Idea No.

11884

Train Party -4yr - Clickety Clack Book

Award

Date

August 2005

From

Allison in Shreveport, Louisiana, USA

Special Mention

Train Party

My two boys are fanatical choo-choo enthusiasts, and their birthdays are only 4 weeks apart, so we decided to have a train party for the two of them together.  For my 4-year old it was the third year in a row that he has had a train party, so we wanted to make it really special. 

For the invitations, I made an official-looking logo on my computer that said (Last Name) Railways, Inc.  Home of Stewart the Steam Engine and Patrick the Puffer Train with our address underneath.  I found a great-looking line-art steam engine online.  I colored one blue (using MS Paint) and put a big 4 and the name Stewart on the side and another one green with a 2 and the name Patrick on the side.  I added those to the logo and printed them on the back of letter size grey envelopes to look like official ticket-holders. 

The tickets were made from card stock cut into three strips.  I printed them with a similar logo turned sideways on the end them the ticket said.   The bearer of this ticket is entitled to a ride on one of our steam trains.  Stewart the Steam Engine will be heading down track #4.  Patrick the Puffer Train will be chugging along track #2.  Then I had all of the party details passenger name, date, departure time, station name, station location. 

Below that Engine wash-downs will be offered a no additional charge.  Please dress accordingly, as (Last Name) Railways, Inc. cannot take responsibility for garments which become wet or soiled.  Please contact the stationmaster to confirm your reservation or for directions to the station (phone number).  I printed separate tickets for each child in each family.  They really looked like tickets, and the kids loved receiving them.  

Both of my boys wore their train conductor hats, and their 6-year old sister wore her pink conductor hat.  Most of the party took place in our garage, and we hung birthday banners on the walls and tied balloons all around.  We also hung my son’s train clock on the garage wall.  Each hour is marked with a different train, and it chimes the hour with the sound of the train for that hour.  It was fun to hear the chimes during the party.  When the guests arrived, they turned in their tickets to my daughter who designated herself the ticket-taker.  The tickets were printed with the name of each guest, so later in the party we used the tickets for a drawing for a couple of door prizes (Thomas coloring books, Thomas story book).

The main attraction at the party was the real train ride.  A friend made it for his grandchildren out of hollowed out barrels and let us borrow it.  It was 5 barrels attached together and hooked up to a four-wheeler.  We drove the children around the neighborhood in it.  I think that the adults who rode it had as much fun as the kids.  We had about 30 children, and the train held about 10-12 at a time, so we had to have some activities for when they were waiting on the train.  We set up all of the boys’ wooden train tracks in our driveway and even borrowed some from a couple of neighbors, so we had practically a whole city of train tracks and all sorts of trains for the children to play with. 

We also filled up two big wading pools.  Between the pools we had a big sprayer made out of PVC pipes that they could run through and pretend that they were engines going for a wash-down.  To complete our engine wash-down station, we had about 8 huge auto sponges that they could use to wash each other down.  (Louisiana is way too hot in August for an outdoor party with no water!)  The children had so much fun in the engine wash-down that many of them almost forgot about the train ride!

We also set up a craft table in the garage.  I had made a blue engine and a green engine out of craft foam and clipped them with clothes pins onto a string that I had put up along the wall.  I also made a red caboose and clipped it to the other end.  Each of the children then took a 4x6 index card and decorated it as a box car and put their name on it.  They used markers, craft foam, pom poms, stickers, craft sticks, stamps, etc all the craft supplies I could find in my house. 

When they finished their box cars, they clipped them onto our train with clothes pins.  It made a great decoration for the party, and when I took them down from the garage, I put them on the wall in our playroom.  Now the boys have a train with each of their friends’ names on it, so it’s a great conversation piece in our playroom. 

After everyone had a chance to ride the train a couple of times, get wet, play with trains and make a box car, I gathered everyone around and read the book CLICKETY CLACK which is a great rhythmical story that lends itself well to audience participation. 

Then it was time to cut the cakes.  I made two separate cakes in the shape of steam engines with a 3-D cake mold.  I used blue icing on one and decorated it in red and yellow with Stewart’s name and a #4.  For the other, I used green icing and put Patrick’s name with a #2.  I used Oreos for wheels, and put their candles in the smokestacks.  They turned out really cute, and the boys loved them.  

After cake and ice cream everyone stayed for a little while to ride the train again and play in the water some more.  No one wanted to leave!  The kids all had a blast, and I think that the parents did too.  For party favors, I got plain brown paper sacks.  Inside each was a Thomas tattoo, a plastic whistle shaped like a train, some sweet treats, a box of crayons (which I had found at Target for 10 cents each!), and a little train activity book that I made for each child using some printouts that I found online.  I printed the cover on white cardstock.  It had a larger version of the two steam engines that were on the tickets, and it said The Adventures of Stewart the Steam Engine and Patrick the Puffer Train. 

Inside, I printed a few pages of train-themed dot-to-dot, color by number, mazes, etc.  On the back, I printed a picture of the boys and Thanks for riding the rails with us.  Your buddies, Stewart and Patrick.  I also printed out a bookmark on card stock for each child that had an engine and boxcars that each had a letter on them to spell the child’s name.  I tied a red string to the bookmarks and then tied the bags closed with those so that the bookmarks were the tags on the bags. 

The kids loved the favor bags, and many of the parents told me that their children were very enthusiastic about doing the activities in the books. We didn’t open gifts during the party because there were too many children, and it would have been chaotic with both of my boys receiving gifts.  For thank you’s, I printed cards with the same train logos on them. 

The party was great fun for everyone, my boys loved it, and I really enjoyed planning it!

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