Most of you will know I enjoy planning parties and tend to treat each party as a HUGE project.
I had heaps of fun prepping for Sean’s dinosaur-themed birthday party this year. This is the most ‘work’ I have ever done for any party (even though there were still many ideas I wasn’t able to follow through due to time/resource/two-kids-clinging-to-my-leg constraints). I did all this in the span of one week (on top of work and being Mummy) – if I can do it, anyone can!
I thought I would share some of the ‘behind-the-scenes’ details with you:
Birthday number tee – I have been trying to teach Sean to recognise numbers and thought it would be apt for him to have a number ‘3’ shirt for his birthday. I didn’t know where to look for one so I made my own. I traced a number 3 onto some leftover fabric, cut it out, ironed on some fusible interfacing (my first time trying it) and machine-sewed the applique onto an old t-shirt of his. I left the edges raw so that it has that undone, distressed look (and also because the zigzag stitch on my mother’s ancient sewing machine was not working!). Easy peasy, all done in 15 minutes!
I was planning to make a matching onesie for Ryan – maybe with a dinosaur instead of a number – but ran out of time!
Dinosaur party hats – I saw some nice dino hats online and figured they were quite easy to make. I printed a template of a kids’ party hat and added my own spikes. I had a lot more girls than boys in our guest list (whom I thought were maybe not that crazy about dinosaurs) so I decided to use pink cardstock paper for the girls’ hats. I used thin elastic that is usually used as waistbands for pants – the kids said the hats were comfy to wear and the elastic didn’t hurt or snap easily. A few surprised me by wearing their hats all night!
Birthday bunting – I made a simple birthday bunting with some green and blue cardstock I had on hand. Was going to cut out a big scary T-rex silhouette and stick the word ‘3rd’ on it but then, I didn’t get around to doing it!
(Every year, I keep telling myself I can recycle the banners but I keep making new ones!)
I also caved and bought a Meri Meri dinosaur garland coz the dinosaurs with the wiggly eyes were so cute! Plus, all Meri Meri party stuff are on 50% off at ET Artisan Sweets right now.
Photo wall – I dug through my photo archives and printed a whole bunch of pics of Sean’s third year (a lot of them featuring Ryan’s addition to the family). The original plan was to select 12 for a photo line, one for each month of his third year but I couldn’t decide which ones so I put up all of them. Everyone had a good laugh looking at the pictures of the kids from the past year and were quite amazed by how tiny Ryan used to be (Sean looked consistently the same size throughout)!
‘Make your own dinosaurs’ activity station – I traced and cut a bunch of different dinosaurs from drawing block paper and provided wiggly eyes, popsicle sticks, dot stickers, crayons, markers and glue. It was simple enough activity for the kids (who were of varying ages) and they came up with some really adorable dinos 🙂
You can find craft stuff from shops like Popular, Daiso, Art Friend, Spotlight or scrapbooking shops.
Another idea I had in mind was getting the kids to make their own dinosaurs out of paper plates (fold in half and add corrugated cardboard as ‘spikes’) but I forgot to buy corrugated cardboard so that was scrapped.
I also bought some dinosaur origami paper but I thought the kids were too young for it 😉
On hindsight, I probably could have provided some dinosaur-themed colouring pages coz some of the older kids were craving to do more crafts!
Next year, maybe we will attempt some games for the children 🙂
‘Ancient Snacks Corner’ – When we chanced on the Munch Munch pop-up stall at Tanjong Pagar Railway station, I was suddenly inspired to put together a snack corner with childhood biscuits and tidbits we grew up with. Something not just for the kids but for the adults too. I placed some cupcake cups next to the display so everyone could help themselves.
If I had more time, I would have gone out to buy more variety like Tora, Dang Dang, Kaka, Mamee, etc and maybe some Othello/Snake and Ladder game/country flag erasers for a more nostalgic effect 🙂
Dinosaur tails – In line with the theme, I made a few fabric dinosaur tails for the kids to play with (using this tutorial). Relatively easy if you know how to use a sewing machine and the effect is super cute!
Crayon art folios – I wanted something special and useful for our little guests to bring home so I improvised on my previous crayon roll design and turned it into a small art folio with a notepad for doodling on! Compact enough to toss into the bag when you are on the go. Definitely took a few tries to get the design right. This took the most time to prepare (I was still sewing the buttons on the morning of the party) but I really loved how it turned out. I hope everyone likes it and puts it to good use!
The only thing I couldn’t figure out was how to tie the art folio to the dinosaur theme! Yes, these sort of minute details can bug the hell out of me :p
(I contemplated cutting and hand-sewing felt dinosaurs onto the front of the folio but the husband stopped me and told me they were absolutely FINE as they are. That’s why I married the guy!)
Another idea I had for goodie bag giveaway was dinosaur-shaped crayons. I bought the dinosaur mold but chickened out in the end because I wasn’t so hot on the idea of melting messy crayons in my brand-new oven! I even suggested to the husband that we buy a new toaster oven to do the job but he thought I was quite mad. Am sure they would have looked super cute though!
Birthday cake – We baked our usual chocolate fudge cake and I decorated it with bento ‘grass’, small plastic dinosaurs and palm trees from Sean’s toy collection and coloured chocolate ‘rocks’.
I wasn’t too pleased with the lettering coz I ran out of white icing halfway through ‘Happy 3rd birthday Sean’ and had to complete it with chocolate rocks. Ugh.
Some other ideas I had: Make a ‘Dino Dig’ cake. Bake two same-sized cakes and ‘bury’ the dinosaurs in between the layers for the kids to discover. But I had a surprisingly hard time looking for small plastic dinosaurs in Singapore. I really like the Toob ones that Sean has – they are well-made, are of a nice weight and not cheap/tacky-looking – but the only places I knew that sold them were the Singapore Zoo and the Duty Free shops inside Changi Airport, both of which I wasn’t planning on visiting anytime soon! I could have gotten them online (from Amazon but was really short on time). My last alternative were Glow in the Dark dinosaurs that I saw in Cotton On Kids – I think they would have worked very well coz they are white which made them look like ‘fossils’ but I didn’t follow through with the idea in the end.
Cupcakes – Together with the Meri Meri dinosaur garland, I also got a matching cupcake kit. I was adamant on baking cupcakes just so I could use the cute dinosaur toppers. If you must know, we started baking the cupcakes very late and didn’t manage to make the cream cheese frosting so the cupcakes were served plain :p
Balloons – I didn’t like the helium balloons we got this year (Foops got them from some random balloon warehouse). They were tiny, looked quite dull and barely lasted through the night. The ones we had last year (from the party shop in Holland Village) were so much nicer. PFFT! If I could do it again, I would have chosen some big glossy latex green/blue/brown/grey balloons with spots (like dino eggs) for the party.
Food – I wish I had done more in the Food department. I had plans to come up with some fancy names for the dishes like ‘Volcano Lava Noodles’ (spaghetti bolognese), ‘Dinosaur Paw Fossils’ (fried potato pieces in the shape of a paw), Herbivore’s greens (stir-fry veg) or ‘Pterodactyl Wings’ (chicken wings) but I didn’t have time!
That about wraps everything up. You can bet I am all dinosaur-ed out by now.
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