Well, I don't know how you spent your weekend, but around here we dinosaured ourselves out celebrating Jake's birthday! Everyone had a totally dinoriffic time, and we as always out-dinoed ourselves!
First up? Some amazing skeleton shadows that Misha just free-handed (of course) on black poster board. I love that this was both thematic decor and also a potential rainy-weather activity - scared-face photo op. Lara demonstrates:
Misha then carved this watermelon-saur which we eventually surrounded with delicious blood-red "meat" chunks. Can you believe the tongue in that thing's head? Bonkers!
Luckily, the weather cooperated and we had a glorious day in which to pursue all of our paleontological plans. Following the internet's advice like I always do, I made fossil dig things out of plaster of paris and dirt. Pro tip: if you ignore the ratios that the plaster box tells you to use for mixing with water, and just mix however in small batches that you then just pour over each other, you will end up with multi-colored striations! Just like real rocks! Even more pro-tip: only do this if you don't mind cleaning up a ton of not-entirely-properly-set-plaster.
To keep the kids somewhat clean and also somewhat protected, I whipped up some paleontological aprons and loaded them up with small rock hammers (read: tack hammers), protective goggles, brushes, and magnifying lenses. Whatever they dug up could also go into the pockets. The aprons and finds would also serve as the party favors, avoiding the "bag of plastic crap" dilemma. Did the kids stay clean, you ask? Well, let me counter with another question: what do you consider "clean"?
Inside the fossil blocks were dinosaur skeletons, geodes that could be smashed apart, and polished semi-precious stones. Hammering them apart was the best part of the fossil hunt:
Followed closely by brushing them off:
Followed by some serious appraisal and classification decisions. (Also, check out our thematically appropriate plants - ferns! We have them all over the back yard much like the dinosaurs did back in the day.)
I think you can see from these pictures that the plaster gradually covered our entire back yard. And everyone's shoes. And then the interior of our house. Pro tip: mixing plaster with dirt before adding water makes for easy cleanup later! Vacuum your house and hose down your patio.
We also had another kind of dig in the back of our yard. After pulling up a bunch of the bricks (necessary because I will eventually level and re-brick that whole thing), we realized that the resulting dirt pit was the perfect place to bury some more dinosaur figurines.
Check out Jake's pile of tiny found dinos:
And of course, there would be no party without a dinosaur-shaped pinata. Nothing was funnier than watching all the kids whack this thing with a bat trying to crack it open. I think at some point, Lara figured out its weak spot and her very directed hitting strategy was the winner. Everyone else just went for the head though, which was probably more psychologically satisfying.
Happy Birthday, Jake! I cannot believe you are already 5! I also cannot believe you are only 5!