Recently my oldest son turned seven years old. He is passionate about dinosaurs and was so excited to have a "dinosaur expedition" in celebration of his seventh birthday. Below is a look at some of what we did to make this a fun day for him and a few of his friends.
Invitations, Decorations, and Favors
The invitations had a picture of my son in his paleontologist costume along with the phrase "Come join us for a Dinosaur Expedition" I used a watermark of dinosaur bones behind where I wrote the party details. We didn't decorate much--We just had a few balloons and a green tablecloth sprinkled with dinosaur confetti from Party City. The rest of the "decor" consisted of dinosaur toys my son already had as well as the set-up of various activities (see below). I bought party favors from Party City and Amazon and we didn't pass them out all out once--kids had to collect their party favors by going to different stations on an "expedition."
The party was set up as a dinosaur expedition, so when guests arrived they received an empty party favor bag and a checklist of activities that read as follows:
Are you ready for a dinosaur expedition? Grab a dinosaur pencil and a brown bag to collect treasures in. Write your name on the bag--the pencil is yours to keep. Pick a dinosaur tattoo as your first prize for starting the expedition. Then follow the checklist on the bag to find more dinosaur treasures and fun.
• Dig for a dinosaur in the sand
• Excavate a dinosaur from ice
• Fly like a Pterosaur in bounce house
• Build a Lego dinosaur
• Help some volcanoes explode
• Help hatch baby dinosaurs
• Don’t get burnt by the lava rock
The first activity was a dinosaur dig in our backyard sandbox. We simply buried some toy Dinosaur Fossil Skeletons in the sand box and provided paintbrushes for the kids to brush away sand and look for a toy skeleton to keep.
Next, the kids excavated dinosaurs from ice. There are several versions of this activity that I found on Pinterest. I kept it simple and just froze some of these toy Mini Dinosaurs in water that I poured in large muffin tins. The muffin tins were a fast and easy way to freeze them though if you have more time, freezing them in water balloons can make them look more like they are in eggs. We provided small hammers and screw drivers to the kids and let them have fun chipping away at the ice. When they finally were able to extract toy dinosaurs, they could keep what they had excavated. Fortunately we live in southern California, so we could to this on our back patio. The 7-year-old boys were thrilled to be able to use hammers and fortunately no one got injured :) Definitely supervise this activity though!
Meanwhile, I had a Lego building station built inside where kids could try to build unique Lego Dinosaurs. Here are just a few of my son's favorite Lego dinosaurs he has built.
We also had a bounce house where the kids could pretend to fly like pterosaurs, and we served classic, easy party food--pizza, strawberries ("volcanoes"), salad, etc.
After lunch, we made our own "volcanoes" explode. First, we did classic baking soda and vinegar volcanoes. We built the volcano shapes with homemade playdough pressed around small water bottles. We let every child have a chance to "explode" a baking soda/vinegar volcano. And then for the grand finale, we did our favorite mentos/diet coke geysers (previously featured here and here in this blog).
Our last two activities came from this awesome dinosaur party. We did a "nesting ground relay" in which the kids had to race to "hatch" baby dinosaurs from balloon "eggs" (we used the same dinosaurs--Mini Dinosaurs (72 count)--we had used in the ice excavation for this activity. And we played the classic "hot potato" game but called it "hot lava rock" instead. To make it a little extra exciting, I heated up a red corn bag so our "lava rock" truly was hot. Prizes for the relay and the hot lava rock game were a mixture of candy, toy dinosaurs (leftover from the other activities), pencils, and dinosaur tattoos (Cool Dinosaur Tattoos )
We finished the party with a volcano cake. I created the volcano with a round cake topped with a bundt cake. I frosted it with chocolate frosting, added a little red "lava" frosting and green frosting for "plants" at the base, and then let my son decorate the rest himself with some miniature toy dinosaurs.