It was Kipper’s birthday right in the middle of the Jewish High Holidays this year! So we postponed the celebrations a couple of weeks then invited 14 of her friends for a dinosaur party. I may have got a little carried away with the theme, but it was so much FUN! Although a houseful of 4-5 year olds? Well, we managed it…
Keeping kids’ parties sane is mostly about crowd control, and keeping little people busy with things they need to concentrate on. As Kipper’s friends arrived they were invited to make dinosaur bead bracelets – a fun, fine-motor activity.
We were really lucky with the weather, so after beading they were encouraged into the garden where DH had set up a bubble machine. Without any prompting, the kids were stomping around roaring and trying to catch/pop the bubbles!
Can’t have a party without party games! Pass the parcel (of course) and some slightly more themed ones – ‘dinosaur islands’ (aka musical bumps), ‘musical fossils’ (aka musical statues), and a dinosaur-egg-and-spoon race. There’s always the danger of high emotion when winners and losers are involved, but mostly the kids were just happy to play, and we made sure that everyone got at least one prize as the games went along.
The final game before tea was a treasure hunt, for which my friend Helen must take the credit. She’s done this at her daughter’s last few parties and it always seems to be a big hit with the kids. I wrapped up a little dinosaur for each child and numbered the parcels, then made a numbered set of cards. The parcels were hidden around the garden, and each child took a numbered card and had to search out the matching numbered parcel. Lots of running, shouting, searching etc. and everyone was very pleased with their prizes 🙂
Time for birthday tea! The table was set and everyone got a party hat, improved with dinosaur spikes!
Even though Kipper can be quite adventurous with food, I know that not all her friends are the same, so I tried to keep it pretty simple. I used the dinosaur and bone cutters from my huge cookie cutter set to make shaped sandwiches – the Stegosauruses were cream cheese & pesto, the bones were tuna mayo, and the T. Rexes were humous.
There were vegetable crisps, and plates of cucumber and pepper sticks. I also put out some olives as they’re Kipper’s favourite. The hot food was crispy baked mozzarella sticks, which I bought ready made and simply popped in the oven. Served with a squirt of ketchup – delicious! (They went down a treat with the grown-ups too, good job I made lots!)
Dessert was a fabulous array of fruit prepared by DH – strawberries, blueberries, grapes, melon and pineapple. Plus of course Kipper’s fossil excavation BIRTHDAY CAKE! All topped off with squirty cream from the siphon.
After tea there was more dancing, then it was time to go home. Each child got a party bag containing dinosaur stickers, another little dinosaur, some chocolate coins, and a couple of beautifully-wrapped cinnamon & vanilla prehistoric cookies. Plus of course their bracelets, treasure hunt prize, and anything they’d won during the games.
Kipper loved her party, and everyone else seemed to have a good time too. My total budget for party supplies, decorations, favours etc. came to about £40, so less than £3 per child, although this doesn’t include food, or the bubble machine (which will be used again, and again…)
I wonder what next year’s theme will be…