Wednesday, September 19, 2012

How to Party, Dino Style

I started planning Ethan's 4th birthday party a few months ahead of time.  In previous years, we kept things simple.  A couple of family members or friends, no other kids, and a minimal amount of sugar.  This year was a bit different.  Ethan is finally at the age where he plays with, and not just next to, his friends.  I allow at least five extra minutes for preschool pickup, knowing that Ethan will run around to each of his classmates and give hugs and/or blow kisses.  He's also old enough to really understand what birthdays are all about.  And when he asked me for a dinosaur birthday party, well, that settled it.  We were going to go big(ish) this year.

Step one:  Design the invitations.
(I gotta give Pinterest credit where credit's due... I totally stole the whole "ROAR means Happy Birthday" thing!)

Step two:  Goody bags.
Those dinosaur eggs are actually jelly beans.  Yum!
Dino egg close-up.

Step three:  Food.
I did a carnivore, herbivore, sweetivore, snackivore theme.  Turned out a little heavy on the sweetivore/snackivore side, but hey... it's a party.

I had Bugles as dinosaur claws, pretzels as dinosaur bones, grapes as (healthy, non-jelly bean) dinosaur eggs, and PB&J cut into Brontosauruses (Brontosauri?).  I also had dinosaur chicken nuggets, fossil cookies, and Jurassic cupcakes.

Made the fossil cookies, but bought the cupcakes.  Best.  Decision.  Ever.

Step four:  Activities.

Knowing that four-year-olds have a very short attention span, I tapped into my teaching roots and set up stations around the backyard.  We had a table to make "D is for Dinosaur" crafts.

Here's an example of how a stuffy adult makes a D dinosaur...
The kids took this very seriously.
Like, need-a-mid-crafting-juice-break seriously.
Must've been tiring adding that fifth leg to his dinosaur.

There was also a dino dig where the kiddos could channel their inner archeologist and unearth dinosaur skeletons.

I underestimated how popular this station would be.
I may have even seen a few adults get in on the dino dig action. 
Hands down, the most stylish archeologist I've ever seen. 

The final station was a dinosaur relay race, using a claw grabber to transport a plastic T-Rex back and forth across the yard.  I don't have a picture of this, so I'll paint one for you.  Close your eyes.  

Go ahead, I'll wait.  

Okay, imagine a gaggle of preschoolers who 1) don't have a lot of experience with relay races, 2) are still developing hand-eye coordination, and 3) are all hopped up on sugar.  Pepper in a few encouraging shouts such as "No, no, run over *that* way!" and "Okay, sweetie, your turn is over now."  

Yeah, it went a little something like that.  Moving on. 

Step five:  Goofiness with good people.

Start with some of these:
Pack of 12 for under ten bucks?  Thanks, Oriental Trading!

Add the world's best godfather and a few new Hot Wheels:
Totally incognito.
And you've got yourself a recipe for awesomeness, my friend.

When the time came for cupcakes, Ethan was stoked.

Woo hoo!
Those "washable" dinosaur stampers?  Yeah.
Took three days and two baths to get rid of.  ;) 

All in all, I'd call it a success.  Ethan keeps asking if it's almost time for his next birthday, and has started putting in requests for themes.  Every so often, he'll bring up his dinosaur party from a "long, long time ago" and thank us for making it so much fun.
Melts my heart every time.

1 comment:

Jennifer said...

I really want to make a list, so here goes:


2) GREAT job in working with the theme yet not going overboard. Kudos to you, Momma!

3) "D is for Dinosaur" crafts? Oh, the student in me crush-hugs the teacher in you!

4) Fossil cookies -- um, brilliant! Please tell me you invented those and didn't find them on Pinterest, too.

5) Ethan is a very, very lucky kid. And it looks like he had a fantabulous birthday.

6) Happy birthday, Ethan!!!