I am so happy you’re a nut (supportive friend) and want to know what went into making Tom’s train party!
I loved this theme so much. There was so much that could be done with so many great ideas already out there, so my main job was just figuring out what I could/wanted to do.
I actually didn’t think this party was stressful to get ready for or anything. The only thing stressful about throwing a party for a toddler is getting ready to throw a party for a toddler while you actually *have* a toddler.
You may know this, but they’re kind of — busy. And into things. And wanting their Mama’s attention.
And apparently saying, “Tom, I have to wrap this diaper box in red paper and put big black circles on it to make a train!” doesn’t have any effect at all on his wanting me to “play trains. Now!”
So this party was created during some naptimes and some bedtimes.
Here’s how we did it:
I kept coming back to the Etsy shop nickwilljack. I really like doing things myself and buying a printable party felt a little like cheating, but I’m so happy I did because it was so fun figuring out what to use and how to use it. I loved it! I bought her printable train party and I was able to type whatever I wanted in the many templates she sent me. For Tom’s invite, I typed “Chugga, Chugga, Choo, Choo, Our little man is turning TWO! All aboard for Tom’s train party! Please RSVP to the conductor. The dining car will be open!” Then I just taped the invite to some red cardstock I already had.
This! Very easy to make. I wrapped the boxes in red wrapping paper and the canister and bean can in black felt and then hot glued it all together. I put dried beans into black balloons, so they could be the “coal”, and the kids could throw the coal into the cars. The older kids really got into the game and liked it. The little kids really liked literally getting into the boxes. It was a win-win and I was so happy with it. Like, kind of embarrasingly so. (This is one piece of decor that has stayed “out” after the party because Tom loves to play with the “big steam gin-gin!”)
The train game was set up in front of this backdrop — which my sister made for my niece’s 2nd birthday last year. No, I didn’t plan to use the same colors. Yes, I’m thrilled I did! 🙂 This party was truly too crazy to remember to take photos of our guests in front of this background — but we could have. So there!
The food table! The backdrop was obviously just blue streamers taped around an old piece of wood trim Kev had lying around. I cut the clouds out of poster board and propped the trim between two of my tall pieces of dining room furniture and that was it!
The train on the table was made out of gift boxes and a toilet paper roll to match the bigger train game I made. Then I put the olives (coal), pretzels (wood) and Nilla wafers (extra wheels) inside each box. I actually put the olives in tuperware and just put that in the box. We had “Puffing PBJs” and “Station Sandwiches” (turkey and cheese) cut out in train shapes for the kiddos. My mom made some turkey cheese wraps (Wagon Wheels) for the adults. There was also “Platform Pasta”, “Caboose Kabobs” and “Chuggin’ Chips”.
And we (of course!) brought back the balloon wreath this year! I had to add quite a few balloons to it since Tom pulled off so many to play with this year. But it’s back! To find out how to make it, CLICK HERE.
There was a sign on our door that said “Caboose Rides” and then we just taped down black electrical tape in our carport so the kids could ride around in the wagon (Caboose, I mean!). They loved it. And they really loved the sidewalk chalk in the middle. It’s the simple things!
The other thing we did was to blow up red and blue balloons, put them in Tom’s bedroom, and the kids could just run through them, throw them and kick them. Sounds simple, right? It is. And they loved it. LOVED it. (This is about half of the balloons that were in there. I “hid” the other half for my own sanity after the party.) ((Don’t tell.))
The entire day was so fun for Tom — and that was truly the best part! He woke up excited and he was excited until he crashed that night.
He loved the decorations, the trains, the food, gifts and cupcakes.
But what he really, really loved?
That everyone came to see him.
That all of his friends were here.
That all of his family were here.
He laughed and played and was so very happy the entire day I just couldn’t have asked for better!
The people made it special for Tom.
We just tried to make it themed.