A dinosaur birthday party with DIY dinosaur fossils, a volcano cake, a scavenger hunt, and lots more prehistoric fun for your future paleontologist.
My little boy loves dinosaurs. Meat-eaters, plant-eaters, fossils, footprints, and anything dinosaur. He loves dinos so much that we had a dinosaur party for his 5th birthday and again for his 6th birthday. It took some creativity to do the same party 2 years in a row and keep it different, but I can now tell you what works well with the 5 and 6-year-old crowd, as far as dinosaur birthday parties, anyway.
Dinosaur Egg Invitations
We made paper mâché dinosaur eggs with the invitation sealed inside and hand-delivered them to each of the friends we invited to the party.
For the second year, we invited friends from school, so the invitations had to be smaller. We took plastic Easter eggs and painted them with rock texture spray paint.
There was so much to include in this post about the party, that I wrote a separate post about how we made the two invitations. There are lots of details and tips, so be sure to take a look.
Dinosaur Party Decorations
Our decorations were pretty simple. We had balloons around the party area with the strings anchored with dinosaurs from the Dollar Tree. They are heavy enough that they kept the helium balloons in place. My daughter made some cute paper party hats and glued them to the heads of the dinosaurs.
Dinosaur Coloring Pages
We always start out kids’ parties with something the guests can do while they wait for everyone to arrive. My husband created these fun party dinosaur coloring pages for the kids. He was inspired by these Fun Fact placemats (if you want to purchase a design to print). We printed them on 11×17 paper and used them later in the party for placemats.
Making Dinosaur Fossils with Play-Doh
Next, the kids made fossils and footprints with Play-Doh. We bought this pack of colorful Play-Doh on Amazon and gave each kid their own color. We also got these dinosaur skeletons from Amazon (which are actually really good quality for the price) and the kids pushed the dinosaurs into the Play-Doh to make imprints that looked like fossils. They also made footprints and shell fossils (using real shells) and used other Play-Doh tools we had to make some pretty cool creations. At the end of the party, they got to take their Play-Doh and a dino skeleton home.
DIY Dino Tails
Every dinosaur has a tail, so every kid at a dinosaur birthday party needs one too. Dinosaur tails are pretty simple to sew. I found instructions about how to make them at Dino Tail Tutorial on Andrea’s Notebook. There are really only two seams with these dino tails. I made a slight change by using elastic for the waistbands instead of fabric with velcro. Also, the second year I got ambitious and made the tails so we could add and remove the stuffing easily. We stuffed them with crumpled newspaper because poly fiberfill cost more.
I gave the fabric scales by spray painting it with a thick netting. It’s a latch hook mesh from another DIY project. As I painted, I moved the netting around a little so the scales are imperfect but more realistic.
With their dinosaur tails on, and these fun dinosaur hats we found at Dollar Tree, the kids were ready for an adventure, so we headed outside. Unfortunately, they no longer sell these hats, but these Children’s dinosaur hats on Amazon are very similar.
The first time we did a dinosaur party we set up a prehistoric trail for the kids to follow. It had a river to cross, some obstacles to go around, and a hole to jump over. We used the foam sharks we had made for my daughter’s pirate party where kids walked the plank. The obstacle course was fun, but a lot of hands-on work to help every 5-year-old kid through it.
Dinosaur Egg Scavenger Hunt
For the second party, we created a scavenger hunt instead. It was more work up front, but less for me to do during the party. I created 7 clues that led to places around our yard, like our lemon tree, a toy tractor, and our garden box. Since this was for kindergartners, the clues were just a paper with the words written on them. It took some time for them to sound out each word. Then I hid the clues inside dinosaur eggs and put them in the correct place around the yard. The final clue led to the playhouse where there was a basket full of Easter dinosaur eggs filled with dinosaur fruit snacks.
My husband got really ambitious and made the dinosaur eggs for the scavenger hunt out of plaster of Paris and a balloon. You can watch the video he used to learn how to make them here. They were cool and the kids had a lot of fun breaking them open, but they were a lot of work to make. Plastic Easter eggs would have worked just as well.
Reverse Musical Chairs
This is one of my favorite party games because, unlike musical chairs, no one gets left out. We started with a plastic dot for each kid (for our Alice in Wonderland party, we used hula hoops instead of dots because the kids were a lot bigger). We played the song “We Are the Dinosaurs” and when the music stopped, everyone found a dot. Then we took out a couple of dots.
This time when the music stopped, kids could share a dot but they both had to have a foot on it. Each time, we took away a couple of dots and more and more kids had to share a dot. By the end, all of the kids are trying to fit on one dot. It’s pretty funny to watch. Maybe that’s why I like this game so much. 🙂
Pin the Horn on the Triceratops
I enlarged a drawing of a triceratops minus one of his horns and cut triangles out of colored construction paper. Just like Pin the Tail on the Donkey, but with a dinosaur.
We did a balloon game the first time we did a dinosaur party that sort of worked, but I want to share it because I really like the idea and it would probably work better for older kids. I got the idea from Mom’s Tot School blog post.
We taped balloons on the wall in the shape of a brontosaurus and taped a tack under each balloon. The kids took turns throwing a bean bag at the balloons to try to pop them. Our little 5-year-olds had a hard time throwing the bean bag hard enough to pop the balloon, even with the tack underneath. I think that kids who are older and can throw a little better would have a lot more fun with this.
We saved the best for last. A couple of days before the party, I mixed together sand, a little cornstarch, and enough water to make it sticky. Then we covered some of the dinosaur skeletons (the same ones we use to make Play-Doh imprints) with the sticky sand and left them clumps to dry.
Just before the party, we buried the hardened sand with dinos inside in our sandbox. I also bought a T-rex skeleton that came in 9 pieces from Amazon. We buried those pieces in the sand too.
The kids all had fun digging for Tyrannosaurus rex bones and dinosaur fossils. They used popsicle sticks and cheap paintbrushes to get the hard sand off of the fossils. And as they found the pieces of the t-rex skeleton, we put it together.
The kids played with dinosaurs in the sandbox for a long time. They played with toy dinosaurs we bought at Dollar Tree and the skeleton dinosaurs from Amazon in the sand. They even built a volcano that I put baking soda and vinegar inside to make it “erupt.” Our sandbox is awesome. You can see how we built the sandbox in this post.
Dinosaur Birthday Cake
With 2 different dinosaur parties, I made a different cake for each. The first cake was pretty simple. I decorated it by taking some extra pieces of cake, mashing them up, mixing them with frosting, and forming them into the shape of a volcano. I added candles inside the volcano and put toy dinosaurs I bought at Dollar Tree around it. I even used a wire to make a pteranodon look like it was flying.
The second cake was more elaborate, with three separate layers. One layer was a volcano, made like the previous cake, but covered in fondant with chocolate lava flowing out. I put a plastic yogurt container in the middle and added water and a little dry ice for a steam effect. The guests (and their parents) were pretty impressed.
The second layer had a tractor digging up the cake with dinosaur footprints and fossils around the sides. Those fossils were super easy to make. I took the toy dinosaur skeletons I got from Amazon (I used them for everything at this party) and pushed it into the cake then pulled it out and it left a dinosaur fossil imprint that looked really cool.
The third layer had a fondant brontosaurus on top and my son’s name around the sides. This was the most difficult cake to make even though it looked the simplest. I think I’m just not good at shaping dinosaurs.
The dinosaur birthday party was a lot of fun, which is why my son wanted to have the same party two years in a row. That’s what I call parent success.
Don’t forget to see how we made the dinosaur egg invitations here! Both the paper mâché eggs and the textured plastic eggs. Both turned out really well and got the guests excited to come to the party.
One last thing, there were a few gifts we got for my little paleontologist that he loved! Here are the links to the dinosaur toys he loved: