Thomas The Tank Engine Birthday Ideas To Keep Your Party From Being A Train Wreck!

Fun And Fabulous Thomas The Tank Engine Birthday
The Perfect Party Toddler Party!

If the thought of a Thomas The Tank party makes your child go, "whoo-whoo", then you know it's time to go full steam ahead. So, let's get on the right track and engineer a fun-filled celebration for your little conductor. Blow the whistle, grab your ticket, and hop on board.

thomas the tank engine birthday
Photo courtesy of: Jim The Photographer

To help get you started and make sure that "all's black, well stacked, goin' down the track clickity clack", I've assembled scads of fun ideas to help you keep your train party right on track. I'll help take you from the invites to escorting your "peeps" out the door with a fun favor and a big thank you.


TRAIN CROSSING BIRTHDAY INVITATIONS – For this invitation you will make some cool train crossing signs as invitations. Start with a piece of bright yellow cardstock. Then, cut out a large circle, as large as you can make it, from the cardstock. Using a permanent black marker, draw an inner circle about ½ inch inside the circle. Then, draw a big, thick, black “X” that touches the inner circle. On the right and left of the “X” place an “R.” This stands for Rail Road Crossing. On the back of the rail road crossing invites, paste a smaller circle made out of white cardstock. Write out all the details for the party, ensuring you include the date, time, place and other important info guests will need.

CONDUCTOR’S HAT PARTY INVITATION – Another fun invitation idea for a Thomas the tank engine birthday party is to make a conductor’s hat party invitation. Cut out the shape of a top hat out of a piece of black cardstock. Then, using a silver or gold gel pen, write “You’re Invited by Sir Topham Hatt to a Choo Choo Party!” on the front of the invite. On the back of the hat, add the party details in silver or gold ink as well. Decorate the back with various Thomas the Tank Engine stickers.

TRAIN TRACK SCENE INVITATIONS – You may also want to create a beautiful train track scene for your Thomas the Tank Engine birthday party invitations. Start with a piece of white cardstock. Draw some grass using green colored pencils and color the sky a pale blue, adding a few clouds. Using a black permanent marker, draw a train track on the front of the invitation. Add some trees, birds, bushes and other items to make a pretty train scene. On the front of the invitation write, “Thomas the Train Invites You to Follow the Railroad to a Fabulous Birthday Party!” Inside of the invitation write:

“You’re invited to head to the party station
To join Thomas and friends for a special occasion!
Dress up in your favorite character, no matter their names
And join us for food, fun, cake and some great games.”

Be sure to add the party info beneath the verse so guests know when and where the party will be.

TRAIN PARTY INVITATIONS - Make three train cars out of various colored cardstock and glue them onto black cardstock that is cut and glued into the shape of train tracks. You can use train-shaped cookie cutters as a pattern. Decorate cars with train stickers, glitter, buttons for wheels, etc. Put, "(Name's) Party Express" across the three cars. On the reverse side put the party details and have them span across the various cars.

TRAIN TICKET INVITATIONS - Make giant train tickets out of colorful cardstock. On one side put, "Come Join (Name) For The Ride Of Your Life!" On the reverse side, put the party details as follows:

Boarding Date: (date of party)
Arrival Time: (time party starts)
Departure time: (time party ends)
Station Location: (address of party location)

Type out the itinerary as follows on a piece of train themed scrapbook paper:

Check in at the train station and enjoy coloring a Thomas the Tank Engine Birthday picture while you wait for the other passengers to arrive.

Lunch shall be served in the Dining Car. A feast of roadside munchies will be available for all passengers of the (Birthday Name's) Express.

There will be a layover at the depo with many Thomas the Train activities available for all to enjoy.

All will be asked to depart via the Baggage Claim area to claim their special packages.

Place the train ticket and itinerary into the manila envelope and embellish with Thomas the Tank Engine Birthday stickers. On the front write, "(Name's) Train Station" as part of the return address. On reverse side around the edge of the flap write, "Enclosed: Travel Documents & Itinerary." Seal the envelope and mail to your guests.

EMBELLISH READY-MADE THOMAS THE TANK ENGINE BIRTHDAY INVITATIONS - Buy ready-made Thomas the Tank invitations and embellish them with glitter, buttons, ribbons, sequins, etc.

The following wording is provided as a guide for your invitations:

All Aboard For A Thomas the Tank Engine Birthday Party!
Party Train Boards At:
Party Train Returns At:
Meet At Bryson Street Station (use last name) Located At:
RSVP To: Conductor Mom (name) At (phone #)

Chuga-Chuga Choo-Choo!
I'm Having A Thomas the Tank Birthday Party And I'm Inviting You!
Bring This Ticket To Claim Your Seat.
Party Train Boards At:
Party Train Returns At:
Meet At Bryson Street Station (use last name) Located At:
RSVP To: Conductor Mom (name) At (phone #)

Have everyone bring their tickets in order to gain admittance. As the kids arrive, use a one-hole punch or a scrapbook punch to clip their ticket as they enter the "depot", aka the party room.


Invite the kids to come dressed in theme-related costumes. For example, a train engineer could wear a classic striped cap, bib overalls, and a red bandana tied around their neck. A Thomas the Tank Engine, James the Red Engine, or Percy the Small Engine costume are other great options. In the alternative, as your passengers arrive, give them each a Thomas the Tank conductor cap, red bandana for their neck, and a whistle.


Many color options are available with a Thomas the Tank birthday party theme. Select any combination of red, blue, green, yellow, and black to bring your Thomas party to life.
  • Get some large appliance boxes from a local department or appliance store. Try to get 3-4 boxes. Then, decorate the boxes like cars of a train. Make one into a train engine, one or two into train cars and turn the last box into a caboose. You can pain the boxes with bright colors, adding some doors and windows to the “train cars.” Let kids enjoy having their picture taken with the “train.”

  • Using some cardboard, make your own railroad barriers. Place them over doors in the party areas where you do not want guests to go. It will add to the décor and keep guests out of private areas of your home.

  • In one area of the room, you can set up a train track, adding some trains to the track. Not only will this add to your party décor, but it will also give kids a fun train track that they can play with during the birthday party.

  • Purchase some Thomas the Tank Engine wall clings and hang them up on your walls. After the party ends, you can easily remove the clings and give them to your child so they can hang them up in their own room.

  • Use red and blue bandannas on the tables as placemats. Another idea is to use the bandannas as napkins for your guests to use during the party.

  • Using some wooden dowels and some red and green fabric, make your own railroad flags to place throughout the party area. Red flags mean stop and green flags mean go. You could even put the railroad flags outside along the sidewalk to add to your outdoor party décor.

  • Since people who ride trains often take luggage with them, you could place a couple stacks of luggage around the party area, topping them with a toy Thomas the Tank Engine.

  • Create a large yard sign to identify your "train station" for your passengers. Use the first or last name of the birthday child and their age. For example, "Lancaster Birthday Station - Track #4."

  • Create a railroad track for your walkway. Attach planks of wood the width of your walkway to long boards on either side to add stability and paint black.

  • Make Thomas the Tank Engine birthday party signs and hang them throughout your "train depo." You could also attach them to wood stakes and place them throughout your yard. Sign ideas: (Cut a big red circle, Glue big white "x" on circle, and add a white "R" on the left and right sides of the "X"). They could also say things like, "RAILROAD CROSSING", "THOMAS THE TANK PARTY CROSSING", "MEN AT WORK", "DO NOT STOP ON TRACKS", "CAUTION! TRAIN AHEAD", "RESTRICTED! BIRTHDAY WORKERS ONLY", etc.

  • Create a ticket booth out of a cardboard refrigerator box or build a simple wood box. Position it at your entrance and require your passengers to check in with the ticket master, who is Mom or Dad, or to check in with the conductor who is the birthday honoree and give that person their ticket in order to gain entrance. Be sure to have extra tickets on hand in case the kids forgot to bring theirs with them.

  • Use disposable theme tablecloths or create a train track tablecloth using one of the party colors as the foundation and adding black electrical tape in the shape of train tracks to run down the center of the table. You can also use some streams and/or strips of construction paper to make your tracks.

  • Create a balloon tunnel along your walkway for all of the passengers to walk through.

  • Hang a Thomas the Tank Engine Birthday banner on one of the walls.

  • Accent the archways and doorways with streamers for railroad workers to pass through.

  • Sprinkle train-shaped confetti onto the tabletops.

  • Create a table centerpiece by placing a Thomas the Tank Engine birthday pinata in the center of your main table. You can also attach a bouquet of balloons to it to give it some height and color.

  • Hang train postcards from ceiling on streamers, fishing line, or curling ribbons.

  • Make signs to hang in your various rooms to identify your train cars. For example, Dining Car, Engine Room, Baggage Room, Train Depot, etc.

  • Set up a train to run during your Thomas birthday party to add ambiance and keep everyone in the train mood.

  • Scatter brown sugar and beans across the tabletop to serve as dirt and rocks. Make a centerpiece by using small toy trains, trees, railroad signs, buildings, etc.

  • Decorate the train depo walls with various train posters.

  • To create a railroad zone atmosphere, add traffic lights made from cardboard.

  • Make signals or traffic lights from cardboard and attach to your doorways.


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To entertain all your train enthusiasts, I've created a page of Thomas The Train Games and Activities which contains all of the following:
  • Make A Choo Choo Train
  • Make A Train
  • Station Master Says
  • Coal Toss
  • Pin The Caboose On Thomas The Tank Engine Birthday Train
  • Find The Train
  • Red Light, Green Light
  • Train Birthday Pinata
  • Train birthday Party Activity Stations


TRAIN-WICHES - Make several peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and cut them in half. Spread a clean tablecloth on a table. Create your train tracks using carrot and celery sticks going down the entire length of the table. Place a toy train engine at the start of the tracks and line up the train cars (sandwiches) behind the engine. Use a dab of peanut butter to secure banana wheels to each car.


ROADSIDE YUMMIES - Use clean train cars to serve your munchies in. Fill them with chips, nuts, goldfish crackers, pretzels, or cookies. To make it more fun, create railroad tracks for the cars to sit upon. Use construction paper, posterboard, or ice cream sticks.

TRAIN WHEELS - Mini doughnuts, white, chocolate, and coconut.

TRAIN COOKIES - Cut out train engine, caboose, various train cars, and railroad crossing sign-shaped cookies from your favorite sugar cookie recipe. Decorate accordingly.

KID-FRIENDLY FOODS - The following foods are a hit with just about all children:
  • Applesauce
  • Carrots & Ranch dressing
  • Chicken nuggets
  • Crackers & cheese
  • French fries
  • Fruit - bananas, strawberries, grapes, apples
  • Graham crackers
  • Macaroni & cheese
  • Pizza
  • String cheese


A train birthday party lends itself nicely to several options for creating a train birthday cake.

CHOO-CHOO TRAIN CAKE - Use the 3-D train cake pan made by Wilton to create your train b-day cake. It comes equipped with complete decorating instructions to create a 10 x 6 x 4 inch deep cake. This is a fun cake that everyone will want to board.

TRAIN-SHAPED BIRTHDAY CAKE - Use Wilton's cake pan that is shaped like a locomotive. It is the perfect train to use for filling the cargo compartments with cookies and candy. It comes with decorating instructions. This adorable cake will have all your passengers lining up to watch this train pull into the depot.

MINI TRAIN-SHAPED CAKES - Use Wilton's mini train pan set which will create six individual train-shaped cakes. The pans come complete with instructions and pictures to give you ideas for decorating three different trains. When your guests see these little engines they will be ready to ride the rails.

THOMAS CAKE - Make or buy a sheet cake and frost it white. Add an edible sugar art image of Thomas the Tank Engine Birthday design to make your cake look spectacular.

TRAIN BIRTHDAY PARTY SHEET CAKE - Make or buy a sheet cake and frost it white. Create a train track using black or red string licorice. Top with a plastic train set, plastic railroad signs, trees, and shrubs.

THOMAS & FRIENDS BIRTHDAY CUPCAKES - Make or buy white cupcakes. Decorate each cupcake with piped frosting in green, blue, or yellow. Add a few swirls of colored cake decorating gels and top each cupcake with a Thomas cupcake ring or use one of Thomas' friends.

TRAIN CUPCAKES - Cover a long piece of cardboard with foil. Pipe out black tracks down the entire length of the foil. Using train cupcake molds, make enough train cars as there are guests. Frost and decorate each car differently. Using cake gel, spell out each guest's name on a train car. Lay the cars on the tracks and either have them slightly touch one another or pipe out a "hinge" to connect the cars to each another. Decorate the locomotive engine extra special for the birthday child.

Check out our visitor-submitted TRAIN CAKES photos and how-to tips.


Use a red bandana or decorate a box like a train car to hold your party favors. Fill them with Thomas or train-related goodies like toy trains, train stickers, train puzzles, train coloring book and crayons, train books, Thomas the Tank book, etc.

Thomas The Tank Engine Birthday Party Ideas, Cakes & Costumes

Do you have some favorite Thomas the Tank Engine birthday ideas, costume or cake ideas? Do tell! Please share all your party tips and ideas for invitations, decorations, games, etc.

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Thomas the Tank Engine & Fat Controller Not rated yet
The cake base consists of a vanilla sponge cake that has a vanilla buttercream and strawberry jam filling. Before I filled the cake, I cut it up into the …

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My grandson loves trains and has some of the Thomas collection. I thought it would be fun to make a Thomas the Train cake for his third birthday. I …

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