I may be a bit crazy when it comes to entertaining. Last year we hosted our first Thanksgiving Dinner for our families and I obsessed on Pinterest until I found the perfect dishes to serve, the perfect ideas for centerpieces, and even decided to mull some cider in a crock pot and serve it with a side of spike (for those who wanted it).
So there is no surprise that when it comes to our kids, I’m going to go all out. In a few years, I may be kicking myself and wishing I went low key in these first years, but I love to see my little guys smile, and since my now 2 year old is OBSESSED with tools, what better theme for his party than construction?
Unfortunately the day of the party it rained steadily all but the first 20 minutes of the party, so we couldn’t have some of the outside activities, but we did manage to keep a house full of children and adults happily entertained all day on Saturday.
For the weeks leading up to Hunter’s party, I tried to think of unique ways to incorporate the theme throughout the house. I knew that I had to have something great to keep all of the kids engaged, so as soon as they walked in the “Birthday Zone” (Caution tape inspired), they were instructed to pick up their hard hats and tool belts that were personalized for each and every one.
After the first kids arrived, we led them out back to the “work station” that was set up. Luckily they got to enjoy this for about a half an hour before the rain really started coming down, and it was a real hit! I went to the local craft store and bought the foam “bricks” (you know, the kind for flower arrangements), and I ordered plastic multicolored golf tees from Amazon.com, and gathered some of Hunter’s toy hammers in his tool box for the kids to use.
It didn’t take long for our little handyman to get the hang of this one!
After the rain began, the kids and adults all came inside. We had a luncheon spread, with the menu mostly being geared towards the adults, but in honor of being a kid again, I also made CORNDOGS on a stick. I even had to cook off some more because I think they were just as much of a hit with the adults as the kids! (Don’t worry, I won’t mention any names…)
After lunch and before cake and dessert, another fun activity for the kids was the photo on a tractor. This adorable cutout was fun for the kiddos and I managed to get a few good shots of the little guys before they were bored and onto the next activity.
I tried my best to incorporate construction into any area possible in our home, to make the kids feel like they were really involved. From the invitations that were sent (Shutterfly), to the tablecloths turned into roads (plain black tablecloths from the party store with yellow card stock left over from the caution signs and other decorations, cut out to mimic broken lines on a roadway), to the cake… which I made from scratch with the help of a cake pan I found online in the shape of a 2, and trial and error of a few white cake recipes over the years. I learned from this exercise that I am NOT the best at working with fondant yet. Had I had a bit more time in the week leading up to the party, I probably would have kept working with it until it was perfect, but considering I was cooling the cake and whipping up the buttercream icing at 1:00am the roadway that I rolled out the first time would just have to do.
The party favors had a rubber ducky holding a shovel wearing a hard hat (Oriental Trading), a small toy truck from Amazon, and a Magic Mike (not the Channing Tatum type, SORRY LADIES!… and not construction themed at all, but my son loves to run around and sing into his, so it was an item I thought all of the kids would enjoy… and most of them tore into mid party to play with). The party favors were tied with “CAUTION” tape, in simple clear plastic bags.
The napkins and cups were construction yellow, and another treat for the guests were the “wet paint” treats, which were the Honey Maid S’more bars dipped in orange candy melts with a lollipop stick. Unfortunately not all of the sticks stayed too well, so next time I would probably make my own with plain graham crackers and melted marshmallows allowed to cool over the sticks.
Of course I had to have my boys dressed in theme appropriate outfits, and luckily I had found someone locally that makes gorgeous custom outfits and gifts for such occasions. Melanie has made numerous outfits for our boys, including Hunter’s first birthday outfit and bib, and makes gorgeous hats and blankets, and much more. You can visit her store at Nacci’s Needleworks, or on Facebook. She is great to work with and has always worked with me to help create my vision for whatever the occasion is.
(And don’t the boys look adorable in their outfits??)
Here are a few highlights from our theme party. Keep in mind that you DON’T have to spend a lot of money to personalize your party and make it memorable for your guests. The Home Depot tool belts were only $.77 each (which is less than most “favor bags” at the party store. I also searched to find inexpensive toy tools to use as favors. Some card stock, scissors and a sharpie is really all you need to make most of the signs, and you can dress them up as much as you like. For the Happy Birthday banner, I used colored clothespins to connect them to butcher string I tied across our fireplace. (These were also found on Amazon.com.)
If you have a little guy (or gal) who loves their tools, a construction themed party is a simple and fun way to engage kids (and adults) of all ages!