Dinosaur Party -5yr- Visit From the Reptile Man
Carla in Phoenix, AZ USA
My son really wanted to have a dinosaur party for his fifth birthday. I wasn't sure how we could make that theme too original and exciting, but we ended up having a blast!
On the dinosaur invitations, I noted for the children to bring a swimsuit and towel and to be prepared to meet some scaly new friends!
We placed a 6 ft inflatable dinosaur on our front porch to help the party goers know they had arrived. Upon arrival, I had a few craft stations set up. One table had dinosaur tattoos (Oriental Trading) and sponges to put them on.
Another table had multi-colored gift bags with handles. I put out dinosaur foam stickers (OT) and markers so each child could decorate a bag and put their name on it. On the back of each bag were directions for the upcoming scavenger hunt. Finally, I had many snacks and drinks out. I told all of the kids that for the first half an hour, we had to stay inside with these activities because we had a special guest coming, and we wanted to let all of our friends get here.
I hired a man called the Reptile Man to come to the party. He brings all sorts of reptiles, including a 15 yellow boa constrictor and a rhinoceros iguana, to the party. When he arrived, all of the kids started jumping around and screaming they were so excited. They sat in a circle around him, and the birthday boy got to sit next to the man and be the first to pet all of the creatures. The kids were just riveted with the show, which lasted an hour, and they got to learn about and touch around 15 different kinds of reptiles. We talked about how modern day reptiles are related to prehistoric dinosaurs.
After the Reptile Man left, we started the scavenger hunt in the back yard. We called the first station Ice Age." I bought a small kiddie pool and filled it with water. Over the prior few weeks I had bought a bunch of small plastic dinosaurs and froze them individually into different shapes. Right before the kids went outside I poured these in the pool along with several bags of ice. Each child could pick four frozen dinosaurs and they had to thaw them out any way they could. They could then keep these dinosaurs.
For the next station we had a table with a large paper mache volcano. The kids and I had a great time making this volcano (my first attempt at paper mache). It was huge and the kids then got to paint it and glue on various dinosaurs and trees. We then filled the inner canister with baking soda and had a bottle of vinegar there. My daughter wanted to man this station and she helped each child make the volcano explode. As a side note I colored the "lava" with red food coloring (and had no problems fortunately) but I was thinking later what might work well are those fizzy color tablets for the bath. This might be better to prevent any clothes staining. Anyway the kids went crazy making the volcano go off and some stayed at this station for a really long time!
Next I put out a slip-n-slide and all along it I put out these life-sized rubber frogs I found at the dollar store. You could squeeze the frogs and their tongues unrolled and their eyes popped. I put up a sign that said "prehistoric frogs" and on the scavenger hunt list I told the kids to find the river with the prehistoric frogs and take one for themselves (okay it was a stretch to link this to dinosaurs but these were cute).
Next I wrote that the kids should find the pterodactyl nest. I told them sneak in and take an egg but to hurry because the mom pterodactyl could be on her way back. For this station I bought a big round wooden wreath at Michaels for like $5. I also bought some moss in the same section and some sticks. To make the eggs I blew up water balloons and put paper mache on. After they dried I spray painted them with crackle white paint and cut a hole in each egg. Inside the "egg I put these gummy fried egg candies (OT), candy bones (OT), mini-dinosaurs, and some other treats. The kids could then crack open their eggs to get their prizes. I'll admit this turned out really cool and was super inexpensive to do!
Next was the archeologist excavation area. I had another baby pool, but this one had sand in it. I bought some larger rubber dinosaurs on clearance at Target. Each child (archeologist) got to excavate one large dinosaur to keep. I also put in a bunch of smaller plastic dinosaurs, shells (Michaels) and 400 gold coins (party supply store). They could dig up 20 other prizes to keep.
Finally, I wrote that the kids could take a swim in the prehistoric ocean, but to watch out for dinosaurs! I had inflatable dinosaurs and a large inflatable palm tree floating around in our pool.
Finally, we had a dinosaur pinata. The pinatas at the party supply store were pathetically small (we had 20 kids), and they never hold enough candy for everyone to get a good amount, so I went on a quest for a decent size pinata. I finally found a very large one at a Mexican grocery store called Food City - it was a red T-rex. It held quite a bit of loot. The kids enjoyed breaking open the pinata and putting the loot in their bags. While all of this activity was going on, I put out dinner for everyone who included dinosaur shaped chicken nuggets (Costco), hot dogs, salads, fruit, etc.
For the cakes, I made these: dinosaur: http://jas.familyfun.go.com/recipefinder/display?id=50119 volcano: http://jas.familyfun.go.com/recipefinder/display?id=50219 The volcano cake turned out particularly well. I made it very big, and along the bottom put leaves from our lemon tree so they stuck out from underneath the cake, then plastic dinosaurs around the bottom. The candy lava stuck out the top and I had long, sparkler candles as well, so it looked pretty cool.
For the thank you notes, I had my son draw a dinosaur and write thank you made copies of this and added a more specific note and pictures of that child holding a snake at the party.
All in all, it was a blast, and I got a ton of compliments on the party. I heard from many parents that the kids couldn't stop talking about what they had seen and done for days. It was a great fun and the kids and I had a fantastic time putting it together.
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