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Not all birthday parties happen as planned. And no matter how good your rain plan is – things still do not always work out.
I planned this tractor birthday party for my little guy when he turned three. Although he loved farms, he wasn’t so keen on the farm animals themselves. I think he thought they were overwhelming and scary.
But the tractors. Oh, did he love the tractors. Our local farm park had a special spot called a tractor playground. It was an area with vintage ride-on tractors for kids. He could have spent hours driving the tractors, beeping the horns and playing farmer.
So, when asked what he wanted to do for his third birthday, his lightning speed response was to play with his friends on the tractor playground.
This seemed an easy enough request. I could rent a pavilion at the farm and the kids could run back and forth to play with the tractors. Plus, there were farm animals even if he wasn’t overly interested.
But, at first, I didn’t have a rain plan. A park pavilion can keep you dry up to a point. But, eventually everything can get soggy.
And, as I’ve learned after years of birthday party planning, always have a rain plan. Even if you are convinced that it’s not going to rain.
So, instead, I decided to rent a room in the farm center’s meeting space. Then, we would be nice and dry if it rained. I even arranged for one of their docents to give a tour of the farm and introduce the kids to the animals. Even if my son would want nothing to do with it.
Two days before party day, I checked the weather. A little rain I was bracing for. I figured that I could tell guests to bring rain boots and umbrellas. We could still walk out to the farm and enjoy some puddle splashing in between.
What my rain plan didn’t include was a monsoon. Hurricane sheets of rain. High winds. And some flooding. So much rain that guests might not make it and if they did, there certainly wasn’t going to be any walking over to the farm. New plan needed.
My original party plan had our guests spending over half of the party time at the farm exploring. The rest was to be spent eating.
Now, we needed an activity. Bring on the crafting. Instead of enjoying the farm, we made these popsicle stick tractors. Not nearly as exciting, but we got to spend quality time with our guests, which was really important.
I also set up some tractors, farm animals and cars for the kids to play with. This activity kept them busy for awhile. I mean who doesn’t love to simulate haying season or feeding the animals.
The star of most parties is the food. Guests love to munch. Especially when there is a monsoon outside, they’ve driven for awhile and there’s nowhere else to go. So, providing lots of food options was a must.
I served hot munchies to the guests including pigs in a blanket, chips and queso and fruit salad.
Dessert was lots of fun. I made strawberry shortcake cups, s’mores marshmallow pops and mini donuts. There was also a cake, cupcakes and cookies.
As many of you know, I have a love affair with party buntings and banners. It doesn’t matter what the celebration, you need a bunting whenever possible.
But buntings – especially those that spell “Happy Birthday” – tend to be quite long. It can be hard to find a space to display them.
When in doubt, utilize the front of the dessert table. Your dessert table display is usually quite long and has enough space for all of the letters. It’s also a nice way to dress up a plain area.
The mini donuts were chocolate frosted donuts from our local donut shop. I called them “Tractor Tires” to stick with the theme.
I added decorative straw bales (affiliate) to the dessert table to give some of my platters height. Building height through your party decor is a great way to make your dessert table look less flat and make desserts more intriguing.
Another fun addition were these tractor cut outs (affiliate link). After they arrived, I painted them red. You can buy wood cutouts in almost any shape these days. You can decorate them any way you like to match your colors and patterns. The best part is that they are reasonably priced. I loved our wooden tractors and they were displayed in my son’s room for months to come.
To stick with the tractor theme, I wanted a cow cake. Not a lot of adults at the party would eat the cake, so I decided to go with a simple one from our local bake shop. To make it cow themed, I cut out cow pattern pieces from black sugar sheets. I stuck the cow print cut outs onto the edge of the cake when I arrived, giving it a cow like look.
To top off the cake, I used a tractor centerpiece circle. A centerpiece circle measures 5″. To make your own centerpiece circle, you can print a large circle design and cut out with a circle cutter (affiliate link). I attached the circle to a paper straw and created my cake topper. An easy way to dress up a cake.
I set up a Watering Hole as a drinks station. For refreshments, I served water bottles and juice boxes.
The juice boxes were transformed into Tractor Fuel. To make your own tractor fuel juice boxes, print out a set of juice box labels. Cut them out and wrap them around the juice box. I took off the juice box straws and used washi tape to attach them on the back. This way there wasn’t a bulge in the wrapper and it stayed on more securely.
Give your tractor birthday party a festive touch with these fun handmade tractor party hats. I started with plain red party hats from Dollar Tree (affiliate link). For the top of the hat, I made black pom poms and attached them with hot glue. Then, I added a 3 inch tractor sticker to the center.
For the birthday boy’s hat, I also added a trim to the bottom. Although I love making my own party hats, sometimes it’s fun to dress them up instead.
When hosting a tractor birthday or farm birthday, keeping table coverings in theme is easy. For the dessert table, I used red bandanas (affiliate link) to cover the table. These red and white quilted tablecloths were a lucky find at the dollar store. It was the beginning of summer, so barbecue season was in full swing. They gave a nice country feel for the right price.
At the center of each table was a cow print mason jar. I had intended to fill them with white daisies that morning. But with the rain and storms, finding dry white daisies didn’t happen. So, I just added the extra centerpiece circle sticks.
These cow print mason jars make fun vases, though. You can fill them with flowers and display at your party. Find out how to make them here.
Not all decorations for a celebration need to be purchased from a store. Some of my favorite party decor comes from my own home and vintage treasures.
For this tractor birthday party, I raided our vintage collection and found this fun tractor model. It added a whimsical feel to the dessert table. You can also use your child’s farm toys, farm animals or other country themed items that are around your home.
When planning a party, before you purchase ANYTHING, always start in your own space. It’s amazing what decorations you can find in your own home.
And no tractor birthday party would be complete without an awesome favor. I combined adorable handmade tractor crayons (affiliate link) from Red Elm Designs (affiliate link) with these mini tractors coloring book. I attached the crayon using red baker’s twine and added a tractor favor tag. Such a sweet way to thank guests to coming (especially in the rain) and many of them enjoyed coloring on the way home.
This tractor birthday party was so much fun to plan. I love creating birthday experiences that focus on children’s loves and interests in the moment. And it’s really amazing to see a creative vision come to life.
Have a little one who loves tractors too? Check out our tractor party designs in our shop here. And I’m excited to offer multiple tractor colors to choose from because every celebration is different.
Tractor Cookies – Creating Awesomnissity
Cow Mason Jars – One Simple Party (check out the tutorial here)
Party Designs and Styling – One Simple Party