Renowned Explorer -5yr- The Basement Cave Dig
Lisa in Webster, NY USA
My son is dinosaur crazy so I planned a huge party for his 5th birthday.
It all started with the invitation. I wrote that he was a world renowned explorer and had waited his whole life to get a chance to locate the "lost" dinosaur egg. He had finally located it at the caves at (our street name) and needed explorers who were strong and brave to help him explore the cave.
As they entered the house they were greeted by the "head" palentologist who gave them their official name tag that would get them into the caves.
We transformed our basement into a cave-like room. I separated areas with green plastic tablecloth and made entrances from streamers hanging down. We covered a section top to bottom with green fabric to represent the cave itself. Before descending downstairs each one was given a pith hat and flashlight.
When they got downstairs they came upon a wall with hierogliphics (sp?) on it that they had to decifer - basically showing that a huge volcano had erupted, killing off all the dinosaurs but leaving a single egg hidden in a cave.
After solving the puzzle they went through one entrance into another area where there was a hot volcano lava pit they had to cross over (this was fun - we took Christmas lights and ran them underneath a red plastic table cloth, added bits of red streamers and threw a board over the top of it. It was great because as they ran over it the streamers would move around looking like the lava was moving!)
After the hot lava pit, I had some dinosaur pictures on the wall they could color (we found pics on the web and put them on a disk then took them to a copy place and made huge 4x5 b&w prints of them. These would be great for a pin the tail on the dinosaur game) and also some dinosaur shaped wooden magnets they could paint.
Then for the big finish - we went over the lava pit and into the actual "cave" where we had a big sand pit filled with rocks, bones, dinosaur eggs and fossils. They used their flashlights, paintbrushes and sieves to sift out the sand and find all the items. In one corner of the room was a volcano made from cardboard and we used more lights there to make it look like lava was flowing into where they were. Then they hunted for the dinosaur egg and put together wooden dinosaurs (believe it or not, all this took less than 25 minutes!! I had hoped for longer!)
For lunch we had dinosaur chicken nuggets, carrot sticks, pretzels and hot lava juice. I made a cake with a volcano on the top (not working but wanted it to!) and then had used some spray coloring to make a lake and grass and then added some of my sons dinosaurs and plastic rocks to the whole thing.
For a fun twist to the gift opening we had each child hide his gift in one room when they arrived. Then my son had to look for them when it was time to open them. We also watched a dinosaur movie while we waited for the parents (and when I needed them to calm down a bit!) To take home I had purchased items at Oriental Trading - they had great dinosaur bags and filled them with all kinds of dinosaur stuff.
This was a GREAT party that every one who came talked about and that the parents kept talking about. It was a lot of work, but the kids just had a really fun time and it is something he will NEVER forget!