I love planning birthday parties. I know that may make me over the top, but I start looking for ideas on Pinterest six months in advance. It is a creative outlet for me, and a way that I can show my love for my kids. That said, while looking at said blogs on Pinterest to plan my kids’ birthdays, I never thought I would write one of those said blog posts. However, having gleaned lots of ideas from others, I felt it worthwhile to share Auggie’s third birthday party with my readers.
Being born in January has its downsides. First and foremost it makes easy birthday parties unheard of, and original parties near impossible. We cannot rent a shelter at the park, have water wars, or go to the pumpkin patch. So we had to get creative. Here is how it all went down:
Food & Decor
I kept the food for the party simple. I did dinosaur bones (yogurt covered pretzels), dino nuggets, and guacamole. We also had a fruit tray and veggie tray (for the herbivores) that I forgot in the fridge. Since Auggie can’t eat food dye, I made him a chocolate cake with crumbled Oreos on top and used toy dinos as the toppers. For the decor, we used a lot of vines and leaves (that will be recycled for little brother birthday) and tied balloons on toy dinosaurs.
Each kid was given a plastic paleontologist hat to decorate when they arrived. We had foam dino stickers and alphabet stickers so that they could attach put their names on their hats. This was a great activity to do while everyone arrived. Then they wore their hats for our dino dig that took place next.
Dino Bone Dig
This activity was easily the biggest hit of the party. Along with the hats, each guest was given a small bucket and shovel. They used these to collect dino bones in the sandpit that we made. To make this we used a plastic pool and filled it with two bags of sand. They used their shovels and dug for bones. The kids kept coming back to this activity all day long. It was definitely the biggest hit.
August reminded me the night before his party that I had promised to have a volcano at his party. I had originally planned to make a large volcano and set it off once with Coke and Mentos, but I had NO desire to build one at 10:00 at night. So we improvised and the result was so much better! Each child got an empty miniature water bottle with baking soda in it and a condiment squeeze bottle with red vinegar in it. Kids were able to erupt their volcanoes over and over, and we refilled bottles when needed. They loved it. We used disposable metal pans to contain the mess which worked great!
For this activity, the dinosaurs were still frozen during from the Ice Age. We reused the metal pans and gave each child a couple of frozen dino eggs to unfreeze. For the eggs, I froze mini dinosaurs with water in muffin tins the night before. Kids could use warm water in the spray bottles or some of Auggies toy tools. The toy tools were the preference so if I redid this activity I would have brought more. The goal was to be the first to unfreeze all of your dinosaurs.
The final activity took place in the gym. In the days leading up to his party, I saved empty tissue boxes. After collecting them all, I spray painted them green, reinforced the openings with Duct Tape, and made “claws” out of Duct Tape. We took the kids to the gym and had a race. What resulted was an entertaining parade of kids. Moreso than just the race, they loved just running around and pretending in them. I will note, that these only lasted about 10 minutes before being totally destroyed.
Presence Over Presents
We are trying to instill a culture of presence over presents at our boys’ parties. We request no gifts. Despite this request, many still bring gifts, but we do not open them at the party. The reason for this being that it allows the focus of the party to be on having fun with family and friends instead of playing with new toys. It also makes it easier on other parents by not tempting their child to be in a bad mood for not getting gifts of their own. This is just what works best for our family, and has allowed for so much more true joy at parties.
What have been your favorite themes for birthday parties? Do you have a dinosaur lover in your family?