Dinosaur Expedition -2yr- Grow A Dinosaur
Liz in Charlotte, NC , US
Outdoor Birthday Dinosaur Expedition I started planning at least 5 months in advance. My son Christian was turning two and he loves Dinosaurs, so picking the theme was easy. Last year we had a Spider Halloween theme party but no one wore a costume. I was not really prepared either with good games and the children were bored. So this year had to be better. I bought Chris a green Dinosaur costume with blue spots for Halloween. His birthday is two days before Halloween. I got my inspiration from his costume.
I made T-rex shaped invitations. I bought construction paper and made invitations to match his costume colors. I glued an eye; white teeth and black nail cut outs on it. I used glue pencils with sparkles to out line the Dinosaur to make it look bright. The T-rex when opened read: "Congratulations Excavation Accomplished... Therefore, Christian invites you to join him and other Expert Paleontologist at (time) for an Outdoor Birthday Dinosaur Expedition. On (date) at the (family's name) cave and quarry located at(address)...You'll be sure to uncover a Dino-mite time of food, fun and games...And some Dinosaurs too! Don't be extinct." The writing I took from another party idea. Then I made a Pterodactyl, which read: "Uncover the enclosed fossil to make and important discovery."
I also made a Brachiosaurus that read: "Attention: Paleontologist... Please arrive on time. Activities begin at (time) sharp. Please wear the proper attire: (Light blue shirt and khaki pants). You might even take a picture with a real living Dinosaur! " (My son Chris in his Dinosaur costume) I then covered the T-rex with a sand mixture. I cut contact paper in a square shape covered it with Elmer’s glue and sand. When dry I sealed the invitation inside. The Brachiosaurus went inside the T-rex. And the Pterodactyl went in the envelope to be read before excavating the invitation.
I planned the party around the five children that were invited. Since there would be only five children including Chris I planned 5 games so that each child would win a game. That way each child would receive a prize, to be fair. Therefore, I had to know who was going to win ahead of time. I did this by assigning each child a number. For the whole party they had to remember their number. The first thing I had them do when they arrived at the party was draw a Dinosaur on a white paper bag I purchased from Oriental Trading. Ahead of time I put each child’s name and stenciled some Dinosaur shapes on their personal bag for them to use to collect things from the party like prizes and stuff. Sort of like a favor bag. I had the kids color their bags while we waited for everyone to arrive.
Then we started. Game 1-Scavenger Hunt. I assigned one parent to each child to help with the games. I handed each parent a pile of index cards to read to the children. I had things like run around a tree 5 times, walk to the front of the house and count to 10 etc. They had to do the task before reading the next card. Things that would make them run around and get a little excited and a little tired. Their last card had a map of the yard. They had to read the map, go to a destination and wait for my instructions. My son likes to collect rocks so I placed a rock at each child’s destination with an unhappy face on 4 of them. The fifth had a Dinosaur on it. I told them to look for the rock and the one who found the Dinosaur would be rewarded. Then the winner read a card I handed to them which read: "Congratulations! You have all passed the first test to becoming Honorary Paleontologist. Thank you for joining us today for Christian's Outdoor Birthday Dinosaur Expedition.
Now let the fun and games begin. It is now time to go to the Learning Table located on the front porch. I set up a table on the front porch where I had some of my son’s Dinosaurs, a book on Dinosaurs and nametags for the dinosaurs. I read them some things on Dinosaurs then tested them on what we read. Each child got a turn naming the Dinosaurs and guessing what they ate. As I was doing this, my sister-in-law was busy setting up the next game.
She put the Dinosaur eggs I made all around the yard for the children to find. I made paper mache eggs with a trap door like a piñata for each child and filled it with things like toys, candy and Dinosaur stuff. They each got four large eggs with the same things in them except for the last egg. The winner had full Dinosaur inside the last egg opened, while the others had a craft Dinosaur from Oriental Trading that was not put together. I put their numbers on the eggs and alphabetized them so I had control of which egg was opened first. I also painted the eggs with white spray paint and green spots.
When we were done at the Learning Table I let them know that they would be beginning Game 2-Dinosaur Egg Hunt. I handed them each a Dinosaur mask from Oriental Trading and told them to look for their eggs before they become extinct. They collected them in their bags that they previously painted. The person to find the last Red Triceratops would be rewarded. After that game was done we went back to the Learning Table to learn about what Extinction was, what a Paleontologist job was and what an Excavation was.
This then led to Game 3-Escavation. I purchase Dinosaur skeletons from Alltherightstuff.com and collected Gerber desert cups. I made a sand mixture and buried each skeleton in the cups. In the winners cup I place a small T-rex Dinosaur under the skeleton. I numbered the cups. I handed them each a safari hat from Alltherightstuff.com. and a paint brush. I told them that the person to find a whole Dinosaur would be rewarded and they began their dig. My son wanted to continue digging even after he found the skeleton; he enjoyed this game very much. Then the Learning Table became the Experiment Lab. I asked everyone if they saw the movie Jurassic Park and if they remembered how the Dinosaurs were created.
They did. Game 4-Dinosaur DNA. I bought Dinosaur confetti in red, yellow, blue and green colors. I blew up 4 balloons for each child, numbered and alphabetized them and placed different colored confetti in each balloon. The one who found the green T-rex DNA would be rewarded. The children where told that inorder to get the eggs open, they had to sit on the egg to find the Dinosaur DNA. One at a time with the help of their parent they popped the balloon and searched for the DNA. This game was also enjoyable. Last but not least, the final game. I bought some Dinosaur capsules in the Dollar store that grow in water.
Game 5-Grow A Dinosaur. Again I numbered and alphabetized each capsule with a marker and told them that the capsules were formed from the DNA retrieved in the last mission. The T-rex had eaten a Pterodactyl. The person to grow a Pterodactyl would be rewarded. I opened the capsules ahead of time to find the Pterodactyl then place them back in the capsules. It’s like a sponge so it wasn’t hard to do. I gave each child a cup with water and one by one they put their capsules in water and watched them grow.
After all the games were over we ate pizza, nothing extravagant because I worked so hard on the games I wanted something easy to serve. And pizza is my son’s favorite anyway. The cake was shaped like a Dinosaur with half yellow, half chocolate cake and green frosting with blue spots. It was perfect and a sight to see. I also got cup cakes on the side to look like the Dinosaurs eggs, white with green spots. I had Dinosaur shaped frosted sugar cookies I made myself. I placed Dinosaur gummies in a bowl with chocolate covered raisins that were supposed to resemble rocks. They gobbled these up. I also gave each child a favor egg filled with candy that they had to open at home.
The parents took home a favor, which I made with lollipops and Dinosaur craft for Oriental Trading. I glued the dinosaur head, tail and legs to the lollipop, which was the body and glued ribbons to it with my sons name and birth date on it. After we ate, we cut the cake, then opened the gifts and took pictures. There was not a moment where the kids were unhappy and I was very pleased with how everything turned out.
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