Dinosaur Party

by Heidi Boyd and Cindy A. Littlefield
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As a new generation of dinosaurs stomps across the big screen this summer, the perennial fascination kids have with these oversize reptiles is bound to reach even greater heights. Our dinosaur party makes prehistory come alive with towering brachiosaurus hats, helium balloons and an edible volcano. Be sure to explore our dinosaur birthday party ideas gallery for more fun suggestions.

Party Pointers

• When it comes to dinosaur decorations, think big: giant chalk dinosaur prints that lead up the driveway to the front door.

• For an extra-special effect, serve the party cupcakes with an ice-cream "mountain." Just invert a slightly thawed cylindrical container and peel away the carton, then pour on strawberry sauce "lava." You can even set a small tea candle at the top for the birthday kids to blow out.

Party Planner

• Have dinosaur print template (for invitations) enlarged at a copy shop.

• Save four cereal boxes to make two pairs of dinosaur feet for a team relay.

• Stock a large bucket of clean, dry sand with toy dinosaur favors.

• Buy helium-filled balloons at a party store.

Dino Invites

Get this party off on the right foot by sending out giant dinosaur print invitations cut from a roll of wrapping paper or newsprint. (You can enlarge this one to use as a pattern.) On each one, write the party specifics, then fold it up so that it fits in a letter-size envelope.

Dinosaur Decor

A balloon bouquet of smiling dinosaur faces tied to a mailbox, fence post or any other stationary object that's heavy enough to keep it from flying away makes a fun greeting for kids arriving at this party. Later, you can let each guest take one home.

Inflate a bunch of quality large round latex balloons or, even better, purchase helium-filled balloons at a party store (generally, they cost about $1 apiece). Turn each balloon knotted- side up, then pull the string down along the back and tape it to the bottom of the inverted balloon. With acrylic paint, decorate the front of each balloon with two large eyes, circular nostrils and a U-shaped row of zigzag teeth.

Jurassic Hats

Head up this party itinerary by fitting visiting dinosaur-lovers with one of these brachiosaurus hats. If you precut the necessary pieces, the kids can even assemble their own caps with just a little help from you. For each one, you'll need a 5- by 28-inch brow band, two googly eyes, and the following colored paper cutouts: four 4-inch-long rectangular legs with pointed feet, an 11-inch-long tail that measures 4 inches across the top and tapers to a point, and a 9-inch-long head and attached neck that resembles a giant finger.

Wrap the brow band around the child's head to fit, then staple together the overlapping edges. Now the child can tape or glue the legs and tail to the brow band. Use the edge of a ruler to curl the top of the dinosaur's neck so that the face points downward, then glue on the googly eyes and draw on nostrils and a mouth. Finally, tape or glue the base of the neck to the inner brow band.

Pail-eolithic Dig

Digging up favors for this party Pail-eolithic Digis a cinch. Just pick up a package of toy dinosaurs and bury them in a giant bucket of sand. Before they go home, guests can take turns using a plastic beach trowel or fork to see what creatures they unearth--Tyrannosaurus rex, allosaurus or diplodocus, perhaps? Have a dinosaur book on hand, too, so you can help the kids identify their favors.
 

Dino Egg Relay

You never really know a dinosaur until you've walked in its shoes--and this wacky contest lets kids do just that. Each team member must wear a pair of cardboard-and-foam dinosaur "feet" while he completes his leg of the race.

For each foot, simply tape closed the open end of an empty cereal box (or cracker box for small feet), then cut a 4 1/2-inch-wide circular foot opening in the front panel. Next, cut out a dinosaur footprint from craft foam (it should be bigger than the box) and make two 5-inch crisscrossed snips in the center of the print. With a low-temperature hot glue gun, attach the print to the box surface so that the cuts in the foam are directly over the circular opening in the cardboard. For a finishing touch, hot-glue foam "claws" onto the dinosaur toes.
Divide the kids into two teams and set a chair across from each group at the far end of the racing area. Have the first person from both teams put on dinosaur feet, then hand each of them a wooden spoon with a plastic egg (a rubber ball will do in a pinch) balanced on it. On cue, they must quickly stomp around their respective team chairs and back to hand off the spoon and then the shoes to the next runners. If a child drops the egg en route, she must retrieve it before going on. The first team whose players have all successfully completed the course win the relay.

Menu

Dinosaur Eggs (cherry tomatoes or grapes) in a Nest (shredded lettuce)
Dino-dogs (hot dogs with all the fixings)
Monster Mash (gummy bugs, peanuts and raisins)
Dinosaur Cupcakes

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