Since he was a tiny tot, Greased Lightning has loved all-things-construction. You may remember that when given the chance to do whatever he wanted to do around town on the last day of school a few years ago, he wanted to go down the street to watch the road construction workers on the job.
So, it was only natural, that he should ONCE AGAIN want a construction worker-themed birthday party. Since he was turning five, he also got to invite a few friends over to celebrate with him, per our house rule.
Here's a peek at his five-year-old fun!
While Pinterest is brimming with over-the-top tablescapes and party decor, I tend to go simple and cheap in order to keep my party budget to a minimum. $60. That's it. That has to stretch to purchase everything including food, decorations, party favors, and even birthday gifts for the birthday boy.
$60...that's all I've got to work with. So, that means I've got to get a bit creative with every detail of the day.
Because of my limited, living-debt-free budget, I rarely serve anything but cake and ice cream at birthday parties. I try to plan the event to fall in between meal times, so a meal is not needed. This particular cake was a cinch to make. The actual cake portion was made from two round chocolate cakes. I cut one in half and stacked these two halves on top of the other cake to form a "step". I, then, covered the entire thing with homemade chocolate frosting. By crushing graham crackers to look like "sand", I was able to cover the ugly jelly roll pan that was holding the cake. Then, I cut small pieces of graham cracker to look like "bricks" which I put along the bottom edge of the cake.
After gathering up and sterilizing a set of construction toys, I handed the entire thing over to The Hubs and asked him to make a realistic construction scene. I told him I wanted it to look like the worker men were building the cake and that part of the cake had been "torn away" by the big orange digger.
This is what he came up with! Like a true artist, he added some really cute details by putting the extra frosting into the dump truck to look like cement pouring out and by sprinkling graham cracker sand to look like dirty footprints across the cake.
For this party, I was able to wrangle up much of the consumable products at the dollar store and used construction items that we already had for the rest.
Yellow paper plates
I tipped them on their side and used a sharpie marker to make each one look like a different road sign. (We had so many extra plates, that when it came time to actually eat cake and ice cream, I replaced the sharpie-markered-plates with clean ones.)
I placed these upside down on the table to make them look like hazard cones.
Black table cloth
With the help of some yellow duct tape, I turned a regular black table cloth into a road. (It's hard to see from the picture, but the yellow tape made perfect dashed lines across the table.)
Instead of streamers, I hung cheap yellow caution tape from the ceiling and on the front door.
Sports cones and cake
Whenever I throw a party, I tend to use the cake as the centerpiece of the table...just another way to keep costs down. I flanked the cake with some orange cones that we already had in our sports equipment bin.
In another attempt to keep the cost to a minimum, I usually buy party favors that can actually be used during the party...either in a game or as part of a costume.
I found yellow school supply buckets in the Dollar Spot section of Target. Because they had handles, the buckets worked perfectly for "tool boxes."
Home Depot was more than willing to donate as many orange kid's aprons as we needed for the party...FREE ADVERTISING for them, fun party favor for the kids.
I bought rubber mallets at the dollar store. Since I needed them anyway for a game, I tossed them into the party favor buckets.
These also came from the dollar store.
What tool box would be complete without "measuring tape?"
Of course the best part of any birthday party is the games! Greased Lightning is an active boy. We don't call him Greased Lightning for nothin'. So when planning the activities, I really wanted to introduce games that fit his personality...BIG and BOLD!
"Nail Pounding" Race
The Hubs got a styrofoam scrap from an appliance store and some golf tees at Walmart. We placed all the tees in a bucket in the middle of the styrofoam square and encouraged the boys to use their rubber mallets to pound as many "nails" as they could into the square. The boy who pounded the most "nails" won.
Greased Lightning loved this game so much that The Hubs took all the tees out of the square after the party and let him pound them all back in...several times for the next few days until the whole thing kind of crumbled in our yard.
Dump Truck Race
I split the boys into two teams. At one end of the yard, I placed two dump trucks and two piles of equal amounts of wooden blocks. At the other end of the yard, I placed orange hazard cones. On my "go", the boys took turns filling up their trucks with one handful of blocks, racing them down the yard, dumping the load, and racing back in order to tag their team mate so that he could fill, race, dump. The first team to haul their entire load to the other side of the yard won.
Sweetie Pea and Super Boy stacked up a bunch of discarded boxes to look like a wall. When it was time to play the game, I handed the first player a "wrecking ball" and encouraged him to toss it at the wall. The boxes would knock over, we'd count the ones that actually got knocked down, and then set the "wall" back up again. We played this several times. The boy who knocked over the most boxes won.
Greased Lightning looooooooves hide-and-seek games. So, I put together a construction worker-version. I gathered up all the play tools that he owns and asked his older brother and sister to hide all of them all around the yard. When it was time to play the game, the birthday boy and his pals carried their tool boxes around the property looking for their missing tools. The boy who found the most tools won.
Looking for more party ideas?
Be sure to check out my Party Pinterest Board!