Given that our oldest will turn 8 in just a few days, it’s probably high time we share our fun ideas from last year’s party. (…sigh…) The birthday boy requested a dinosaur theme for his 7th celebration and we were ALLLLL about it! The time to make and create homemade parties has been a bit of self-preservation in our home: a way to slow down and process the fact that our kids are growing up! (sniff, sniff…) Here’s how we threw an epic dino birthday bash:
Perusing Pinterest is where we start. We typically start planning a party with a visual board of ideas – yes, printed out the old-fashioned way. Then we rely on some teacher hacks from back in the day and our parties so far have always been tons of fun!
Here we started with the dino-themed invites. We used:
- shimmery green & gold cardstock from the dollar store,
- burlap tape (*this stuff is also from our local dollar store & is amAAAzing! It’s perfectly textured. Just cut to size, peel off back & stick right on!)
This was our oldest guy’s golden birthday so we made sure to add that in our invite – 7 on the 7th! Happens once in a lifetime! He came up with the idea of a “7” dinosaur that he drew out in pencil. After he colored it with bright markers, we outlined the shape in black Sharpie marker to really make the edges pop.
We love how these turned out and that each invitation was completely unique! (…note the meteor about to render the Seven-osaurus extinct – ha!…)
For his 1st birthday party, we printed out one photo in black and white from each of our son’s first 12 months – so 12 pics in all. That year was a Guess How Much I Love You party, so the theme colors were orange and green. We had so much fun back then making tiny hats for each silly baby face and we’ve held on to those pics ever since. Displayed on his birthday each year, they always make us giggle!
For our dino party last year, we chose 7 of our favorite 1st-year pics to display like a banner. A huge number 7 cut from an Amazon delivery box served as our party centerpiece, covered in various shades of green construction paper jungle leaves. Crinkling up the edges of each leaf and layering them made it look more realistic.
Inspired by printable placemats from Caravan Shoppe, we printed black and white outlines of different prehistoric creatures and came up with super-fun dino-names for each partygoer: Jack-iosaurus, Josh-eopteryx, Logan-odon, Xee-Rex (using Xavier’s nickname), and more. Like the epic nerds that we are, our family had a ton of fun thinking of ways to scientifically describe each dino – herbivore, sauropod, Jurassic, etc. We whipped out our trusty laminator from teaching days gone by and BAM! – the cutest and easiest way to greet guests, dub them with their new dino names, and send them home with cute favor placemats to keep!
As soon as we lock into a color scheme for decor, the rest usually comes together pretty seamlessly. Shades of green and brown worked perfectly for the dino celebration, punctuated by bright pops of red. Mostly using whatever’s around the house, we creatively piece things together to create a “look.” Our sons lovvve these huge rubber T-Rex and Triceratops gifted us four years ago. We set those up on the food table along with smaller toy dinosaurs we already own. Grouping green planters, dark brown baskets, and a mason jar filled with our sensory bin sand effortlessly added to the forest look.
The bright red loot bags continued our Seven-osaurus theme from the invites and served double-duty as decor! The aranciata amara (bitter orange)-flavored San Pelligrino cans have the perfect green foil tops to fit right in – as refreshments and decor!
The food that year was mostly our son’s favorite treats: popcorn, pizza, and sweet peppers. But we did incorporate a few dino-themed options:
- dinosaur egg nests (inspired by the pteranodon nests from Catch My Party) – We just dropped dry noodles into a pot of melted chocolate, set spoonfuls onto a cookie sheet, quickly place 3 chocolate eggs into each dino “nest” while the chocolate’s still hot, then stick the pan into the fridge for them to harden.
- homemade mini pizzas that each kid could customize, using egg muffins as the crust – like a therapod nest with pepperoni eggs.
- homemade sausage balls as “dino poop” – ’cause what’s a boy’s 7th birthday party without reference to poop?
- Bugle chips we used as dinosaur teeth
- dinosaur gummies from Bulk Barn
The kids enjoyed some awesome dino-themed activities:
- Prior to the celebration, we gathered recyclable material to make 4 different papier-mâché dinosaurs: Pterodactyl, T-Rex, Archaeopteryx, and a Triceratops. Using ModgePodge, we assembled the bodies and allowed them to fully dry so they’d be ready for partygoers to paint on D-Day! This was a big hit!
- We took some small plastic dinosaurs and froze them in our cocktail ice globes – genius! Every kid had a frozen dino egg to crack open using warm water, goblets, straws, and such. Easy prep and crazy-easy clean-up!
- Finally, we found some dino eggs in plaster at our local dollar store so each kid could work as a paleontologist. At the end of the party, while waiting for parents to arrive, they worked away at excavation while watching the documentary Walking With Dinosaurs. Best part? Each kid got to take their excavated dinosaur home!
Let them eat cake! This was the easiest thematic cake to prep: chocolate cake, BAM. Basic chocolate icing, BAM. (Out of a box or homemade? We’re not judging!) Crumble some graham crackers on top as dirt, wash one of the dino toys real well, stick that sucker into the icing with a 7 from the numbers puzzle you always play with (…and have washed… don’t worry) and you have yourself a thematic cake! We just draped two tones of green crêpe paper as a backdrop ’cause we’re fancy that way!
The cake, flanked with those huge rubber dinosaurs from before, again served as the perfect (and yummy…) decor!
Finally, party favors are always a huge hit around here! Our kids are usually more excited about the favors than they are about the food. So we just drew our Seven-osaurus in Sharpie marker right onto the loot bags, added some cute 3-D paleontology stickers from our local dollar store, a wooden dino skeleton from our local pharmacy, and dinosaur hand puppets we found on sale.
Cute, affordable, and appropriate for kids of all ages, we had these classic push-up dinos (the ones we added to the loot bags) laid out on the food table the entire party ’cause they just added to our theme in such a unique way! There’s a wooden “button” on the bottom of each dino skeleton so when you push them, they tumble over. Let go and they pop back up!