My oldest turned 5 this month and I decided to throw him a birthday party. I wanted to put all the kids in the back yard and have them play Hunger Games but the weather is so unpredictable in March. And some of the kids coming to the party weren’t going to know each other, and being a shy person who projects their shyness on everyone, I was worried those kids would end up feeling left out. I decided we’d need structured actives rather than a free-for-all in the backyard (or the basement if the weather was bad) so everyone would have someone to play with.
I went on Pinterest for ideas. This is ALWAYS a bad idea. First came the theme: Dinosaurs. Not because my son particularly likes dinosaurs but because we happen to have a lot of dinosaur things: books, toys, t-shirts. My husband is the true dinosaur lover in our family. And just as I project my shyness on everyone, Brandon projects his love of dinosaurs on his sons.
Pinterest was full of adorable ideas for a dinosaur birthday party. Now, I should say that I am not a crafty person. I don’t like to make things. I don’t have a nicely decorated house. I use Pinterest mostly to look for recipes I’m never going to make or to pin writing tips I’m not going to read. Doing a Pinterest-worthy birthday party is really not me (as many of the moms at the birthday pointed out when they saw the decorations and activities).
I got most of my ideas from Project Mommy. But her birthday party was even more elaborate and over-top. My is B-list in comparison. I made the signs for the centers on fontmeme.com.
First, we had each child pick a dinosaur for their name tag. The idea was the kids would rotate through the actives in groups based on the dinosaur on their name tag. That did not actually happen as all 16 3-5 years who were invited came and the party soon fell into chaos.
Brandon gave a dinosaur presentation. He has scale replicas of dinosaur teeth and scale models of dinosaurs. He let the kids handle the dinosaur teeth and talked about what each of the dinosaurs ate. The parents in attendance were more interested in the presentations than the kids.
The kids ate pizza and then it was time for the activities.
We had a Hatchery. I made dinosaur eggs out of baking soda and water and hid a dinosaur toy inside. The children used eyedroppers and vinegar to “hatch” the eggs. This activity was a huge hit.
There was a Dino Dig. I threw some dinosaur skeletons in the sensory bins I already had and the kids had a great time getting rice everywhere.
We had a center where children could do “Jurassic Art.” No one appreciated the pun.
We also had Playdoh out where the kids could make dinosaur tracks with dinosaur toys. (I didn’t get a picture of this.)
We ended the party with a pinata and donuts since 5-year-old doesn’t like cake. (I also didn’t get a picture of this. Taking pictures is another thing I am bad at.)
So much time and energy went into a two-hour party. After it was all over, I realized the kids really didn’t care about my carefully crafted decorations or the effort I put into center pieces on the table. The decorations are really for the parents. So, if 5-year-old asks for a birthday party in the future, I’ll show him pictures of this one and assure him he had a great time.