Dinosaurs rule! Names like pterodactyl and tyrannosaurus easily trip off the tongue of my 6-year-old nephew, Calvin, and he and my daughter have spent hours watching The Flintstones and The Land Before Time. Invite your guests to come in cave attire (a furry vest; a toga-tied sheet with "leopard" spots) and turn your home into a mini-Jurassic Park.
Invitations and thank-you notes
Put invitations to your Dino Bash inside a plastic egg. Tie thank-you notes around the neck of a small plastic dinosaur. Hand-deliver or mail these in a small box from your local stationery store.
Make simple egg invitations and thank-yous by cutting poster board into oval shapes and writing the details on one side and putting a dino sticker on the other.
Draw huge dinosaur tracks on felt or brown paper. Cut them out and tape them in a path leading from the sidewalk to the party room and up onto the walls.
Decorate the room with pictures and posters of dinosaurs.
Create a "cave" with large cardboard boxes from your local appliance store, arranged opening-to-opening to make a tunnel for your guests to climb through. Paint the inside black and add glitter or glow-in-the-dark moon and star decorations.
Before the party, hide plastic eggs filled with candies and photocopy two maps with "cave drawings" as clues to finding the eggs. Divide your guests into teams, give each team a plastic bucket, and send them on a Dino Egg Hunt.
With plastic sheets spread on the kitchen floor, kids can make T-Rex T-shirts using sponge-shaped dinos or paper dino stencils and poster paints available at nature stores and museum gift shops.
Divide the guests into two teams for a Dino-Roar Relay. Before the party, make a pair of dino feet by cutting out two identical feet shapes, about 12 to 15 inches from heel to toe, from oak tag or poster board. Cut a shoe box or a tissue box in half horizontally and tape each end, box bottom facing up, to the feet. Use paint to color them bright green, or cover them in fabric. For the relay, the first child of each team puts the dino feet over his shoes and must waddle to the other side of the room (no running!), roar like a dinosaur, and return to the starting point. The next child quickly puts on the dino feet and takes a turn. The team that finishes first wins.
* Using a tape of The Flintstones theme song you've made ahead of time, play Catch a Dino by the Tail. Have your guests sit in a circle. Pick one child to be the dino and tie a long piece of green material approximately two inches wide by one foot long around her waist. As the music plays, she walks around the circle, tapping each child's shoulder. When the music stops, the last child tapped gets up and tries to catch the Dino before she gets around the circle and sits in the empty spot.
* Make Fossil Prints with modeling clay or plaster of paris; imprint the clay with plastic dinos (if you use plaster, rub Vaseline on the dinos to make them easier to remove once the plaster dries).
Goody bags: Guests will take home their T-shirts; a dino poster wall decoration (this helps with clean up!) or sticker book; and a Dinosaur Zoo: Buy colored plastic boxes at a stationery store and fill them with sand and plastic dinosaurs, which you can buy in bulk at toy stores.