Earlier this month, my “baby” – aka my youngest son – turned 5 years old. Just this fact alone is enough to make the white hairs on my head start to multiply! It literally seems like it was just yesterday that I was bringing him home from the hospital, and now here he is, a big 5-year-old boy already. I know it’s cliché, but honestly, time goes by like the blink of an eye when it comes to raising children!This year my son really wanted to have a dinosaur party. Lately he’s been showing such an interest in science – he loves anything to do with rocks, fossils, space, etc. This party was a chance to get to show the fun side of dinos, and not so much the scary, meat-eating side like those Jurassic Park movies! Actually, one of my son’s favorite movies about dinos is The Good Dinosaur, and so I tried really hard to go with that “good dino” theme!This was also the first year we let him have a kid party, where he got to invite all his little buddies from school and the neighborhood. Yes, we did have 10 little boys running around our house all at one time, and no, nothing ended up broken! Yes, they did get hyped up on chocolate cake, but at least they got to expend all that energy running around outside playing the fun dinosaur games I had planned for them!
It was a really fun party, and here’s the details in case you’d like to re-create this one for your little dino-loving dude!
We lucked out and had a gorgeous day for this party – good thing too since I had planned 3 games they could play outside in the backyard for a good chunk of the party…
- Game #1 – Digging for Dinos:
This game involved me filling a small plastic kiddie pool with dried beans and burying a dozen mini dinosaurs in them for the kids to dig out using plastic spoons, shovels & cups. I borrowed the beans from my aunt, who used to teach preschool, and bought a package of little dinos from the Dollar Store. I think kids this age just really like to dig in anything! It’s a sensory game and the kids really enjoyed it!
- Game #2 – Feed the T-Rex:
I took one of our wooden bag game boards and fitted over the top of it with a large piece of colored poster board from the craft store. Then I traced around the circle opening, cut it out and drew my meanest looking T-Rex face around the opening to look like a ferocious mouth. I even cut out white paper and glued them to the inside of the circle to look like sharp T-Rex teeth! The object of the game was simple – the kids just had to try to get as many bean bags as they could into the T-Rex’s mouth! Feed the T-Rex!
- Game #3 – Dinosaur Red Light, Green Light:
For this game, the kids first had to dress up like little dinosaurs using some paper dinosaur masks I found in the Walmart party section, and regular paper party hats that they used as little dino tails! They were so cute dressing up in their dino outfits! Then they all stood back in a line and waited for my oldest daughter to call out, “Red Light, Yellow Light or Green Light” to get them to stomp forward in dinosaur fashion! If somebody didn’t stop on the “red light” they had to go back to the starting line and start over – which led to fits of hilarious laughter from each dino in disguise. They probably played this game the longest, lasting a good 15 minutes!
- Game #4 – Pin the Horn on the Triceratops:
This was my only indoor game that we played to kind of wind the kids down a bit after coming in from outside. This is your classic spin-off the “Pin the Tail on the Donkey” game, where each boy had a green horn with their name on it that they had to try to stick the closest to the actual spot it belonged on the Triceratops – all while blindfolded! Some of them actually got pretty close!
We found time to fit one activity/craft into the party as well. The kids each made their own pet dinosaur to take home with them! I had found a package of wooden dinosaurs at the Dollar Store in their craft section and thought this would be a fun project for the kids. They each glued a pair of googly eyes to their dino, then colored him in with crayons and decided on what its name would be. I was pleasantly surprised at how each boy really took his time and was creative! So fun to see!
What else do you feed a hungry bunch of 5 year olds, but the obvious – chicken nuggets in the shape of dinosaurs and mac n’ cheese! (These also just happen to be my son’s favorites) We had grapes and pineapple for the Herbivores, white chocolate covered pretzel dino bones, and a multitude of flavored jelly bean dinosaur eggs! To drink they had lemonade and of course, cake & ice cream for dessert!
I found a neat idea online to create dinosaur bones using sand play toys and white chocolate. I was lucky enough to find a dinosaur skeleton sand toy kit and tried it out for his cake topper. All I had to do was melt down the white chocolate almond bark, then pour it into the molds and pop it into the freezer for a few minutes. Once it set, it popped out and looked just like dino bones!
We transformed our house into Dinosaur Party central with the help yet again, another talented Etsy seller’s party printable package. I’m a big fan of using these do-it-yourself printable packages, because for as little as $10-$20, you get everything you need to print at home and assemble all the party extras – banners, signs, straw flags, thank you notes, water bottle labels, etc. This was the one I used since it fit the color scheme I was going with perfectly. I also used a lot of stuff I had lying around the house already, like my son’s plastic dinosaur toys for centerpieces.
I made these cute little vines using some jute twine and attaching cut out green paper leaves. They hung down our front hallway when the kids entered, so they felt like they were really in the jungle.
And these green construction paper dino tracks led the kids right up the front walk and into the party!
Our way of thanking each guest for coming to the party and for bringing a present for my son, was giving them these adorable goodie bags to take home with them. The package of green treat bags were from the Target Dollar spot, and each were filled with dinosaur stickers, pencils, erasers, a mini play dough and a dinosaur tattoo.
Even though this party was a lot of work to pull off, and right on the heels of my oldest daughter’s Harry Potter birthday party we threw her just weeks earlier, it was still so much fun to plan! I hope I’ve inspired you to create your next party with some love and a little faith!