Being due with baby #3 within days of John’s birthday, we wanted to time his birthday early enough so as not to run the risk of being in the hospital. Since this timed up pretty perfectly with Halloween, we decided to coordinate his Halloween costume (Thomas the Engine) with planning his birthday party and voila: Chugga Chugga TWO TWO was decided!
I will try and add tutorials as I can, but if you’re curious about a particular item, please contact me or leave a comment below, and I’ll be sure to prioritize. Otherwise, please check back soon for tips and tricks to accomplishing these crafts, treats, and more!
One of the things that John loved when interacting with trains and pretending in that space was the role of tickets. After some research and trial-and-error, I was able to come up with these train ticket invitations and a tutorial to go with it!
When our guests arrived, we directed them to our backyard with a railroad crossing sign and a railroad track walkway using this black painter’s tape.
A printable sign that we used to identify the door for accessing the bathroom:
To decorate behind the food (below), I painted a Thomas train and sign. The crepe paper streamers were a final touch, and we loved the way it came together!
Food & Drink
With trying to navigate preschool pick-up, the party was at an odd time between breakfast and lunch, so we tried to provide both fares! In the warmers, we made crepes filled with homemade strawberry jam on one side and this recipe for broccoli wheel pasta.
For the train, I pulled together some super simple sausage links, pretzel sticks, and purple grapes. The tracks were made with black electrical tape, and the train cars are dollar store meatloaf containers with 1.5″ diameter wheels. Overall, a very easy extra touch! In addition to Thomas pulling the train, I also tried to spread out some other pieces from the Thomas universe.
We served the food on plates decorated with train crossing signs (the lines are electrical tape, and the “R’s” are here) or trains (available here).
For drinks, we had apple cider handy to drink straight or as a mimosa. The cider sticker as well as the drink stickers here. Incidentally, I loved these awesome cups!!!
As usual, we also had water bottles with some great water bottle labels.
Since it was a morning party, I went ahead and made these pumpkin muffins and, since it was a party afterall, I iced them lightly with cream cheese frosting.
The very first thing I wanted to have for the party was a large-scale cardboard train. I thoroughly enjoy working with cardboard (princess castles, space tunnels, etc), and the kids love to color and pretend in the boxes for months after the party. Turns out it was just a big a hit as I had hoped, and the kiddos had a blast coloring it and stuffing the “coal” in the little holes in the engine (yes, I know coal doesn’t work that way, but I wanted to incorporate the insulation foam I had bought without having to distribute shovels, which sounded like a potentially hazardous idea with 12 toddlers). The coal signs can be printed here.
Along with the cardboard train, we also had a cardboard Cranky the Crane in our sandpit (that we renamed “Brendham Docks” (sign available here) for the day). The kids could knock down Cranky and rebuild him at their leisure.
In our garden area, we compiled all of our construction trucks and a Sensory Rice Bin with various tools for the kids to dig and “discover” Thomas stickers. This “Anaphora Quarry” zone (sign available here) was a thoroughly engaging zone that allowed us to spread the party and provided a nice distraction if the train became too crowded.
For favors, we stuck with our goal of “bringing the party home.” I bought this awesome pyrography kit and these whistles and made some reusable coloring books and crayon boxes to go along with some dry erase crayons. For full tutorial details, check this post out here. I also had a blast making these Thomas and James favor bags. I stashed these bags in our red wagon with a yellow tablecloth and our “Tidmouth Sheds” sign.
This party was a blast to throw as it was the first party truly geared towards my son and his toddler-aged peers! John had such a fun time dressing in his conductor costume and taking in all of the train paraphernalia with his buddies!
Whether you’re throwing your own train party or want to adapt these ideas to your own theme, I hope you found some useful ideas here!