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Thomas Tank Engine

Thomas Party -3yr- Mr Conductor Game




Tori in Owosso, MI USA


January 2008


Special Mention

My son Tyler loves trains, especially Thomas the Tank Engine, so we knew it would be the perfect party theme for his third birthday. 

I always struggle with the activities for his party because he is the only toddler in our family, including siblings and cousins, and because his birthday is at the end of January, when it is freezing outside in Michigan.  After deliberating over lots of ideas, this is what I came up with. 

INVITATIONS:  I found packages of Thomas invitations and packages of thank you notes at the Paper Factory on clearance for 50 cents.  The invitation had a picture of Thomas on the front and said IT'S A PARTY! Inside it said: COME FOR TRAINLAODS OF FUN!  On the line for the location of the party we wrote in TYLER'S TRAIN STATION!  I put a sticker on the back of the envelopes.  (I had purchased 24 Thomas, James and Percy stickers on sale at Party USA for 89 cents.)

DECORATIONS:  The birthday boy was dressed in his favorite Thomas shirt and had on a new Thomas engineer's hat.  In the foyer, we had a table set up with paper Thomas engineer party hats (Party USA, 8 for 87 cents), Thomas blowouts (Party USA, 8 for $1.89), a large paper mache train piñata (Dollar Daze $6.75), a large container filled with m&ms and decorated with more train stickers and a paper that said - How many m&ms do you think the trains can deliver? - with James, Percy and Thomas stickers on the bottom. 

We have a large great room and we set aside a 12x12 space and made a miniature Island of Sodor with tracks, bridges, roads and buildings with Thomas and over a dozen of his friends running on the tracks and roads.  (I think my husband and 13 year old had the most fun setting it all up.)  I used our game table as a gift table with blue crepe paper streamers strung along the edge and red, blue and yellow balloons tied to a blue weight in the center.  In the dining room, I had more red and blue crepe paper streamers hung from the walls of the room to the center chandelier forming a canopy.  I also had a banner with Thomas, James and Percy on it that said HAPPY BIRTHDAY (on clearance at Paper Factory for 50 cents).  On the table, I had a blue tablecloth and in the center the birthday cake with Thomas plates (Party City, packages of 8 for $1.80) on one side and red napkins on the other.

PARTY:  As everyone arrived my 7 year old daughter greeted them, welcoming them to Tyler's Train Station; directing them to the engineer hats and blowouts; and instructing everyone to guess how many m&ms were in the container. 

After that everyone went in to see the trains.  Some of the trains ran faster than others so we had to avoid some train collisions which added to the fun.  The kids could change the switches on the tracks and raise and drop the cross rails so the autos could get through.  There was a conveyor belt that loaded and unloaded little rocks into cars and a place to stop and fill the engines with water. 

The kids, and kids at heart, had a good time watching the trains throughout the party.  My 13 year old son played the part of Mr. Conductor.  We used his marching band uniform with only a few alterations (covering the name of his band with a picture of Thomas) and added a train hat.  His job was to keep us all on schedule, as any good conductor should (I had given him a time table before the party started).  He blew a Thomas train whistle and would announce whenever it was time to start a new activity.  (I bribed him to do this!) 

Our first activity was to decorate a large gingerbread train (engine, coal car, passenger car and caboose).  (I received my train kit as a gift, but you can usually find these at Christmas time.)  We had red and blue frosting that they could apply with either paint brushes or plastic knives and white frosting in a decorating tube; black and red licorice; jelly beans and multi-colored peppermints.  They had a great time and ate more than they put on the train! 

I had bought another blue tablecloth to switch to after the gingerbread decorating was done, so that the mess could all just be wrapped up and thrown away.  Mr. Conductor announced that Tyler would be opening his gifts next.  (I do have to admit Tyler had to be pulled away from the trains almost every time we did an activity, so I think he would have been happy just playing with the trains all night.)  He was thrilled to receive a myriad of Thomas gifts, including two more engines to add to the tracks.  After the gifts were opened and everyone thanked, cake and ice cream were announced.

CAKE:  I made a round cake and used black shoestring licorice to make tracks, I placed a small (about 3 inch long) wind-up Thomas on them.  I wrote HAPPY BIRTHDAY TYLER! With blue candy letters and we used large blue and white striped candles.  Tyler had picked Blue Moon ice cream and I also had vanilla.  This was all served on the Thomas cake plates.  There were also soft drinks and cookies available throughout the evening.  The cookies were train sugar cookies.  They were very cute. We had made blue engines; blue coal cars with chocolate jimmies for the coal; and red cabooses with red sugar sprinkles.

The kids were very excited when Mr. Conductor announced that the train piñata was next.  (My husband had taken it from the table and hung it from the ceiling in our basement.) I gave each of them a Thomas goodie bag (that matched the invites) with their name written on it (on clearance at Paper Factory, 8 for 50 cents). 

After the piñata was done I set out a bunch of different Thomas activities that the kids could do if they wanted to:  Thomas coloring pages (printed off of thomasandfriends.com) and crayons; a Thomas tic-tac-toe game; Thomas scene set and Thomas books.  The 7 to 10 crowd was most interested in these things.

The last activity of the night was to announce who won the container of m&ms.  All of the kids told me they had a good time and Tyler loved showing his cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents his trains.  In the end, I felt great about the party and it ended up costing less than $50 (which made my husband very happy!)!!

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