Simple, fun dinosaur birthday party

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A week ago, we threw a dinosaur-themed birthday party for our little 3-year-old. I went with dinosaurs because that was what he was into a few months ago, and I ordered the invitations in June (a little early, but I had a credit that I had to use, in exchange for a review I did in May.) Also, that first link is an affiliate link – but it’s the invitations we ordered.

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We only invited very close family members, and a couple of friends who had little boys close to my son’s age. In total, there were 14 people at our house – 6 of them were our friends and their boys. We definitely tried to keep things small this year.

I tried twice to make a dinosaur birthday cake, and both times were failed attempts. I found myself in tears in the grocery store parking lot – about to buy ANOTHER cake mix – and decided that I would just go with a round cake with dinosaur candles. (I bought the candles on clearance at Target last winter.) Weeks ago, I asked my son if he wanted a dinosaur birthday cake, to which he replied, “No! I need a birthday cake! Dinosaur cake is yucky!” I should have taken that as my first clue – do not make a dinosaur birthday cake!

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I did, however, go with a fun, very bright, orange Funfetti frosting. I had to liven my mood. And Buddy the Dinosaur (from Dinosaur Train) is orange, so I thought it fit.

I made water bottle labels and had them printed at a local print shop. I peeled the labels off the water bottles and taped these labels on – and they were just really cute. (The Dinosaur Train digital file is now available in my Etsy shop. I did the same thing after I created the Sesame Street labels last year.)

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And I created a simple party favor for the kids to take home. Dinosaur chocolate pops! I bought the dinosaur chocolate mold (affiliate link) on Amazon, and first attempted Ghiradelli chocolate pops, but they were too much of a dark chocolate (and I know my boy prefers milk chocolate.) The milk chocolate chips are much harder to melt and mold – so we had only enough for the kids to take home. The dark chocolate ones are still in my refrigerator because I was afraid they’d melt and I forgot to send them with the adults.

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My son screams when he hears the Happy Birthday song and he kept telling us not to sing it, so we just had him blow out candles (soon after everyone arrived), we all ate cake and then the kids went outside and played in the sprinklers.

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It was laid back and simple. Just the way we needed it to be.

As far as gift-opening went, we waited until just before people went home to open a few presents. My son gets overwhelmed if there’s too much going on, and this worked well for us. (And my friend even mentioned how gifts aren’t always opened during the party. It helps with thank you cards later, and with overwhelming and jealous feelings from the toddlers. I hadn’t even thought of that!)

The only balloons (with the exception of one Elmo balloon I bought the night before his birthday) were blown up by me and thrown in the floor. He loved them. And I had a pennant banner I made for his first birthday that hung in the dining room. He was upset when it came down. He kept referring to it as his “party.”

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He really wanted the party to keep on going.

It was a good day, a good party and a good time had by all.

Do you go for over the top, Pinterest-worthy parties, or do you tend to keep things a little more laid back? Last year, I went all out. I definitely reigned it in (for me) this year.

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34 Comments

  1. I tend to go more laid back. I like waiting til the party is over to open presents. Otherwise, we have no idea who gave what and the guests don’t really like sitting there watching that part anyway.

  2. i love the dino candles!! and you did awesome with the chocolate pops. you could always add some fun colored chocolate dots and pass them out at halloween

  3. When I first started having parties for my kids, I went all out. Then I realized that they didn’t care if it was a huge affair or not, and I reigned it in.

  4. The birthday theme of dinosaurs was an excellent choice. I love the idea of the chocolate dinosaurs and birthday banner on the wall. It looks like the sprinklers were quite a hit, as well.

  5. I wish I had known about this idea, because it’s so simple, with my boys birthday party this year. I know it seems a bit young maybe for a six year old, but he still loves dinos so much! Loving this, the cake is so pretty to, loving the dino candles!

  6. I used to love planning my kids party’s. We kept it simple as far as decorations went and focused on games and prizes.

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