Monday, March 7, 2016

The Good Dinosaur Birthday Party!

Little M&M chose The Good Dinosaur as his party theme this year. Scroll on to see the party details!

Invitation

I created this in Photoshop Elements. Pardon where I whited out his name and our address.


Decorations

I created this sign and hung it on the door where our guests would arrive.


Foam hats are $1 each at Michaels, so I purchased a few in our party colors and easily made them into dinosaur heads with googly eyes and white foam. Super quick project and the kids enjoyed wearing them at the party!


Here are two such dinos, my daughter Honey Pot and her big cousin!


And the birthday boy wearing his, as well as a Good Dinosaur t-shirt we bought on Amazon.


This is the display I made for behind the beverage/dessert table. The banner I purchased from Oriental Trading. The posterboard I turned into a glowing #4 using Christmas lights, to imitate the firefly scene in the movie.


Here are the two beverages we offered to the kids. Lava Punch and River Water, with labels I created.


And the desserts! I made funfetti cupcakes with chocolate frosting, chocolate cupcakes with vanilla frosting and sugar and spice cookies with dinosaur footprints.


Also on this table was this firefly in a jar, which we purchased from Amazon, and it is so cute and realistic, flitting around in there!


Here is the table where all of the kids sat to eat their snacks. Good dinosaur plates and cups are from Oriental Trading. We had some Skinny Pop and grapes set up on the table. All other food was on a table nearby.


The Food

Our party time was 2-4, so we just served a few snack foods. For any guests who remained into the evening, we ordered pizza later. I made Herbivore and Carnivore signs for this table. We served sliced apples with caramel dip, strawberry mango salsa with cinnamon chips, maple bacon crack, meatballs and a really cool nacho volcano!!


We followed the instructions at this blog.


Party Games and Activities

We had a few coloring pages and mazes set up at a small table for the kids to do while they waited for others to finish eating. I printed those from here.


Here are some pictures from the first two games we played. Dino Says (Simon Says) and Hot Dino Egg (Hot Potato). We also handed out these crunch bar "medals" to the winners, inspired by this blog.


As a last minute addition to the party, I created this "river" out of a blue Dollar Tree tablecloth and some stones we had out in our yard. The idea was for the kids to carefully cross the stones without falling into the river, and they could "make their mark" on the other end. I had taped a Good Dinosaur picture there (yanked out of the banner I had purchased), and traced my son's hand on it. The kids had so much fun with this simple activity! It was played with throughout the party and through the weekend even, with our overnight guests.


As a final party game, my husband created a dinosaur out of balloons. Since we had young kids, and we were indoors, we didn't want to use darts. So my husband taped a thumbtack behind each balloon. One at a time, each child threw bean bags at the balloons, and if they hit one, it'd POP! Such a fun and exciting game. Inside some of the balloons were numbers, and whoever had the highest total from all the balloons they popped would win the last chocolate bar medal. This was a favorite game for all, I think, and a huge success. The inspiration for this game came from this blog.



Party Favors

For party favors this year I created dinosaur eggs. I followed a paper mache tutorial from here, making two layers and leaving the bottom of my balloons uncovered. Once they had dried, I cut the balloon and took it out. I filled with my party favors and sealed back up with more paper mache. Once dry, I painted them and placed them in a nest I made out of laundry basket and brown craft paper. I had fun doing the paper mache, but it was definitely a time-consuming project!


At the end of our party, the kids went outside and cracked open their eggs. Seeing the fun they were having made the whole project so worth it! They loved this!




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Saturday, February 13, 2016

The Arctic

Books

We borrowed these books from the library this week. We were trying to showcase a variety of arctic animals, and I think we were successful in finding these! Our favorites were A Splendid Friend, Indeed and Over in the Arctic.


Arctic Small World Sensory Bin

I finally bought the Safari Arctic Toob, after having it on my wishlist for many months. I am so glad that I did. My children, especially Honey Pot, loved this activity! I borrowed the idea to leave a hole for a pond from No Time for Flashcards, and it added so much to their imaginative play. I even tinted the water a little blue and threw in some fish from a different toy for the animals to eat.




We stuck this in the freezer and kept it for a couple of weeks. They brought this out day after day!


Race Across the Arctic - Gross Motor Game

I created a little game in Photoshop Elements to play. Each side of the die had a particular arctic animal on it, and some action to complete (i.e. crawl like a walrus and waddle like an emperor penguin). We each had a gem as a game piece and continued across the arctic till one of us reached the end. It was a fun game!


Could you use one? Right-click below:



Icicle Scissor Skills

This was a simple invitation I created, having been inspired by Sugar Aunts.


Water, Land and Air - Arctic Animal Sort

This idea came from Stay at Home Educator. It opened up great conversation about blubber vs. fur vs. feathers.




And speaking of blubber, we had done a blubber science experiment (using Crisco) a couple years ago that would also fit into this unit nicely. Take a look here to see that!





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Friday, January 15, 2016

Hibernation

The holidays were a busy time, as always, but we're back for the new year and excited to continue our themes! First up, to celebrate the winter, we learned about hibernation through a variety of fun activities!

Books

Many of the books about hibernation are pretty advanced for kids or sound like a textbook, but we did find a few fun stories that suited them. Over and Under the Snow was one of our favorites, as well as the adorable Time to Sleep, in which we cross the path of not only a bear, but a handful of other animals who sleep through some or most of the winter as well. Bear Snores On is from our own collection, and has been a favorite for many years.


Roll and Cover - Math Game

I created this roll and cover game in Photoshop Elements for the kids to practice their counting and number recognition. I had intended for the kids to use our snowflake confetti, but somehow it was put away with the Christmas decorations and I can't find it. Cotton-balls work nicely though!



And here's one for you:



Playdoh - Fine Motor and Pretend Play

We whipped up a new batch of homemade playdoh this week. We chose brown to use primarily for building caves and other dwellings, as well as making bear cutouts. I have no process pictures, but the kids enjoyed a good deal of imaginative play with their creations!


Line Tracing

I created this worksheet in Photoshop Elements as well, and slipped it into a plastic sheet so the kids could use dry erase markers to trace them. We talked about some of the different kinds of homes where animals sleep during the winter, as they lead each creature to it.


Want one of these too? Here it is with no lines, so you can customize it to your child's abilities:


Feed the Bear - Literacy Game

I found this fun idea from Mom Inspired Life. We adapted it to our hibernation theme by talking about how animals must eat a lot in preparation for the winter. For Honey Pot, I wrote the sight words she has learned so far in Kindergarten onto her fish.


And for Little M&M's fish, I wrote down the letters of the alphabet that he has learned so far in preschool. The idea was to search the "pond" of gems for fish to feed to the bear.


And the bear likes to know what he's eating, so they had to say which word or letter fish he was about to eat. They both really enjoyed this game, but were in agreement that my bear looked more like a rabbit. Lol. Ah well.


Little M&M returned to this activity a few times throughout the week. And for any letter that he had trouble recognizing, he'd use his alphabet puzzle and sing the alphabet to figure it out! Love his problem-solving skills!


Light Box - Tracing Activity

I wanted to include a light box activity this week, and decided to let the kids try their hands at tracing animal shapes. I created this collage of animals who hibernate using coloring pages from the Internet, and printed it onto vellum paper so that the light could shine through completely. Then I provided the kids with blank paper and assorted markers.


Here is Little M&M tracing a ladybug:


Honey Pot decided to trace the bat. Notice she created a winter scene with falling snow, and even a dying flower! I was really surprised at that detail!


Choose an Animal - Little M&M's Craft

This week I let each child choose which hibernating animal they wanted to do for a final craft or activity. Little M&M picked a brown bear, so I found this printable grizzly bear from Learn Create Love. I provided him with brown and white paint and two different kinds of brushes from which to choose.


And of course for his background paper he picked his favorite color, red. Super cute!


Choose an Animal - Honey Pot's Activity

Honey Pot picked a bat for her final activity. Recently I stumbled across the Art for Kids Hub, where there are several drawing tutorials and videos for kids. Honey Pot loves to draw, so I proposed the idea to her, and she loved it. We found two different versions of a bat on the website, sat side-by-side and followed the instructions together. They were so simple to follow, and we were able to pause if we needed more time. We enjoyed doing this and can't wait to try more. Honey Pot's are the two on the right. I think she did a fantastic job!




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