Dinosaur Party

Dinosaur Birthday -5yr- Dinosaur Puppet Craft




angela in gaithersburg, MD USA


February 2005



We gave our 5-year-old son this DINOSAUR birthday party.  It was our first "friend" party for him.  The party took place on a Saturday afternoon from 2-4pm.  The first thing we did was decorate the house.  The colors of the partyware were royal blue, yellow-orange and green.  We used crepe paper streamers to decorate the living and dining rooms.  We hung down green streamers across the foyer to make it look like the kids were entering another realm.  We spread out the plastic tablecloth, put up a banner and put balloons outside.  I taped up die-cut dinos on the front door.  My son had picked out one of those Super Shape balloons in the shape of a T-Rex and we had that as well as some latex balloons (blue, green and yellow) weighted down on the living room coffee table.  When the guests arrived each child was allowed to choose which dinosaur they wanted to be.  We had purchased foam dinosaur masks from Oriental Trading Company.  They all pretended to be dinosaurs in the living room -- it was cute to see 6 five-year-olds crawling around roaring.   

The first activity we did was to decorate our goody bags.  I had purchased plain white paper bags and some dinosaur foam stamps and dino stickers from Oriental Trading Company.  I gave the kids three stamp pad color choices to match the theme - blue, green and red.  Then they stamped their bags to their hearts' delight.  They used the stickers and some markers as well.  I put each child's name on the bottom of the bag, then set them up on the kitchen table.  I put their dino masks inside the bag.   

The second activity was to find the dinosaur eggs (or fossils).  I had purchased small hard plastic dinosaurs (make sure each one is different) from the party store.  Then you make a dough out of: 1 cup flour, 1 cup dried out used coffee grounds, 1/2 c. salt, 1/4 c. sand, and 3/4 c. water.  (Actually I needed to make 1.5 batches for 8 stones).  You mix all the dry ingredients in a bowl and slowly add the water until you make a soft dough.  Then you break off a piece and shape it around the dinosaur until it is all concealed.   This dough really looks like rocks when it's dry! I did this step about 2 weeks before the party, then let the stones dry out some more, turning once a day.  So anyway, my husband had hidden the stones around the living room and each kid had one.  The rule was you find one and then stop looking or if they happened to see another one, they weren't allowed to tell where it was.  Then we went out to the driveway and my husband pounded them open.  The look on their faces when the first one broke open to reveal a dinosaur was priceless! Then everyone was clamoring to be next! In hindsight, we should have let the kids open them, but they were hard to crack and didn't want to risk having the kids use a hammer, but my husband could have started it and then let the kids finish off their stones.  

We all came back inside and I tucked their dinos into their appropriate goody bags.  Then came time for the first game: Dress the Dino! The premise was that the Allosaurus (that my daughter had drawn onto contractor's paper and colored) had to go to a party, but he needed to wear his bowler hat! The problem was that if he saw you he was going to eat you up! I had cut  hats out of felt using a simple pattern I made.  Each hat was a different color and the kids got to choose their color.  The birthday boy went first and was blindfolded, spun and stopped in front of the Allosaurus.  Then the kids each had to hurry up to the picture, place their hat, and run away before the dino could get them -- they're five years old and they will laugh at any story as long as the person making it up is convincing! So they all placed their hats and the Allosaurus was able to go to the party! 

This seemed like a good time to break for a snack.  My daughter actually came up with this activity a week or so before the party.  We talked about how dinosaurs are buried in the earth now and people called paleontologists dig them up carefully so they don't break up the fossils.  I gave each child two Chips Ahoy cookies on a small paper plate, handed them a toothpick and told them to pretend the chocolate chips were fossils and dig out the chips without breaking them.  It was a good break in the day and gave them a little snack too. 

The next game was a dinosaur ring toss.  I purchased the game from Oriental Trading Company for $5! It was an inflatable brontosaurus with four inflatable rings.  It was small, but for this age it was fine. While my husband directed this game, I took all the goody bags upstairs.  Before the party I had laid out all the party favors into groups so that when it came time I could just stuff the bags without sorting the items.  I had made sure that the birthday boy and my daughter got their favorite color items. 

So here is what we put in the goody bags.  Well, first of all we had the dino masks and dinos from the eggs in there already.  Then I put in some dino stickers (the same kind they could use in decorating the bags, except I gave each child a strip of one of each design -- the stickers were from Oriental Trading Company --  100 for $2.  Then I added in a dino notepad (from the party store), a snack-size package of Ritz Dinosaur-shaped crackers, 1 packet of Betty Crocker Dino fruit snacks, 1 packet of Quaker Dinosaur egg oatmeal packet, and then for fun I added in 2 Spongebob Gummy Krabby Patties, a putty-eye frog, a plastic serpentine snake, and a wildlife pencil (I tried to find dinosaur pencils or erasers or both, but could not find them).  Then I went downstairs and put the bags back on the kitchen table. 

For the next activity each child made a dinosaur puppet.  I had done a lot of searching for the right pictures on the internet and found some good ones online.  I priinted out four designs, shrunk or enlarged as necessary (to make them all a similar size) and then made several copies of each; I cut out the patterns.  The kids got to choose which dinosuar they wanted to make into a puppet.  I gave them each a small sheet of plain circle stickers, put out some markers and let them decorate their puppets.  When they were finished, I wrote their names on the back of each and taped a large popsicle stick on the back with some masking tape.  Once everyone was finished, my husband read Dinosaur Roar by Paul and Henrietta Stickland and the kids had their puppets act out the dinosaurs.  For example they all roared when he read "Dinosaur roar" and squeaked when he read "Dinosaur squeak" etc  The kids had a lot of fun acting out the story.  After this activity I put the puppets in the appropriate goody bags.   

Our final activity was the Volcano! Yes, a volcano! I really wanted to do this activity and we tried various experiments based on the old baking soda and vinegar reaction.  After many experiments we ended up with this one: http://www.enchantedlearning.com/crafts/dough/ We made the dough.  It is wonderful, much better than your average salt dough, almost plastic in nature.  We taped a small soda bottle on a cookie sheet with edges and painted the volcano forest green and brown.  We used some of the extra dough to stick a couple of plastic dinosaurs on the cookie sheet.  Then I mixed up two batches of magic solutions -- each in opaque pitchers so the kids wouldn't know what to expect. 

The kids got their coats on and we headed out to the front yard.  My husband talked about ways the dinosaurs could have died and that volcanoes were one possibility.  I placed the cookie sheet on the grass, whisked the baking soda, warm water and soap solution together again (it settles quickly) and using a funnel poured in about 1/2 cup.  Then, using the funnel again, I poured in some of the colored vinegar solution and stepped way back -- it gushed up about one-and-a-half feet from the top of the bottle and exploded all over the volcano base, the dinosaurs and the grass (have the kids stand about 3 feet away -- red food coloring is hard to get out!) I had made enough of the solution to do the experiment four times.  The kids had a blast with this activity! The first time they were really worried, but when we did it again and again they were screaming with laughter! We just left the volcano outside afterwards. 

We all came inside and all the kids washed their hands and we had cake, punch and opened the presents.  The cake was really cute; usually I make the cake but this time I just bought one from our local Safeway.  The pattern book pictured a dinosaur theme but they didn't have the supplies.  I asked the cake decorator what she could do to help us out and she made a quarter-sheet cake with a cupcake at one corner.  She used frosting to cover it up and spray painted the whole thing to look like a primeval forest.  She sprayed the volcano brown with red stripes like lava coming out and made "bones" out of icing.  It was really cute.  When we got the cake home we tried out different plastic dinosaurs to put on the cake, we ended up with three small ones, hanging out near the "bone" piles.  I placed a number 5 candle on top of the volcano and five regular birthday candles around the cake. 

When it came time for the kids to go home, I handed out the goody bags as well as a dinosaur grabber.  The grabber is where you hold it in your hand and your fingers trigger the mouth to open and close.  Once again I found these from Oriental Trading Company.  I had extras and handed out one to the siblings that showed up with parents as well.    The party was a huge success and all the kids had fun.  Truthfully I was surprised that we got it all done before 4pm -- that was a lot to pack into two hours -- maybe it's a five-year-old thing and maybe it's a boy thing. 

I hope someone else out there does this party because everyone had fun; it was busy but not chaotic.

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