“Cars and Trucks and Things That Go” Birthday Celebration

Once we decided on the theme for Daniel’s 5th birthday party, Annabel would walk around talking about Daniel’s “Cars and Trucks and Things That Go Birthday Celebration!”   It was the “celebration” part that always cracked me up.  And she was right.  It was a CELEBRATION.

This was the first time we had a kids party at our house.  Daniel’s August birthday in Florida will always be a challenge.  It’s so hot and it’s (usually!) hurricane season.  (I’m sorry friends and family up north!) Last year we did the Pump it Up gym, so this year we wanted to try something new.  I know five year old boys want to run and play and be outside, so we decided to take our chances and have an outdoor party.  We ordered the bounce house, tent, tables, and chairs and I even found a cool mist fan.  I also planned activities for our enclosed patio and the food stations were inside the house.

The fun for me is always the theme and the details.  I love to plan the decorations, crafts, food, cake, and goody bags. Daniel is obsessed with his cars and trucks, so we knew that was to be incorporated.  He is also obsessed with Richard Scarry’s Cars and Trucks and Things That Go book.  We were going to do a Richard Scarry theme, but it was easier to make it the generic “Cars and Trucks and Things That Go.”  The colors would be primary.  Red, yellow, green (for a traffic light), and blue (Daniel’s favorite color.)

I found these super cute “Birthday Traffic” invitations on Tiny Prints.  Once the invites were out, it was time to plan the fun!

I found this city directional sign on Oriental Trading.  It was for their camp VBS program, but it worked out great as our front door welcome sign. Hubbie found the glitter letters at Michaels.

I made this birthday wreath with a foam base that I wrapped with colored ribbon and decorated with painted wood cars that I also found at Michaels.

Okay, let me say here that I love coming up with the party ideas more than I love the actual execution.  I got the idea for the door wreath HERE and I loved it because it seemed so simple.  And it WAS simple until the ribbon started unraveling and the wood pieces started falling off five minutes after I hung it on the front door.  It’s my fault because I used double sided tape instead of glue. It looked great as a finished product on the table, but once it hit the hot door and the Florida wind, forget it.  I managed to keep it together with pins for 20 minutes, but once all the guests arrived, I brought it inside.  The same thing happened with the directional sign.  Every five minutes, another glitter letter fell off.  I should have used super glue to adhere the letters instead of relying on the stickers alone.

The rest of the decorations remained intact.  Thank goodness.  Etsy is my new favorite website for party ideas and party orders.   Here is the snack table.  The banner is from Etsy’s Keekers Crafts.  She used our party colors and some really cute cars and truck printed paper.

There were cups of popcorn and pretzels to make it easy for the guests to grab and go.  The red tins were filled with red apples.  I found transportation lollipops from Oriental Trading and the #5 car cookies were from Etsy’s Andrea’s Goodies.

Hubbie is AMAZINGLY creative so he helped me with the displays.  For the lollipops we used small green tin pails, plant foam, and green gift filler from Hobby Lobby.

We stayed with the theme for the dinner buffet.

There were “Peanut Butter and ‘Traffic’ Jam Sandwiches” which I made with white and wheat bread and a car shaped cookie cutter.

Next, some “Vroom! Vroom! Veggies.”

The “Truckin’ Chicken Nuggets” were from Chick-fil-A and displayed in two plastic sand trucks found in Target’s summer clearance aisle.

Here’s the “Stop Light Fruit” and I should have snapped the photo the other way so it actually looks like a stop light.  Ha.  We had red strawberries, yellow pineapple, and green grapes.  The large white pasta bowls are from Target and we used black felt to mimic a stop light.

We had green salad and potato chips to fill in the rest of the main table and on the side island was “Zoom! Zoom! Ziti” which we ordered from our local Italian restaurant.  It was super yummy and a great way to fill up some bellies.

I had three craft stations set up in our enclosed patio area which I decorated with red pennant flags from Amazon and transportation vehicle cut-outs from the Michaels clearance bin.

1. Design-A-Ride. The kids pick out their favorite wooden truck and decorate with markers and stickers. The trucks were, again, 0n-sale at Michaels.

2. Bike License Plate.  The kids pick their favorite plate color.  They personalize with their name using foam letters and decorate with foam stickers.  Everything was from Dollar Tree.  I made the plates with foam rectangles and pipe cleaners.

3. Car Photo Frame.  The kids decorate a car cut-out photo frame.  I found the frames at Dollar Tree.   I was only planning on two crafts, but then I saw these frames and could not resist including them in the party.

We ordered a tent for outside with tables and chairs.  We also ordered a cool mist fan.  It really only cooled down half the tent, so I’m not sure it was worth the money.  I decorated the tables with balloons attached to construction cones (which I found in the Target dollar bin.)

We already had the outdoor play set that we knew all the kids would enjoy and Daniel really wanted a bounce house.  I was concerned that the inside of the bounce house would feel like an oven, but we parked it in a shady spot and it was not bad at all.

We threw every play car and truck we own on the grass and, at the last minute, decided to fill two large metal bins with sand so the kids could play with car and truck sand toys.  It was HUGE hit.

The crafts, however, were not a big hit.  Some of the girls enjoyed them, but the boys just wanted to bounce and play outside.  We were blessed with no rain so the party fun was outdoors.  The kids would just stop for water and a little relief from the mist fan and then it was right back to playing outside.  I was just happy everyone had a good time.

Daniel does not like cake so I found a great idea on-line for a donut “wheel cake.”  We ordered four dozen chocolate donuts from Dunkin’ Donuts and Hubbie created this masterpiece.

Tomorrow I’ll post about the goody bags and everything I learned about hosting my very first kids party at home.  And MAYBE  I’ll tell you how the bounce house deflated halfway through the party or how our lawn sprinklers went on unexpectedly toward the end. But that’s for another day. I’m EXHAUSTED.


  1. The party was amazing, Pam! I’m hiring you guys for our next party – way to go!

  2. Hi! I’m doing a similar birthday party for my son! I love the donut wheels and I’m curious as to what you used for the inside part of the wheels. I can’t tell from the photo. It looks great, whatever it is!

  3. PopMommy Pam says:

    They are silver toy wheels from the build-a-car kits. You can get them at Toys R Us! Thanks for stopping by and have a great party!

  4. What a great party! Simple and cute but loads of fun!

  5. PopMommy Pam says:

    Thanks so much! It was so much fun!

  6. Hi,
    Party looks great!!!
    I am looking for a sign just like yours and I’m having trouble finding yours on Oriental Trading. Any suggestions?


  7. Hi,

    Great party!!
    I’m looking for a directional sign just like yours for my son’s birthday party. I am having trouble finding it on Oriental Trading. Any suggestions?

    Thank you!

  8. PopMommy Pam says:

    Put “Directional Sign” in the search engine of Oriental Trading because there were a bunch of options. Mine might be discontinued. Also try Century Novelty or Birthday Express. Good Luck!!

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