Reid went wild whenever he caught sight of empty boxes left around after his parents' trips to Costco. "He'd give up any toy to wiggle into them," says mom Brianne Walker, of San Diego. She centered a party around her son's obsession. Reid's dad, Sean (also the party photog!), built a cardboard train, car and more with the help of his own dad, a contractor. The result? A truly out-of-the-box playland in Reid's grandparents' backyard!
Brianne printed a "Welcome to Reid's Cardboard Play Yard" sign on kraft-colored paper from Michaels craft store, using free fonts from dafont.com. She posted other party signs onto red accent paper.
"Reid was in box heaven," says Brianne. "He loved the choo choo best, which we squeezed into for a family picture! The helicopter and rocket were close runner-ups." At the party's end, a couple of his luckiest little friends took home a box-and-duct-tape creation to continue the fun.
The table accessories continued the cardboard look. Brianne repurposed gardening cups from a 99-cents store (less than a dollar for a pack of 16) as containers for Cheerios, animal crackers, and veggie sticks; in the middle of the munchies Walker arranged 3-D cardboard letters from Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft to spell "ONE."
Since "ball" was Reid's first word, friends bounced from the party with mini red balls (from Dollar Tree). Reid's pals also took home small cardboard "lunchboxes" (package of 12 for $6; thesmartbaker.com) packed with animal crackers, a little board book, and bubbles.
Brianne crafted Reid's party hat out of coarse sandpaper, using a dissembled old birthday hat for a pattern. She hot-glued the ends together, and added red craft pom poms to the top and bottom and a felt "1."
Kraft wrapping paper from a 99-cents store disguised juices boxes as pint-size shipping boxes; Brianne printed "Juice Box" on Martha Stewart Home Office labels from Staples.
Brianne and her mom love to bake...and so they did. Desserts included homemade Rice Krispies Treats tied with baker's twine; grandma's famous chocolate chip crumble bars; red velvet cake pops; square cupcakes; and number "1" chocolate pops (the lolly candy molds were purchased on Amazon.com).