When our son turned 3 years old, he loved Thomas-the-Tank Engine & friends. At the time of his party (a few years ago), Thomas was not hugely popular in South Africa, and we were unable to find party supplies. We had to get Thomas balloons, serviettes, tablecloth and plates sent from the U.S.A, but today that would not be a problem as most party shops now stock Thomas party supplies. The invitations were very easy, and we found printable Thomas-the-Tank Engine invitations and envelopes on the internet at http://www.dltk-kids.com/.
On the day of the party, we used cake flour to make train tracks on the grass. There were tracks leading up to the gate entrance and on the gate we had several train signs (Stop railway crossing, beware of the trains and please show tickets) we had all sorts of signs in the garden and we also had tracks (using masking tape) in the house leading to the bathrooms with the relevant signs. We had planned on hiring a “train” for in the garden, but decided in the end to paint several cardboard boxes blue (one for each child) and cut a hole in the top (wide enough for a child’s waist). We then cut two slits for handles on each side so that each child could easily manage their own “train”. The birthday boy’s box was made a bit more special, we pasted Thomas’s face on the front of his box and gave his box a red stripe. We then took two old aqueous cream containers painted them black, glued them together and made a smokestack – his box really looked good and he loved it! We also hired a jumping castle in the shape of a boat, and made tracks with signs leading to the “Dockyard” - the jumping castle was also a great hit.
We played a few ‘train’ related and other games and had prizes too, the best prize being the encapsulated trains (a kind of pill that you put in warm water and grows into a sponge train). We personalised the Party Boxes and each child was given a whistle and a Thomas picture to colour in. We found some old tape (cassette) boxes and decided to rejuvenate the boxes with new, personalised Thomas Cover’s and filled them with crayons. We then came across a Thomas Birthday Card that was also a book, and decided to put one in each party box as a Thank you card/book.
Of course, no party box would be complete without one or two munchies. We tried to keep the sweets to a minimum and served pizza, sandwiches and chips as an alternative to a table covered in sugar! The pizzas and sandwiches were cut into train shapes using a cookie cutter. Instead of fizzy drinks we diluted apple and grape juice. The cake was made by a local Party Company. It was a plain square sponge cake with a Thomas picture on the top. To finish it off, we had a plastic train and train track around the cake. A good time was had by all, and even though I tried to keep the sugar highs to a minimum - the kids still went home buzzing with excitement.
Bernadine - CAPE TOWN