Idea No.


Planes Trains & Automobiles -3yr- Transportation Party



November 2013


Charis in Rochester, UK

Special Mention


My soon to be 3 year old is an absolute car fanatic, he knows all the makes and models and is just obsessive! He does enjoy any form of transport though, so I am hoping this theme will be perfect for him for his party next month.

INVITATIONS:  For the third year running we copped out and simply created a facebook event- it's by far the easiest way for us at the moment, although I suspect next year when my son starts pre-school and I no longer know all his friends parents the dream will be over! 

DECORATIONS:  We've ordered some transport themed mylar balloons (thomas the tank engine, mickey mouse and pals in a hot air balloon, a car shape, and postman pat in his van- a concession to his newest obsession- well, it's a vehicle after all!). The party is going to be divided into areas- basically we'll have his wooden train track set up (station") his play airplane and airport set ("airport") his aquaplay and playmobilz ferry ("docks") "services" will be his cozy coupe petrol pump and of course the eating area/ area for adults to sit and watch the kids playing. We'll also have "park" (a slide swing trampoline and also his playmobil park set).

We'll also have "superstore" (some food packets set out on shelves from inside my cupboard- those shelves that tier the food so you can see it more easily- plus his shopping trolley with a dolly in the seat we would have a till too but that's part of his birthday present and the party is before but never mind). There will be "library" (some transport themed books/ stories and also quieter activities eg peg puzzles jigsaws colouring pages and crayons. I am also planning to use coloured card to create a backdrop for a sort of mural will use black card for the road green for grass blue for water different blue for sky (with some white clouds) then I have bought a pack of 108 transport themed stickers from uk craft company online yellowmoon. I will let kids stick stickers and draw on the mural if it turns out well we can put it up in my sons room after the party).

I am also considering having a small sandpit with toy diggers barriers cones etc in and labeling it "roadworks". We had a diggers and dumpers party last year and the big sandpit we had went down a treat so I am tempted to do it again but equally don't want to re-use ideas too much. We will also have the "speedway" (basically pull back cars on a hard floor area) and the hall we are hiring has childrens play tables printed with a roadmat design (including buildings etc) so we'll have matchbox cars out here for them to play with. Also 'parking"- his toy garage.   As the guests enter there will be a sign saying "Welcome to Littleland thank you for driving carefully" (this is the wording on signs as you enter/leave villages in the uk the sign colour/font etc will be designed to replicate these signs too). Then in front we will fashion a sign with labeled arrows pointing to the various areas mentioned above (station etc- again designed to replicate uk road signs).

I am thinking of a broom stick or similar with the signs stuck on held upright in a bucket of oasis- that stuff used in flower arranging. May even use black card with white strips to fashion a roundabout around it. It's important all the decorations are portable as it's being held in a community centre and we have limited time to set up so can't take ages taping up streamers etc. Have also seen a great idea for traffic light balloons on pinterest- basically red orange and green surrounded by black balloons. We'll just be using primary colours for tableware to save money although may get a transport themed table cloth.

ACTIVITIES:  Largely free play as the oldest child will be 4 and the youngest only a few months (the majority are just under 3). In addition to all the toys set out above we will of course have lots of vehicles dotted around- happyland bus complete with figures fire engine wow toys campervan and helicopters barbie cars x 2 postman pat vehicles playmobil vehicles plus a couple of bits for the babies- baby aeroplane toy one of those little steering wheels etc. Plus cosy coupe car and a police ride on although I am concerned there may be fights over these! 

GAMES: One of the party favors is a largeish book and I don't want to have massive party bags simply to accommodate these so am thinking of having pass the parcel to a transport themed song (wheels on the bus or something) and calling it red light green light when the red light (paper plate painted) is held up whoever is holding the parcel will unwrap a layer of course under every layer there will be a book we will continue until everyone is holding their book. We are also considering having a tyre toss (idea found on here) but won't be done competitively due to children's age simply a free activity that will be set up and they can choose to take a turn at and pin the wheel on the car- ditto.

PARTY SNACKS:   Steering wheels (pizza bagels) traffic lights (orange red green m+m's) dip sticks (breadsticks dipped in melted chocolate then left to set) traffic light skewers- both fruit (strawberry pineapple and grape) and veg (tomato carrot and cucumber)- probably put a hole in them then use a straw as the skewer for safety. Also exhaust pipe pasta salad (penne pasta) spare wheels (oreos) tyres (chocolate donuts) and some hula hoops- wheel shaped again. Oh and rocky road squares of course! Drink will be the usual party fare but as it's a winter party we'll have signs directing people to the kitchen if they want to pour a cup of "anti-freeze" (a hot drink we'll have tea/coffee/hot choc but don't want these in the room with the kids). The table will be set up with a Christmas tree train running round it (one of those ones that runs round and round the bottom of your tree) served in the back of a big pickup truck toy (clean!) and in little foil plates arranged behind a toy train to look like carriages with cargo. We'll have a big sign over the table saying "fuel up". 

CAKE: A 3 tiered affair decorated to make the top layer appear to be the sky (therefore iced blue with clouds and an airplane with a banner saying "happy 3rd birthday child's name!" next layer will have a road running round it we'll position some of his matchbox cars on this to save making them from icing and bottom layer will be made to look like a tunnel coming out of a hillside- so green with a black archway shape in front of which we'll position a toy train as if it's just chuffed out of the tunnel. Tracks will need to be iced in black too of course. 

FAVORS: As well as the book I'm undecided- there is a seller on ebay selling personalised licence plate style door hangers (to label the childs bedroom etc) quite reasonably. Also, amazon has car shaped chocolates. Matchbox cars are only 60p each in supermarkets here and I think my son will get a kick out of specially choosing one for each friend and yellow moon has scratch art race car bookmarks which are very cool but I'm not convinced will be that useful to children of this age who don't read long books!  I found it quite difficult to find ideas that weren't for racing cars or disney pixar cars but this site was a great help.

There is so much more you could do with this theme but we've just gone with our age range and their interests....we may decorate a box to look like a car and have paper plate wheels attached by velcro but only if there is time. I am hoping it'll be fairly easy apart from obviously preparing the food we really only have the road signs to make and the collage to prepare plus the traffic light balloon- beyond that it's simply setting toys etc out. Also means it shouldn't be too costly as always the food is the main expense.  The littleland (with library and shops etc) doesn't totally fit with the transport theme i guess but hey you need transport to get there and the kids love to play pretend! I am hoping they'll all really enjoy themselves last years diggers and dumpers was great and my son asked me for months afterwards "is my party open today? can we go to my party today?" he still loves looking at the pictures so am hoping this year is just as good!"

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