, you could either plan to make some ornaments, or decorate graham wafer houses/cookies. You may even want to make magic reindeer food-glitter, oatmeal, flax seeds. We had a lot of fun. Hope you do too!
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