Recently my son turned five-years old. Before I talk about the details of his dino party, I would like to give a big WTF to how fast his childhood is flashing before my eyes! I realize this sounds corny, but it really does feel like yesterday that I was holding him in my arms at the hospital, and all of a sudden I’m living with this sweet, smart, sassy, funny little guy who is going to be in freakin’ Kindergarten next year!
And yet, I’ve been struggling through this motherhood thing for what seems like an eternity. And I say struggling because it is a struggle to make these little people and then try desperately to get them to turn out okay. It is equal parts love, anxiety, fear, pride, and a mish-mash of other emotions that, when combined, feel like a struggle, but a blissful one with a profound sense of achievement. (I’d compare it to running a marathon, but I only watch marathons (of the Netflix variety) so not sure on the accuracy of that analogy.) Suffice it to say that I totally understand what it means when people say motherhood is the “longest, shortest time.”
Moving on from the puzzling mysteries of time and space and motherhood, let’s talk dinosaurs! My son loves dinosaurs. Obsessed would actually be a more appropriate word, as in politely-correct-museum-workers-for-misidentifying-a-dinosaur obsessed. So, naturally, when it came time to pick a theme for his fifth birthday party, he went with dinos.
I used this simple tutorial to make the dino hats. Just cut some stegosaurus-esque spikes from a piece of card stock, fold, and insert into a party hat. Easy-peasy. Unlike the tutorial, I purchased these party hats, and didn’t even bother top tape the spikes to the hat and they held up beautifully. Well, as beautifully as a paper hat on a preschoolers head is ever going to hold up.
For the snack table, I clicked around Pinterest looking at some dino-themed parties and did a mash-up of stealing ideas and coming up with my own. I designed the food labels using Canva (i.e. the very best thing in the world), and printed and taped to the corresponding food dishes.
I also borrowed some of the birthday boy’s dinosaur toys for table decor. He begrudgingly gave it up after many assurances that no one would be taking/playing/enjoying them in any way.
For the record…
Dinosaur Bones = Pretzel Sticks
Pteranodon Eggs = Jelly Belly Beans
T-Rex Toenails = Candy Corn (I originally saw this idea using Bugles, which I haven’t seen since 1996.)
For the Herbivores = Grapes, Carrots, Peppers
Watering Hole = Mini bottled water, Capri Sun
I also used the party as an excuse to buy a Pioneer Woman bowl from Wal-Mart. Just one. I maintain it was essential to the success of the party.
Grandma made the cake, and it was a major hit. It was not only super cute to look at, but it tasted amazing! She’s kind of a cake queen.
And, of course, she had to make themed cake pops to go with it.
Excuse that disgusting fly hanging out on the napkin there. We’re deep into fly season here in the Sunflower State, and Kansas flies have no boundaries and are quite unmannered. Also, I didn’t get a great pic of the cake pops, but they were dinosaurs emerging from cracking eggs. Very adorable, but Grandma had to re-do a few before the party as they turned out looking a bit more phallic than intended, which made me die with laughter.
The party was at 3 o’clock in the afternoon, so we just had a few snacks and treats aside from cake, since it’s not really the eating hour. I also made match-y dinosaur eggs and footprints (which you can download and print here) to dress up the snack table. Oh, and see those crepe paper tassels on the corners of the table? I had big plans to construct a tassel banner, but after putting two of those dang things together, I was like, hell no. And made that “Happy Birthday” banner instead, which you can download at the end of the post.
The “dino egg” hunt was the second-favorite thing of the party, which was basically an Easter egg hunt. (If I was a super crafty mom, I would have used speckled spray paint to give the plastic eggs a more authentic look. But, you know, ain’t nobody got time for that. I filled the eggs with mini dinos, temporary tattoos, and ring pops. I tried not to go overboard on sweets, because I’d already gone overboard on sweets at the snack table.
And say hello to the first-favorite…
Our awesome neighbors let us borrow their homemade kiddie train. We procured this train just a few hours before the party or maybe I would have attempted to dino it up with a tail or something, but, no matter, the kids absolutely LOVED it. And my husband absolutely loved it slightly more, I think. He hitched it up to the four wheeler and drove kids around a path in the pasture. I have no idea how many loops he made, but, rest assured, fun was had by all.
The guests got to take home little favor bags with toys and treats, and the birthday boy was wiped out after two hours of non-stop fun. We’d never had a “friend” party before, but it wasn’t quite as daunting as I thought it might be. The hardest part was cleaning my house before people started showing up, but, then again, that’s the hardest part of any party.
In the spirit of birthday, here’s a little gift to you. Downloads any or all of the printables I used at our Dino party.