Dinosaur -3yr- Decorate the Dinosaur Egg
Monica in Auckland, New Zealand
For my daughter's 3rd birthday, we had a dinosaur party. We had invited 9 of her friends over to our house and we set up the garage as the main party room.
We stapled dinosaur paper cut outs downloaded from the internet onto the walls and hung orange and lime coloured balloons and streamers from the ceiling to match the green and orange dinosaur cake. We set up plastic kiddy tables and chairs that I had borrowed from friends and laid down old sheets on the floor for the first activity - decorating dinosaur eggs. To make the eggs, I downloaded an easter egg template from the internet and copied two of the egg images joining each other (like a mirror image) into a Microsoft Word document. I then printed the twin egg image onto a sheet of light weight card, cut it out and folded in half so that you got a double-sided egg that opened up on one side like a greeting card.
Inside the egg, I attached a "pop up" paper cut out dinosaur (dinosaur template from the internet)which I had glued to a "pop up" paper strip(two long thin strips of card folded to get a "jack in the box" effect. I then punched a hole through the open edges of the egg, threaded through thin gift ribbon and tied a knot to keep the egg closed so the kids couldn't see the dinosaur inside.
As the guests arrived (the party was from 11am - 1pm), we invited them to sit at a table and they were given an egg to decorate with glitter glue, feathers and dinosaur stamps - some of the early arrivals got to decorate two eggs and the mums enjoyed this activity even more than their children did : ) We wrote each child's name on the egg they had decorated and then left these to dry while we sat them in a circle on the floor and played "pass the parcel". I had wrapped a large plastic dinosaur in each layer so every time the music stopped, the child who unwrapped a layer of paper got a prize - three year olds don't quite appreciate the concept of only one winner!
By this time the kids had had enough of sitting so it was song and dance time. We brought out a basket with 10 baby dinosaurs and 1 mother dinosaur (again made using the template from the internet - my mum and I stitched and stuffed bright orange and lime cotton fabric dinosaurs with mung beans and I drew on eyes - with beautiful curved long eye lashes : ) - nose, smiley mouth and claws with laundry-proof black marker). Borrowing from a well known toddler book "5 little ducks" I sat next to the basket and sang "10 little dinosaurs went out one day, over the hills and far away. Mother dinosaur went "stomp, stomp, stomp" but only 9 little dinosaurs came home. 9 little dinosaurs went out one day…" and each time, my daughter would give a baby dinosaur to one of her guests until there was only the mother dinosaur left in the basket. All the littlies got right into it, stomping their feet and also singing along once they got the idea following the first couple of verses.
Then I announced that we were going on a dinosaur egg hunt inside the house. A day before the party, I made a double batch of play dough (recipe from the internet) to which I added a packet of lime jelly to get a pale green colour - I put a little plastic dinosaur in the middle of a ball of play dough and moulded into an egg shape - I then wrapped each egg in cling film to keep the dough soft and free of dust and fluff from the carpet during the hunt. I asked the kids to wait in the garage while I quickly laid down the eggs in really obvious places (next to the sofa, by the curtains, under dining room chairs etc.) having made sure there were enough so that each child would find three or four eggs. Then the hunt was on and once each child had accumulated their "quota" of eggs, I suggested they break open the eggs to see if there was really a "baby dinosaur" inside - they just loved "hatching" their eggs and discovering the little baby dinos!
The final organised activity was a very basic game of skittles - my husband balanced three empty plastic (2 litre) milk bottles in a T shape on the floor and the kids took turns throwing a ball at the bottles - each time they hit the bottles (we made it really easy by giving them a pretty big ball and standing them reasonably close!) they won another little plastic dinosaur - I had around 40 little dinosaurs to give away and they all lined up to throw the ball, collect a little dinosaur which they would hand over to their mum before running to the back of the line for another throw - this game was the simplest to organise but turned out to be the biggest hit of the day - it got increasingly exciting and fun for both the kids and the adults as we cheered LOUDLY and clapped every time the milk bottles crashed down). By the end of this game, each of the mums were "baby sitting" one large plastic dinosaur from "pass the parcel" a stuffed cotton fabric baby dinosaur from the "10 little dinosaurs" game, lots of little plastic dinosaurs and a hunk of green play dough so we brought out the goody bags to put their winnings in.
We had made up simple goody bags at home - I bought a packet of transparent plastic kitchen bags from the supermarket and stuck dinosaur stickers all over them. Inside we placed a dinosaur colouring book, a dinosaur activity book, a pack of little colour pencils and half a dozen dinosaur stickers. My dad had also made each child a little dinosaur book about six of the most well known dinosaurs - each page had the dinosaur's name and picture and a few simple facts, e.g. whether they ate leaves or other dinosaurs and how tall or heavy they were(the pages were made using clip art and researching on the internet for dinosaur facts - to make the books, we punched two holes through the pages and tied together with ribbon). A couple of the kids sat and stuck the dinosaur stickers from their goody bags to the matching dinosaur in the book - but the majority were more interested in devouring the lollipops they had discovered in their bag(only two per bag to minimise the sugar rush)!
We eventually gathered them around to sing Happy Birthday and have my daughter blow out the candles on her cake (my mum hired a dinosaur shaped tin from local cake shop and we used a Betty Crocker large packet mix to bake a chocolate cake. I made impressions of dinosaur "scales" by pressing down on the icing with the tip of a butter knife - eyes, nose and claws were cut out from black jelly beans and the mouth was lined with crushed red candy).
By this stage it was nearly lunch time so I put down old sheets in the lounge and the kids all sat and watched a "Land before Time" dvd while we laid out the food. The kids had their meal sitting on the floor, engrossed in the movie and the adults were able to enjoy a light summer lunch. After lunch, some of the kids continued to watch the movie and others played with my daughter's toys or outside on the swings - while the parents talked about which school they were thinking of sending their child to : ) Around 1pm, we opened the gifts and they spent some time playing with the presents my daughter had received. As each child left, we gave them the dinosaur egg they had decorated when they first arrived and untied the ribbon to reveal the "pop up" baby dinosaur inside - they all took home their decorated eggs as a memento of the day.
The party was a great success with both littlies and their mums and we were able to do it reasonably cheaply as some of the prizes - the plastic dinosaurs and sheets of stickers were from a "two dollar" shop; the dinosaur activity/colouring sets were $3/set - and we made the "pop up" craft eggs & dinos, the stuffed cotton fabric dinos, the little dinosaur books and the play dough for the egg hunt at home - the party probably took more time and effort than money. I found the internet was a great resource for templates - particularly the enchantedlearning.com and download-a-dinosaur websites.
I had wanted to make a range of paper dinosaurs from the download-a-dinosaur website as decorations around the house and dinosaur finger puppets but I ran out of time - I would certainly recommend giving yourself a few months to buy and make the prizes and decorations. I hope my posting will give you some ideas if your child is a dinosaur fan like mine. Thanks to everyone who has shared their party ideas here - I relied heavily on your stories to get going and I'm already researching ideas for a Winnie-the-Pooh party for my daughter's 4th birthday in January.
BirthdayPartyIdeas.com - Birthday party ideas to help you plan your kids birthday party celebration.
NutcrackerBallet.net - Nutcracker information, performance directory and ballet reviews.
FreeParkConcerts.com - Find the best summer concert in the park near you!