Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Caution: 2 Year Old Ahead!

We just celebrated Logan's second birthday! I decided on a construction theme since he loves all big trucks construction vehicles and always points them out whenever he sees them. I was even surprised to find that evite has a construction themed invite, which made it quite easy to get started planning this party. Here is how I worded the invitation.
Foreman Logan is turning 2! Here's what we need you to do: Assemble your construction crew and report to the {Our Last Name} Construction Site. Come ready to work! Clock in at noon. A sack lunch will be provided. ~ Site Manager Meg
We served sack lunches to the kids since they were "construction workers." Each brown bag contained a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, an apple, a juice box, and a package of Handy Manny fruit snacks. The adults had sloppy Joes, chips and dip, and veggies and dip.

I was lucky to find mylar balloons at Dollar Tree in the shape of a dump truck, so I bought two of those and tied them to chairs. Next, I took yellow crepe paper and taped it to our porch railings and then draped it across the porch to the door, where I taped it around the entire door to resemble caution tape. (I found that you can buy actual caution tape on eBay and Amazon, but I decided it wasn't worth the expense, especially considering I already had the yellow crepe paper, which I had previously purchased for crafts. You can get two rolls for $1 at Dollar Tree.)

I found an orange plastic table cover in the clearance section of Walmart. Although this is not the most environmentally friendly, it is really helpful for cleaning up. I cut mine down to fit our dining table, and had enough left over to cover our card table. I taped down the edges so the kids don't pull them off the tables. Then, once the party was over, I just peeled back the tape, rolled up the table covers and threw all the crumbs away!

My favorite decorations were the road signs I made from cardboard, acrylic paint, and black Sharpie. I also used a pencil and a ruler to lay out my lettering before going over it with the Sharpie marker. They said things like "CAUTION: 2 YEAR OLD AHEAD," "PARTY ZONE" with an arrow, "SPEED LIMIT 2," and "DIP" with an arrow pointing down. I taped a straw to the back of the "DIP" sign and inserted it into the veggie tray. Everyone loved that.

I wanted to have several fun things for the kids to do, but they had to be relatively unstructured since the birthday boy is only 2. I decided on an "excavation zone," a "demolition zone," an "obstacle course," and a "hard hat zone." Fortunately, the weather cooperated since most of these were outdoor activities.
Hard Hat Zone: I bought some plastic party hard hats (These are not very durable so they aren't meant to be played with.) on Amazon. (With shipping, these were still less than what I would have paid for a similar item from Oriental Trading.) I picked up some self-adhesive foam letters from Target ($1 a package) and some self-adhesive foam vehicles from Dollar Tree. There were helicopters, trains, planes, boats, cars, and trucks in the packages from Dollar Tree. In advance of the party, I took out just the cars and trucks and divided them up evenly amongst the children. I also selected all of the letters they would each need to spell their names and put them into baggies along with the cars and trucks. Once they arrived at the party, I had them decorate a hard hat. After all, they couldn't go into the construction zone without proper protection.

Excavation Zone: This is my term for the sandbox. I had my husband buy a new bag of play sand since ours had dwindled over the summer and let the kids dig. I did buy Logan one new sand toy, a bulldozer, and put that out there along with the other shovels, buckets, and rakes.

Demolition Zone: This was pretty popular, even with the older cousins! I taped up several different sized cardboard boxes and spray painted them. Then, the kids stacked them up and knocked them over. (My original plan involved a playground ball that I had spray painted black and I had hoped we could hang from the play structure to serve as a "wrecking ball," but this didn't work out.) The kids didn't know the difference, though.
Obstacle Course: Using those same spray painted boxes and an assortment of orange cones (borrowed from my mom), we set up an obstacle course in the driveway. The kids had a fantastic time riding scooters, bikes, and anything else we had with wheels, or just running and jumping their way through it. Logan got a new tricycle, so he tried that out. This was definitely a hit, even with the older kids.

Cake and Ice Cream
I think that cupcakes are perfect for first and second birthday parties. To keep with the construction theme, I made chocolate "dirt" cupcakes and tinted the frosting green to look like grass. Then, I crumbled up some Oreos and sprinkled them on top to look like freshly dug dirt. Lastly, I placed a cupcake pick in each one and put them on my cupcake stand. (The stand holds 23 cupcakes, but I made 24 picks because one box of cake mix will make 24 cupcakes.)

How I made my cupcake picks:

  • toothpicks
  • clear tape
  • orange cardstock
  • scalloped scissors
  • scrapbooking adhesive
  • circle punches (2 different sizes)
  1. After printing these off, and trimming the paper down, I punched each "logo" out with a circle punch.
  2. I punched out 24 slightly larger circles from orange cardstock and fussy cut around the outside of each one with scalloped scissors.
  3. I used scrapbooking adhesive to adhere each logo to the cardstock.
  4. Finally, I used clear tape, to affix a toothpick to the back of each cardstock circle.
The ice cream I served was called Orange Scream. It tastes just like a creamsicle. I covered the outside of sugar cones with orange construction paper to make "traffic cones." To do this, I traced around an empty pie tin (any round object would work), and cut out the circles. I cut each circle in half, started at one edge and rolled it all the way around the sugar cone, and then secured it with clear tape. These were simple and delicious, plus they were loved by kids and adults alike.

Thank You Cards:
Okay, I haven't gotten around to making these yet, but I will share my idea with you. Obviously, he can't write yet, so I will fill out the cards and then let him decorate them. I plan to use the computer to design a fill-in-the-blank format card that will read:
Dear ________________,
Thank you for the ______________________. I really DIG it! (Insert photo of Logan playing with one of his new construction vehicle toys.)

Some of these party ideas were my own and others I adapted from this website. I always check here first when I am planning a themed birthday party because there are tons of suggestions.

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