As any new mom I wanted to go all out for my baby’s first birthday party. We were living in Bangkok at the time so I wasn’t even sure how to start planning or get some inspiration. I knew I didn’t want to do a party with a specific character theme since I knew baby Evan didn’t even know who Mickey Mouse or Batman was. I realize that the first birthday party is more for the parent’s than for the kids themselves, since they usually don’t even know what’s going on. So, to satisfy my maternal party-animal instincts I put together a Construction Themed Birthday Party.
I decided on the theme about one month before the birthday and I wasn’t sure how I was going to pull off getting all the knick-knacks and party favors for the party. In comes Super-Abuela to the rescue! My mom hauled over tons of party supplies and party favors both from Mexico and the US. I got many of the party supplies and favors from Oriental Trading, including the “I dig being 1” paper products. I got the balloons in China Town in Bangkok and all the candy was purchased by my mom in the US. My mom went to several markets in Mexico and was able to find plastic tools to put in the goody bags.
My dear friend Gloria taught me how to make a piñata and in the course of two weeks we made a hammer shaped piñata from scratch. It was challenging at times but very rewarding at the end. I have made one more piñata since and I can’t wait to have an excuse to make a new one.
We didn’t do anything too fancy. We were in Bangkok and we thought renting a party-place would be too much. We just rented the function room in our apartment building and worked with what we had: balloons and paper streamers. My friend Melissa made the fabric Banner and we’ve used it for other Birthday Parties since. For entertainment purposes we used Evan’s toys. I think this was enough for the kids to enjoy themselves and the parents to enjoy a relaxed but fun atmosphere.
Since we were hosting about 30 kids ages ranging from a few months to about 6 years old we had to come up with activities to cater to all of them. We didn’t hire any entertainment but had several activity stations:
- Cookie Decoration. I think parents had the most fun with this activity. All kids seemed to do was eat the icing from the tube.
- Coloring Station. I printed out a few construction-themed coloring pages and had crayons available on the table. The older kids, specially girls enjoyed this activity a lot.
- Paint your own construction belt. Dads specially enjoyed this one since the belt had a daddy theme. I got some crayola fabric markers and glitter sticks
- Soft padded area with building blocks. The smaller kids spent most of their time there. I had very soft foam blocks that they enjoyed playing with.
For food we tried to make building-related snacks. Some of the food was catered by the Charro Mexico-Thai and I tried to tie up the different foods with construction themes. The menu was as follows:
- Construction Dirt. Chocolate pudding with Oreo crumbs.
- Veggie Beams. Vegetables (carrots, cucumber and jicama) cut in sticks and accompanied by a ranch dip
- Cheese Bricks. Self-explanatory. I got mild cheddar and Monterey jack cheese.
- Sand Bags. Miniature beef and chicken tamales.
- Lumber. Mini burritos and mini taquitos.
A few extra details.
1. Personalized construction hats. My sister Dany and her good friend Karen helped design name labels for the plastic construction hats. To avoid wasting them I put the label on the hat as the kids arrived. Most of them took their hats home to match their construction belts.
2. Construction Themed Signs. Dany designed most of them. As I felt the walls seemed a bit empty I designed a few extra signs last-minute. I’m no graphic designer so I just used PowerPoint and basic shapes and colors.
3. Personalized Construction Belt Goody Bags. The belts had toy tools, bubbles, and lots of candy. For the older kids, mostly girls, we bought little fabric pencil holders and added cute stationary and lots of yummy candy.
4. Hammer Piñata . Although it wasn’t perfect I was very proud of it. We loved making it and even more breaking it. It was a great treat to a lot of our friend’s kids who hadn’t seen a piñata in a long time.
5. Cupcakes shaped as a Hammer. This was one of my first attempts at decorating a cake, so bear with me. I ended up making what I though looked like a hammer and I made a giant cupcake for Evan to play with. The giant cupcake didn’t turn out that well but Evan didn’t care and loved having chocolate for the first time.
6. Sangria. Yes, we had alcohol. Just a bit. For mommy and daddy’s friends; specially those without kids.
Here are a few more photos of Evan’s special day!
Evan had a blast. He walked around in his little construction costume and greeted everyone that came thru the doors. I really think he realized this was his day and stayed awake for the whole thing without a single meltdown. I can’t wait to start working on Joshua’s 1st Birthday Party in December!
It was a great birthday party!
Thanks Courtney! Jack was a little baby then. We miss hanging out with you!!! XOXO!!!
Pingback: How to throw a fabulous party while overseas without overspending | Stumble Abroad
Pingback: Meeting a One-month Old Baby - DaddyLibrary.com
I stumbled across this page because I am getting ideas for my sons birthday and I love what you did! You really incorporated the theme in a fun way. Thanks for sharing!
Hi Shelly! Thanks for visiting. We had a lot of fun preparing the party and at the party. I wish you happy planning and an awesome birthday party. Happy Birthday to your son!
Pingback: Moving to Jakarta without losing your Mind Part 2 | Stumble Abroad
Pingback: Joshua’s Nautical First Birthday Party | Stumble Abroad
Pingback: Evan’s Blastoff to Space Third Birthday Party | Stumble Abroad
Pingback: Evan’s Fourth Super Hero Birthday Party | Stumble Abroad
I am currently putting my son’s second birthday party together which is also a construction themed party. I LOVE everything that you did for your son’s first birthday party! I hope you don’t mind but I am hoping to use a few of your ideas. I was wondering where you found the tool belts that guests were able to design? Thank you in advance for your help!
Hi Kat, sorry for the late reply. I know planning for a party can keep you super busy. I got the tool belts from Oriental Trading Company. My mom got me the plastic toys from a traditional market in Mexico. I am so glad you will be able to use some of the party ideas. I am sure your son will love his party! Warm regards!
Thank you SO much Ana! And yes, this party is keeping me super busy. Thank you again for doing this post and helping mom’s like me who are planning similar parties. Your post has certainly helped me tremendously so, thank you again!
Hi Ana, that was a great party!! Loved the tool belts!
I am pretty much in a similar situation: an expat trying to plan a birthday party for a 1-year old. The thing is that I haven’t made friends here yet, but I still wanted to do something special. Should I just decorate a small space at home and do it just the three of us (mom, dad, baby), or should I invite everyone I know (even if they are not friends) and make a larger party? I guess that in the end, baby won’t remember a thing. So I may go for the first option… What do you think?
Hi Tai! Sorry for the late reply. Congratulations on your first year as a parent!!! I would recommend you do whatever makes you feel the happiest. The baby won’t remember but you will. This year we had a very low key birthday celebration and it was right for us for now. It’s such a blessing to be able to celebrate a new year of life but you don’t have to have a huge party. When we were overseas we wanted to celebrate with all our friends and it was perfect at the time. In any case congrats!!!!