I am drawing a blank on this one, even as a former event planner. We are going to set up the train table in the middle of kid center. We have such a big family, that we are doing light brunch @ 10 for the family and cake and munchies @ 3 for the friends party. Too little really for games, although my 6 year old thinks we should "bob for apples that fell off the train" and have a pinata. Don't think I can master that shape. I really like doing a lot of the stuff my self. Put me somewhere between Martha and the semi-home-ade girl. Well, minus the cooking. I made invite that are an Engine (that says Kemper's Shin-an-igan Express), and two train cars connected behind, each with party info.
Ok, please help, and I'll stop rambling on....
How about red bandana napkins? Tickets that get punched by a conductor as people arrive? Train whistles as souvenirs (you may have to be crazy for that one as they do get loud!) For the kids maybe line up the chairs as though sitting on a train with an aisle down the middle - then play a game of going on a train ride - leaning forward when going down the hill, leaning back against the seat when going up the hill, sideways etc. Can even bounce up and down when the train come to a stop. Just some ideas off the top of my head - have fun!
I once saw a cake in the shape of a train in a Kraft Foods magazine. It was made with pound cakes and decorated with candy and stuff. I really don't think it looked that hard, maybe you could look it up on their website? Have fun!
I have a three year old who is in love with thomas the train. I would suggest going to partyexpress.com they have all kinds of awesome ideas for parties, as well as thomas stuff. At 2 we did a couple of games of red signal green signal with them and they all had fun. we did races all the stuff that got them worn out.
I have seen a Thomas the Tank engine pinata at Party America. There is a lot of train theme stuff with Thomas on it. I had a Thomas the Tank Engine party for our two year old daughter. We played a Thomas DVD, decorated with balloons, and had a ride on train for them to play with in the hall way. Her cake had a small windup toy Thomas Train and track on the sheet cake. HyVee also makes Thomas the Tank engine shaped cakes.
A choo-choo train party - how fun! I used to create elaborate party decorations & treats for my boys' birthdays until they started thinking it was "cooler" to GO somewhere for a party! Anyway, some ideas for you:
Make a train for the kids to play in with BOXES -- all different sizes, but the bigger the better! Tuck in the top flaps so the smaller boxes are open at the top. With bigger boxes, cut out (or tuck in) the bottom, so you just have a shell. Poke holes in the boxes and connect with a length of rope between them (make sure it's long enough -- 2 feet? - so that the train can turn without trouble.) You can spray paint bright colors OR leave brown -- Cut out circles of black construction paper wheels and use a sharpie to connect them with a line if you want. For the engine -- fold a piece of cardboard into a triangle and mark it with lines to resemble a "cow catcher." You can put dolls or stuffed animals in the smaller boxes as passengers! Maybe it's a circus train?
Use black electrical tape (or even a blue painters tape) to make tracks on the floor. At a craft store you can pick up "engineers" caps w/ blue stripes OR get white painters caps and make your own -- these are great because they can be personalized w/ fabric paint. Train whistles are also something to look for (but w/ cold & flu season you may want to "pass" on this. You can make up "tickets" for people to ride on the train -- might be fun to have a bunch printed off & have the kids color them!
I have also made locomotives using quart milk cartons -- For a good "stack" use black construction paper, fold length wise and cut slits about 1/2 way in (like you're doing a wide fringe) -- then open it up and roll into a tube so the slits flair out. -- with a little practice, it makes a pretty believable train stack shape!
Pinatas are great for kids' parties -- you can buy a plain one and add your own art; that's what we did for my son's last birthday. Also you can fill your own choice of candy or healthy treats (or small train-theme toys) and send home each kid's stash in goodie bags, which saves the hassle of lining up party favors. The only potential drawback is that you sometimes need strong older kids (or adults) to whack the thing apart! :-)
I'm not sure how to top some of the suggestions you've received - there's a lot of imagination going on here!!
Anyway, I bake cakes if you're looking for something a little different than the grocery stores provide. I could even copy the invitations you made! If you're interested feel free to write me back here or my e-mail is ____@____.com
I'm not an overly creative person, but one year for Halloween, I made my son into Thomas the Tank Engine. I took a brown paper grocery bag & painted it light blue with just some left over bathroom wall paint I had. Then with stickers & markers & a print out of Thomas' face off the internet and cutting holes for the head & arms, he had a blast. Also, I found a black paper gift bag and cut the bottom off for the smoke stack hat. It was fun! I'm not sure if you could incorporate that into your birthday party, but the hats might be fun. If you would like a picture, please e-mail me at ____@____.com.
There are pinata's out there that don't require hitting. Which is hard for young ones. They pull a string and one lucky string open the goodies. It's an idea if your son want to help plan - it a compromise. Other ideas, make your own cho-cho with marshmallows and pretzels sticks etc... (snack food) to play with and eat. Disney has a good "bullet train" song that you could try and down load and dance and play cho-cho train to. My son loves that song. You could have boxes decorated as cho-cho's and let kids sit in them and pretend to do stuff, maybe have them as stations for other games. Like who can best the best cho-cho whistle noise and give a prize. Just thougths, I love this stuff too.
I would check out your local dollar store for any train whistles as a souvenir. It's not too late to start teaching him red light green light. I am a big favorite of pinatas...You can go to a party store or check out ebay, they really aren't all that expensive. I love the red bandana idea that someone came up with.
How about going down to your local appliance store and asking if they have any boxes...you can make and decorate your own train. The kids will have hours of fun. Take it from one that has done this before....MAKE SURE YOU'RE KIDDO GETS A NAP!!!! Nothing like them going arsenic at present or cake time. Also, I know that Wilton makes an adorable Thomas the Train cake pan...saw it at a party and thought it was really adorable!
You could do something with ho bo's on the train. You could have the train conductor giving out clues to where he was seen and try to find the object or something the ho bo left on the train. Your little boy could be the conductor and dress up with overalls and and engioner hat or bandan. Have a couple of lanterns around for motife. I like the bobing for apples you could even throw in a patito or two in. Good luck.
For each of my boys, I made a train cake for their 1st birthday. I bought some of those little tiny rectangle cake pans (I've seen them at walmart). I baked one for everyone at the party, iced them with different colors and decorated each of them with life savers for the wheels, lots of candies-just check out the bulk candy section. I set them all out on a big sheet of wood covered in foil. I used licorice strips for the train track. The kids (and adults) loved it!
Instead of an actual birthday cake, I did cupcakes. I bought a toy train engine and a toy caboose. Then did cupcakes in 4's for the cars. I had a huge square piece of cardboard that I put green butcher paper on. I then drew the train track and a big pond with happy birthday in it. If you want send me a message with your email address and I will send you a pic of it. I also did the invite with train lingo. . . . .
All Aboard for _________ Birthday.
Get your tickets now, RSVP.
@ ______ Station
Departure and Arrival times.
Again send me a message with your email and I will send you a pic of the cake. It turned out so cute considering that I am not all that crafty!!
yikes...this is a whole-day event for a 2 year old! How are you going to get a nap in so that your BD angel is fresh & not over-loaded for the 3 o'clock party?? That said & moving on: there are lots of good ideas on Family Fun's website & many other websites!
Buy train whistles for each child, play follow the engine/leader games (do like I do), & even the games your 6 y.o. came up! (letting your 6 y.o. help plan makes this more of a family event & fosters a sense of unity, rather than it all being about the BD child)
Good luck & since I've been doing parties for 20+ years, pretty much...no matter how simple...makes kids happy. The trick is in timing, prep, & lots of patience.
I make my own pinata's. I take a big balloon and blow it up. Take flour and water to make the glue and use strips of newspapers and dip in the flour/water mixture and put on the balloon in several layers. You need a grocery bag full of newspaper cut in strips. You want to leave part of the top open so you can put candy in it. You need at least 2 weeks after you make it so it can dry. After about 3 days you pop the balloon so the inside can dry out. It may smell at first when you pop the balloon but won't smell after it completely dries. After it is dry I spray paint it and glue pictures on it to what the theme is. I have bought wrapping paper that matched the party theme and cut out the pictures and glued on the pinata. Poke holes in the sides but not too close to the top as the string will tear through it. Probably 3-4 inches below the top and put a strong string through both ends and hang it up. This kind of pinata is a real hit as it takes a lot longer to break it open. I use a plastic bat and don't blind fold the kids. Most of the time they get 5 hits each with at least 10-15 kids and they go through the line another time or two before it breaks open. This is a lot stronger than the ones you buy at the store and the kids love hitting it. I usually have the candy put in a plastic bag and when the pinata is broken and the bag of candy falls out, I will get the bag of candy and shake it above their heads so none of the kids are rushing after the candy as it falls out of the pinata and getting hit from the one still swinging the bat. Pinata's can be a dangerous thing so that is why I do it differently as I have seen kids get hit several times at parties with them being blind folded and swinging hard bats. The plastic bat will break them up but not as fast as the heavy bats so you get more kids to hit them.
As for a 2 year old's party. Most kids that young don't get into the pinata. It is a scary thing for them. They may like to do motion songs like the Hokey Pokey or something like that. Your older childs teacher may have some song ideas that could help.
I also have a big family and do 2 parties as we don't have enough room in our house for the family + friends especially the winter parties. The parties in the summer I usually do a BBQ at the park or outside event and have one big party.
I usually buy a 1/4 sheet cake for the theme cake and make cupcakes for the extra cake I need as the small one isn't enough for 40-50 people. I have also bought stickers to match the theme and put on toothpicks for the cupcake decorations. Most kids will eat cupcakes but notice how many pieces of cake get thrown away with kids. That always surprises me but have seen it over again. Use the cake for the adults and cupcakes for the kids.
Maybe you could draw the front of a train and play stick the light on the train like pin the tail on the donkey but then again kids that age don't like to get blindfolded. Maybe for the older kids that are at the party.