Construction! -3yr- Putty Knife Serving Utinsel
LySa in Raleigh, NC
For my son's 3rd birthday, I was really strapped for a theme idea, so I just went to the "kids" aisle at the party store, getting ideas and narrowing down the choices. It had to be an indoor party because the weather was so hot, and the friends coming ranged in age from 18 months to 5 years, so it had to be safe and entertaining for everyone. I finally decided on a Construction theme, and it turned out great!
INVITATIONS: I bought the ones at the party store with construction vehicles on them. A few days after I sent them out, several friends and family members called to say they couldn't make it on that date (yikes!), but could make it the following Saturday. So I made up a simple sheet on my computer that said "Warning - Construction Delay Ahead" and noted the change in date for the party. Then I copied it on "construction orange" paper and mailed it to everyone on the guest list.
DECORATIONS: I found the yellow-and-black construction tape at the party store, and draped that like streamers in the party area. I also got some 12"x12" squares of paper(like for scrapbooking) and made signs for the party. What's nice is they can be used as squares or as diamonds, just like real signs. I made "zone signs" out of orange paper that said "Birthday Zone Ahead"(for the front door), "Present Zone"(for the present table), and "Fun Zone"(for the play area). I also made several "Children at Play" signs out of yellow paper, and a "Rest Area" sign out of blue for on the restroom door. It's a cheap, easy way to add some personality with just paper and a marker.
PARTY ACTIVITIES: With the kids all being different ages, I was trying to think of a fun activity that would work for all of them. I finally came up with the idea of turning the party area into a "building zone"(another sign!). What I did was gather up several of my son's toys that were building related - building blocks (3 sets), little trucks, tool kit, workbench, and even a few construction books and puzzles - and set up them up in the play area. It worked out really well - each kid got to do their own thing! I took pictures of each kid and their creation, and sent the photos to them in their thank-you notes.
REFRESHMENTS: One of my favorite things is menu planning, and for my son's party, I really got into the theme of it! I made simple labels for all of the refreshments to give the adults a chuckle. In large yellow bowls (upside down hard hats!), I served "Woodchips" (Sunchips) and "Nuts-n-Bolts"(it is like a chex mix snack, but it _really_ is called Nuts-n-Bolts!). I served "Spackle" (onion dip) and "Wood Putty"(hummus) with real (unused) putty knives stuck in them as servers.
I got a new 1-quart plastic paint cup and filled it with "Carpenter Pencils"(carrot sticks). To drink, we had pitchers of tea, plus Gatorade(the official job-site drink!) served in an orange-and-white igloo cooler, a mini version of the ones you see on workers' trucks. I got the plates, napkins, cups, etc. from the party store, all with the construction vehicles on them.
BIRTHDAY CAKE: The tablecloths that matched the partyware had construction vehicles on them. I decided to make a cake in the shape of the dump truck from the partyware. So I made a photocopy of the dump truck, then enlarged the copy until it would fit the cake I was making (12" x 18"). I cut out the dump truck, then toothpicked it to the top of the cooled cake layer and cut out the outline. Using thinned-down frosting, I spread a "crumbcoat" over the cake, basically to seal in the crumbs on the cut edges.
Then, using a toothpick, I drew out the basic shapes of the dump truck - truck body, "dumper", windows, wheels, grill, and bumper. Then I filled in each section with frosting, matching the color to the original, then outlined all the sections in black to really make them stand out. It came out so good - one of my favorite cakes I've made! Also, I found these tool-shaped candles at Michael's - hammer, pliers, screwdriver, etc. They were so cute!
PARTY FAVORS: When each kid arrived, I gave them a plastic yellow hard hat to wear. I had written everyone's name on theirs to prevent mix-ups later. I found the hats at the dollar store. They were sturdy plastic and had a ring so the hats could be adjusted to fit each kid's head. They were nicer quality and cheaper than the ones at the party store that didn't even adjust!!! (So shop around!)
For the goodie bags at the end of the party, it was the dollar store to the rescue again! I found little tool sets that each came with 2 tools, 2-3 screws or nails, and a piece of "wood" with 2-3 holes in it. They also had cute construction vehicles wearing a yellow hard hat. I also found some construction vehicle stickers at Michael's. I put all their goodies in a plastic "toolbox" and used alphabet stickers to put everyone's name on them.
This was a really inexpensive party to do - I got the partyware at a discount party store, I made construction paper signs as decorations, I used toys we already had for the party activities, and I created goodie bags using dollar store finds. But we all had a MILLION BUCKS worth of fun!!!!!!!!!!