Thomas the Train—also known Thomas the Tank Engine—has a certain magic kids just love. The idea of a friendly blue engine and his mistake-prone but goodhearted friends started as a series of tales told by a father to his son. That father turned his stories into books…and eventually, television got on board with a stop-motion series.
Today Thomas and his buddies are loved by kids across the globe in a TV show, movies, toys, games and of course, birthday parties. A Thomas and Friends party is perfect for any age group up to around six. Even babies adore the shiny, colorful characters and toys, so this idea is perfect for a baby shower or child’s first birthday, too.
Inviting Guests to The Island of Sodor
Invite your child’s friends to the station with Thomas and Friends invitations. You can make these yourself for a personal touch. Using a color printer, print images of Thomas with his number “1” and the party information listed below or on the back. Or make a different character for each guest in its corresponding colors:
- Edward (No. 2): blue with red accents
- Henry (No. 3): green
- Gordon (No. 4): blue; larger than Thomas
- James (No. 5): red
- Percy (No. 6): green
- Toby: a tram engine
- Emily: dark green
Here is a list of the Thomas characters if you want to expand on this idea.
Another perfect invitation for a Thomas party is a “train ticket.” Download a simple line drawing of a ticket into Word or another document program, insert text explaining when and where the party will take place, print, enclose in an envelope and you’re all set.
Include catchy lines in your invitations, such as “All aboard! Thomas is about to leave the station and you’re invited” or “Come to the Island of Sodor for food, games and fun.” You can also take tips from some of the repeating Thomas themes, such a “Don’t be a bossy boiler—follow us for a good time.”
Thomas Party Decorations
You’ll find there’s no shortage of Thomas and Friends party decorations on the market. Thomas cutouts for centerpieces, wall hangings, balloons, tablecloths and tableware (including plates and cups) are a great idea to set the theme of this party.
You can also add your personal touches as a creative and inexpensive option. Draw Thomas characters and hang them on the walls, or tie them to long pieces of ribbon and hang from the ceiling. For colors, go with blue and red. Try this idea with streamers, confetti on the foods table, and balloons.
Using chalk, draw train tracks along your walkway and up the front steps to invite kids to the party. It’s the perfect way to greet guests.
The Cake and Snacks
A train cake is a must. Find out if your local bakery makes Thomas cakes (odds are, they do). Or make your own by frosting a cake in white icing, adding red and blue piping stripes, and drawing train tracks with icing and placing small plastic Thomas toys along them. After the candles are blown out, retrieve all the plastic engines, wash them off and give them away in goody bags.
Since trains are so popular, you’ll easily find train-shaped cookie cutters in most decorating or dollar stores. Make Thomas cookies or Thomas sandwiches (cut the crusts off bread, freeze it for about 20 minutes to make cutting easier, then use the cookie cutter—the bread should be completely thawed by the time all the sandwiches are prepared).
Play “Thomas, Thomas, Gordon” in the style of “Duck, Duck, Goose.”
Play “The Locomotion:” Have kids line up to form a train, then chug along to a favorite tune. (Supply whistles and engineer hats so they can really get into it!) Then stop the music at random points; kids must freeze at that moment and not move until the music starts again.
How about a Thomas pinata? Fill the pinata with tons of yummy treats and let each child have three swings…then it’s on to the next guest in line. Eventually the pinata will open and the goodies will spill out…yum. Have the kids collect their treats in Thomas goody bags.
Send thank-you cards after the party as a special touch. All aboard for a great time!