We had a blast throwing our son's 4th birthday party a few weeks ago at the Windsor-Severance Fire Museum. I was shocked to learn that no one had ever thrown a birthday party at this location before, but very pleased with how easy it was to put together and how accommodating Dan Lowe, the museum curator, and his team were. We really enjoyed the opportunity to have a fun party and support our local fire rescue at the same time, and would love to encourage others in our community to do the same! I'm sharing all of the details to put the party together in this post, so peppered throughout, you'll find links to the products we used, made by mostly small businesses, to help you throw a preschooler approved firetruck party of your own!
Winter birthdays can be kind of tricky, since you can't really just go put up balloons at the park due to the weather, and having a party at our house isn't necessarily the most exciting environment for a party can become crowded. As far as firetruck themed parties go, I can't think of a better location. The space was already decked out in real firefighter memorabilia and had three retired firetrucks on site for the kids to explore and climb on, so almost no decorations were necessary.
Not only did we have a fun, fully-decorated space for our party, but the fire station was able to send out a real, working firetruck for the kids to tour and had several firefighters attend the party to read a firetruck story to the kids, give safety demonstrations, play a "bucket brigade" game, and mingle. The fire fighters and staff also provided fire prevention education, coloring books and helmets for the kids. Honestly, there was so much provided by the fire station that the party would have been a success even if we did nothing else, which made planning the party a very low-stress endeavor- which is saying a lot because, if you know me you know I'm typically someone who obsesses over every detail!
Now that our family is gluten-free I've been working on my baking skills since gluten-free alternatives aren't always readily available (or even edible, frankly) and while I was nervous about baking for a crowd, I am happy with the end results. Elliot wanted firetruck cookies for his birthday instead of a cake, so we ended up with sugar cookies as well. I made all of the desserts, topping the firetruck cake with a cute custom firetruck candle from PishkaDesigns and the cupcakes with little firetruck pull-back toys and firefighter helmet lollipops. Speaking of gluten free, we had Garlic Jim's gluten-free pizza delivered and it was by all accounts the best gluten free pizza that any one has ever had, and several people didn't believe me when I told them it was gluten free. We are addicted to this pizza and recommend it highly!
As a backdrop for the cake table, I used a wooden name sign from the Etsy shop JenAndHailey which I painted red myself. The process was so easy, as the sign is made from a light and porous wood that takes well to painting and is easily covered with just one coat. I love the personalized name signs from this shop and now both of my kids have one hanging in their bedrooms. I'll be sharing a tutorial for painting them soon so check back in a few weeks!
Another one of my favorite Etsy shops is Toluni Handmade which made these matching firetruck birthday shirts for both kids and coordinating tote bag, which made for a really fun gift bag that he can continue to use for years to come. I love that she was able to personalize his shirt with his name and age, and that she made my daughter a matching one with a pink firetruck and the words "little sister." Both kids loved their shirts and insisted on sleeping in them on top of their pajamas that night after the party was over.
Believe it or not, firetruck piñatas are hard to find, so I had Apinata4u Handcrafted Pinatas make me a custom one that was AMAZING! My son wanted so badly to play with it, and actually got upset when it burst open because he'd rather keep it as a toy than eat the candy out of it. Don't worry, we taped it back together afterward and brought it home for him to play with until it falls apart. These piñatas are surprisingly sturdy, so it may last a long time!
Our last activity was to paint our own "Made By Me" wooden firetruck toys with working wheels. These kits came with their own washable paints, paintbrushes and sticker sheets. The stickers included details like windows and ladders for the trucks, which was perfect since our crowd of 3 and 4 year old artists went the route of Picasso, so I'm not sure you would have known they were firetrucks without them. I'm pleased to report that the included paint truly is washable and came right out of clothing without any special spot treatments!
I love supporting small businesses, and the products by the wonderful Etsy shops and family owned businesses mentioned above were really the highlight of the party. That said, certain basic party supplies like plates and napkins were also required so I'll link to those below too. I should mention, that the firefighter outfit was his halloween costume!