Call me crazy, but with the summer approaching, I’m already starting to plan for my son’s 6th birthday party in September. I know it’s REALLY early, but I just love planning parties!
After seeing a couple of really fun cardboard box toys lately, I realized that I never shared the awesome cardboard train that I made for my son’s 2nd birthday party! Or any of the fun things we did for that party.
Today you’ll find all my ideas for an awesome train birthday party – complete with decorations, party entertainment and pretend play ideas, fun foods, and party favours!
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Train Birthday Party Decorations
Every party needs a birthday banner right?
I made mine out of simple red, yellow and white acrylic craft felt triangles (with a few pieces of red checked material) with black felt letters roughly stitched on. I then stitched the triangles loosely to a long piece of ribbon and strung it across the living room!
The centrepiece of the train party decoration was this amazing cardboard train! Onetime absolutely loved helping to make this train.
To give our house a train station feel, I bought black electrical tape and created tracks throughout the house (on the hard floor only – didn’t try this on the carpet). I created loops and branches and left the tape on for a few days for Onetime to play with. He loved this!
Best of all, I put the tape down a few days before the party, so it wasn’t a part of the last minute rush.
Train Birthday Party Entertainment
When you’ve got small children coming to a party, it’s best to have lots of open-ended play activities for entertainment. That way, the kids can keep busy with what interests them.
Our party had five main activities: playing with the cardboard train (above), giving each other rides in a rolling mini-train (see below), a small pull train for giving teddies a ride in, a train set play station, and train party themed play dough.
Rolling Train Rides
At a local thrift shop, I found this rolling toy box that we converted into a hopper car for rides. All I did was paint it with some black acrylic paint and it was ready to go!
Mini Teddy Pull-Train
You can also make this fun pull-train toy by painting three empty shoe boxes with acrylic craft paint, then punch holes in the fronts and backs of the boxes and string them together so that there is a loop at the front to pull.
To make the engine look more realistic, just add a bit of a hood to half of it using tape to secure, and then cut out some front windows.
Train Set Play
Lots of the guests enjoyed playing with Onetime’s train set. We even added a few motorized engines that could pull the wooden cars!
Train Play Dough Play
Never underestimate the power of play dough! Even some of Onetime’s older guests enjoyed playing around with this activity.
You can have red and yellow play dough with some train themed cookie cutters. Looking back now, it might have been fun to add black string to make “tracks” with too!
Train Station Play
To add to the train ambience, Onetime and I decided to create a train station area.
We made a train crossing sign and a ticket booth with a party schedule on the side that was supposed to look like an arrivals and departures sign.
The ticket booth was just a large cardboard packing box with the one end opened up and taped at the corners so the box would be as tall as possible vertically. In one side of the box, cut a door so that kids can go into the ticket booth. On the opposite side, cut out a window with a shelf that can open and close.
To finish the booth, paint it yellow and black with acrylic craft paint. Add the details of your party schedule, “Tickets” on the front, and a paper plate clock on the side (shown without hands yet!).
Onetime enjoyed playing ticket booth using these paper smile tickets for a few days before and after the party.
Make the crossing sign out of black, red and white construction paper. Print out the letters from your computer and paste them all onto a long wooden board.
Train Birthday Party Food
Get some fun food labels to make a snack train from the Spaghetti Westerner blog. I also got these amazing retro looking and fully editable invitations for free from this blog as well.
You can make the black engine at the front of the snack train by sketching out an outline of an engine onto black bulletin board paper. Be sure to add the number of your child’s birthday! Click here for an engine to trace.
I baked my own cake using the Wilton Choo-Choo Train Set. I also made up 24 cupcakes with a simple yellow icing and black sprinkles on top.
The “Caboose Kebabs” idea I got from here and created my own crossing signs for them using my Fiskars X-Large Squeeze Circle Punch (leftover from my scrapbooking days before I became a mom!) and yellow bristol board and a marker.
I created the cookies myself using a basic sugar cookie recipe and a locomotive 5″ cookie cutter. Just mix up yellow and black icing using Wilton Color Gel Icing food colourings (they’re the brightest) and then play around with covering the cookies with icing, or just outlining them.
For the kids table, get a yellow tablecloth and create a track down the center with more of the black electrical tape. We didn’t do anything fancy for the main course, just pizza!
To decorate the adult’s table, add a red bandana in the middle along with an old red lantern.
For drinks, we had a water tower, and diesel fuel tanks for juice just like these (sorry no pictures of my own!).
Train Party Favours
If you hand out the favours when your guests arrive, many of the kids will wear their hats for the party! Onetime wore his hat for weeks and called it his “ductor” hat. Cute!
Alternately, you could hand each guest a copy of this amazing new book Old Tracks, New Tricks.
With a great storyline, fun characters, and an appendix full of creative new ways to use wooden train tracks, this book is guaranteed to be read over and over again. Perfect for kids aged 2 to 6.
Adults that came to our party went home with their own bin of coal cookies (aka a yummy mix of semi-sweet chocolate and coconut). I used this recipe and found the tins (like these mini metal buckets) at the local dollar store.
Train Name Tags
If you’ve never made a rubber stamp before, here’s a great tutorial you can follow. It’s actually pretty easy and fun if you’re the creative type!
I used a black archival quality ink pad for the train image and then lightly stamped around the outside of the tag with the ink pad to give it an aged look. I also used my stamp on the outside of invitations, and on the corners of the paper napkins!
That’s it for my best train birthday party ideas! If you have any other ideas – I would truly love to hear them. Leave me a comment below!
Keep on chugging!