This weekend we hosted our son Asher’s 3rd Birthday Party. Our little guy is not only the second born, but all his life has been forced to concede to his sister’s needs (as Atia battled cancer during the first two years of his life); something we’ve always felt guilty about.
We didn’t have a party for his 2nd birthday, so we were thrilled when, earlier this year, he thumbed through a Chasing Fireflies catalogue and settled on a Truck-themed birthday party. He especially loved the cupcake-car truck. We fed off of his excitement and began planning/designing his birthday party around THAT truck.
In an effort to save a little money, I researched and pieced together décor and activities, as opposed to buying a “party in a bag.” I did the same thing with my daughter’s Hello Kitty birthday party in September. It worked fabulously. Not only did we minimize cost, but we were able to customized the party to the age and gender of our guests.
Here’s how we did it...
Theme: Construction & Trucks
Location: At Home
Duration: 2 Hours
# of Guests: 9 Boys and Girls
We borrowed a kid’s table and four chairs from our next door neighbors, who coincidentally have the exact same table set as we do. The two created a nice kid-sized banquet table. We added two stools at the end to accommodate the nine guests; plus, Atia and Asher both wanted to sit on the ends. My husband and I covered the table with a $1.99 plastic yellow table cloth from Party City and then used electrical tape to create a two-lane road down the center. The $5.49 solid orange square paper plates from Party City were used as chargers. The $6 decorative plates and $5 cups came from Chasing Fireflies. The $3.99 napkins came from Party City; I made the napkin rings out of fishing line and foam road sign stickers from Oriental Trading Company. And, the $14.29 (for eight) Construction Cone Water Bottle came from Birthday Express, and were given out as party favors.
I layered the $8 truck banner from Chasing Fireflies on the $2.49 yellow Caution tape from Birthday Express, and my homemade "road sign" garland (made with fishing line and foam road sign stickers from Oriental Trading Company, as mentioned above)
Since we opted for a home party, instead of renting out a play place, I was tasked to come up with a series of fun activities to keep the kids occupied. So here's what we did:
Game 1 – DIGGIN IN RICE
As our guests arrived they were given their gear and invited to find the buried road signs using only their construction trucks. The kids liked the idea of hidden treasure.
I’d seen this game on Pintrest, but they’d used sand and it was done outside. With Chicago weather, outside in October wasn’t an option. So, we swapped sand for rice - much easier to clean up and less damaging to hardwood floors – and we laid down a $1 plastic table cloth (from the Dollar Store) to mark the play area. It also made for easier cleanup, as we simply lifted the sides trapping all the excess rice and disposed of it.
Kids of all ages enjoyed this activity.
Costs: I bought a 25 lb bag of rice at Costco for $8.99 (it was the smallest sold). The containers were $1 ea from the Dollar Store. I decorated them with Caution tape, used the small foam road signs included in the décor purchase described earlier and toy trucks that Asher already had in his personal stash. I printed up a “game key” and attached all of the sign samples, so they knew what to look for.
Game 2 – DRINKING STRAW TRUCKS
The party moved from the floor to the craft table, which was setup with construction paper, glue, crayons and pre-cut straws. The objective of this activity was to create a truck. The kids liked drawing their road scene and then smearing the glue all over in preparation of applying their various sized straws.
Costs: For this, I purchased a $1 package of drinking straws from the Dollar Store and a $2.49 package of Foam Marshmallows from Jo-Ann Fabrics, which we cut in half. The glue, construction paper and crayons I already owned.
Game 3 – STACK THE CANS
The group them moved back to the floor and began the Stacking Can challenge. The goal was to build the tallest building with cans. The younger kids were able to balance about four-high and the older kids made it as far as seven-to-eight-high. No matter what the skill level, all the kids loved this one.
Costs: None. I already had empty pop cans.
Game 4 – HAMMER YOUR NAME
Again, we moved back up to the craft table to do a little construction project. I found this activity on Pintrest, but it didn’t come with any instructions, so I pieced it together on my own. I printed up a small colorful chart that included the letters of all our guests names. I attached it to a piece of kid’s craft foam to give it a decorative border. I then taped that to a small piece of leftover foam core board I had laying around the house.
The kids used golf tees (must have sharp tips), and rubber mallets/plastic hammers/meat mallet to mark the letters of their name. I wasn’t sure how this would go over, but it turned out to be a huge hit.
Costs: $7.00 foam craft board from Jo-Ann Fabrics. I borrowed the golf tees and already had the hammers.
Game 5 – BOZO BUCKETS
We then moved onto a good old fashioned game of Bozo Buckets. Do you know that these kids had no idea what the Bozo Bucket game was? I was shocked, but after thinking about it, why would they know? I know for a fact that Atia and Asher have never seen the Bozo Show, a sad revelation. It was such a staple in my childhood. As a result, I had to explain, in detail, how to play the game.
Cost: None. My girlfriend loaned me the game. However, if you’d like to make your own, here are the step-by-step instructions.
Food & Eating
After over an hour of playing games, the kids were thirsty and hungry. My mom and husband had been working to get everything setup by this point. We offered a variety of snacks including Mac and Cheese from Panera Bread (Asher’s favorite), Cheese and Olive kabobs (Asher loves both), carrot and celery sticks with ranch dressing, apple cars with grape tires, chips and goldfish.
A true crowd favorite, both parent and child approved!
As the kids were eating, they excitedly shouted out, “What are we playing next?” They were truly engaged in the party and couldn’t wait to get to the next task, challenge or activity. Luckily, I had one more game up my sleeve; we played BINGO.
The kids remained in their seats and after clearing the table, I passed out their Bingo boards and small cups filled with skittles to be used as their markers. I explained the game’s objective and then we got started. It was so fun hearing their excitement about having the item I called out.
Once again, my sister-in-law. Auntie Sonia gifted us with the most incredible cake, just as she had for Atia’s Hello Kitty birthday a few weeks earlier. She turned to Noelle, the owner, chef and artist extraordinaire of Tickled Pink Cakes, and again, Noelle blew us away with her extraordinary creation.
We’d explained the party’s theme and sent her a few links showing what the décor would include. The cake and cupcake truck created the entire scene… the tuck was forced to “stop” because of the falling rocks. How stinking cute is that?
Noelle even asked for a picture of Asher, and created the little construction guy in his image. Brilliant!
Needless to say, Asher adored his cake, and once again it was as delicious as it looked.
At that point, it was time for our party to end. We had a wonderful time with all of our guests, and the two hours had truly flown by. Many of the kids didn’t want to leave, which was the best compliment we could have received. They had fun; we had fun!
But most importantly, Asher had fun. He told us this was his best party ever, and every time we asked him if he liked it he shouted, “YEAH!” with a huge smile and little giggle. His Truck party was a huge success all around!
Happy 3rd Birthday, sweet little Asher.
We’re so glad that you finally got YOUR day, and we celebrated everything about YOU!
Mommy and Daddy love you so very, very much!
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Tags: 3rd Birthday Party, Apple Cars, Bingo, birthday express, birthday party, Bozo Buckets, Bozo Show, Car and Truck Bingo, Caution Tape, chasing fireflies, Coke Cans, Construction Hats, Construction Party, Construction Vests, Decor, Digging in rice, Dollar Store, Drinking Straw Truck, games, golf tees, Hammer your name, Happy Birthday, Healthy Food, Hello Kitty Birthday Party, Jo-Ann Fabrics, kid's craft foam, Mac and Cheese, Oriental Trading Company, Panera Bread, party city, pintrest, Stack the Cans, Tickled Pink Cakes, Truck Party, Trucks