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Image © Flickr user phil41dean

Decoration and Activity

Younger children are unlikely to “ooh” and “aah” over decorations so don’t feel the need to go overboard. Let the kids help decorate the party as your first activity. Pre-party, invest in a roll of recycled butcher paper and save up some cardboard boxes. Have kids draw or stencil and color their favorite form of transportation on the cardboard. Then let parents help cut out their kiddo’s creations. You can use the butcher paper as a background for a transportation mural to be taped up on a wall, or you can lay it out like a road or train tracks on the floor. Kids can vroom along the street with their new works of art. Tots will love taking turns being policemen with one child giving “tickets” (using paper from your recycling drawer, naturally!) to other speeding motorists, acting as the towman, or saving the day as a fireman in case of any highway accidents.

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Tabletop Decoration

For a quick and easy tabletop decoration, toss on this recycled paper confetti available in several shapes for the transportation obsessed: dump trucks, steam engines, cars, airplanes. You can also photocopy pages from a coloring book featuring your child’s favorite form of transportation to be used as placemats (which again can become a pre-cake activity). If the party is for kids to understand a temporary “Do not touch” rule, use some of your child’s toys as table props: place mounds of pretzels in the back of a dump truck, balance a plate of cookies on a large flatbed. Kids will get a kick out of these simple, but fun decorations.

+ Recycled Paper Transportation Confetti $1.75-2.50 per package

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Image © Jessica McCaffrey

Cake

To go the traditional cake route with a twist, try this clever construction cake. It’s a basic sheet cake decorated with things you likely already have around the house: pretzels stand in for logs, ground up chocolate cookies look exactly like dirt, and you can borrow the construction toppers from your child’s toy collection. If you opt for cupcakes, keep with the party theme with these  classic (and incredibly detailed) train cupcake wrappers, made from recycled paper. And if you want someone else to do the heavy culinary lifting, order these adorable organic firetruck cookies (or include them in the goody bag for a take home treat).

+ Recycled Paper Train Cupcake Wrappers $12.50 for 12

+ Organic firetruck cookies $6.00 each (gluten free option available!)

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Other Food Ideas

We have seen some especially crafty cake ideas for transportation parties, but we also like hand-held food that can be eaten while kids are huddled around the toy train table or taking turns playing “save the cat” (put a stuffed animal in a low-lying branch and have little firefighters climb up to rescue it). Whoopie pie wheels are a fun treat that can be on the go or at the table. We took some inspiration from Kids’ Cakes from the Whimsical Bakehouse and then used organic, vegan ingredients. You can also make cookie sandwich wheels or ice cream sandwiches as well.

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Party Favors

We often prefer one quality favor as opposed to a goody bag full of cheap-y plastic goodies that are likely to get thrown away (or broken) within a few days. This time we found a favor that can double as a party activity: a fire engine kit or a race car kit, both pre-punched on white cardboard and ready to be decorated (6 non-toxic markers included). You could also include one of these 100% recycled crayons molded into transportation shapes.

If trains are more your child’s speed, gift each child with a bamboo slide whistle. (Note: Inhabitots not responsible for the cacophony that will ensue!)

+ Recycled Cardboard Fire Engine Kit $6.99 each

+ Recycled Cardboard Race Car Kit $6.99 each

+ Bamboo Slide Whistle $3.99

Lead Image © Flickr user Ernst Vikne