Little G loves dinosaurs. So at her suggestion, we held a dinosaur picnic party. This was her first party so I wanted it to be special and memorable for all of us. I wanted to keep it small and sweet and manageable. So I decided to keep it age appropriate (you don’t need games for three year olds) and low key (holding it at home).
What I did:
- Chose a theme – Dinosaurs!
- Chose a colour theme – yellow and aqua…sunny happy colours.
- Picked up some cheap yellow spotty bunting to decorate the garden with (or party flags as Little G calls them!)
- Picked up lots of balloons…yellow and aqua (plus organised for a bunch of helium balloons via Balloon Wise…never underestimate how much children love helium balloons!)
- I found a box of cheap plastic dinos (£1 each) and spray painted them yellow, adding little turquoise ribbons…these were then hidden in the garden for the children to find and keep (a mini dinosaur hunt!)
- Made a couple of big cardboard dinos (one in the garden and one on the table)
- Cut out enough small cardboard dinos for each child to decorate (I went to Tiger in Brighton and picked up some ‘googly eyes’, crayons and stickers for the children to get crafty)
- Transformed some standard party hats with some dinosaur spikes! (they looked so cute in these!)
- Made aqua coloured vanilla cupcakes (with dinosaur sprinkles on top)
- Put down big blankets and cushions at the end of the garden for the ‘crafty’ area and then the dinosaur picnic.
- Made sure the slide and trampoline were dusted down.
- Drew a couple of ‘dino’ paw prints in green chalk on the patio.
- Made sure the parents had their own croissants and strawberry jam to enjoy (plus offered tea, fresh coffee and Bucks Fizz).
- Kept the party to one and half hours…though it was more like two hours in the end which was fine.
What I didn’t do:
- Didn’t go overboard on the food…one dino shaped sandwich each, some party sausages, Pom Bear crisps (because they are a party must!), cut up sticks of carrots and cucumber, followed by strawberries, then some mini party rings, then cake time!
- Didn’t stress over making a cake. If you are a cake goddess then do it, but otherwise, as long as there’s cake, it doesn’t matter. Along with my cupcakes (which I can churn out at the blink of an eye), I got a big tray jelly bean party cake (£5 from Waitrose) and added extra sprinkles, including silver balls, dinosaur and hearts.
- Didn’t do party bags. They had their dinosaur from the ‘dino hunt’, a balloon and a piece of cake to take home. They were very happy with this.
- Didn’t invite too many children. There were going to be eight in total, but two didn’t make it. Six children made the perfect number to be honest.
- I didn’t mix up the guests. I was anxious to please everyone (friends, family etc), but decided that for Little G it was best to keep it to just a few nursery friends and their parents. It worked perfectly and helped keep it all relaxed as we all had something in common.
- Didn’t hire a hall…our back garden was free.
- Didn’t end up drinking Gin…that was how totally stress free the party was!
- Some of the children went straight the ‘crafty’ dinosaur area.
- Some of the children went straight to the slide to play.
- One child just stayed indoors playing with Little G’s doll’s house.
- Each child is different, so there was something for everyone…physical play and quiet play.
- The children all wanted physical play after a bit of cake! So it was good leaving the cake bit towards the end.
- They couldn’t believe they could take home one of the dinosaurs (one child kept asking me ‘are you sure I can take it home?)
- They all tried to get on the trampoline at once…but were very good taking it in turns on the slide.
- Little G told me the garden looked ‘beautiful’ (I want to keep up the bunting for the rest of the summer…plus our Foxgloves chose her party day to open…thank you)
- Little G said after ‘I loved my party more than anything else in the whole wide world‘
- And when I asked her what were her favourite parts of the day, she said ‘balloons, trampoline, slide, dinosaurs, cake and pretend cakes!‘…(the pretend cakes being a gorgeous wooden cake set from Grandad and Granny B who came to help us finish off the cake later in the day)…what this shows is that simple is best!
- And finally…having the parents keep complimenting our approach and the whole party was a real win. Nothing like other parents saying how lovely and chilled out our party was…and that it was the most civilised children’s party ever! Now that made me really smile…that and Little G’s happy face…perfect.