My son is dinosaur daft. And I absolutely love a party! So I decided to have a go at throwing a themed kids birthday party this year. Past years have saw family bbq’s or hiring a hall with a bouncy castle. I wanted something a bit different, and I came up with this ‘Dino Dig’ idea.
We bought a large inflatable swimmimg pool – off season so it was only £20 for a 8ft pool! And we went to a builders merchant and bought a lot of sand. We didn’t go for the play sand purely because of the cost, it was more than 3 times the cost of the builders sand! We raked and seived the bags as we added them to the pool to make sure there were no nasties in the sand with it not being clsssified as childrens sand. But it was fine. We decorated our garage using camouflage netting and green tablecloths to make it look like a jungle. The kids faces when they walked in and saw it were priceless! There was a lot of ‘wow’ and ‘how cool’ comments!
To make the ‘fossils’ I had to start party prep a few weeks early. I made up a normal salt dough.
• 2 cups flour
• 1 cup salt
• 3/4 cup water
• 1 tbsp oil
And we made a variety of teeth and bone shapes which we baked in the oven for 2hours on 160° them left for a week to go really hard. These were then hidden in the sand for our little explorers to discover.
The stone fossils were a big success with all of the kids enjoying hammering them to break out the dinos inside!
• 1 cups flour
• 1 cup salt
• 1 cup sand
• 1 cup coffee grinds
• 1 cup water
We have a coffee maker so always have a ready supply of coffee grinds, but if you go to a local cafè they will happily give you a bag of their spent grinds to use. Mix all the ingredients together to make a dough. Roll out ball shapes and squash a dinosaur into the middle. We got tiny dinosaurs that we got as a bag of 100 from Amazon inside each ‘rock’. Make the balls into more rock like shapes. Sit them on a chopping board and leave for up to a week, turning over halfway. They dry solid and look like stones. We planted these around the garden and in the sand.
We also bought a pack of childrens paintbrushes and spades. Both were really cheap online if you look around.
The last thing I made were giant dinosaur eggs. Blowing up balloons and draping them in papier mâchè took me back to my childhood – but be warned this was so messy! We made the papier mâchè by boiling 1/2 cup flour with 2 cups water and whisking it up until it looks like custard. Take off the heat and leave to cool. While still a bit warm add strips of newspaper and soak a little then layer on the balloons. Hang the balloons up on the washing line or in the garage to dry fully.
Once hardened you can pop the balloon from inside and use a pair of tweezers to pull out the deftlated balloon. Put a toy dinosaur into the ‘egg’ and spray paint colour of choice and again leave to dry. These were the biggest hit – kids love tearing things open! I won’t lie, all the effort that goes into these makes it hard to see the speed with which they are destroyed and disgarded!!!
Make sure you have a little water table set up outside for hand washing as it gets really messy!
And inside the invitation request that kids wear outdoor clothing that might get messy! Defnitely let the parents coming know what you have planned so they don’t turn up with the kids in party attire, horrified that they are going to be sitting in a giant pool of sand!!
Try to have a few other toys out in the garden for the kids the play with, it’s amazing how quickly they become bored by any activity and you need to keep things moving to keep them entertained. We alternated a few party games with different dino discoveries.
If you don’t have a garage then a great idea would be to use a gazeebo or a big tent to do the dino dig in. Anywhere could be used though even an existing sand pit!
We decorated the garden with dino footprints using garden chalk and gave the kids some chalk to do some drawing of their own which they love.
Indoors, our house isn’t big enough to swing a cat! So feeding 10 kids together was going to be a problem. I bought a couple of plastic tablecloths and put them down on my livingroom floor, creating the perfect barrier for my carpet as well as making it look like a party table. Everyone seemed happy sitting on the floor. We used dino themed plates and my son said it was the best picnic with his friends!
A few dinosaur themed decorations gave the house a party feel and of course some music. Remember it doesn’t have to be fancy!! A kids percepion of what makes a great birthday party isn’t as extravagant as you might think. And try not to get too caught up in what the other mums will think. For the most part they will just be delighted that the mess is in someone elses home and be happy to sit and have a natter for a few hours!
A dino party wouldn’t be complete without a dino cake and this one was fab! A rice crispie treat made into a volcano and two layers of extra chocolately fudge cake finished off this party perfectly! This might not be a perfectly made cake but there is something about making your own kids birthday cakes that’s really special. Even people who think they can’t do it are suprised when they have a go!
Overall this party set us back a bit of cash but when we worked it out it was a lot cheaper than the packages at any of the local party places! It definitely involved a whole lot more effort than planning something somewhere else though! I think it was worth it to have something so fun.
Do you enjoy throwing kids birthday parties? Or would you rather someone set it all up for you?
Let me know what you think.