Caution! Party in Progress

by Catherine Newman
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Construction Party

Raise the roof on your child's birthday. With everything from a Cone-struction Pinata to refueling stations and a tower-toppling game, this is a party any construction-loving kid is sure to dig.

Crew Call!

Announce your big job with simple scrap-wood invitations (wooden craft rectangles; $2 for 6 at Michael's). Use a ballpoint pen or carpenters' pencil to add such details as "Construction Site" (place) and "Site Boss" (host), along with carpenter-style notations, as shown.

A Real Fixer-Upper

Let your crew get a cardboard-box playhouse up to code by adding shingles, shutters, window boxes, and more.

Site Prep: Before the party, cut the top flaps off a large box; tape the bottom flaps closed. (Need a box? Ask for one at your local department or appliance store. We used a refrigerator box.) To add a roof, score another piece of cardboard down the middle, fold it over, then hot-glue it to the box. Finally, collect supplies for the building activities below.

Construction: Anything goes when it comes to customizing this structure, but here's a punch list to get kids started:

  • Glue construction paper shingles to the roof
  • Draw doors and windows (parents can cut them out with a box knife if desired)
  • Fill shoe-box window boxes with flowers made from pipe cleaners and tissue paper; hot-glue the boxes to the house (a parent's job)
  • Glue on doorknobs made from jar lids and bottle caps
  • Use hot glue to attach cardboard shutters and other decorative touches
  • Paint the house using tempera paint

Festoon the house with "caution" tape ($8 per roll at Home Depot)

Dig This Cake

This no-bake excavator cake may look like a labor of love, but it's easily assembled from a pound cake, Twinkies, and other sweets. Even the dirt (crushed cookies) is edible. Find out how to make an Edible Excavator.

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