Dinosaur Party -6yr- Dinosaur Bone Bowling
Karen in Norfolk, Massachusetts, USA
My six year old son, Ben, is dinosaur crazy, so a dinosaur party was a no-brainer. There are so many possibilities for games and activities it was hard to narrow them down! The party we did could easily be adapted to any budget, mine was somewhat pricy because of the goody bags. The key here is preparation, and start working on things that can be done in advance very early so if you have any problems they can be fixed in time. For ideas, www.enchantedlearning.com is an excellent resource for dinosaur stuff. You can print out coloring pages, pictures, etc., and it has all sorts of dinosaur information. Highly recommended! Oriental Trading Co. and dollar stores have lots of dinosaur items for not too much money. eBay is a great resource if you need candy and/or cake molds, or perhaps dino decorations. I also got some great ideas from this site.
In advance I did the following: made paper machier eggs, using small balloons as molds. When they were dry I put in a small dinosaur, a couple of dinosaur tattoos, and a small dinosaur puzzle (all items, and the balloons, from OTC). I made the glue from flour and water, and put on two layers of newspaper. Using only two layers made them easier to break open later. When they were dry I spraypainted them. Leave a lot of time for this process! It can take days for the glue to dry, then you've got to slit them open to insert the toys, then patch them up, then they've got to dry again. Plus drying after being painted! So leave lots of time. (I put mine in a hard plastic kiddy swimming pool for drying and painting.)
In advance I also made chocolate lollipops in dinosaur molds, one for each child. Also, you can buy gummy mix at crafts shops; I used a smaller mold to make two gummies for each child, which were later inserted into Jello Jigglers. If you make Jello Jigglers, one large box of Jello will perfectly fit in a sixteen cube ice-cube tray. Refrigerate for ten minutes, then insert a gummy dinosaur in each cube, and refrigerate for a couple of hours.
Here is how the party flowed (I had planned for two hours; we went a bit over mostly because I let them play too long when they first arrived!): When the children arrived, they played with Ben for a bit, then they got to decorate plastic visors (instead of party hats) with foam cut-outs (OTC sells dinosaur cut-outs, which I had pre-baggied for each child, dividing each kind of dinosaur evenly for everyone so there would be no fights) and extra shapes of cut-outs which I already had. Then I wrote everyone's name on the inside of the visor. While they dried, the kids played Dino Extinction, which is hot potato, using dinosaur bean bags and played to 'dinosaur' songs which my husband had downloaded and put on CD for me. As each child was 'out' they went to have a dinosaur tattoo applied. (I rely heavily on my friends--the kids' parents--to help out at my parties!)
After everyone had their tattoo, we split into two teams. (I can't count on outdoor parties at the end of October in Massachusetts, and I have a very small house, so I planned games for the living room, dining room, and long hallway so the kids wouldn't be jammed together for everything.) One team went to the living room, where I had a bean bag toss game (a piece of wood on a stand to keep it upright--the game was left over from last year's pirate bean bag toss!)--that was decorated with a stegosaurus cut out from poster board.
I had cut dinosaur footprints from brown paper shopping bags and put them around the stegosaurus. I had re-covered our Twister spinner to read: Take two steps to your left, Take one step to your right, Pass the beanbag to the person on your right, and Feed the Stegosaurus!. There were four beanbags and about 10 kids (there were 19 in all at the party), and I spun the spinner and the kids did the activity. When they successfully tossed their beanbag (which I had made in dinosaur fabric) through the board, they moved on to the dining room (which is where the other team started).
In the dining room, they played bone bowling. I had taken three poster board sheets, and taped them together on the short sides to make a long sheet. On this I drew some dinosaurs. The kids knelt at one end. At the other end I build a pyramid of 6 plastic cups and put a small dinosaur on the top. The kids had to slide a Milk-Bone dog biscuit down the poster board 'alley' to knock over the pyramid and claim the dinosaur, which they got to keep. It's harder than it sounds! If the biscuit landed on one of the drawn dinosaurs, they could reslide it from there.
After that game, they moved to the hallway for the egg carry. I had drawn a pterydactyl and hung it from the hallway light. At the end of the hallway I suspended an old toy hammock netting I had. The kids went one at a time, balancing a balloon 'egg' to return it to the 'nest' on a beach sandclaw toy. At the end they had to knock the balloon up to touch the netting, then rebalance it as they returned down the hall to hand off to the next child. Then they could go into the living room for the bean bag toss.
Using the games to keep the kids going in a circle worked well for my small house, and no one had to wait too long for something to do. After the kids had completed all three games, they could go down to our basement playroom, where I had set up a cave--a refrigerator box I got at a local appliance store, which led to our ballpit (one of those pop-up ball pits, which we already had), which had the paper machied eggs in it. I had left sidewalk chalk in the 'cave' so they could write on the walls. They got an egg and broke it open to find the prizes. They were quite excited! Since they were receiving so many little things throughout the party, I had set out their 'goody bags' which were actually beach sand pails and shovels (for the paleontologists!) I bought on clearance at the end of the summer, and wrote their names on the bottom. All their little gifts went inside during the party.
After everyone had their eggs broken and toys put in their buckets, we sat down for a snack. The snack was to calm them down a bit. I served prepared plates (again, thanks to my kitchen helpers!) of four brontosaurus bones (mini hotdogs in puff pastry), three cretaceous carrots (baby carrots), two cubes of dinos stuck in a rock (the Jello Jigglers with the gummies inside), a juice box, and a napkin. Very easy, and it really kept things from getting out of control! They all ate on blankets spread on the dining room floor.
After eating, we had two games based on balloons, both of which were prepared before the party. One was dinosaur stomp. Ben was the T-Rex, and everyone else had a fully inflated balloon, which was tied to a string, which was tied to a mini binder clip, which was clipped to the bottom of their pants or top of their socks. Ben had to stomp balloons until they popped. As each balloon was broken, that child became a T-rex and helped break balloons. Then, for the next game, they had to sit on fully inflated balloons that had another little dinosaur inside, and hatch them by popping them! They loved these games.
Then it was time for cake. I had made a 9x13 chocolate cake for blowing out the candles and extra for the parents, but the kids each got a plate with a yellow mini dinosaur cake. These were just made from a mold like cupcakes, but in dinosaur shapes (found on eBay). One cake mix made 18--very easy. On their plate they got a spoonful of chocolate and a spoonful of white frosting. Then they could decorate their own by frosting it themselves and putting on sprinkles and decorations.
Then it was time for presents. I had another game planned for the kids whose presents had been opened--doing a floor size dinosaur puzzle--but parents who hadn't stayed were coming back and we didn't have time to do it. In their goody buckets I added a dinosaur book I had bought at an outlet shop for $1, a chocolate lollipop I had made, and a giant dinosaur maze I had found that came in a book of forty. Plus they had all their dinosaurs they had collected during the party and their visors.
All in all, everyone had a great time, and the party had a very good rhythm and no problems! It was great fun. Dinosaur party ideas are limitless! And they really can be done to any budget. Most of my games were things I already had around the house, plus poster board and balloons!
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