DIY projects
DIY Tuesday, the Dinosaur Birthday Party!

DIY Tuesday, the Dinosaur Birthday Party!

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I have talked before about Birthday parties and how they can be fun, without costing a mint. These places that charge $13.95 or more per child are really raking in the dough, sadly at the expense of the parent!

There are a few things that are important for every party:

  • Invites
  • Activity (games only let 1-2 little people win, an activity covers everyone)
  • Cake
  • Thank You notes

A theme is helpful, but not really necessary. (Unless you are like me and then it’s imperative!)

This year’s theme? A Jurassic Party for my little Paleontologist.

Here were the invites: I used Dinosaur Tracks from my Cricut Cartridge Collection and white card stock. Using my Glimmer Mists, I colored them, layered them and used embroidery floss for contrast and a red self adhesive gem for the eye. I did ask everyone to RSVP so I would have enough Jr Paleontologist kits ready, but had to contact half the people we invited, as they never replied. Maybe I am wrong? RSVP used to mean either way – acceptance or regrets, now it seems optional. (sigh)

Now comes the activities: Decorate their loaded gift bags, fossil dig, egg hunt, photo op

We had white gift bags and a bunch of foam dinosaur stamps. Add a box of markers and crayons and the kiddos could customize their goody bags. Inside of them already was a one inch wide paintbrush (free at Menards with rebate program) and dinosaur activity pad (came 6 to a pack from the dollar store)

Then it was time to use those paint brushes for the fossil dig!  We have a large Turtle sandbox that I hid mini Dinosaur fossils that I bought at Oriental Trading. This is where the paint brushes came in handy – to unearth up to two fossils per kiddo. They seemed to have a blast!

Next, the kids had to steal an egg out of the pterodactyl nest. I told them sneak in and take an egg but to hurry because the mom pterodactyl could be on her way back. For this station I used a green foam wreath at the dollar store, covered it with newspaper and painted it brown and green. We added real leaves and grass to it while the paint was still wet. Then it was placed in a tree.


To make the eggs I blew up water balloons and Miss Sarah put paper mache on. She measured out the 1 cup of flour and 2 cups of water, then mixed them together. After they dried, we removed the balloons and stuffed them with mini dinosaurs and dinosaur temporary tattoos – both from Oriental Trading again. Then, I spray painted them with crackle light gray paint. The kids could then crack open their eggs to get their prizes. I’ll admit this turned out really cool and was super inexpensive to do!

Next – the photo op!

I got this photo mural from Oriental Trading too – they just stuck their heads through it and I snapped a picture. These were enclosed in the Thank You notes – so they had another way to remember the party. My biggest kid modeled it here for you, LOL. I let them see their pictures on the camera right away and it cracked them all up!

Now came the gift opening – they were all so excited about what they brought for her that they REALLY wanted to do it sooner! we had two “special” chairs – one for Miss Sarah to sit in and one for the friend who’s gift was being opened to sit in.

When we made it through all the amazing home made cards and fun gifts, it was time for CAKE!

We had a little variety between the cupcakes that used the rest of the mini dinosaurs on them, along with edible chocolate rocks…

And the BIG dinosaur cake that used Hershey Kisses (Christmas Clearance) for the dorsal spines, chocolate chips and chocolate candy melts for the spots and mini chips for they eyes and toes.
He WAS two round cakes at first, then trimmed to look like this: 
No worries! I save the cake trimmings and popped them in the freezer.
They will make a yummy trifle later on when I add fresh berries and pudding. (Yum!) 
No Dinosaur cake could possibly be complete without the Lava punch!
We made a volcano out of a tomato cage and more paper mache.
We cut off the spikes that to into the ground, turned him upside down and taped a base paper layer on first.
THEN came the paper mache, painted him brown when he dried and added a little green to him.
Sadly, I sent him home, with another kiddo after the party, before getting a final picture!
We set him over the punch bucket and ladled out the red punch for the kiddos.
They loved it!
Now I told you that I was a theme gal – so I couldn’t stop there…she needed an outfit!
Plain old orange T and black fabric paint… 
Turns into Saber Tooth Tiger spots… 
with rough cut hemline and sleeves…add a small bone… 
And we end up looking like Pebbles from the Flintstone’s!
(she got a huge kick out of it after I showed her YouTube clips of Pebbles)
But I still wasn’t done…
We added a four foot tall T Rex to greet every one along with five star shaped balloons.
Then comes the THANK YOU notes.
These are a dying art – I’m just saying.
It is SO important to keep social graces alive and teach our kiddos!
I cut and folded the paper, she decorated them and wrote her simple thank you notes,
we added a copy of the photo op for each kiddo and mailed them off.
Thank you for coming to my party and the great gift. Sarah.
Yes, I printed a script for her and she wrote them herself. Why?
Because she can, and she is learning, LOL!

That pretty much covers it – we didn’t come anywhere near close to $13.95 a kid and they all seemed to have a blast! How much DID I spend? Follow along:

  • The Oriental Trading items were all FREE as I used a gift card.
  • The cake mix was FREE from my stockpile
  • The frosting (2 cans) were FREE from my stockpile
  • The paper mache items were simply recycling newspapers and using up old water balloons from last summer (FREE)
  • The white nylabone for her hair $3 at Petsmart (and now at my Mom’s house being enjoyed by her Chihuahua)
  • The T shirt $2.50 at Michael’s Craft store
  • The Fabric paint from my craft stash
  • The Tomato cage $3.50 at the Hardware Store
  • The white bags $3.75 at Michael’s Craft store (I used my 50% off coupon and bought a pack of 12)
  • Postage (invites were hand delivered at school) $4ish.
Grand total cost for the party: $16-17, or about $2 a kid.
Memories created?
Billions between Miss Sarah helping me make things
as we got ready for the party, and entertain her guests.
Next year? The Princess party.
(Yes, I have almost everything ready for it)
What do you do for birthday parties?

3 thoughts on “DIY Tuesday, the Dinosaur Birthday Party!

    • My daughter’s birthday party is this Saturday. She loves Tinkerbell, so I am making a fashion doll cake that looks like Tinker Bell. I already had a blonde barbie, and we’re making the wings. We found green plates and cups on clearance at Wal-Mart. Country Time is free at Kroger this week, so we’ll be having lemonade. Hotdogs were $0.50 a few weeks ago, and buns were $0.77. We’re taking her to a public park that has water fountains that the kids can play in. My husband found green plastic bags and Tinker Bell stickers that were on clearance. We’re going to fill the bags with candy and small containers of bubbles. The kids can decorate the bags with the stickers. I had 4,000 points on my Amazon Visa card, so I used it to purchase a Schwinn Pink Tricycle from Amazon. I ended up getting $40 off the price of the Tricycle. We have less money in this party than any party ever. I don’t see any loss in quality of the party either. We do this same park party every year, and I usually end up spending tons of money in food and treats. This year, I just did it smarter.

    • How fun Jessica!
      Isn’t it fun to make a special event and not break the bank?

    • Wow, what a great party and so many great ideas! I wish my kids birthdays were in the summer months, but mine are in the dead of winter. Unfortunately with my oldest son being in school, we had to invite everyone and almost everyone came (23 kids). There was no way I could fit that many kids in the house and their parents, so we decided to cough up some extra money and have his party at my son’s karate school. The best part was all I had to do was bring the cake/cupcakes. They took care of everything else, the invites, pizza, drinks and goodie bags. We did end up paying about $8 a kid, but it was worth it not having that many people at our house and no cooking on my part as making cupcakes with what we had was super easy for me. Next year I am hoping to just have a small party and do it as frugal as possible on a star wars theme. You have me thinking know with this post as his b-day is only 6 months away 🙂

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