“Roaring Dinosaur” 5th Birthday Party
Aiden has recently been obsessed with dinosaurs. He started learning about them in preschool and has then watched almost every movie, documentary and cartoon about dinosaurs. He’s constantly playing with his dino toys and can even name most of them by their names. I’m ashamed to admit he knows more about dinosaurs than me! A several months ago when we asked him what theme he wanted for his 5th birthday party to be, he said “superheroes”. I began looking around for inspiration but it was just not happening. I was not ready to let him be a “big boy”. Out of the blue it hit me! I suggested a dinosaur party. His eyes lit up and he said “Yes mommy, a dinosaur ROAR party!”.
As always, the first step was to browse online for some inspiration then seeing what I had already at home to use. Once I had an idea of what I was going to do and how, I got started on the invitation design and the paper goodies. I usually do those first to get them out of the way and focus on the crafting, decor details and menu. Keep reading for list of sources and lots of tips and DIYs.
Invitations: I knew most of the party elements would include dinosaur eggs so I decided to make the invitations resemble hatching eggs. I first designed the shape of an egg then typed the text inside of the outline. I was going to use some left over 5″X7″ kraft envelopes that I had so I made sure to consider those measurements in my design. I printed the egg invitation on ivory cardstock sheets then cut around the egg outline. I traced the egg shape onto kraft cardstock sheets and cut those out too. Then I cut out the “cracking” on each egg shell. I attached the invitation egg to the cracking shell with a mini brad on each end. I made the eggs look more realistic by smearing brown stamp ink all over with my finger. I stuffed the envelopes with green paper shred and sealed it with washi tape. Next, I designed all my framed signs and banner. More on that below.
Decorations: I wanted there to be a good mix of fantasy and realistic decor elements at the party. It was really helpful that most of my home decor fit the color scheme I was going for – green, brown, yellow and orange. I like to decorate my home with lots of natural materials and lots of greenery. I traced a few T-Rex footprints on green cardstock boards, cut them out and tapped them on my wall by the favors station and by the presents table. We inflated the adorable blowup dinosaurs and placed them throughout the house, one by the favors/candy station, three by the presents table, one hanging on the fan in the living room and one by the back door on the way out to the party. These inflatable dinosaurs really added a touch of fantasy to the party and the kids loved playing with them during the party as well. We hung a banner of dinosaur fact cards on yute with wood clothes pins on the back wall in our yard. Then I placed his chalkboard on the yard to signify the activities area for kiddos. We hung a few balloons throughout and that was about it for decorations.
Centerpieces: To continue the natural feel going, I only covered some tables with kraft paper and left the wood and glass ones as is. For the centerpieces, I placed a bamboo placemat in the center of the table then layered it with a wood slab tree slice piece, a banana leaf, a few moss chunks, a couple of mini dinosaurs and a framed sign. For the our dining table which was right next to the dessert table, I decorated it with a burlap runner, four potted plants, a gorgeous grapewood vine, several moss chunks and more dinosaur toys. I looks pretty cool!
Menu & Drinks: Instead of making individual food labels for every items served, I made signs for each station. We had a “Carnivore” station, a “Herbivore” station and a “Sweetievore” station. For the carnivores we offered delicious Hawaiian BBQ chicken, beef and dino nuggets accompanied by white rice and macaroni salad. I knew all guests would enjoy it, it’s be light enough to eat in the middle of the Las Vegas summer and it was an inexpensive menu option for us. For the herbivores, we had a veggie tray and a fruit assortment.
I’m in love with beverage dispensers (although I don’t have as many as cake stands haha); therefore, I am always excited to bust them out and use them at my parties. I filled up one with water, another with iced tea and a third with lemonade. I hung little labels on each jar. Below, I filled a galvanized tub with ice and beer. You have to have cool beers when it’s 100+ degrees outside!
Activities: This was probably the coolest part of the party for everyone. In our past parties, I had a few games and activities planned but no one ever really followed along or seemed to enjoy them. This time it was totally different! I’m guessing it was because the kids were older and the activities were super fun. I had five activities for the mini “paleontologists” to do: dig for fossils, discover dinosaurs in icebergs and sand eggs, create a scenery with dino foam stickers and finally take photos in the standup prop.
Prepping the activities: I purchased three sacks of playground sand from my local landscape retail store. I put about 10 cups aside for the dinosaur eggs and used the rest to fill the bottom of our empty plastic kiddy pool with it. To make the eggs, I mixed the play sand with cornstarch and water. I hid mini dinosaur figurines in each egg and left them out to dry for a week. Right before the party, we hid the twelve plastic dinosaur skeletons in the sand and laid out the fossil molds on top of the sand. Two days before the party, I made “ice age” dinosaurs using mini dinosaur figurines, water and cupcake pans. Once they were frozen, I popped them out and stored them in a zip top bag. I printed coloring sheets for each kid to create his own prehistoric scenery with foam stickers.
Having these cool little rustic wood toolbox planters helped me keep all the activities stuff together. They came in a set of three – I used the largest one to hold the disposable plates and napkins, the second one to hold the dinosaur masks and the third one held the activities accessories.
Once everyone had eaten, we headed outside to get the fun started. I passed out brushes to each kid and began the digging for fossils. They really took their time looking for them and you could tell they were having a really good time. After all the fossils were discovered, I passed out two eggs to each kiddo and had them crack the eggs inside the pool. Some used their hands and others used the back of their brushes. After all the dinosaurs were discovered, we moved over to the grass area. I passed out the icebergs and told the kiddos, who ever got their dinosaurs out of the ice the fastest, they’d get to pick out their desserts first. I made enough icebergs for each kid to have two. This was the silliest! Some were licking the ice, some where rubbing it with their hands and some began throwing it to across the yard. When done, I had them go sit on the kiddy table and create their “dino page”. It was cheaper to use foam stickers than markers or crayons. The crayons would have melted in the heat and the markers would have been expensive to buy several sets. I learned that 3-5 year olds don’t have much patience to wait for supplies. We headed inside the house where we ended up taking all the photos with the T-Rex and had the kiddos run wild with their dinosaur masks on. At one point, I’m sure the noise level in our home was higher than inside an amusement park.
Desserts: Every dessert table has it’s grace. Some are all about the scrumptious desserts served, some about the gorgeous stands used, and some are all about the backdrop and decorations used. Regardless, it’s the one photograph I always look for first in all parties and events. It certainly is my favorite part to style. As I mentioned earlier, I wanted to balance bright and fantasy with natural and realistic so I used my woven bamboo shade as the backdrop. I simply hung a banner that I made over the dessert table. To make the banner, I printed AIDEN on ivory cardstock paper and cut out the sheets’ ends. Next, I cut out the T-Rex skeleton and tail from white cardstock paper and glued it all together onto yute. It was the easiest banner I had ever made. I wanted my beautiful wood and metal console table to show since it matched so I left it uncovered. I had an olive green burlap table runner from my wedding that I decided to use just to tie in the colors of the party.
I’m afraid I have ruined my children already…. I asked Aiden what dessert he wanted for his party and he said “cake, cupcakes, cake pops and marshmallows”. What happened to just a nice little cake?! Well, I’m a sucker and took on the baking task all to myself. I baked two dozen chocolate cupcakes in yellow and orange candy cups. I made homemade chocolate cream cheese frosting to decorate them and placed a few gumball eggs on top to look like a dinosaur nest. Next, I baked, crumbled, rolled, dipped and decorated 75 cake balls and pops. That was tedious but they taste so yummy! Finally I baked a marbled bundt cake to resemble a volcano. I drizzled freshly made raspberry sauce on top for the lava. As if that wasn’t enough, my son called grandma (my mom) and asked her to make dino sugar cookies. Oh yes, he’s spoiled rotten!
I displayed all the goodies on gorgeous cake stands placed on my dining room console. Honestly, it’s all about presentation when it comes to desserts. The volcano cake was the highest point on the center. On each end, I had two big dinosaur toys standing on glass apothecary jars filled with moss chunks and greenery. Between the dino and the volcano was a wood stand goodies. The sugar cookies were propped up with chocolate rocks. The cupcakes were placed on a wood slab tree slice at the base of the volcano cake stand. I included a paper mache number 5 slightly decorated with yute and felt dino print stickers.
Favors: I grew up going to parties where the favors handed out at the end were the coolest thing ever! Mexicans really go all out on their party favors. For my parties, I like to give each little guest a favor bag/box filled with toys and a few candies. For our dino favors, I filled brown paper lunch bags with a bunch of dinosaur stuff: a dinosaur glider, several mini dinosaur toys, dinosaur tattoos, a dinosaur sticker book and fruit gummies. I punched two holes on the top and tied them shut with yute. I decorated each bag with a punched circle and a felt dino sticker on the front center.
Additionally, I had a candy station set up on the way out where they could fill treat boxes with “dinosaur eggs” which were Sixlets and Gumballs, marshmallow pops and green sugar rock pops. I used green and yellow popcorn boxes decorated with a dino felt sticker. I like having candy stations because it’s a way for me to have adults take home a little sweet favor as well. Everyone gets to go home with something awesome!
Resources and Vendor Credits:
- Styling, photography and marshmallow pops: The Marshmallow Studio
- Sugar cookies: Carmen Ramirez
- Gumballs, Sixlets and Bubble Gum Eggs: SweetWorks
- Rock chocolates: Kimmie Candy Company
- Wooden crate, wood rustic toolbox planters, wood slab tree slices, grapewood branch, moss chunk vase fillers, candy scooper and burlap table runner: Koyal Wholesale
- Treat boxes, cutout photo stand-up, dinosaur skeletons, mini dinosaurs, dinosaur masks, dinosaur tattoos, dinosaur sticker books, jumbo inflatable dinosaurs, dinosaur gliders, banana leafs, leaf garland and dinosaur print napkins: OrientalTrading.com
- Tree slab cake stand and wicker tray: World Market
- Wire cake stand, wood cake stand and green cake stand: Home Goods
- Dinosaur toys, candy jars, circle paper puncher, glue dots, yute roll, green cardstock boards, brown chenille sticks, greenery, dinosaur fossil molds, brushes and dinosaur felt stickers: Michael’s
- Scrapbook paper, kraft envelopes, cardstock and dinosaur foam stickers: Hobby Lobby
- Plastic frames, wood frames, green napkins, chalk board and artificial potted plants: Ikea
- Disposable plates, cups and utensils, balloons and bamboo place mats: Party City
- Catering: L&L Hawaiian BBQ
DISCLOSURE: I received products from Oriental Trading, Koyal Wholesale and SweetWorks for my event. This review is based strictly on my opinion. Others may have a different opinion or experience with the product listed above. I was provided the sample free of charge by each company or PR agency and I provided my honest opinion. No other type of compensation was received for this review.