Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Dinosaur Birthday Party!

Ryan & Connor's 5th Birthday!

The boys decided on a dinosaur party theme this year.  Connor in particular had all kinds of ideas of what he wanted to do at his dinosaur party (hunt for eggs, dig for bones, lava cakes, etc.)  He was really a hoot to listen to as he excitedly planned and schemed with me.  Ryan, no doubt his daddy's son, half listened to the plans, pronounced it "good", and then laser focused on the invite list making sure I got his 20 closest friends on the list.  Once that was negotiated he was off to fish.  :) 

The Invites:
As the boys were at a new school this year and we didn't know where the other birthdays were going to fall, not to mention all the events going on this time of year we thought it would be a good idea to get save the date cards out about a month before the boy's party to get the dates on folks' calendars.

So after our first fossil trial run I buried some of the T-Rex bones in our sandbox and snapped a few pictures.  I turned my favorite into a save the date card.  Then about a week and a half before the party we sent out actual invites.

I went through a number of designs, and could never really settle on one I loved.  So I finally gave up and said good enough and went with a majority rules poll where people hands down picked the triceratops. 

I was actually leaning more towards variety and this trex in particular, but folks seemed to think it was a little too scary for the 5 year old set.  :)

We opted for a local park this year and kept our fingers crossed for good weather.  And we certainly lucked out in that respect - the weather was absolutely gorgeous!


Welcome Activity - Puzzles:  
We had a variety of dinosaur puzzles out for the kids to work on while waiting for all the guests to arrive.

As it turned out, about a third of the kids worked on puzzles...

Another third played with the dinosaur figure table decorations...

And the last third ran around and kept trying to sneak into the egg hunt area.  :)

The Egg Hunt!
Once (most of ) the kids arrived we had them find their personalized buckets and headed off to do a dinosaur egg hunt!

And no, they aren't Easter eggs.  They are Dinosaur eggs.  Clearly distinguished by their polka dots.  :)

We marked off a small forested area with various clearings/trails cut through the underbrush as the perfect place to do our egg hunt.

We scattered about a dozen small inflatable dinosaurs and a little over 300 eggs throughout the area.

The eggs were filled with a variety of things - grow dinosaurs, Reeses's eggs, silly bandz, mini dinosaur figurines, dinosaur erasers, and stretchy dinosaurs (not pictured).

Needless to say the egg hunt was a BIG hit.  :)

I think the kids were equally excited to see what was in their eggs as they were to actually hunt all the eggs.  :)

Play Doh Fossils:
After the egg hunt we moved on to play doh fossils and dinosaurs.

Or tanks to shoot missiles at the attacking dinosaur skeletons depending on which end of the table you were at.  :)

Dino Dig:
Of course the grand finale was digging for dinosaur fossils.  :)

I made three different types of dinosaur fossils - a T-rex, a triceratops, and a stegosaurus - using sand molds and quickcrete. I really thought they turned out AWESOME!  Gave them a light dusting of white spray paint to help them stand out in the sand and done.

Of course finding the molds was a challenge.  I saw a set in Toys R Us a couple of years ago popped them in the cart and then decided I didn't need them.  Why is it I rarely regret the things I buy, buy always regret the things I don't!?!  :)  I ended up finding just the T-rex online a couple of months ago and of course had to pay shipping and wait.  And wait some more.  Imagine my chagrin when they show up the $3 spot at Target the week before the party... Grr! At the time I looked high and low for other dinosaur molds and came up empty handed.  I even made a special trip to Toys R Us and scoured the whole store and THEN waited ages for an employee to check everywhere to see if they still carried any other varieties.  They didn't.  But sure enough a couple of weeks later when they rolled out their summer stuff online the stegosaurus and triceratops showed up.  And for $6/each they were a steal and I had to have a set or two of them as well.  :)  

For the actual dig site we confiscated a sand volleyball court, marked it off with marking tape strung between plant supports of all things and buried the bones with lawn flag markers to note where each of the 8 sets were buried.

And while a paleontologist would have had a heart attack seeing this mob descend like locusts onto the dig site, sand flying willy nilly, and shovels used as pry bars on the bones, only to be cleaned gently with brushes once they were fully out of the ground in a jumbled pile, I for one cracked a smile at their exuberance and delight at their discoveries.  :)

Connor was having no part of this store bought cupcake with pick idea of mine and insisted quite adamantly that I HAD to make cakes.  LAVA Cakes.  The ones we make in the microwave that explode.  I had to explain to him that there was no microwave at the park and that we would have to wait FOREVER to cook everyone their very own cake like that.  So he finally consented to just have cakes that LOOKED like exploding volcanoes (with frosting inside for effect of course).  As long as everyone got their own.  None of this one cake sharing stuff.  :)

So I set about making volcano cakes.

Thanks to some overfilled popover pans I picked up at IKEA and some nice red Cherry cookie frosting I think they turned out quite nice.  I also hollowed out part of the inside and filled it with part of the 12lbs of red buttercreme frosting I had originally intended to use, but that I couldn't get to flow like lava (a good story for another day... .:))  My adventures in cake baking are truly legendary.  And in my defense I signed up for not 1 but TWO! cake baking and decorating classes that were both sadly canceled.  :(  So in the meantime I will just keep winging it and learning from my mistakes... :) 

And speaking of mistakes... To make the cakes easy to transport and serve I popped each one in a clear plastic tumbler (before decorating of course).  Made them super easy to transport, and easy to serve and eat.  No pushing cake or frosting off the side of the plate, etc.  I was quite impressed with my own ingenuity!  :)  That is until I left them in the cupcake carrier on a fairly warm day in the sun and the bottom two layers (not the top?!?!) melted disastrously.  Thankfully I hear even melty they were very tasty and some folks even had seconds.

The boys cakes were a little bigger - made from the top side of an oversized cupcake pan.

They were frosted the same way.  Then topped with a number 5 candle (which wouldn't stay lit long enough to actually blow out!  Ack!)  And of course a real METAL sparkler (of which I have a dwindling stash from a midnight 4th of July run a few years ago - they are getting seriously hard to find!)  for the whole Rainforest Cafe VOLCANO effect.  :)

Not of course that I have a SINGLE picture of the kids trying fervently to blow them out...I am hoping Ms. Sharon got a good one!

Kevin I believe however did get this gem... :)

  1. Connor - shoveling as fast as he could lest I remember what a big cake I gave him and decide to take it away... :)
  2. A lovely shot of one of the melty cakes - thankfully contained in the plastic tumbler!
  3. One of the parents trying a bite - no doubt trying to decide if it was edible... :)
  4. Ryan - waiting for the verdict, and Gracie affirming that it was GOOD!  :)
The kids took home their personalized buckets from the egg hunt, their slew of treats from their eggs, the welcome activity puzzles, and then either a dinosaur figurine from the table, or one of the small (18-24") inflatables from the egg hunt area along with their personalized favor bags with a (HUGE! 16"?) plush triceratops inside.

I thought the bright colored favor bags turned out AWESOME!   Personalized.  Reusable.  AND they fold into a wallet!  How cool is that?  Definitely rocked the favors!  :)

And I am sure I forgot something along the way, but for now we'll call that THE END!  :)  Until next year... when I SWEAR I really AM going to write that check to the bounce place, buy store bought cupcakes, and take a million blurry pictures in terrible lighting.  :)


  1. Wow! looking nice party and its decoration.Thanks to share this post.
    Hire birthday party venue

  2. There are a few parks here that have a volleyball court where I am sure a certain 6 year old would love to have his 7th birthday party, but they are usually crowded. I am wondering if we’d be able to block it off with neon tape and make a sign for the party only so we could add the dino bones. Hehe It might be worth a try.

  3. Check with your park department, some parks will let you reserve them. Ours were first come first served so I sent my husband at the crack of dawn. :) Not that he saved the court by any means... But with the giant pavillion reserved and party stuff all over the area, no one wandered over anyway.

  4. This party is absolutely wonderful!! I am definitely pinning for future reference! :)

  5. Love the idea of the quick-crete in the fossil sand toys! You just helped me "cement" the main party activity at my son's dinosaur themed 6th birthday party! THANK YOU!!!

  6. Looks like a lot of fun! Where did you buy the dinosaur in picture 15? My son got one while we were on vacation but managed to lose it. He really wants a new one, but I have no clue where we first bought it..

  7. The little inflatable dinosuars (16-24") came from Dollar Tree of all places. Happened to see them in their toy department. The bigger ones - 4 or 5 ft if I remember correctly came from Oriental Trading.

  8. do you remember the ratio of the quikrete for the fossils? I found the T-Rex, trying hard to find the other 2 dinos. Any chance you would rent or sell yours?

  9. I want to say it was 5-1. We didn't do anything special - just used the ratio recommended on the bag.

    I will look and see if I still have the other molds this weekend. Know I have some brand new (never used) molds that I need to get rid of - but they might all be Trex. Not sure. I'd be happy to sell them (cheap!) if I can find them.

    FYI... the original non T-rex molds I used came from Toys R Us online - they generally have some model or another in their summer/beach collection. I first saw then in the actual store about 3 years ago. But could only find them online summer before last.



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