Dinosaur Show Party -5yr- Dino Puppet Show
Elizabeth in Beaverton, Oregon, USA
We have a dinosaur fan who just turned 5. This party included a puppet show that I performed. You could do the same or hire an entertainer, or just fill in the time with more games. Our party ended up being one of the least expensive, easy to prepare for and funnest we've had.
INVITATION: The front of each folded paper invite and the front of each envelope had a colored paper brontosaurus sillouette (I traced a cookie cutter) with the guest's name written on it. Inside was a photograph I took of the bday boy and his brother in dinosaur t-shirts, surrounded by foliage and a toy dino, as if they were in prehistoric times. I backed it with colored paper and stuck it to the inside of a green paper invitation, trimmed in a jagged edge with scrapbooking scissors. Below it was a poem, written in green ink on white cardstock. It read, As Alex turns 5 You to a party that will be DINO-mite! Please come on June 7th - if you don't it's a crime 'Cause we're going back to the Land Before Time. The party's at our house. It starts at 2:30 We'll be hunting for dinos and you may get a bit dirty. Erupting volcano cake puppets and more Please call us today to respond with a ROAR!" I included my name and phone number below. We invited 15 kids and 13 came.
DECORATIONS: Our color scheme was red orange and green. Chalk dino footprints lead to the front door decorated with a purchased dino theme Happy Bday sign and latex balloons. In the main party area we had home-made green orange and red colored paper chains hanging from the ceiling and heilium balloons tied to the foot of three giant dinosaur stuffed animals (borrowed 2 from a friend). We pulled lots of fake and real plants into the party area to give it a wild feel. Toy dinosaurs prehistoric backdrops and models of dino skeletons were displayed on countertops tables and the mantle. A CD of rain forest ambiance played on repeat the whole party. We had a mix and match dinosaur book and other dino books and puzzles on hand for kids to play with. The cake table had a green tablecloth red plates orange napkins and clear glasses. Two large toy dinos flanked the massive volcano cake made by a family member. A mylar dino balloon and more colored balloons were tied to the back of the bday boy's chair.
CAKE: The cake was HUGE! I counted six layers and it measured 20 inches tall. It was a chocolate frosted volcano edged in crumbled chocolate cake with yellow orange and red frosting lava oozing out the crater. A water and dry ice-filled shot glass was hid in the crater and steam flowed out. A few toy dinosaursand palm trees were stuck on the scene with more frosting including a pterodactyl on the crater's rim. A "5" candle sat at the foot of the mountain. It was on a red foil-covered piece of cardboard and around the foil in yellow/orange writing was "Happy 5th Birthday Alex". It was awesome! With cake we served orange red and green gatorade.
ACTIVITIES: Upon arrival kids went to the dining room decorated with a plastic tablecloth. On it were supplies in colored bowls and bottles of white school glue. The kids made dinosaur magnets. You can buy kits from OTC but my order got messed up so I went and bought 5 different colored foam sheets and sticky-back magnet strips and cut out dino shapes myself. This took a long time - 4 hours to make all the shapes and cirlces stripes spots and spikes for the kids to glue onto their dinos. We had an adult supervise with a black sharpie so the kids could draw faces and write their names on the magnets. When they finished they moved on to the first game and after the last magnet was made the tablecloth was tossed in the trash taking all the sticky mess with it.
GAMES: The first game was DINO TOSS. I lined a large basket with a red blanket edges spilling out. This was the pit of hot lava. The kids stood about 6 feet away and had to toss grapefruit-sized Land Before Time rubber figurines into the hot lava. They took as many chances as necessary until they each got 3 dinos in the lava. They LOVED this even more when my hubby reached in at the last second and caught the dinos making cartoon voices say things like "Help! I don't want to swim in hot lava!"
As each child took their turn they could wait in line to do it again or move to the next game DINO DROP: Back in the dining room the kids knelt on the backs of chairs and had to drop small dino toys into a mason jar. Just like dropping clothespins in a jar when I was a kid. I was worried this might be considered a boring game but they loved it! They played til they got 5 dinos in the jar and like the hot lava game we had two kids playing at a time which saved on waiting in line time.
The craft and these two games kept everyone busy and having fun until all had arrived and it was time for the PUPPET SHOW: The puppet show was set up in the bonus room upstairs with furniture moved so the stage was at one end of the room and an area rug and seating marked the audience area. Before and after the show this room was off limits! I used to be a puppeteer and performed at birthday parties for years but put all my puppets away when my oldest was a baby so I'd never done this show for my own kids. It was a hit. If you want to do it practice like crazy with all your puppets scenery and props.
Make sure you have an adult on hand to perform crowd control keeping kids from wandering backstage or attacking the puppets. (It happens.) Also make sure the kids sit far enough back that they can see. You can use a puppet stage like mine or just drape a sheet over an ironing board. I love my stage made my hubby and I built out of wood and felt. It consists of 2 side panels about 60 inches tall hinged to a 30 inch tall front section with a flat stage surface secured on top. I sit on a swivel chair behind a curtain made of broadcloth that hangs just behind the flat surface. With the lights on the puppet stage and off behind it I can see the kids through the curtain but they can't see me. The puppeteer should wear a dark long-sleeve shirt to aid in hiding. A floor-length black curtain hangs across the back of the 2 side panels.
Here's the outline of the SHOW: You can use any puppets you want just make sure you practice syncing the different voices and use lots of energy. A bday puppet (Sam) comes out and tells the kids it's his bday. (If the party is for a girl use a girl puppet.) He discovers that it is also Alex's bday and they are the same age. Sam wants a party just like Alex. Puppet #2 comes out Sally. She helps Sam decorate just like Alex with balloons etc. Then Sam sees audience full of guests and goes to invite his friends via the phone. Sally remains asks audience what Sam forgot.
Cake. Sally mixes a cake with audience help. Be funny. I always have a recipe card with pictures so a little kid can read it. Use Easter eggs for eggs a flower for the flour and an empty coke can for the baking soda. Shhh the cake will be a surprise for Sam Sally exits to bake and frost. Sam enters excited. All his friends are on their way. Each friend arrives one at a time. I do a bit about Sam going to answer the door but the friends all enter different ways (window chimney etc.) Sam choses an audience member to help open each gift. Interact with volunteers and give them thank you kisses and applause. Each friend leaves suddenly and Sam becomes sad wondering why they left. "Do I have bad breath or something?" After third guest leaves Sam exits crying. Sally reenters.
Cake is ready ta-da! Where is Sam? Kids explain. Sally and kids call out "SAM!" getting louder and louder until Sam reappears sniffling. Everyone yells surprise! Sam gets excited all sing happy birthday to Sam and Alex he makes a wish and blows out his candles. Tells his wish that Alex would share his friends with Sam. Wish comes true. Sam gives Alex a small gift and wishes him the best party ever. Sam and Sally exit. Show's over. I always bring out one puppet to meet each guest in person and give them hugs and kisses. The kids even the second graders love this. If you perform well enough the kids don't care that you are operating the puppet they talk to it like it's alive. After this we had cake.
Then the EGG HUNT: I told the kids that a herd of dinosaurs had used our backyard as their nesting grounds. The kids took their goody bags and were set loose to collect one egg each of 4 different colors. The eggs (from OTC) had baby dinosaurs inside them.
FAVORS: Also in the goody bags paper bags labeled with names and decorated with a photo sticker of Alex in front of a dino poster were several dino tatoos (OTC) dino fruit snacks more candy and the kid's magnet (dry by now). We opened presents outside. I bought dino theme thank you notes in advance wrote "Dear Name Thank you for coming to my party skipped a few lines and had Alex sign them. Then, instead of writing a gift list to aid in making thank you notes later, I finished writing each note as he opened gifts. These were then placed in the goody bags which saved on postage, but more importantly, got the thank yous out before too much time had passed. Sometimes those notes are on my to-do list for a month!
As parents trickled in, some kids played raptor raptor T-Rex" (duck duck goose) while the others played in the backyard. The party lasted about two and a half hours. This was one of my favorite parties and the puppet show really made it special. Cleanup was a breeze and for once I didn't have to make a bunch of costumes! We did not get to these activities that were planned in case we finished early: putting on the tatoos from the goody bags a relay race with T-Rex grabbers and the eggs from the egg hunt the hide and seek game called sardines where "it" hides and the seekers cram themselves in the hiding spot too until the last seeker finds everyone. (Someone on this site called it "Extinction" and it sounded great.) Hope your prehistoric party is DINO-MITE!"
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