All posts by Legos-n-RaceCars

Kids on the Move: Planes, Trains and Cars

Kids love being on the move —  racing down the street, rolling along train tracks, soaring above the clouds.  It’s no wonder that “Transportation” is a popular birthday party theme.

If “Planes, Trains and Cars” are what you have in mind for your child’s celebration, call on us for the entertainment.  We’ll bring the Ultimate Race Car Party to you. Then set your imagination free as you playfully decorate your home.  Here are some suggestions to kick-start the fun.

Welcome SignWelcome guests with a humorous greeting at the front door.

 

 

 

 

BannerHang a banner in the entrance way.  Let photos of the birthday child trail behind an airplane.

 

 

CloudsMobiles create a cheerful party atmosphere.  Fluffy clouds will make the kids smile.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hot Air Balloons DIYColorful hot air balloons add a touch of whimsy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Arrange classic wooden toys or hand-crafted items into a centerpiece.

Wooden Train Orange Car Red Plane

 

Shelf DisplayTo decorate a smaller space like a shelf or mantel, display an assortment of printable traffic signs.

 

 

 

 

Use PrintablesAnd individually, the signs are perfect as cupcake toppers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In Flight Meal

Serve “In-Flight Meals” for lunch.  Guests will say the sandwich, chips and fruit are extra-yummy.

 

 

 

Cap_Whistle

 

In the end, when your birthday kiddo is whistling’ with joy, you’ll know the party was a success —  and that all of the planning was worth it!

Contact us for more help and suggestions.

 

 

 

 

The Story of LEGO

We discovered this fun video that shares the history of LEGOs. We hope you enjoy it. We did! If you and your kids love LEGOs, we’re sure you’ll find it entertaining, informative and well-done.

STORY HIGHLIGHTS

lego-still1-1932 lego-still2-woodtruck lego-still3-leg-godt

Did you know a skilled Danish carpenter named Ole Kirk Kristiansen started the company in 1932? Times were hard and he had to dismiss his employees, so he started to make quality wooden toys. Ole used only the finest quality, hand-picked wood.

After school his son Godtfred would help.

At first, it was a struggle. A large wholesale order was cancelled because the buyer filed for bankruptcy. Ole packed his car with the toys he had made, and sold them himself.  But Ole was not a good salesman. Sometimes he traded the toys for food. The Kristiansens got by.

In 1934, the toys were not selling as quickly as Ole wished. He thought the company needed a name. The name needed to indicate “playing well”. In Danish, LEG GODT means to “play well.” Ole decided on “LEGO.” What he didn’t know is that in Latin, “lego” means “to put together.” How prophetic.

lego-still5-lesson

One day Godtfred excitedly reported to his father that he had saved their company money. But when he explained how he had done this – applying only two layers of lacquer to the  toy ducks instead of three –  his father made him unpack the ducks, apply the third layer of lacquer, repack the ducks and take them to the station to be shipped. Godtfred learned an important lesson: To create a good brand, every detail matters and only the best is good enough.

By the late 1930s, LEGO was making a profit.

But on a 1942 stormy night, the workshop burned down. And with it, all the drawings and models.  The little company was nearly destroyed as well. But Ole was responsible for his children and workers, so he started again and rebuilt.

In 1946, LEGO was running well enough for Ole to go to Copenhagen to see a new plastic molding machine that just arrived to Denmark. He picked up a little demo plastic brick while there and ordered a machine.

At first they made little plastic teddy bear and rattles, but Ole kept thinking of the plastic brick he got at the fair.  He redesigned it and put it into production.

In 1954, Godtfred was aboard a liner sailing to England where he met a man who headed up a shopping center. This conversation would change LEGO. The man said, “toys are no good now; there is no system in anything.”

Godtfred took this to heart. He realized that children were given only play items that were “ready-made”. Instead, play should strengthen their imagination. He created the LEGO system of play. Houses could be built from the LEGO bricks, in a town. This was a huge breakthrough.

LEGO began selling outside of Denmark in many countries.

But there were still opportunities. The LEGO bricks could be built into as many things as the imagination allowed. But it couldn’t be easily moved; it kept falling apart. So Godtfred thought he had to figure out a way to make the bricks stay together. He realized that adding tubes allowed that and enabled a whole construction system.

Unfortunately, Ole didn’t get to see the brick system. He passed away in 1958.

Many guests came to the LEGO factory, especially after Godtfred built the Bilund airport. So many guests, they needed a bigger place to display the models. Thus, LEGO Land was born in 1968, with 600,000 guests the first year.

LEGO is now owned by Ole’s grandson, Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen, who still believes in Quality, the Search for Perfection, and a World Without Limits. “Only the best is good enough, because children deserve the best.”

We hope you enjoyed this ride through LEGO memory lane.

Now, bring LEGO’s to your own backyard with The Best LEGO Party by Playparty.net. Contact Playparty.net today to reserve the best birthday party for your child!

Racing Dreams: From Go-Karts to NASCAR

Racing Dreams , an award-winning documentary by filmmaker Marshall Curry, follows Annabeth (11 years old), Josh (12) and Brandon (13) as they compete for the championship in the year-long World Karting Association National Series.

On its face, Racing Dreams is about NASCAR, the second biggest spectator sport in the U.S.  “But really,” says Curry, “It’s more about adolescence. It’s about… trying to figure out who you are and who your parents are, what you want to be when you grow up, and what love feels like.”

Weaving through the pack of contenders at 70 miles per hour, the young drivers dream of racing in NASCAR some day. They agree that, “Being a NASCAR driver is the coolest job you could ever have.”

On and off the track, each navigates the treacherous road from childhood to young adulthood.

For Brandon, go-karting provides respite from family troubles.  “When I come to a race, I don’t even think about what’s going on at home. Everything goes away. I don’t think about anything except racing.”

Annabeth explains, ”When you’re 11 or 12, your whole life is filled with people telling you what to do. But when you’re racing, you’re totally independent.”

“You have to be a person that can make a decision and not look back,” adds Josh.  “That’s how life goes.”

 

Watch Racing Dreams.  You’ll love this dramatic, funny, poignant film.

 

Party in a Flashback to the Past!

What a fun idea that both the kids and the parents can enjoy!  Throw a 50’s themed party with LEGO stations as the entertainment.

Start with the invitation using a fun retro font like Veer-HappyHourJF and invite your son or daughter’s friends to celebrate his/her birthday at “Johnny’s” Soda Shop (using your child’s name).

Be sure to make a big banner for the  soda shop at the front door, living room or backyard.

sodashop-food

Serve up a cheeseburgers, hot dogs and fries in red and white checkered paper trays, along with coca cola in vintage bottles.  Serve condiments in retro plastic squeeze bottles and  use fold-out napkins in old-time dispensers.

Have a gumball machine for some self-serve treats.

Instead of a birthday cake, serve up ice cream sundaes, complete with whipped cream and cherries on top in sundae fountainware.

What could be more fun?  LEGOs!!!  Perfect retro entertainment that’s STILL POPULAR!

Playparty.net  would love to set up and help out with LEGO stations.

legos-partyfavors

And send the kids home with a LEGO mini-figure or mini gumball machine party favor to keep the fun going.

Love the idea, but don’t know where to start? No problem, here are some links* for your birthday party 50’s themes shopping:

 

Coming soon: Planes, Trains and Automobiles Birthday Party!

*Playparty.net provides these links as a convenience for its readers and does not guarantee products or service of any third parties shared here.

 

Rain Doesn’t Dampen Lego Birthday Party

duplo-thankyou

 

 

We love when are clients are happy, so we are thrilled when we receive a lovely Thank You note like the one below.  Thanks, Tamara!  Glad your child’s LEGO birthday party was a success.

Everyone at Playparty.net strives to provide the most fun parties for your kids, and no-stress for the parents!

Hi Mike,

I wanted to let you know that I had a Lego party on Saturday that went exceptionally well in spite of the rain.

The two party hosts that represented your company were so wonderful. I was scrambling around trying to figure out where to put the tables so the kids could play out of the rain. Your party hosts were so nice, calm and so helpful and worked it all out for me!

Thank you!
Tamara Gross

Mike’s Top 20 Tips for Planning a Happy Birthday Party

Dear Mike,

Help! My little munchkin Taylor is turning 4. We had small family gatherings to celebrate birthdays 1, 2 and 3 but this year I’d like to include Taylor’s pre-school friends. I’m nervous because I don’t entertain a lot and I don’t know the other parents very well. How can I make sure the party will be a success?

— Hazy on Hosting, Southern California

Ask Mike

Dear Hazy,

Planning a party can be enjoyable.  It just takes a bit of time, a bit of organization and a bit of creativity.  Start by checking out this Step-by-Step Guide.

Here are my top 20 tips for coordinating an event that’s fun for everyone — your birthday munchkin, your guests and especially you, the proud parent and happy host.

1.   Remember that your child is the reason for the party. As much as possible, involve him or her in decisions about the theme, guests, activities and food. Don’t worry about trying to impress the other parents.

2.  Kids’ birthday parties typically last about two hours. Don’t schedule the party during your child’s usual nap time.  Specify start and end times on the invitations.

3.  For younger children, it may be best to have the party at home. Little kids usually feel more comfortable in a familiar environment.

4.  Be mindful of the season. If your child’s birthday is in August, avoid the heat by holding the party in the morning or late afternoon. If festivities will take place outdoors, check that there’s adequate shade, or consider renting a tent.

5.  If you’re planning an outdoor celebration for a child born between November and March, reserve a back-up venue in case it rains.

6.  Book entertainment that’s age-appropriate. The Ultimate Race Car Party is perfect for 3- to 6-year olds. And 4- to 8-year-olds love the Best LEGO Party.

7.  Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Enlist your spouse, babysitter, relatives or neighbors for assistance. An extra pair of hands is especially important if guests will be dropped off by their parents.

8.  Remove pets from the party area. Some children are allergic to or afraid of animals.

9.  Tie balloons to your mailbox or use other decorations to mark the party location.

10.  Play music to create a festive atmosphere.

11.  As guests arrive, invite them to do arts and crafts.  Some children need time to transition into party-mode. A little later, playparty.net will kick-off the Ultimate Race Car Party or Best LEGO Party. Afterwards, serve refreshments and the birthday cake. Let the kids wind down as the party ends.  Guide the birthday child in saying “thank you” and giving party favors to each guest as he or she departs.

12.  Serve kid-friendly refreshments. Simple, familiar foods like hamburgers, hot dogs or sandwiches are good choices. Consider ordering pizza to be delivered — it’s much easier than preparing the refreshments yourself.

13.  Avoid serving any food containing nuts or shellfish, as many kids are allergic to them.

14.  Place trash cans and recycling bins in strategic locations to simplify clean-up.

15.  Ensure that the party site is safe for kids.  Be especially attentive to potential hazards such as vehicle traffic on the street, a pool, steps or stairs, decks or balconies, glass doors, windows and chemicals.

16.  Check and restock your first aid kit.  Put extra ice in the freezer or ice chest. Bandages, antiseptic spray and ice will come in handy if a guest gets a cut, scrape or bruise.

17.  With younger children, be prepared for possible melt-downs. Their moods can change suddenly. Keep a box of tissues handy.

18.  If babies will be present, make sure that party favors are large enough not to be a choking hazard.

19.  Be flexible. If  kids don’t like an activity, move onto something else. On the other hand, if a game is unexpectedly popular, allow kids to continue to play. The goal is for guests to have fun, not to check-off items on an agenda.

20.  Enjoy this special milestone in your child’s life. Celebrate the unique person that he is. Show her how much she is loved. And most of all, have fun!

Turbocharged Fun for Your Child’s Race Car Birthday Party

Good job, Mom! Junior’s birthday party is next week and you’ve made all of the arrangements to ensure the celebration is fun, fun, fun.

The cake has been ordered and the decorations are ready to go. For entertainment, you’ve booked the Ultimate Race Car Party with playparty.net. The backyard looks great — it’s the perfect setting for the Roller Coaster Race Track, Giant Oval Race Track, All American Drag Strip, and LEGO Car Building and Racing Track.

Just one more thing to do…

Plan a few activities to bracket the main event entertainment.  We suggest the following crafts and games to help youngsters warm up to or cool down from the excitement of the Ultimate Race Car Party.

 

RC Coloring PageIf a guest initially hesitates to join the festivities, give him or her time to acclimate to the environment.  Offer a race car coloring page and an assortment of colorful crayons or markers.

 

 

 

Traffic LightsPre-schoolers enjoy making stop lights from paper plates, construction paper, paint, glue and yarn.

 

 

 

Tattoo 2Create a race car-themed Tattoo Parlor with kid-friendly, non-toxic temporary tattoos.

 

 

 

Tattoo 1Ask a friend or neighbor to help the little ones, and stock the “Parlor” with cotton pads, rubbing alcohol, wash cloths and warm water.

 

 

 

Auto Paint_DetailSet-up an Auto Body Repair Shop and invite guests to paint and decorate little wooden cars.

 

 

 

Tire BB TossIf the kids over-indulge on cake and ice cream, burn off their excess energy with a Tire Bean Bag Toss.  Take the spare tire out of your car.  Put uncooked rice in sandwich-size plastic bags, and wrap each bag in a bandana, napkin or wash cloth.  Start the game with a wave of the green flag.  Your guests will love the challenge.

 

 

Traffic Light BB TossIf you’d prefer an indoor version of the game, consider this hand-made Traffic Stoplight mat and four “car” fabric bean bags.

 

 

 

 

Balloon 1Here’s a clever idea. Slip a miniature car inside a balloon; then, blow it up.  Give an inflated balloon to each of your guests.  Tell them to to pop the balloons —  by sitting on them, squashing them or whatever — to find their party favors.

 

 

Balloon 2Have your camera ready to capture the moment each balloon pops. The kids’ reactions are priceless.

 

 

 

Race Car DriverWhat’s next?

Book the Ultimate Race Car Party with playparty.net, Southern California’s premier provider of children’s birthday party entertainment.  And come back soon for more birthday planning tips.

 

Everything is Awesome: Cool LEGO Party Favors

If your son or daughter enjoyed The LEGO Movie, chances are that your little “Special” got hooked by the bouncy theme song and has been singing it ever since.

“Everything is awesome
Everything is cool when you’re part of a team
Everything is awesome when we’re living our dream…

“Rocks, clocks, socks
They’re awesome
Trees, frogs, clogs
They’re awesome…”

 

EmmetWhile Emmet Brickowski may think they’re awesome, playparty.net doesn’t recommend rocks, trees or frogs as party favors.  Looking for something LEGO-ish that kids will appreciate?  Here are some cool ideas.  Be creative — unleash your inner “Master Builder”.

 

 

 

Start with these cute gift bags by Tricia.   Buy brightly colored bags and matching card stock.  Use a circle cutter or scissors to make eight half-dollar size circles for each bag.  Attach the circles to the bag with pop dots or double-sided tape.

 

 

Mini Fig Sticker

 

The LEGO Shop offers a wide selection of free downloadable mini-figure stickers.  Just print, cut and package.  The mini-figures are adorable and your guests will love the stickers.

 

 

Buy LEGO elements in bulk, then create an individualized assortment for each guest.  LEGO Basic Bricks Deluxe has 650 bricks in white, orange, red, blue, yellow, brown, black, dark green and light green.  The LEGO Creative Bucket contains more than 600 elements including wheels, and decorated face and eye bricks.  Each set costs about $30; “Kragle” not included.

 

Plastic food storage bags are perfect for holding party favors.  Fill bags with LEGO stickers, LEGO bricks, crayons or notepads.  Dress them up by folding card stock over the top of the bag and stapling it shut.

 

 

 

Carolyn of Silly Happy Sweet puts colorful M&M’s into snack-size bags and labels them “LEGO Man Poop”.  And every parent knows that kids are wild about bathroom humor.

 

 

Aussie Party PackKendra shares a free printable LEGO Party Pack on Aussie Pumpkin Patch.  The Pack includes raisin box wrappers, bubbles labels, and a coloring book that guests will enjoy long after the birthday party has ended.

 

 

 

Jolly Rancher PopsTonya offers a tutorial on making LEGO lollipops with Jolly Rancher candy and a LEGO bricks ice cube tray.

 

 

 

LEGO Cookies

And now, the “Piece of Resistance”…  If you like to bake and decorate sugar cookies,  then you’ll love this LEGO Man Cookie template by Sweet Sugar Belle.

 

 

And of course, for the main event entertainment, book your LEGO birthday party with Playparty.net now!

playparty.net loves Torrance City Parks

For nearly all of his life, Mike Southgate, founder of playparty.net, has called the South Bay of Los Angeles “home”.

After he got married, Mike and his wife had two daughters.  They chose to continue to live in the South Bay.   As a husband and father, Mike has developed an even deeper appreciation for Torrance’s family-friendly environment.

“Torrance offers recreational activities for kids of all ages — year-round sports, outdoor movies during the summer, The ATTIC Teen Center.  And of course, we have so many beautiful parks with wide-open spaces.”

Parents often ask Mike about having a Best LEGO Party or Ultimate Race Car Party at a Torrance City park.  He tells Moms and Dads to visit the Park Information page and skim through the Map of City Parks, the Park Amenities Grid and the FAQs.

Mike adds, “There are a few things to consider.  First, not all of the parks have restrooms and for a kid’s birthday party, you’ll want the convenience of a nearby bathroom.  Second, some parks offer reservable picnic areas while others do not, and lastly, the limit on the number of guests is different for each park.”

Want to have your playparty.net event at a Torrance City Park?  Here are Mike’s top spots in alphabetical order.

 

Alta Loma Park, 26126 Delos Drive, Torrance 90505

Alta_Loma

Located on 5.5 acres, Alta Loma Park is an accessible venue with spectacular views of Torrance and the South Bay area.  Fittingly, its name means “rising ground” or “high hill”.  Previously used as a sand and gravel pit, the park now shelters a flock of wild peacocks.

Alta Loma has a pleasant picnic area with tables, benches and BBQs.  Reservations are not accepted so seating is first-come, first-served and the maximum capacity is 25 guests.  An open meadow provides ample space for setting-up LEGO stations or race car tracks, and restrooms are located next to the playground.

Other amenities include a recreation building, a basketball hoop and a quarter-mile walking path.  With just one park entrance/exit, it’s easy for parents to keep an eye on their little ones.

 

Columbia Park, 4045 190th Street, Torrance 90504

Columbia

Columbia Park, the largest (52 acres) park in Torrance, was named after the Columbia Broadcasting Company because of its on-site radio tower.

The park is accessible and offers reservable picnic areas (capacity for 400 guests), BBQs, restrooms, a gazebo, a playground and an open grassy area.

Additional features are a 1.33-mile exercise path and facilities for soccer, softball, youth baseball, bocce, sand volleyball and horseshoes.  The park also boasts an amphitheater, a 125-plot community garden and a grove of 110 cherry trees.

 

El Nido Park, 18301 Kingsdale Avenue, Redondo Beach 90278

El_Nido

El Nido (“the nest”) Park sits on 12.3 acres in Northeast Torrance.  The reservable picnic area (capacity for 300 guests) offers BBQs and plenty of shade.

El Nido is accessible and includes restrooms, a large playground, basketball and volleyball courts, softball and soccer fields, horseshoe pits, and a community building with a meeting room and kitchen.

 

El Retiro Park, 126 Vista del Parque, Redondo Beach 90277

El_Retiro

Situated on an old 4.8-acre tree nursery, El Retiro (“the retreat”) Park serves South Torrance neighborhoods and abuts the El Retiro Branch Library.  The park has a reservable picnic area (capacity for 50 guests), BBQs and restrooms, as well as a rotunda, a playground, a small softball field, a basketball court, tennis courts and two recreation buildings.

 

Paradise Park, 5006 Lee Street, Torrance 90503

Paradise

Located next to Anza Elementary School in West Torrance, 4.7-acre Paradise Park is often the site of picnics and school activities.  Its name was selected from entries in a park-naming contest for local school children.  When Sepulveda Elementary School closed, a 70-foot mosaic sidewalk made by Sepulveda students was donated to the park.

Paradise Park has a sheltered, reservable picnic area (capacity for 50 guests) with BBQs and restrooms.  Other amenities include basketball and tennis courts, and three sets of playground equipment.

 

Torrance Park, 2002 Santa Fe Avenue, Torrance 90501

Torrance

Torrance Park was built between 1932 and 1934, and is the City’s first public park.  Tranquil and majestic, the park features paths and plantings arranged in the formal, historical style.  Neatly trimmed hedges and a charming rose garden distinguish it from parks of more recent vintage.

Torrance Park encompasses 10.2 acres in the South East section of the City.  Along with tall shady trees, it has secluded picnic niches with BBQs for small groups and for bigger groups, a spacious, partially-covered picnic area with more than 20 tables.  The large picnic area includes a band shell with plenty of spectator seating and handicapped access.  Reservations are accepted (capacity for 300 guests) and restrooms are available.

The park also has a baseball field, a small rock climbing wall, a 1955 fire engine truck, a basketball court and horseshoe pits.

 

Victor Park, 4727 Emerald Street, Torrance 90503

Victor

Victor Park’s 6.6 acres border the Isabel Henderson Library and contain a reservable picnic area (capacity for 50 guests), BBQs and restrooms.  A one-fifth mile jogging path encircles a large open grassy area in the middle of the park.  Victor Park is accessible and also offers a basketball court, sand volleyball court and softball diamond. To the delight of Victor Elementary School students and the local community, the playground equipment was recently updated.

 

Walteria Park, 3855 242nd Street, Torrance 90505

Walteria

Walteria Park consists of 4.5 acres in South Torrance and is located on land that used to be a celery field.  The park’s namesake is Captain A. Richard Walters who moved to the area in the 1880s and built the Walters Hotel on the road connecting the Redondo Beach salt works with the San Pedro harbor.

Walteria has two picnic areas, the larger of which is sheltered, reservable (capacity for 50 guests), and adjacent to the playground.  A joyful sky scene mural by painter Jo Ann Citrowski wraps around the picnic tables.  Amenities also include BBQs and restrooms.

The park is accessible and contains a softball diamond, tennis court, basketball court, handball wall, and horseshoe pit.  A recreational building with a kitchen is used for preschool programs and senior citizen recreation activities, and may also be rented by the community.

 

Wilson Regional Park, 2200 Crenshaw Boulevard, Torrance 90501

Wilson

Charles H. Wilson Regional Park is situated on 44 acres, which formerly housed a United States Naval Annex.  The land was purchased from the Federal Government with the assistance of former Congressman Charles H. Wilson, for whom the park is named.

Originally envisioned as a “central park for all people”, the park is accessible and enjoys a variety of uses.  Facilities include:  four softball diamonds that double as soccer or flag football fields; two outdoor basketball courts; two sand volleyball courts; two paddle tennis courts; eight horseshoe courts; three tennis courts; a universally accessible tree house, an amphitheater and gazebo; a pond; a shy-one mile walking/jogging path; a state-of-the-art roller hockey rink; batting cages; and playground equipment.

Reservable and non-reservable picnic areas are plentiful (capacity for 1,000 guests), as are BBQs and restrooms.

Wilson Park contains the Dee Hardison Sports Center, named after the former Mayor of Torrance.  The Sports Center features a gymnasium, two basketball and volleyball courts, a multi-purpose room and a landscaped patio/plaza.

(Photo Credits:  City of Torrance)

 

What’s Next?

Race Car DriverVisit us again soon for more birthday party ideas.  Book your Best LEGO Party or Ultimate Race Car Party now in San Diego, Orange County, Los Angeles or San Fernando Valley with playparty.net, Southern California’s premier provider of children’s birthday party entertainment.