Dinosaur Plaeonology Theme -5yr- Design a Dino
Dana in Dover Plains, NY
My son's 5th birthday party was a Dinosaur/Paleontology theme.
Our decorations really set the prehistoric mood. I flattened two large appliance boxes and drew four very large dinosaurs. This was much easier than it sounds. I drew simple dino shapes, cut them out with an exacto knife, and my sons helped me paint them. We propped up these very large, bright dinosaurs against the walls of the party room, and hallway. They looked pretty cool. The T-Rex held a batch of balloons at our party's entrance to welcome guests.
The best decoration were the jungle vines hanging from the ceiling...brown paper bags (or use butcher paper)opened up, and cut in 1/2 lengthwise, then twisted. I cut apart plastic leaves from garland, and hot-glued them all over the vines. We cut out dino footprints from construction paper, all different colors, and masking taped them to the floor. Outside, we drew chalk dino prints on the walkway. We also found a dino skeleton molding kit at a toy store, so we made a stegosaurus skeleton out of damp sand, and had that right near the front door.
As children arrived to the party, there were activities set up for them to keep them busy until everyone was there. We made an arch of green balloons, strung on a piece of wire, and labelled that "the cave", for the kids to climb under, and draw on the walls of the cave (butcher paper). We had a sand pit labelled, "What can you dig up?" In it was sand, aquarium rocks, small sand sifters, brushes, some rubber dinosaurs, and some clean and sanitized chicken bones. It was fun for them to pretend to be paleontologists!
Oriental trading sold a fun foam dino keychain craft. That was at one of the craft tables. The last craft table was set up with homemade binoculars (two toilet tubes, taped together, painted, and a piece of string attached at the top to wear around their necks) They decorated these with dinosaur stickers, and used these binoculars for a dino hunt later! We had a large triceratops floor puzzle being worked on, too. Some of our food that parents/kids helped themselves to: "dinos in a blanket", "Meat Eater's Special" (dino shaped chicken nuggets), "deviled dino eggs", "Plant Eater's Special" (veggie platter and fruit platter), lunch meats cut into dino shapes (cookie cutter).
We then began games and activities. All of the kids made their own volcanos (chunk of playdough on a plastic plate, a small cup in the middle, we added [in order] 1 tsp. baking soda, drop red food color, 2 drops dish soap, 2 T. water, then passed around a squirt top water bottle, filled w/vinegar. They loved making their volcanos erupt!!). Next, we made fossil prints using plaster of paris and water, made into a very thick consistency. The kids gently pushed a small dino into a dollop of the plaster, and left it there for about an hour to dry.
Game Time! "What's Missing?" was based on 8 dinosaur related objects placed in the center of the circle. I covered the objects with a blanket, pulled one thing out under the blanket, and they took turns guessing what I took out.
We played "Feed the Dinosaur" - A large dino head with a hole cut out near his mouth. The kids were blindfolded, and tried to fit a plastic hotdog into the same size hole. We also set up a prehistoric obstacle course: Jump over the snake pit, put 2 rocks into the volcano, climb through the tunnel ("cave"), stamp the dino into the clay 5X, then to the finish line. The kids loved digging their prizes out of a sand pit! Oriental Trading has lots of dino related stuff.
We took a cake and icecream break. It was a volcano cake, based on the recipe from Family Fun. We added sparklers in the top before lighting the candles - a neat effect. The vanilla icecream was pre-molded, into egg shapes with a gummy dino pushed into the center, served in cupcake liners with sprinkles. They liked "cracking open" the egg to see the dino inside! We then went on the dinosaur hunt, to the chant of "We're goin on a dino hunt, we're goin on a dino hunt, and I'm not afraid, what will we find?" We pretended to go through the water (over a blue blanket), hike down a cliff (the stairs), go over a volcano (back up the stairs), go through the grass (pass by some plants), and then to the dark cave! (Daddy's closet) And in there, was a homemade pinata, in the shape of a dino egg!
The last activity of the party was "Design-a-Dino". I made half stuffed dinos out of felt, added wiggle eyes, some polka dots, some toes (all hot glued), and the kids picked the one they wanted. I set up a plant or meat eater station, where they chose a small foam bone or leaf to put in their dino. They then went to the heart station and chose a colored heart to put in the dino. They then went to the stuffing station and finished stuffing them. I closed them up with hot glue in a flash. The kids named their dinos and put them into the lake (blue shredded paper) for a swim.
The kids "goody bags" were pretty unique. For each child, I made a paper mache balloon to resemble a dino egg. After it dried, I cut a hole in it, and pushed in: a sandblock, (I used a clean 1/2 gallon milk containers to bury a 10 piece mini dino into plaster of paris, and popped it out when it was dry.) I also put in the paper mache egg, a brush, a small magnifying glass, "safety" goggles, geological scrapers ( a metal measuring spoon) and a set of directions, explaining that they would be excavating their own dinosaur like a real paleontologist by scraping away the dust from their block of plaster, and that they would find 10 pieces of a dino that would snap together to form a small model. Each balloon sized egg sat in a brown bag nest of hay.
I have to say, it was a very educational, very busy, and very fun party.