Dino Party -4yr- The Extinction Game
Jennifer in US Embassy, Nicosia, Cyprus
When Dylan declared he wanted a Dino party for his 4th birthday, he meant REAL-looking dinosaurs. The prep began a month beforehand.
Invitations: I downloaded a fierce-looking dino with big sharp teeth, boldly captioned "YOU’RE INVITED" on it and printed it out in black and white, cut and pasted it to some colored construction paper and glued another printout with the party info on the back. Dylan invites you to join him and other expert paleontologists for a BIRTHDAY DINOSAUR EXPEDITION on August 8th, from 3-5pm, at the Hoyer's cave and quarry. You'll be sure to uncover a dino-mite time of food, fun, and games and some dinosaurs too! Please RSVP to his prehistoric parents @##. DON’T BE EXTINCT! Color this dino as best you can and bring to the party for a chance to win! (Credit and thanks go to all the other idea-sharers from this great website!) Dylan and his older brother got some of their big dinos and using stamp pads, stamped footprints across the invite envelopes then stuffed the invitations in and sealed them for personal delivery. We planned for 12 kids total. They helped me make up dino names for all the guests for labeling invites and party favor bags.
Decorations: We outlined and let the kids help paint a 3' tall T-rex and a big Triceratops on cardboard boxes then cut them out and propped them around the house the T-rex greeted people at the front door when they arrived. We had a dollar store plastic dinosaur tablecloth which we hung on a prominent wall for photo opportunities with the birthday boy. It added color and ambiance. Green, yellow and orange clusters of balloons were tied about the house. Our older son gifted the younger with a flying teradactyl which flew in circles and screeched above the entryway. We hung dark green streamers from some doorways kids just loved going through the vines.
Activities: Coloring: When the kids arrived, we took their colored invite and put it in a basket for a drawing. While they waited for everyone to arrive, they colored in some dino printouts which also had been labeled with the dino’s name since most online coloring pages don’t have a name on them when printed. I checked out a lot of DINO books from the library to have available for them to look at when they got done. My older son directed the conversation towards dinosaurs and how they died and what they ate, etc. Each kid got a dino egg (OTC) and personalized goody bag (brown paper bag which the boys had helped me make with stickers and stamping DINO stamped in white down them on both sides) to put it in when finished with coloring. After this, there was a group photo in front of the dino wall hanging.
Extinction Game: I had made an extra set of dino printouts which we put on the floor in a large circle, same number as participants. We played the song Dinosaur Hop and the kids hurried around the circle from dino to dino. I took off one dino picture during each time. When the music stopped one kid didn’t have a dino to stand on, so he got a tattoo (applied by my husband) and went to play in another room with dinos and other toys. The winner got a special prize from a grab bag.
Volcanic Eruption: I took the kids outside to the patio where I had set up a volcano I’d made from paper-macheing a halogen lampshade with a bubbles bottle stuffed inside the hole and a high spout cut from a toilet paper roll with ½ sections cut, rolled down and taped to the spout with plenty of masking tape to cover the spaces between. The boys had helped me paint it black and red and spray it with lacquer so the colors wouldn’t run during the experiment this was done 2 weeks prior. I discovered that the reaction is best using only baking soda, vinegar (in a squirt bottle) and food coloring, no water or soap. The volcano was placed on a large round faceted vegi-serving tray so it would catch all the lava as it ran down and wouldn’t get on the kid’s clothes. We talked about extinction theories briefly then we let them take turns making the volcano erupt.
Excavation: We cleared the volcano and brought out hardened bricks my husband had made 2 days prior with 1 part leveling compound to 3 parts sand poured into drink cartons. Each one had a dino skeleton (OTC) buried inside it which the kids needed to excavate with a chisel using doorstop-sized wooden wedges and rocks to pound them. My husband asked the kids how we know the dinosaurs existed. They all answered and he said That’s right! We find fossils and bones. Let’s excavate some skeletons! The one to dig out his skeleton first got a prize from the grab bag.
Fossil Prints: The kids came inside to make fossils out of homemade craft clay (www.geocities.com/Athens/Forum/5274/playdoze.html: 1 cup cornstarch; 2 cups baking soda (1 lb. box); 1 1/4 cups water, brown food coloring) at the drawing table using their skeleton/seashells/plastic leaves and toy insects. When they were done we wrote initials on them and placed them in the oven at 250F until hard.
Lunch: I got the food ready while they were busy with the fossils. After all that excavating are you Palientologists hungry? Let’s eat! How many of you are carnivores? Provided meatballs w/ ketchup or T-Rex Treats; Celery & Carrot sticks with dip or Stegasaurous Sticks; Chips and Dip or Chasmosaurus Crisps; Deviled Eggs or Pteradactyl eggs; and Prehistoric Pesto Pinwheels or cream cheese and pesto rolled up in tortillas and cut in 1 bite-sized sections. Lava juice to drink which was either Fanta berry or Cranberry Juice. There were baskets of Stegasaurous-shaped sugar cookies which the boys had helped me make.
The table was decorated in green with dinos standing about it. I made sure to have enough for the 8 or so parents who stayed too. After they were done eating we said Let’s go look for a Dinosaur. We’ll all have to pretend we’re dinosaurs and go back in time to when the dinosaurs lived. Handed out dino masks from OTC. We’re going to see if there’s a dinosaur living in a cave way down deep in the earth. It may be guarding some dinosaur eggs, so be very careful! Dinosaurs get very angry when people try to take their eggs! The birthday boy donned a Dino costume and hid in a big playhouse in the basement which had green streamers at the entrance. He yelled ROAR when the other kids came down.
Dinosaur Tail Tag: A game that begins like tag. Birthday child is "it". As soon as he/she tags a guest they hold hands and together proceed to tag another guest who joins the link "tail". Keep going until the tail is complete. They played this several times. Dino Stomp: I’ve heard that a T-rex laid some eggs in our basement. Does anyone see anything that looks like a nest? Had filled a jumpolene with shredded paper and garden vines. 3 large balloon-size paper mache eggs coated in white royal icing (and dried for a day) were kicked open to reveal individually wrapped goody bags filled with chocolate eggs, other OTC party favors. Also in the nest were OTC baby dino eggs buried down deep which the kids had a great time digging up.
Cake & Ice Cream: After all that running around they went back upstairs for a Roaring Dino Birthday Cake and vanilla ice cream. The cake was the 3-D head of a T-rex protruding out of a sheet cake covered in chocolate cream frosting. The dino had its mouth wide open to reveal large, sharp white teeth we piped out of royal icing and let harden a few days before inserting. The inside of the mouth was coated in red icing and the outside mouth edges were black licorice. The head was carved from a loaf size cake, covered in chocolate frosting (preferably whipped ganache which spreads so easilyI use Cook’s Illustrated’s Chocolate Cream Frosting melt in microwave or pulverize 12 oz semisweet chocolate. Pour 1 2/3 cups boiling hot whipping cream over it. Add ¼ c. corn syrup and mix well; refrigerate overnight--then whip it after it’s cold) and placed on the sheet cake for final touchups. The eyes were red raspberry shaped candies. The kids thought it was so cool! We had the head looking like it was coming out from between some palms (aka: celery leaves stuck into wafer sticks).
We sang Happy Birthday, the kids had cake and homemade vanilla ice age icecream and that was how we ended Dylan’s party. We gathered up all the party favors including the cooled fossils and put them in the paper bags for each child to take home. Their bags were full! Dylan drew the door prize (colored invite) and the winner drew a gift from the grab bag. I had taped some extra dino songs from the Digging for Dinosaurs video and had it ready for background music or a dino dance if time permitted. Also thought a dino story would be nice but didn’t get to it before the parents started arriving.
Thank-you’s: I printed up brightly colored Thank You’s saying Thanks for a Dino-Mite Time! Cut and pasted it onto cardstock and had Dylan deliver them to his friends. It was all well worth the effort!
Great party thanks to all the great ideas provided on this site!
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