Road construction. Most adults associate those words with frustration and travel delays. For little kids like my son, though, seeing the big construction vehicles and workers outfitted in neon makes any road trip more exciting! Mr. Boy has been interested in “workers” for the past year, and proudly declared that he is going to be a road worker when he grows up. Whenever we visited our local Tractor Supply store for dog food, he would lead me by the hand to the men’s clothing department so we could see if they had his size in the neon green work attire yet. He always held out hope, but alas.
Carrying on my tradition of giving my son a birthday party themed around his favorite interest, I set about planning a construction themed party for Mr. Boy’s fourth birthday. I snuck into his bedroom the night before and left a construction worker costume from Melissa and Doug for him to find when he woke up. He was thrilled and wanted to try it on right away. He also informed my husband and me that his voice had changed and his feet had “growed”.
To save money, I kept the decorations simple. There are plenty of construction-themed party supplies for purchase if you want to pay a premium, but lower priced plain items served their purpose perfectly well. I did splurge on a few specific items from party stores, like construction signs (but if your printer has ink, you can certainly print them yourself) and caution tape.
A plain brown table cloth set the stage for the birthday cake and snacks. Orange cups and napkins were stacked to look like traffic cones. I used red dinner plates and yellow dessert plates that reminded me of the shapes and colors of construction signs.
I made edible traffic cones from baby carrots (I actually spent the time using a peeler to taper the ends a bit more), whipped cream cheese and cheese crackers. They were a big hit with the party-goers.
I was so happy with how the cake turned out. I had rather ambitious cake recipes in mind, but in the end I decided to keep it simple. I made my family’s chocolate cake and frosting recipe, then decorated with a toy bulldozer I found for $3.50 at Dollar General. I used crushed chocolate graham crackers that looked just like dirt, and found some cocoa-dusted chocolate covered almonds that looked like rocks at a local Amish store. I used photo-editing software to make a road sign, which I printed on cardstock and affixed to aluminum foil posts. I found some great traffic cone birthday candles at a party supply store that were the perfect finishing touch.
I had thought about doing a “big” birthday party for the first time for my son and invite all the little kids he knows, but in the end I decided to keep it small again this year. We wanted one last birthday party in our little house before we move. I set up a kid’s table decorated with favor bags and hard hats that I found at a party supply store. I personalized the hats by drawing first initials on them with permanent marker. I happened to find construction vehicle favor bags at Dollar Tree. I also picked up some vehicle-themed coloring books and boxes of crayons there. I added in a Matchbox construction vehicle and a stick of rock candy for each kid.
I set out a play rug with various construction vehicles we already owned to keep the little cousins occupied as they waited for the festivities to begin.
My son is like me and could eat pizza every day of the week without growing tired of it, so it was no surprise that it was his request for birthday dinner. My husband helped me make several homemade pizzas for our guests, which saved a lot of money. We stuck to the construction theme with orange and yellow pepper and pepperoni “signs”, and black olive “tires”.
Once all of the guests had left, I asked my son if he had had a nice birthday. “It was perfect!” he said.
Here are links to birthdays past, which we loved just as much:
1 year old – Sesame Street Birthday Party with fun balloon faces
2 years old – Racecar Birthday Party with a great cupcake cake
3 years old – Dinosaur Birthday Party with palm tree decor and a volcano cake