I don’t remember a lot of big themed birthday parties as a kid. There was the party at the roller rink, the 8-year-old slumber party, some other small gatherings with cake and games. I also don’t recall ever being disappointed with any of these celebrations. There was cake! There were some happy streamers strewn about! There were presents! I was a happy little girl.
But times have changed, and now every child gets a meticulously planned party from the very beginning. I understand. As parents we want our child’s birthday to feel special, magical even. We love them dearly and don’t they deserve it? But then again, a stressed out mommy does not a happy birthday make. So one must find the balance. Three years in I feel like I’ve hit upon a pretty good balance for me. There is cake! There are happy streamers strewn about! There are presents! And on top of that there may be just a couple of themed activities to match the cake and streamers. And of course, there is a very happy little boy.
This year we had a train themed party. The balance was found with a duplo train set and some nice train car printables.
I saw some cute examples on pinterest of cupcake trains. I decided that was what I would make without really thinking through the whole turning the cupcakes into train cars part. The day before the party I made the cupcakes (Funfetti, from a box) and realized I should probably figure that part out. I didn’t really want to craft individual train cars from cardboard with ritz cracker wheels so I rummaged around the house to see what I could find. And then I remembered! Charlie got a Duplo train set for Christmas! Cupcakes would fit on that! Easy Peasy. And Charlie loved it. I think he wishes I served all his food on his train now.
Pin the tail on the donkey is a classic party game. Pin the train on the railroad track is just as exciting. I painted a simple railroad track on a large piece of paper, then printed and cut out these train cars. A piece of tape on each and a blindfold made for a quick and easy game. Charlie wanted to play it twice. Success!
We also did a painting project that I failed to take pictures of. I printed out a train engine and then just cut some paper into smaller rectangles. We painted each rectangle and called it a car for the train. Eventually I’ll find a way to put those on the wall in his room (He still has his abstract car track painting up from last year).
The one thing missing in all these birthday parties is other kids his age. So far all his parties have just been small family affairs. One day I’ll need to get up the nerve to invite other small children over. Hopefully I’ll still be able to maintain the balance when that happens (insert slightly overwhelmed but hopeful emojii here).
Other birthday parties: