I’m fairly rubbish at most things that make pretty parenting blog posts. I don’t make cute lunches. I think craft is the actual worst. I don’t even keep a very clean house unless guests have pre-announced themselves well in advance. I’m more of a go out and do things kind of parent. But, the one cute thing I quite like doing for my kid is her birthday party.
This is the first year that she’s been old enough to have some opinions into the matter, so we went with one of her favorite things for the theme – dinosaurs. To step just a bit sideways from the uber-masculine dinosaur decor I saw most places, I decided to add a feminine touch, and turn it into a dinosaur tea party. (Note to everyone who makes toys/decorations/clothes for kids – GIRLS LIKE DINOSAURS, TOO!).
Hushpuppy’s primary concern was about the cake. It had to be a dinosaur, and it had to be purple. Thankfully, a mother friend tipped me off to this completely do-able dinosaur cake from Betty Crocker. And, because I believe with all of my heart that birthday cake should actually taste good, I went with a layer of vanilla, a layer of chocolate with crushed Tim Tams, held together with salted caramel honeycomb ganache (yes, you may have the recipe), and covered in flour buttercream. We quite liked our dino.
I had fun with the food table.
And, I made these, which the kids looked ferocious in.
Oh, and these monstrosities, which I thought would be cute for the coloring table. I got the idea from this tutorial, which assumes that you are handy with a needle and thread, which I pretty much am not. As I wrote on Twitter while making these, hot glue is my earthly penance for not learning how to sew.
But, speaking of the coloring table. Thank you, KMart, for these awesome dino cut outs. I had a little coloring/craft table at Hushpuppy’s party last year, as well, and it’s definitely a big winner, especially because the kids can come and go from it.
And, on the topic of KMart. $2. Winner, winner!
Activities … I thought the kids should probably do something at this party, so, we went with:
- The dinosaur dig – This project was my Kilimanjaro, mostly because I had to actually remember to do it a week ahead of time and then keep my kid’s touchy fingers out of it all that time.
Right, so, I got one of those under the bed storage boxes, filled it with 9 bags of corn flour (corn starch), and enough water to make it gloopy, but not runny, plus some green food coloring. It’s really fun to play with, and Hushpuppy and I did for an hour or so. Then, we sunk in a whole bunch of plastic dinosaurs and let it sit outside and dry for the rest of the week. On the day of the party, we collected a pile of leaves, branches and flowers to cover it with.
I set it up on top of a couple of old sheets, with some play hammers, spoons, shovels and whatever else the kids could pry the dinos out with.
Then, they could take their dinosaurs to a little table where there were paint brushes and water for cleaning them, little magnifying glasses for inspection, and a “chart” for identifying their dinosaurs. All of the kids engaged with it in different ways, but it seemed to go over well.
- Dino egg hunt – Don’t tell the kids, but it’s just an Easter egg hunt, except I called them “dinosaur eggs” really menacingly.
- Dinosaur dance party – This was certainly my favorite part of the party. We just put on some dinosaur songs nice and loud, and the kids stomped around and roared their hearts out.
Three songs was plenty – I went with “We Are the Dinosaurs” by Laurie Berkner, “Dino Stomp” from Playschool and “Dinosaur Roar” by Justine Clarke. (I thought “Walk the Dinosaur” would have been cool, but when I gave it a listen, I realized the first line talked about lighting a cigarette, and I thought we’d be better off sticking to Playschool at least until they’re 4 or 5).I think all pre-schoolers should be encouraged to have dinosaur dance parties, any time of the day, any day of the week.
Dino cake for everyone!