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Train Party

Train Party -7yr - Building Train City Theme




Laura in Burlington, Ontario, Canada


February 2005


Special Mention

Model Train City Building Party--7 yr. old 

My son is into trains big time, and has an HO scale electric train that we've been promising to work on with him. We thought this would be a great opportunity to unveil his new train room (and surprise him). 

Invitations:  On white card stock, we'll use pre-gummed sticker shapes to create a city skyline. At the top we've printed ôIf we build it, the trains will comeö Inside: Come and join us for an afternoon of town building as ___ turns 7. (And all the party details as well). 

Cake: This will be a regular sheet cake, and as we've already made a train cake (made by baking several cakes in small loaf pans and decorating as an engine and separate cars), and also a construction zone cake (cookie crumbs and hot chocolate powder for dirt, small construction vehicles at work etc.), we'll be making this into a very small scale city plan. I'll use cube shaped candy for house bottoms, Hershey's kisses for roofs, micro machines for cars on roads, marzipan trees and bushes, etc. An alternate plan if we run out of time is to have a cake made at the local grocery store where they do photo cakes, and use an aerial photo of our city.

Décor: blueprints/architectural drawings for table coverings (my husband has a huge supply), train posters, train pictures from an out-of season calendar purchased for less than a dollar, maps, R.R. crossing signs (available on the net), tracks to the main model area made from electrical tape on the floor. We picked up the music from "I Love Toy Trains" to play during the party (available at our library, but also online).  As the kids arrive, they'll be given time for free play with our wooden train set as well as other building toys (knex, straws and connectors, Lego, foam blocks, waffle blocks, etc.). 

Once everyone has arrived, we will play "dress for work relay" in which the kids are divided into two groups and must run to a box that has "work clothes" (an engineer hat, a bandanna, oversized jeans) the first person dresses then must ring a bell then take off the work clothes and tag the next person who repeats this until the team is done.   Then the kids will be directed to the modeling activities. Since we only have a few kids coming, we will let them choose which activities they prefer.

The first "station" is Vancouver, and features mountain and tunnel building. With corrugated cardboard strips (from old moving boxes) and masking tape, the kids build a frame and then don disposable gloves so they can dip paper towels into plaster of paris (made a bit on the thin side)and cover the structure to make mountains and tunnels. An adult is needed at this station! This would probably also work with a simple papier-mâché mix (I use 4 cups of cold water and two tablespoons of cornstarch, bring to a boil, and simmer until thick).

The second "station" is Banff. This station is scenery painting done on mural paper hung on the wall. 

The third station is Thunder Bay, and features wooden building assembly and painting. I picked up several wooden kits from the dollar store to make houses, barns, etc. and also some lighthouses that were already built and ready to paint. Here is where they are built and painted.

The fourth station is Toronto, and features a colouring table with printouts on card stock of buildings that can be coloured, cut out and assembled into 3-d models.

These are available online at the Ben and Jerry's site, as well as at http://www.worsleyschool.net/socialarts/townmaker/page.html. There are other sites too with more complicated models for older kids. Go Transit and Via Rail give out 3-d paper models of their trains, and Amtrak might as well. 

The last modeling station is Halifax, and features a free building table with glue, popsicle sticks, sand paper, corrugated paper, craft moss, construction paper, scissors, small paperboard boxes re-assembled inside out (so that glue and paint will stick better), string, straws, coloured gummed paper etc. Bridges, trees and anything else goes here. 

Another station (Winnepeg) could include gingerbread house building/decorating. Icing can be made with butter or shortening mixed with icing sugar and a drop of vanilla. Assorted small candy, especially M&M's and sprinkles are popular. Graham crackers iced to stick onto small washed out milk cartons work well for this. 

Games: After model building, we will play one of the following games, and the others after cake and present time. Relays: Using paperboard boxes (cereal boxes, etc.), relay race to build tallest structure Train building relay (using people as train cars) the team splits in half so half the team is on one side of the room and half on the other. The first person (engine) crosses the room to pick up the tender, then crosses again to pick up train cars etc. until the team train is completed. 

Load the boxcar--suing rolled up black socks as "coal" team members try and fill their tender (decorated cardboard box) before the train whistle blows.  Duck, duck goose in train theme (steam, steam, diesel). Demolition ball bowling--the plastic demolition ball (toy bowling ball) is used to know down the box buildings (the ones built in the skyscraper relay).  For the finale, the kids will be invited to add their creation to the train layout for photos. After the photos they can take their creations home, in loot bags pre-filled with candy trains (roll candy, stick bubble gum, mints, caramels and a Hershey's kiss glue-gunned together--details at fun zone or enchanted learning websites).

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