Rocks/Minerals Party 7yr
maria in rhinebeck, ny, usa
My son celebrated his 7th birthday yesterday with a rock and mineral party. We printed out the invitations on the computer with a clip art picture of a geode with come join us at ****'s rock and mineral extravaganza place date etc". I found a recipe for "treasure balls" made from 1 cup used coffee grinds 1 cup flour 1/2 cup salt 1/4 cup sand and 3/4 cup water. You mix it up to a paste and shape into rock shaped little balls. I rolled up the invites tiny and wrapped in foil and put them inside the treaure balls. You bake for 20 minutes at 250 degreess and wala -rocks! We hand delivered the invites to school and neighborhood. Two I mailed to out-of-state cousins with note that said. "Dear *** Please break me open! Signed the rock." Child had to break open their rock to get the invitation- a very big hit! I started several weeks early with preparations so as not to be stressed out the week of the party. I ordered 3 lbs of polished rocks small books on rocks for kids small velvet bags for agate slices online at rockhoundkids.com ( the polished rocks and geodes were for the rock dig the other stuff for goodie bags). At both a local rock show and museum gift shop I bought agate slices for each child's goodie bagseveral small boxes of fools gold pyrite nuggets and for my "magic show" with rocks a flourescent rock sample floating pumice a small crystal filled geode and magnetic rocks. I also purchased break your own geodes from OTC as well as rubber rock shaped bouncing balls for the goodie bags. Another online find was a huge bag of very realistic looking chocolate rocks for the goodie bags/ table top/ and the cake. ALl in all it probably cost me about $150. To make the rock dig I placed the polished rocks in a mixture of equal parts plaster of paris/ play sand/water. I mixed the stuff up in a wheel barrow and used medium sized plastic storage containers. I had twenty kids coming so made ten containers each with about twenty rocks. This works better as a two person job as the mixture started to get hard pretty quick. I am lucky enough to know two very talented high school actors who worked my son's around the world party last year (as pilot and people from each country we visited). This year they were a very enthusiastic geologist and a gold prospector. For costumes I had prospector Dave wear jeans denim shirt and a long fake beard and straw hat. I used a fabric paint pen on a white tshirt for my geologist that said I heart( symbol not word!) heart heart etc ..........heart ROCKS. I also wrote a script for them. When the kids arrived my actors were just sitting quietly on the couch. I had the prospector pretend to be asleep. (one guest thought he was a hung over relative!) As guests arrived I gathered them in a circle on the floor ( to keep them interested I showed them my pretty blue "rock" which I then put in my mouth and ate! gave each child one chocolate rock while we waited for everyone to get there) Then our little show started. Geologist introduces himself: "Hey kids I'm a geologist a certified rock hound that's right I really really really really really love rocks. I even have a rock for a pet. Kids meet Rocky ( here I had given him a rock with Rocky Balboa caricature face drawn on--the kids thought it was hysterical). This is my brother prospector Dave he only likes one kind of rock and that's gold." Prospector jumps up from sleep: "Gold did someone say gold! "( my actor did goofy prospector voice perfectly) Geologist: "that's right Dave rocks are exciting in fact I think they are kind of MAGIC." Pulls out black sequined hat and magic wand. I then had him do a series of "magic tricks" ie."for my first trick I will need a volunteer from the audience. Rocky you want to try? Makes Rockytherock respond "YO" Lets' put Rocky here in this bucket of water. What happens yup he sank like a rock. Now if I say the magic word Shasandstone and wave my magic wand over this rock watch what happens it floats! This is pumice a rock which is made from lava from a volcane. It has tiny holes and can float." He also did tricks with a ordinary rock that split to reveal crystals(geode) fluorescent rocks under a black light and a string of magnetic rocks. All scripted and very entertaining for the children especially as performed by my talented young friend. I used rock names for the "magic words" ie shasandstone that the kids had to repeat after him. He ended his bit by saying "so you see kids rocks can be very interesting. You never know what you might find when you go hunting for rocks maybe even GOLD." Prospector pipes up: "Gold Gold I say GOLD. I went out west in search of golden treasure over one hundred years ago in what was called the California gold rush. Now let me tell you a little story" Here he read a children's book called GOLD Fever-cute short verses and nice illustrations. " Now kids why don't we go outside for a little adventure of our own. Those forty niners had to face some mighty tough obstacles to get out west. Lets' go on our own obstacle course. Just watch out for the rattle snakes." Now we led the kids outside to an obstacle course-plastic squares to jump on cones to get through on a little scooter small slide hula hoops to jump through and a play tunnel to crawl through with a plastic snake hidden inside. The course led them to our garage where we had set up the rock dig . I spread tarps over the floor to protest it and had the dig on one side and gold panning on other side. The kids LOVED getting the rocks out of the plaster of paris mixture. We just used spoons which worked fairly well( I was afraid to give kids anything sharp) I had some hammers for the adults to help out. I should have bought safety goggles but could not find them inexpensively for so many children. Luckily it all went ok-the kids started just banging clumps on floor to break them open-that method worked great! I bought colorful mesh bags at OTC for each child to place rocks in. When they had finished they went over to the gold panning. This was two long under the bed plastic storage bins filled with gravel water and pyrite nuggets. I had bought foil pie tins from the dollar store for the pans-a little bit too flimsy most kids started just using their hands but all LOVED it! We next played pass the geode. I divied up the kids into two groups-did boys and girls to make it easier-- and sat them in a circle. Played music as kids passsed geode. When music stopped whichever child was holding geode in sock got to break it open. Did this for awhile and ended up just taking turns trying to hammer geodes! Inside I had craft set up so kids could go in if they liked. Craft was decorating large smooth rocks with faces googly eyes and fake hair(purchased hair and google eyes at OTC). Very cute-one child made baby rock with one little curl on head some gave rocks mohawk hairdo. I had snacks inside for kids and adults alike-chips pretzels artichoke dip hummus strawberries and grapes etc. For the cake I bought a sheet cake from supermarket bakery had them just spray top brown for dirt and edge in purple. I made two "geodes" using cake mix in 2 small round pyrex dish. Iced sides of each cake half ball greyish brown and iced top light purple with crushed purple and white rock candy for crystal inside geode. On top of cake I placed the two geode cakes and scattered chocolate rocks all over the top I piped on the Happy Birthday ****. It looked pretty cool. My mom spent several hours making a 12 layered jello mold for "rock layers" and we forgot to serve it! It looked so good I felt terrible! I decorated with purple black and blue streamers and balloons everywhere. The table had purple tablecloths purple and black plates cutlery hats. I placed some Large geodes neat large rocks from my son's collection as table top decor as well as the chocolate rocks down the length of the table. Those chocolate rocks are very tasty! After cake we opened presents. As a final game I had made twenty rock "treasure balls" and placed a smaller rock inside. The hidden rocks each had a number on them-1 to 20.-one for each guest. I painted the coffee grind rocks purple and hid them around the main party room. The kids found the rocks went outside to break them open and find their number. I had wrapped small gifts-crayons magic tricks play dough jump ropes bead kits etc all purchased at Michael's dollar bins--and numbered them one to twenty. Each child received the gift with their corresponding rock number on it. They also received the goodie bag on their way out(also kept their rock pal craft and bag of pyrite nuggets and polished stones.) The goodie bags were blue paper bags with geode image Modpodged on. They said "Thanks for coming. You ROCK!" Inside was a bag of those yummy chocolate rocks a velvet bag with a agate slice book on rocks and rock bouncing ball. I love to plan special parties for my children and this one was really a huge success. My son LOVED his party and that of course is what makes all the planning and work worthwhile."