Dinosaur Excavation Pit Dig and Fossil Puzzle Birthday Party

Julie B By Julie B  in Birthday

Drinks

Party Recap

It was a pit stop at the Cabazon dinosaurs, that fueled the idea of a dinosaur theme for my son's 6th birthday party!

I also created matching "caution volcano birthday cake" stickers to seal the invitation envelopes with, and a large “caution volcano cake” sign, in the "caution sign” style.
To also help tie in the "caution" theme into the party decor, I created a larger version of the "caution lava cake" stickers, as a "Caution: Cake Ahead" sign to hang near the volcano lava cake that I made for the party. 
Explorer Hats for the Dinosaur Fossil Excavators:
One of the activities that I had planned was for the kids to go on a dinosaur dig.  Which of course meant that they had to have explorer hats!  I purchased the actual hats, but I let each child decorate their own! 
I thought what a great idea to let the kids decorate their own hats!  So I picked up about 20 hats and some foam dinosaur and letters stickers, which I found at the craft store. I loved that they could customize them with their own names, using the foam letter stickers. So in one swoop, the party hats and one party activity were checked of my to-do list! 
Party Signs:
I created these yellow silhouette signs to use as decor for the party. I also created a few more "party-goer" dino signs (with white background).
I printed them out onto yellow and white card stock, cut out cardboard a bit smaller than the signs, then glued them onto the cardboard backing and then I staple gunned them to sticks that I had picked up from the scrap bin at Home Depot.  I had them cut the bottoms into points so that I could easily push them into the ground.
Burlap and Paper Palm Trees:
I wanted our place to feel like a jungle and I first saw an idea for palm trees on Pinterest.  She used streamers for the tree trunks of the palm trees, but we have these pillars in our dining room area that I thought would look great wrapped with strips of burlap! We have 8 pillars, so I wrapped 4 of them.  I also put some burlap at the base, and set some of the toy dinosaurs on it.
Jurassic Art:
I'd remembered that my son had a "how to draw" animals book.  This is a great how-to-draw book with step-by-step instructions on how to draw animals, including an entire section on dinosaurs!
I really wanted a drawing/coloring element during the party.  So I made photocopies of the how-to pages from the dinosaur section, and taped them up around a large sheet cut from a paper roll that I'd purchased from IKEA (HERE). Then I made "Jurassic Art" coloring page for the station sign. 
Party Containers:
I bought some dollar store containers in green, and decorated them with these silhouette dinosaur-themed “party-goers” that I printed out on sticker paper and cut out with a circle cutter. 
I used the buckets to hold the prizes during the dino dig and some of the items at the table, such as the plasticware and napkins.
DIY: Dinosaur Egg Story Time, Egg Hunt and Trading Post:
I love the idea of doing an egg hunt!  Especially a dinosaur egg hunt and especially with this age group of kids, who were between 4 and 6 years old.  My idea was to use plastic Easter eggs and fill them with fun items that the kids could add to their party favor bags to take home. 
"The Dinosaur Eggs" Storytime:
I gathered the kids around for story-time, about a couple who found 3 eggs, out of which eventually hatched 3 dinosaurs, and their adventures of raising these "dino babies". 
I asked a few of the dads hide the filled dino eggs, while the kids were distracted by the story.  They hid both the plastic and baking soda eggs. Then I passed out the Egg Hunt bags and had the kids write their names on their bags.
DIY:  Plastic "Dinosaur" Eggs
How can you tell the difference between a regular Easter egg and a dinosaur eggs?  By their polka dots, of course!
I used standard acrylic paint and a circle shaped sponge and started "polka dotting" away! 
DIY: Baking Soda Eggs:
I made dinosaur eggs out of baking soda, with a surprise inside.  The best part is that the kids could break them open and squirt them with vinegar to make them bubble, fizz and desolve! 
Once the kids had finished the egg hunt, it was time for them to break open the baking soda eggs to see what was inside! I had set out a bucket of tools (sticks, brushes, magnifying glasses) for the kids to use to break their baking soda eggs open.
I filled a bunch of dollar store squirt bottles with vinegar, so when the kids squirted the baking eggs, the vinegar reacted with the baking soda and fizzed up, dissolving the baking soda and slowly revealing the prize inside!  It was so cool!
Dinosaur Party Trading Post:
I knew that not all the kids would like all their "prizes" so I set up a Trading Post for them to be able to go trade the items that they didn't want, for items that they did want.  And if they got a gold coin they could use it to "buy" an item at the trading post. 
I think my mom was in her element.  She had a blast helping the kids with their trading!
Volcano Crown:
I love the idea of having a crown for the birthday kid! But it's tricky to get a "boy crown" just right. I thought why not MAKE a volcano crown!?  Especially since the mountains could represent the spires on the crown.  I scoured Pinterest and the internet, and surprisingly didn't see any volcano crowns, so I designed my own!  It took me a few tries to get the crown design just right.  I finally got it right on the fourth try. I loved how it turned out!  I loved the "shooting or erupting lava", the flying pterodactyl, and especially because the "lava" was so glittery! 
Dinoculars:
I thought "dinoculars" would be so fun for the Dinosaur Egg Hunt!  What are dinoculars, you ask?  Just binoculars ESPECIALLY made for dinosaur hunting! 
Dinosaur Races:
For the dinosaur races, three at a time, the kids would line up, dino shoes on, and dinosaur egg balanced on their wooden spoons.  I used the larger rectangle tissue boxes for this super cute DIY craft to make dinosaur feet. Ready, set, GO!!  And the hilarity ensued!
Dinosaur Dig and Excavation Pit Puzzle:
I love the idea of kids being able to search for treasure.  Hence the dinosaur egg hunt and this dinosaur dig excavation pit PUZZLE game!  How fun for the kids to dig through sand and find dinosaur bones!  Since I only had one dinosaur mold type, I figured that I would make 3 sets and wouldn't it be fun if each T-Rex was it's own color?  And then the kids could assemble the "puzzle pieces" on a piece of tank board!  I wrote "C-Rex Excavation Pit Puzzle" across the board.  I thought my son would love that it said "C-Rex" instead of "T-Rex" in the activity title, since his name starts with a "C". 
DIY: Plaster Dinosaur Fossils
I poured the 3 sets of fossil molds with plaster of Paris.  Let dry for a few hours. Pop the pieces out of the molds. Then paint...
Painting the Dino Dig Puzzle Board: 
Then paint the outlines for the fossil puzzle on to the tank board. I bought those little cans of spray paint from Hobby Lobby, in the 3 theme colors, green, yellow and orange, and sprayed each set of fossils a different color.
Once all three sets were painted, I arranged the puzzle pieces on the tarp I spread out on the bottom of the makeshift pit.  I actually hot glue gunned a lot of the pieces to the tarp, so that the kids really had to use their tools to dig them out.  I didn't want them to just plow through and push them all up and out of the sand.
And then I put all of the excavation tools (sand toys, like shovels, rakes, sifters; magnifying glasses, brushes of all sizes, etc.) in one of the dollar store buckets and set it next to the dino dig pit, along with the tank paper, which had the base for the puzzle on it.
And hung one of the engineering prints with "C-REX EXCAVATION PIT" on it, above the pit area. 
I also added a few small dinosaur fossils into the pit that the kids could take home.  I picked up a Dinosaur Skulls Toob and added them to the pit for fun, letting the kids keep what they found.   
Food:
I don't ever seem to get a good shot of the food table at my parties, but I did purchase 4 wooden letters: "R, O, A & R" to spell "ROAR"!  ("RAWR" would have worked, too, but they didn't have a "W"!)  I bought the letters at Micheal's, in the dollar bin section, and they came in the party theme colors, too (yellow, orange and green)! 
Volcano Cake:
I've always wanted to make a volcano cake; complete with smoke and lava pouring out of it.  I love surprising my son and I knew a working volcano cake would blow his socks off!
I baked a huge rectangle cake, and then a bunch of circle cakes to stack up, so that I could carve a volcano out of it. I also made chocolate ganach (for the very first time) and poured it over the cake.
I purchased dry ice at my local Smart and Final Express store.  Please be sure to use gloves when handling the ice, or you could get burned! My husband placed the pieces of ice into the plastic cup (which was in the cake) and then called the kids over! 
I had a cup of hot water and a cup of hot jello (dark cherry flavor) ready to pour. I poured a little bit of hot water into the cup of dry ice, which was in the cake, and voila, the smoke started rolling out of the cup and down the cake.  I hadn't tried it yet, but it worked and it was awesome!! 
Then I poured some of the hot jello into the cup with the dry ice, and a mass of smokey red lava started pouring out.
The bubbles in the lava would pop and clouds of smoke popped out.  It was very cool and the kids were yelling, "Awesome!!", "Look at that!" and "COOL!!!" 
Dinosaur Themed Party Favors:
I always like to keep the party favor bag as sugar free as possible, but I do like to add at least one candy item, because, really, what's a party favor bag without candy!?
I knew that I wanted to do dinosaur poop as a party favor, since poop is hilarious.  Not only to 6 year olds, but to parents who never really grew up.  I designed the bag toppers to match the invitations, and thought it'd be hilarious to have dino droppings trailing along behind him. And I added "Thanks for a roaring good time!" on the back.
Also for the party favor bag, I created the dinosaur silhouette “party-goer” stickers to use on the invitations, as well.  I bagged up the extras into small ziplock jewelry bags and added them to the party favor bags for the kids to take home. 
Also included in the party favor bag, along with their dino dig and egg hunt finds and their trading post trades, was a dinosaur pencil, a dinosaur eraser, a sticker and a 3D dinosaur puzzle.
Dino-"mite" Party Favor Tags:
I made these dinosaur party favor tags that say, "Thank you" and "I hope you had a "dino"mite time!", in both "Caveman" and "Jurassic" fonts, and printed them out onto cardstock that was in our party's theme colors.  
I love that they look like "caution: dino crossing" signs, to tie in with the rest of the party:
Thank You Postcards:
I love matching invitations and thank you cards!  I also love thank you cards as postcards, not only to save on postage but to also to save trees!
I designed these postcard thank you postcards to match the invitations I'd created and to also make it easy for my 6-year-old to fill out.
All he had to do is fill in the gift that he received, and then sign his name next to the heart-shaped fossil bones.
I had a lot of fun planning and preparing for the party! There are lots of ideas on my blog that you can use to throw your own dinosaur themed birthday party! Links to other ideas and a couple of free downloads.

Blog:
http://projectmommie.blogspot.com/2014/05/a-6-years-old-dinosaur-dig-and.html

I’ve also listed the templates, that I’ve created for this party, for sale in my Etsy Shop:
www.etsy.com/shop/luminousmoon

We definitely had a "dino"mite time! I hope you do, too!

Idea

Party Highlights

  • Desserts

    Volcano cake!

  • Party Favors

    White lunch sacks filled with dinosaur poop candy, dino dig and egg hunt finds and their trading post trades, a dinosaur pencil, a dinosaur eraser, a sticker and a 3D dinosaur puzzle

  • Activities / Games

    Dinosaur dig and excavation with puzzle board, dinosaur feet and egg balancing races, dinosaur egg hunt, trading post.

  • Budget

    I tried very hard to use items that I already had around the house. I also purchased from the dollar store. I did a lot of window shopping and took a lot of pictures and notes before I settled on what to buy. I would say at least $100, but I did spend that over the course of a couple of months.

  • What People Ate

    "Pterodactyl" salad sandwiches, "dino spine" Doritos, herbivore salad, carnivore meatballs and sausages in BBQ sauce

  • What People Drank

    Jurassic juice, pond water, coffee

  • Best Moment

    The best moment was when the party-goers gathered around the volcano cake and "Oooohed and aaaahhhed over the smoke and lava coming out of the cake!

  • Funniest Moment

    The funniest moment was when the kids were SUPER excited about the fizzing baking soda eggs and couldn't break open and squirt them fast enough to get to the prizes inside.

  • Most Touching Moment

    The most touching moment was when the birthday boy's cousin gave him some dinosaurs from his very own collection.

  • Best Dressed

    The birthday boy and some of the party goers wore their own dinosaur shirts!

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Party Helpers

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