Idea No.

10792

Dinosaur Party -9yr- The Education Station

Award

Date

April 2005

From

Renee in Waco, Texas USA

Special Mention

Dinosaur Party

This dinosaur party was a joint celebration for a 9 year old girl and her  3 year old brother.

We made homemade invitations as suggested in  The Penny Whistle Party Book (by Meredith Brohkaw) by printing "It's a  Dinosaur Dig - Come help us hatch the fun!" on card stock and cutting  it out in an egg shape. The egg was cut in half and joined with a brad  so that it hinged open to reveal a dinosuar die cut made with a Sizzix  machine & the T. Rex die.

We turned their large front yard into a  dinosaur park by painting a sign on a piece of old sheet that said 'Davis  Dinosaur Park' and hanging it on the front fence along with 2 very large  cut out cardboard dinosaur shapes made by using an overhead  projector to draw them very large (xeroxed a picture out of a book onto  an overhead transparency). I also painted 3 other large cardboard  dinosaurs using the same technique but shaded in more detail and  stood them up around the yard with wooden stakes - they were great  photo opportunities. Along the sidewalk leading up to the front porch  were wooden stakes that held a drawing of a different set of dinosaur  foot prints on each one - using metal rings from an office supply store a  small strip at the bottom could be 'flipped up' to reveal which dinosaur it  was. We also traced the feet of the birthday children and made their  names into dino names and they were included along the 'Which  Dinosaur (?) Walkway'.  

The party went pretty much like a day at a dinosuar park: we turned the  front porch into a visitor center (complete with another sheet sign) had  dino tatoos, treatbags with giant gummie dinosaurs, dino water  capsules & coloring pages (many downloaded from the internet)  -much of the stuff came from 2 websites: Dinosuar Farms and Oriental  Trading company. We did 'make your own fossil' using plaster-of-paris  spooned out on a paper plate-after 5 minutes you could press in a  shell or plastic dinosaur coated with minreral oil and remove - leaving  the depression in the 'fossil'. Each child found a paper mache egg that  was made using the recipe on the liquid starch bottle and newpaper  strips over blown-up balloons. We stuffed each with a plastic dino  skeleton (our museum had these in their gift shop) and some easter  grass - after patching the end where the dino was inserted we let the  birthday kids paint them (about 2 weeks ahead of time).

At the party each child got one & we cut it open for them - they seemed to like the  skeleton dinos. Each child wrote their name on a cardstock paper  fin-plate and glued it on a stegosaurs body painted on cardboard  (adapted from Dinosaurs Galore found in a teachers supply store). It  became a good record of who actually came to the party. I got them together by having them pick a dino picture from a basket and then we  did a timeline where they stuck on the dinos in the correct time period -  each period (Triassic, Jurassic & Cretaceous) had a different color outline around the dino shape so they knew where to put them.  A  website with lots of info is Enchanted Learning,  Zoom dinosaurs and  Texas Parks & Wildlife and I got several books from a teacher supply store.  Then we met back at the Stegosaurus, talked about dinosaur eggs and  went to the 'dino egg hatchery'. Everyone got two plastic eggs (they  unfolded into different dinosaurs, like 'transformers'-from Oriental  Trading Company) -the kids seemed to think they were neat. We put  this area under some trees & I made 'nests' in the leaves by clearing a  small area of leaves with my shoe and arranging the eggs in circles on  the dirt - a different kind in each nest.   

At  the 'Education Station' we did an exercise where you streched out a  piece of cloth the length of a dinosaur - the shortest was 3 ft and the  longest 85 ft!. We used the 'How Big Were They' puzzle from The Great  American Puzzle Factory that has 10 two-piece puzzles that made 10  dinos. Each of the 19 children (and 1 adult volunteer) drew a puzzle  piece - matched it up to find a partner, then stretched out the cloth to  see how long their dino was.  We had torn old sheets into strips and  sewn them together to make the right lengths. We were able to TAPE  the dino pictures on the fence instead of having to drive in 10 more  stakes and had the right length strip folded up under each picture -  (their fence looks like white board fence but is actually plastic and I had  white duct tape so it worked out well). Near there was a big gray circle  that had ashes in it from an old burn site - we told the kids it was where  the meteor hit that caused the dinosaurs to go extinct. 

After that I pointed out that there were dino tracks in the grass (we had  spray painted T.rex prints using a big card boad stencil I made using   the overhead projector & transparencies again) & asked them to guess  which one - one girl knew (maybe she had looked at the 'which dino  walkway'!) - T. Rex. I told them he was the king of the dinos and  very  mean and that there was one 'over there' so we needed to be quiet but  follow the tracks. (I put the painted cardboard T. Rex near the dig site.)  

Next was the fossil dig (we made a trench using six 50-pound bags of  play sand and a long piece of canvas tarp tacked in between two long  cedar logs) where they dug up the bones. The bones were made using  a sand mold set of T.Rex bones ordered off the internet that I then  made with plaster of pairs and spray painted with a little beige, yellow &  brown to make them look old. I found throw away paint brushes at  Wal-Mart for 50 cents each. I told them there were about 20 to 25 sites  in Texas where dinosaur bones were found and that it was rumored  that there were some around here. I wasn't sure about that but we  would check out the Dig Site to see if we could find some. Told them to  file on either side of the excavation trench and have a seat. Then I said  you shouldn't use shovels because you could break the bones so we  would use brushes - then passed out the paint brushes.

After the first  couple of kids found bones I laid out the template sheet (I had traced  around the mold pieces using a marker so they would be able to fit the  bones together to make the skeleton).  In the end we were missing the  small top half of a broken forelimb and they all went back to the trench  and dug around until they found it!  We all cheered!  

Then they each made their own mini volcano with a Dixie cup  containing baking soda placed in piles of leaves and poured in colored  vinegar ('volcano juice') from another dixie cup (use food coloring to  color the vinegar). That was a big hit!  We got ready for the balloon pop race (ahead of time you hold open the  neck of a  9" balloon and insert a small plastic dinosaur and blow up  the balloon - we stored the blown up ballons in big trash bags)  and  had 3 teams ready to go - but when I dumped the balloons out they  started popping when they hit the grass! So I just had every one run up  & grab the dinos - it was a free for all that lasted about a minute & a  half!!! One of the oldest girls (9 or 10 yrs. Old) came up afterwards all  excited with a big grin on her face and said - I got 6 of them!! -holding  out her plastic dinosaurs. 

Finally we played 'Extinction' - like a cake walk where you get a prize  when your dinosaur goes extinct. I made the cards to walk on using  A.  G. Smith's dinosaur stencil book from Dover Publications. Then  dinosaur cake (the mom made 2 cakes - one for each child that looked  like a 3-D dinosuar - a triceratops with a paper neck frill and a  brontosaurus), ice cream & punch and opening presents.  It took  weeks to prepare for and two days to set up and blitzed by in 2 hours.  

The kids seemed to have a good time and parents commented that it  looked like a movie set and was incredible. It provided fun things for the  younger ones and educational things for the gifted-and-talented 9 year  old birthday girl and her friends. Some of the ideas were adapted from  ones found on this web site.

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