Thomas the Train Birthday Party Ideas


If your little train lover is about to turn one year older, make yourself a really useful engine and throw a Thomas the Train party. With a little imagination, turn your house into a bustling railroad station and get ready to host the most exciting birthday party of the year. All aboard!

photo: Julius Scissor on Etsy

Send Out the Itinerary

Let your guests know about the train-filled adventure by sending tickets out ahead of the big day. These make-shift ticket invites will have your kiddo’s friends all RSVPing in a jiffy. Available from JuliousScissor on Etsy, they are customized and sent to you via email. Simply send the finished file to a printer and you’ll be ready to ship.

If you’re up to the challenge of DIY invites, check out this tutorial from The Youngest at Heart on creating train ticket invites. Grab paper and scissors, and get ready to wow your friends and family!

img_3267-2photo credit: I.D. Mommy

Get Dressed for the Main Event

If you want to go all out, check out this Sir Topham Hat and Thomas the Train Wagon tutorial. Guests will be talking about this look for days and your little might not want to take it off.  And, after all your hard work, you might just let him keep it on!

A simple but festive way to make sure the star of the day is ready to greet passengers upon arrival is donning a pair of classic OshKosh Overalls. Once your little tyke is decked out in these duds, add a few accessories—hat, bandana, whistleand he’ll feel like he’s boarded the birthday train.

thomas-dressphoto: The Sew Princess Boutique

Sure, girls can rock a pair of overalls. But if your train lover is a little lady and looking for something more feminine, check out these polka dot dresses with matching bows from The Sew Princess Boutique on Etsy. With the adorable shoulder bows and matching hair bow, the birthday star will truly shine.

thomasthetrainbirthday1_stephanieandlukeblogspot_redtricyclephoto: Stephaneandluke.blogspot.com

Set the Scene

Lead guests to the station with “tracks” of black tape lining the sidewalks. Welcome guests with balloons or a DIY sign. They’ll get excited as they imagine they’re entering the Island of Sodor for the birthday train adventure. Keep the tracks going inside like Stephanie and Luke for major impact.

thomas-place-settingphoto: Stiletto Lawyer

For Thomas-themed table settings, you can’t go wrong by incorporating bright primary colors. Not only will you pay homage to each of the useful engines, but it’ll make a festive scene too! Check out Stiletto Lawyer’s red, white, and blue decor. The plush Thomas the Train centerpiece (with balloons, of course) makes for a fun, simple and kid-friendly way to decorate.

thoas-paper-suitephoto: ChoosaRoo via Etsy

If DIY talk leaves you feeling like you’re on a runaway railroad car, consider purchasing a Train Birthday Party Printable Package. This is an easy way to coordinate everything from food labels to banners and more. Most packages even include matching invites and thank you notes to keep the up coordinated look before and after the party!

food-serving-trainphoto: Tonya Staab

Prep the Dining Car

Create a snack-carting train by purchasing mini tin-foil trays and gluing cut-out wheels like Tonya Staab did. Set up a Thomas toy to lead the way, and fill the trays with tasty treats like tortilla chips and salty pretzels so kiddos can go down the line and peck as they please.

Continue the train theme into the main course. Kendra at Me and My Insanity crafted a sub sandwich and then used toothpicks to add wheels. Since you can order in a sub sandwich or craft one up ahead of time, you’ll be able to enjoy the party ride and take in the sights with your guests. If a train just won’t do for the main course, consider adding a fruit or veggie train!

Keep the party chugging along by adding a few drinks that will spice up the party decor and add yumminess to the table. Kendra from On My Side of the Room went all out with beautiful water dispensers that will work great for this party and any in the future! Simply add a little magic sign that says “Diesel Fuel” or “Water Tower”, and the kiddos will be loving their Thomas the Train inspired drinks.

blowing-out-candles-thomas-cakephoto: Richard Gillin via Flickr

The Clever Cake

A birthday party isn’t complete without a cake, and a Thomas party calls for a Thomas cake. No matter your baking skills, you’re going to leave guests impressed whether you use this Thomas Cake Pan or go all out with this handcrafted 3D version. Don’t forget the candles!      

If you can’t decide on the flavor of the cake, get busy making a cupcake train. Check out TeenyTinyCakes for step-by-step instructions on a picture perfect display.

thomas-pin-the-1-finalphoto credit: PBS

Entertain the Passengers

Real steam engine or not, there’s no need to scratch your head over train-related activities. Kids love classic party games, so why not include those with a little twist? Try Pin the 1 on Thomas, Bingo or if you’re feeling adventurous, why not a piñata?

traingames_crackofdawncrafts_thomasthetrainpartyideas_redtricyclephoto: Crack of Dawn Crafts

Help your little ones get their energy out by holding train races! Try these homemade, cardboard trains from Redheads Plus One and see which little engine can move the quickest! Based on the age of your guests, don’t be scared to give them a special challenge and make the course a bit harder. Maybe you’ll drop ballon “boulders” that kiddos need to keep in the air or spread out bubble wrap “ice” for jumpers to clear.

Put your really useful crew of guests to work by setting up Thomas and Friends crafts. Check out Craftulate for instructions on making your own party costumes and creating a group train.  

traintable_joshmazgelis_flickr_thomasthetrainparty_redtricyclephoto: Josh Mazgelis via flickr

If your tyke is not already the proud owner of a train table, a party might be the perfect time to get, or maybe even make, one. In no time, you’ll have a perfect activity for guests, scene-setting decor and a birthday present that will be used for years. If you prefer something smaller scale, this train set from IKEA is reasonably priced and still lots of fun!

goodybags_whatrachelmadetoday_thomasthetrainparty_redtricyclephoto: What Rachel Made Today

End of the Line

As the party train approaches the final stop, the kiddos will be excited for Thomas party favors to take home. We’re liking What Rachel Made Today‘s simple way of decorating. Purchase a simple blue bag and train-related stamps to decorate the party favor bags. Add a personalized touch with a name tag, and we’re sure each kid will be clamoring for theirs before the day is up.

Don’t forget to fill the bag with amazing goodies! This Little Engineers Set of a cap, bandana and train whistle will bring back the memories of the party. Add a candy train to the bag to keep the conductors full throughout their journey.

By giving each little conductor a Thomas and Friends-First Look and Find book, you’ll not only give them a fun favor to take home, but you’ll also have an extra activity on hand. As the party winds down, pass out the favors and you’ll have conductors sitting quietly as they search for items on each page. Breathe! What a success!

thomas-thank-you-cardphoto credit: PBS

Don’t Stop Yet

After the train has left the station and the party has come to an end, be sure to send a thank you to show your appreciation. It’s a great habit for littles and there’s a free template from PBS. No more excuses!

3856100382_1c6c212eef_zphoto credit: Steve VunCannon via Flickr

You might think the fun ends there, but if you have a true train aficionado on your hands, make his or her dreams come true by gifting a “Day out with Thomas.” With this ticket, your little will take a ride, meet Sir Topham Hat and spend a day surrounded by everything Thomas. Who says the fun needs to end when the party’s over?

Have you planned a Thomas the Train bash? Share your success in the comments section below.

—Lisa Snart, Christal Yuen and Claire Schillings

 Check out other birthday party themes HERE



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Combi USA


Combi USA

“Combi was established in Tokyo, Japan in 1957 and has been growing as a leading company of juvenile products in Japan and other Asian Countries. Combi Shop is the first store location directly operated by Combi in the US! The shop is located in Torrance, CA. Combi Shop carries Combi’s signature strollers Mechacal, F2 and F2 Plus. They are super light, portable and very safe! Combi Shop also carries Child Safety Seats, baby bottles, mugs, feeding sets for fork and spoon and plate and cups. Combi Shop also carries apparel for newborn babies. Combi Shop is open daily, from 11:00 am to 8:00 pm.”

 

-from Combi USA
3520 Westinghouse Blvd., Suite B
Charlotte, NC 28273
Phone: 800-992-6624
Online: combiusa.com
Facebook: facebook.com/usacombi
Twitter: twitter.com/CombiUSA
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6 Books Perfect for Their Easter Baskets


Halloween may get all the glory, but it’s Easter that provides just as potent of a sugar high. This year, skip the sweets (yes, really) and turn to an Easter basket gift that lasts longer than peeps and jellybeans. These six books are great and adorable reads for your little one. Flip through the gallery to find your sugar-free fix.

Baby Touch and Feel: Animals

The Easter Bunny is not the only animal that will charm your toddler this spring. Little ones will love spotting their favorite animals in Baby Touch and Feel: Animals, and will quickly point out all their furry friends, including puppies, kittens, zebras and even butterflies. And with the two adorable bunnies on the cover, the book fits perfectly into the Easter basket. Click here to buy the book.

Which book will you put in your kiddo’s Easter basket this year? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

— Leah Singer

featured photo: eekim via flickr; cover art courtesy of the publisher

 



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The New Digital Playroom from Hopster Makes Perfect Sense


Hopster, the learning app for preschoolers, recently announced the debut of a new digital playroom geared toward helping kiddos develop essential sensory processing skills. Sense is available on the app on World Autism Awareness Day, April 2.

What It Is
Hopster is an award-winning children’s app geared toward kids ages 2-6. It’s totally ad-free and packed with learning features including games, songs and shows. Now, as part of the app, kids can visit Sense—an area designed specifically to help kids learn fine motor skills and schematic play with sensory relief in mind. Sense is great for any child and perfectly suited for the sensory needs of autistic children.

 

Sense has 9 different screens, made up of different sounds, music, colors, textures and lights. Rather than quick or flashing changes, there are calm gradual shifts between color, light and movement. The animated features are also calm and the music is relaxing. And it feature two color palettes: bright and colorful or pastel, so it facilitates a wider audience and moods.

Even More
Hopster will also tie in the release of Sense with the introduction of a special themed area that celebrates diversity and special needs. The shows including Punky—an animated show about a little girl with Down Syndrome; The Adventures of Zee which highlights Arabic culture and Signed Stories—a collection of classic fairy tales that narrates with ASL (American Sign Language).

How to Get It 
Launching in the Hopster app on April 2, you can get the app through Google Play or iTunes. You can try the app for free, it is $4.99 a month after free trial. 

Do your kids play with Hopster? Will you check out Sense?

—Amber Guetebier

images courtesy Hopster



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6 Ways to Transform a Little Red Wagon


Few things are as iconic as a little red wagon. When they aren’t hauling the kiddos to the park or toys around the house, we’ve got a few inventive ways to put those Radio Flyers to use. Read on for six clever ways to roll with it.

photo: The Stanley Clan

1. Red Wagon Shelf

The Stanley Clan created this impressive bookshelf from an old Radio Flyer wagon and we can’t wait to try one ourselves. While it makes great decor for any kid’s room we can see this shabby chic number in an entryway or even a living room. To find out how to make one yourself, visit The Stanley Clan.

photo: Keith Ewing via flickr 

2. Cover It Up

Sure, you can spend some cash and get a ready-made pop up shade for the kiddo’s wagon days. Or, you can take it back to pioneer times by making turning a regular garden wagon into a pioneer day’s covered wagon. Visit Instructables to get the how-to.

photo: A Subtle Revelry

3. Ice Cream Bike Cart

Sometimes  your simple summer party needs something a little special and this ice cream bike cart from A Subtle Revelry definitely fits the bill. With a few basic items and a wagon-base, you too can impress the neighborhood kids. Visit A Subtle Revelry to learn how they did it.

photo: FarOutFlora via flickr

4. Wagon Flower Box

One of the easiest uses for an old wagon is to convert it into a planter. If there aren’t already holes in it you should drill a few for drainage and then add some potting soil. Because there isn’t a lot of room for roots to grow, we suggest using succulents because their shallow root system can take the lack of depth. They also don’t mind drying out in between waterings, which is likely to happen when there isn’t a lot of dirt involved. Succulents can take sandier and rockier soil, too. You can also try annuals like marigolds, pansies, petunias and similar which don’t require extensive room to grow.

photo: Kim Love via flickr

5. Herb Garden on Wheels

Like the planting wagon, this one takes advantage of a no-longer used toy. The push wagon your toddler has outgrown might look a little worse-for-wear but it will look amazing as a tiny garden of herbs. Just be sure there are a couple of holes for drainage and use a potting soil instead of a garden planting mix. Tuck in a few herbs that stay on the smaller side: thyme and chives should do the trick. You can try seeding in wheatgrass, too, and making this a mini-lawn to amuse yourself and your garden cat.

photo: Argh! Argh! And3RRsoN

6. Outdoor Art Station

Turn your kiddos wagon into an outdoor mobile art station. Stock it with chalk, paints and any other materials they need for a day of creating around the yard. Use a mini-wagon for an indoor version that can roll across the table from one crafta-nista to the next.

What’s your favorite way to re-use old toys, like a little red wagon? Tell us your ideas below. 

—Amber Guetebier

featured photo: The Stanley Clan

 



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At-Home Science Experiments for Kids


Does your kiddo like things on the yucky side? Take advantage of the gross factor and make your at-home science lessons a little extra icky! Whether it’s making goo, growing mold or learning about germs, these fun and simple science experiments will have your little lab rat saying, “Ewww!” Click through the slideshow to get the goop.

Make a Non-Newtonian Fluid

Is it a solid or a liquid? Your little chemists will love playing around with this delightfully yucky ooze, which is a perfect example of a “non-Newtonian fluid” (a substance with both solid and liquid properties). Head over to Scientific American to get the recipe.

photo: Melissa Heckscher

Looking for more? Try our very own snot recipe. What’s your favorite at-home science? Tell us how your experiments went in the comments below. 

—Melissa Heckscher



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Aidia


Aidia

Aidia is built on giving parents the freedom to have it all for their growing family: uncompromised safety, superior craftsmanship, stylish design, and a comfortable ride. At Aidia, we’ve taken the essentials and raised the standard in order to give parents more freedom in selecting a booster seat and car seat accessories. We understand that safety is the most important factor, which is why Aidia’s car seats are designed by an experienced team of engineers and developed based on a series of well-established testing protocols. Aidia’s factory has remained one of the leading global producers and suppliers for child restraint systems since 2003, protecting over 10 million families in over 64 countries worldwide trusting the safety and quality of our products.

Aidia’s direct to consumer launch was guided by the conviction that parents shouldn’t have to choose safety over affordability or style. We’re less concerned with bells and whistles than we are on what really matters, providing all the necessities for safety and comfort at a price parents can live with. And with a selection of fashion-forward fabrics, we have a seat to fit the unique style of any child.

 

-from Aidia
Email: media@aidiababy.com
Phone: 1-866-328-8661
Online: aidiababy.com
Facebook: facebook.com/AidiaBaby
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20 Unique Mac and Cheese Recipes


If your little one’s favorite food groups are chicken tenders and mac ‘n’ cheese, you’re in luck. We’ve rounded up a bunch of twists on the cheesy staple that incorporate everything from sweet potatoes to buffalo chicken. Whether you’re looking for rich indulgence or a lightened-up version, we’ve got you covered.

Green Macaroni and Cheese

Try out this veggie-fied take on mac and cheese from Weelicious. No food coloring needed—spinach and broccoli are the key ingredients to make the mix bright green. Find out how it’s made by clicking here.

photo: Weelicious

What’s your favorite mac and cheese recipe? Let us know in the comments below.

—Susie Foresman



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We Found the Best of What’s New on Netflix (You’re Welcome)


Kids who loved the How to Train Your Dragon movies will want to tune into this Netflix original spinoff meant to precede the story in How to Train Your Dragon 2. The series follows Hiccup, Toothless, and their friends, as they face off against the bad guys and unlock long-hidden dragon secrets. As with the films, the fight scenes may be scary for younger viewers or more sensitive kids; and, since each episode ends with a cliffhanger, tots accustomed to seeing their stories end happily may not feel so good when the credits roll. Still, the animation is gorgeous, and seeing these slickly-drawn dragons flying over the sea is a thrill for any little dragon-lover.

Suggested age range: 8+



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