So your little one is mad about dump trucks. His favorite colors are orange and yellow, he wears hard hats instead of baseball caps, Bob the Builder is his hero -- and naturally, he wants a construction party for his next birthday. Not to worry. You don't have to hire a dump truck to show up to produce some Ooooh's and Ahhhh's. With just a little inspiration and effort, you can easily put together a Dump Trucks and Diggers party to remember. Here are some ideas for a construction-themed birthday party that your little builders will really, uh, dig:
Construction-themed invitations are readily available at party goods stores. You can also create your own invitations by taking some cardstock, folding it half, and decorating the front with construction-themed stickers. Or create a road by sticking a strip of thick black electrical tape on the front. Use thinner yellow strips of electrical tape to create road divider markers. On the front of the invitation, write "Caution: John is Turning 3" (substitute your child's name and age, of course). Write out the party details inside.
Like invitations, construction-themed decorations, tablecloths, and dinnerware can be purchased at party goods stores. But why stop there? Turn your home into a not-so-dangerous Construction Zone! Yellow Caution tape (you can purchase this your local home improvement store) is a must: use it instead of streamers, hang it on your backyard fence, make a big X with it on your front or back door. Borrow or purchase orange construction cones to place around your party area. Last but not least, create construction signs out of cardboard that say "Kids at Play," "Slow: Party Zone." If you're feeling particularly cheeky, don't forget a "No Dumping" sign on the bathroom door!
* Print out construction-themed coloring pages and set them on a table with some markers and stickers.
* Buy a color-it-yourself cardboard playhouse (or make one out of a refrigerator box or other large box), set out a toolbox filled with your child's pretend construction tools and let the guests pretend to build the clubhouse with the tools. Then let them color and decorate the house with markers.
* Give the old Pin the Tail on the Donkey a construction-themed twist by painting a large excavator on posterboard and giving each child a paper scoop (print out an excavator on paper and cut out the scoop). Let children take turns pinning the scoop onto the excavator.
* Kids of all ages love hammering nails into wood. Take the stress out of this activity by letting young children hammer plastic golf tees into some large zucchinis (yes, zucchinis!). If properly supervised, older children can be given actual wooden planks and nails (an adult should hammer the nails halfway in, then help the children hammer the nail in the rest of the way).
* Play "Construction Cone Ring Toss" by throwing plastic rings onto orange construction cones.
Little construction workers need fun, healthy treats in order to stay on the job, so why not serve them a workman's lunch -- a sandwich, bag of chips, apple and juice box -- in a brown paper bag? Or turn the snack table into a construction zone and let the kids and adults build their own sandwiches.
Create a Construction Site cake by scattering crumbled Oreo cookies on top of a frosted cake to look like mounds of dirt. Purchase inexpensive plastic construction vehicles and position them on the cake. Or go all out with a Dump Truck cake by cleaning out your child's large Tonak Dump Truck and lining the back with plastic wrap. Bake some brownies and cut them into bite-sized squares, and load them into the back of the Tonka truck. Use a clean plastic shovel to serve the "dirt" -- the kids won't miss the traditional birthday cake!
Construction-themed stickers or small construction trucks make great party favors, and can be purchased inexpensively at discount or dollar stores. Or purchase plastic yellow construction hats and pair them with work aprons -- your local Home Depot may even be willing to donate these. Hand them out to guests at the beginning of the party, and have them put it on to really get them into the spirit of the party. Then let them take their gear home. That way, your child's guests will remember his great construction party every time they open up their dress-up box to play!
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