Toddler Made Place Settings for Your Thanksgiving Feast

For the last 2 years I’ve done the same thing, a handprint of my son turned into a turkey. It’s cute, it shows the size of his hand at the time, I liked it…and so did the family! However, this year I felt I should mix it up a little or atleast up my game.

great for babies first Thanksgiving!
I definitely wanted something my 2 year old could make because I know for a fact that no one wants a craft my son “made” aka he destroyed his attempt and I sat at his little table and did children’s crafts! So it was important for me to find something that my son can and will actually make!! I also like the idea of incorporating a handprint or footprint so we can look back over the years and see how much he grew each year.

I also think it’s important to include your toddler in holidays and this is a great way to do it. When they look at the table set, they see something they know they made and contributed. Everyone can comment on them and make your child feel proud of their work.

I found quite a few ideas and my son, being the trooper that he can be, helped me make them all! I think this year we will have a different themed place card for each person!
We did a turkey adoring again but this year livened it up with rainbow feathers! turkey with rainbow feathers

A turkey footprint with actual feathers glued on!turkey with actual feathers glued on

An acorn handprint! place in an acorn or cork to add a personal touch to your Thanksgiving Dinner!

An owl handprint on a branch!
place in an acorn or cork to add a personal touch to your Thanksgiving Dinner!

A corn on the cob footprint!

A fall coloured leaf! (You can do a variety of these in different fall colours) you can do these in any fall colour!

You can use a handprint or a footprint to make a cornucopia…but unless you use stickers for your child to place for food, you’re going to have to attempt some drawing! 

Put the place cards in a pine cone or a cork with a slit in the top and you’ve got a cute and personal touch to your Thanksgiving Dinner!

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DIY Toy Work Bench…Didn’t think the hammering noise through!

My husband and I decided to make our son’s birthday gifts this year, a sandbox and a work bench. Having a construction themed party and knowing he loves helping daddy build and fix thing we thought he would love his very own work bench.

We got a few ideas from Pinterest, mainly getting our inspiration from Finding Joy’s design. My husband, with the help of my dad set to it! Together, they had it built in a night!

They got the wood, measured and cut. We decided to have the table 2 feet high, 2 1/2 feet wide and 1 1/2 feet deep because our kiddo is pretty tall and we wanted him to use it for years to come. It also suggests you add wheels on it in a few years as your child grows.

We had bought a tool set for him and voila, his very own work bench like daddy’s! The only thing we didn’t think through is having a toddler hammering in the family room constantly isn’t ideal, it’s actually pretty awful! Our house came with a playhouse on top of the shed which we are going to fix up this year but right now it’s full of flies and the stairs aren’t safe for young children due to a lack of railings. But I think, when the play house is finished and he’s old enough to spend time playing in there, the work bench will definitely make its way out there, I might even try to make space in the garage in the mean time!

I also want to paint it but didn’t get chance to do that before his birthday so we’ll see what happens! With the right tools this was so quick and easy to make, doesn’t cost a lot of money and it’s personal and sentimental because it’s handmade!

DIY Party Decorations on a Budget! (Wrecking Ball Piñata, Banner, Food Signs)

I already did a How To for the Construction Signs and Dump Truck Photo Booth I made out of cardboard and just wanted to share a few other things that I made and that cost next to nothing (woohoo!).

BANNER

Fabric banners have become very popular as decorations, especially for back drops for cake smashes, etc. My son had his cake smash for his first birthday but I still liked the look of the banner and thought it would be a fun and easy decoration. But I improvised with things I had around the house, instead of buying fabric, I used yellow and orange streamers I had left in our party box from previous events.

Obviously, the streamers are a little more delicate than fabric, but once you get a rhythm going, I had not problems! Another perk to using streamers is that they’re already the right width, you just have to make one cut!!!

I started by cutting the streamers. My kiddo was entertaining himself so I got some string I already had at home and decided to take advantage of the “free time”! I put the string over either said of a clothes hamper so it was easier to tie, portable and out of reach from little hands when my son came over to check out what I was doing!!

I thought it would be fun to have them all different lengths, but then I wished I had kept it all the same, besides that, I thought it turned out great and it cost me nothing! $3.00 if you have to buy string and streamers from Dollar Store. I’m also hadning this banner down to a friend who is having a lion themed party the following week for her son so the possibilities are endless!

DIY Streamer Banner...so cheap and easy!

FOOD SIGNS

I also made a bunch of cute signs to put around the food which cost me nothing besides some ink in my printer! I made them in Word. You can insert a square shape, rotate it and make it the right colours or you can cheat and Google Image Construction Signs and copy and paste…I cheated!

From there, I used text boxes and put different labels on them such as wrecking balls for grapes, tools for cutlery and so on. It didn’t take a lot of time and cost me next to nothing. I taped some toothpicks to the back, and voila, a fun extra for you food table! Click here to print my party signs and save yourself some time! I thought I had cardstock paper in my printer but was wrong and didn’t want to waste the ink, but if you have, I would recommend printing on cardstock so they’re not flimsy.

WRECKING BALL PINATA

Finally, my Wrecking Ball! We had the perfect box at home from a new water filter I used but I’m sure you could find something appropriate at Costco or a furniture store, even if you had to combine a few boxes! I used this How To as my inspiration but decided to turn mine into a Pinata. In the link, you’ll see they covered their box with yellow wrapping paper from Michaels but I didn’t want to spend up to $10 on wrapping paper so I painted it…in hindsight I think I would suggest meeting in the middle and getting spray paint because with all the decorations I made and doing this one last, I had had enough of painting! But oh well, the price was right! I would also recommend using some black tape to make it easier, but again, I used what I had around the house and painted it yellow and black.

DIY Balloon Pinata

The Piñata…I am a piñata virgin, I’m sure I went to parties as a child with piñatas but I have no recollection of it, I don’t ever remember swinging at a colourful thing full of candy so, as you do, I decided to jump right in and as my first piñata experience come up with a way of making my own from scratch! I found a link on Pinterest to make a piñata using a punching balloon and set to it! I found it easier to dip the strips of paper in and scrape them along the side of the casserole dish rather than just putting them all in the paste which made them soggy and impossible to work with…this was my first time doing paper mache since I was in elementary school! There were times I cried inside but by the end, I had it down and there was no looking back! I used black tissue paper (which was delicate!) for the final layer so it would be black.

DIY Wrecking Ball Pinata...Construction Themed Birthday Party
As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, it’s so important to keep the kids in mind so when I got sick of painting and it wasn’t perfect, I reminded myself that 2 year olds won’t care. When The final black layer dried and it was covered in dry white paste, I told myself 2 year olds won’t notice and if someone does, I’ll tell them it’s sand. It’s a party for small children and it doesn’t have to be perfect, it’s the thought that counts!

After following the directions in the link (kind of!) and letting it dry I cut a small hole in the top, pulled out the balloon…I had left the elastic hanging out that came with punching balloon which made it easier to pull out. I had been impatient and didn’t let the first layer dry before continuing (I had a time limit that was the length of my son’s nap time) so when I cut it open, I let it stand for a few hours to dry the inside better. I snuck some small treats through the hole and attached it to the stand I made.

Check out next week’s pictures of the party to see everything set up and in action! Happy Party Planning!

DIY Construction Themed Party Signs

Cardboard signs are practically free, completely free if you already have paint at home, a couple bucks if you have to run to the dollar store. I always have paint at home. Here is how I made the signs for my son’s 2nd birthday party. YOU WILL NEED:

  • cardboard
  • ruler
  • exacto knife
  • scissors
  • sharpie
  • pencil
  • stencil or printout if you can’t draw freehand
  • paint
  • super glue or duct tape
  • sticks to put signs in ground (optional)

DIY Construction Themed Party Signs 

First I cut out squares from cardboard boxes and rounded the edges. The easiest way to cut cardboard is lay it down flat on a cutting board or another piece of cardboard and with a ruler or straight edge (I use a long paint stirrer, free at most hardware stores) cut along your “ruler”. Press down lightly, not cutting all the way through the cardboard, helping you make a nice clean line, then hold the cardboard up and cut down the line you just made. I find this much easier than putting all my weight into trying to cut through the first time, sometimes slipping and cutting a wiggly line.

DIY Construction Themed Party Signs

After you’ve cut out your squares, use your scissors to round the corners. Once you’ve made your shapes, paint your signs yellow or orange. I did 2 layers of Acrylic Paint from the Dollar Store. Once your paint has dried, use your “ruler” and draw a line around the edges with a black sharpie.

I’m awful at free hand bubble letters so I used a stencil for some and for others I printed the words from a word document, cut them out and traced them. After tracing them with pencil, I outlined them with sharpie to help keep it neat and easier to paint.

DIY Construction Themed Party Signs

DIY Construction Themed Party Signs

After everything was dry, I super glued the cardboard sign to some sticks I found in our garage or you can use the paint stick stirrers and then used some duct tape just in case his party fell on a windy day. Voila! Some awesome signs to get your guests pumped for your theme as they approach the party! …and to help them find the bathrooms!

DIY Construction Themed Party Signs

BE SURE TO CHECK OUT MY OTHER POST ON HOW TO MAKE YOUR OWN

DUMP TRUCK PHOTO BOOTH! 

Dump Truck Photo Booth

Last week, with your help, I planned out the design for the Photo Booth for my son’s Construction themed birthday party. So I decided to get to it. The box we had wasn’t as big as I had in mind and Costco’s selection was lacking on the day I went to scout it out. So I made do with the box we had.

First, I got my supplies:

  • Picture of a dumptruck
  • Box
  • Exacto knife
  • pencil
  • Yellow, black, white & grey paint
  • Sharpies
  • Paint brushes
  • Strong Glue (I used Gorilla Glue)
  • Circlular things to trace because I’m no good at freehand!

I started by roughly drawing the window, front grill, lights and tires. Unfortunately, I forgot to draw the steering wheel! Ugh! So I made that seperately and have glued it on with super glue, hoping it will withstand a bunch of toddlers trying to turn it and drive the dump truck. Learn from my mistakes, leave the steering wheel on from the beginning!

   

 After drawing my dump truck and cutting it out with an Exacto knife, I was starting to see it all take form! The easiest way to cup cardboard it to lightly trace your outlines with the knife, but don’t cut all the way through. Then hold the cardboard up vertically and the knife will cut easily in the pre cut grooves.

I started to paint the truck. I use acrylic paints from the Dollar Store, nothing fancy because it’s not art, it’s a cardboard box, but use whatever kind of paint you have around the house or like to work with.

 Once the first paint is dry, move on to the next colour and so forth, colouring in all the parts of the truck.

When I was finished, I stepped back and my dump truck didn’t look like a dump truck!!! I thought it looked like a semi, my son called it a bus. Epic fail in the cardboard vehicle world.

  So after asking for your help yet again (THANK YOU!), I made some alterations and I’m starting to see a dump truck. WOOHOO!

I did some finishing touches with Sharpies and made it a bit sturdier by super glueing cardboard around frame and on tires. I also made a stand by glueing 2 cardboard triangles at the bottom. At first I was just going to leave it as an open box but to make alterations work and to make it more versatile for people of all heights, I decided to make it just a stand/frame. I am confident that the stands will not withstand toddler “gentleness”.

   

So here’s the final product. I don’t think it’s obvious that it’s a dump truck, but it looks more constructiony and dump truck like than it did before. I’m happy with it and I think it will make some fun pictures that capture the fun at my son’s 2nd birthday party. Now to hide it so my son doesn’t destroy it before his birthday!!!