Dash, Three Years: A Dinosaur Party

Our boy turned three yesterday and in keeping with Things Sentimental Moms Do on Birthdays, I went into the baby folders and stared at pictures of him tiny–literally just sat there staring, trying to connect picture to memory, tiny lips to the way they felt when I kissed them, long wrinkled fingers to the way they fit in my hand, perfect little head to the weight of it resting on my chest–I remember, I remember, I remember like it was yesterday. And here we are, those tiny feet graduating shoe sizes every few months and those long wrinkled fingers stamped with ink from the stamp pad he found in my office this morning. It feels like he tore through these three years, growing faster than any of my kids ever did, talking quicker, investigating further, chasing after anything that hints of adventure. We love his fierceness and celebrated it jurassic style this weekend with a Dinosaur Party.

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I had so much fun planning this party, knowing how much Dash and his friends would love it. And decorating was easy as most of our decorations and “nature table cloth” came from foraging our yard–plants and palm leaves. There are lots of pictures here if you’d like a little splash of celebration on a Monday. If you’re looking for more specific party inspiration, I saved the details and links of products for the very end of the post.

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My father-in-law has a very large printer as he prints a lot of his own photography in large scale. He surprised us with this poster size print of Dash, and it made the perfect backdrop for the outside dinosaur festivities.

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The food was so much fun to make for this, and Pinterest had loads of ideas for cute ways to incorporate dinosaurs. And a late afternoon party gives you a little more flexibility with what you serve–snacks and sweets as opposed to a full lunch. The Bugles were gone in five minutes and the adults kept asking, “Where’s the Bugles?” because everyone forgot they existed all these years.

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(these nests were super easy to make–a large package of marshmallows, a box of Shredded Wheat–the big squares, torn up–and a stick of butter with some chocolate eggs inside).

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My dad came early to help me, and when he asked “What can I do?” I pointed to the watermelon and half-joking suggested, “Think you could carve that into a T-Rex?” And then he did, without even batting an eyelash.

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Why yes, I served the kids jello shots. Sans alcohol, of course–and they loved eating them with tiny spoons.

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(The cups were super easy to make–just draw some nostrils with Sharpie and hot glue two googly eyes on the front and a strip of card stock cut into scales onto the side.)

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Making Dino Snot (directions and printable label here)…

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He smiled so big when he first saw his cake. And now I want to cram chocolate rocks on the sides of all my cakes because it hides all the flaws.

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My dad also made these adorable “dinoculars” for all the kids, from PVC pipes.

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We took the kids for a dino hunt into the woods where 5 inflatable dinosaurs were hidden on the path, including the grand finale, this giant T-Rex balloon that’s weighted just enough to make it glide.

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Dash loved it, but it took Nella a while to get used to it.

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We were roaring (har har–get it, roaring?) from all the fiasco with this thing. First, it’s huge which automatically makes it funny. But it MOVES which makes it funnier. And then when the wind would pick up and depending on how it was blowing, it would take it to the sky for a minute (lots of screaming and laughing and imagining how one would react if it landed on someone’s windshield while they were driving) or make it RUN. Like fast. It was trucking down the street so fast at one point, I was chasing it and laughing the whole time thinking how hilarious this must have looked to passersby.

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Also hilarious? Gary took Nella inside to read books for a little while, and we weren’t paying attention to the fact that the dinosaur floated on its own over to the window where they were reading. Gary came out frantically yelling and laughing, “You guys! The T-REX! THE T-REX! Are you serious?!” By the end of the party, she was dragging it around and laughing though so all is well.

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The kids’ favorite? Digging for bones. My dad built this sand table where we buried a bunch of dinosaur skeletons, skulls and several geodes. The kids were given paintbrushes and shown how to gently sweep and carefully search for bones like real paleontologists.

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And Dash thought it was hilarious to make Grandma feed T-Rex.

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We celebrate and love our kids all year long, but what fun it was to remember three years ago by going back 100 million years to celebrate. Happy Birthday, Dino Dash.

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Party Deets:

Dinosaur Fossil Cookie Cutters
Chocolate Rocks for cake

Dino Decor 
Jumbo Dinosaur Set by Learning Resources (We bought this as a gift for Dash and used them in decorating. These dinosaurs are really great quality, a fun size, and Nella and Dash love playing with them.)
Mini Dinosaurs–72 dinosaurs for $8. Fun for favor bags, decorations, etc.
Bamboo Fence backdrop (you can get one for around $10 at Home Depot in the garden section)
Kids Safari Hats
Dinosaur Balloons, Triceratops Mylar Balloon

Dinosaur Bone Dig
12-piece Dinosaur Fossil Skeleton Set
Dinosaur Skulls

Dinosaur Hunt in the Woods
Inflatable Dinosaurs: Triceratops, Stegosaurus, T-Rex
Paint brushes–Home Depot

And it just so happens dinosaur prints are trending everywhere this spring.
Dash’s Dinosaur Shirt–Mini Boden
Nella’s Big Bang Theory Dinosaur Shirt–Happy Family
Lainey’s Dinosaur Skirt–H&M
My Dinosaur Bones Neclace

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And dinosaur roaring and growling are trending in our home right now…I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Thankful for three wild years with our adventurous one.

Happy Monday.


Leave a Comment
  1. Holy crow I LOVE your birthday posts! I always am in awe of the creative ways you make these parties even more amazing! I am definitely filing this one away for when I have kids!

  2. Kelle I want that T Rex So BAD!!!!!!

  3. This is great. We have a dinosaur party every year in March (for ‘dinosaur day’ a made up holiday we invented years ago). We’re also looking for new dino ideas. Right now while the kids are little it’s stuff like this, but we figure when they get older it will probably just be a Jurrasic Park movie marathon with snacks.

  4. Um, this is a-mazing. Also, I feel like I understand the root of your mad crafting skills now that I’ve seen the t-rex your dad carved out of a watermelon.

  5. Is your Dad good at absolutely EVERYTHING?!?!? Ohmygahhh I love him. Happy Birthday Dash! Such an amazing boy that so many have watched grow and blossom. I’m so, so, so lucky that I’ve been reading this blog for years and now (finally) have my own son to watch grow at lightning speed. Oh how it hurts my Mom heart to see his tiny, baby features dissolve, but I have so much hope that he will be an exploring, fun young boy like Dash. :)

  6. What a fun party!

  7. Great Party Kelle!!! btw You have the best Dad ever!! skills for days:)

  8. This whole party post was awesome!! So creative and love-filled for that sweet boy!! Happy big 3 Dash!!!

  9. The parties you throw for your kids are unbelievable! Every time I see your pictures, I’m more amazed. I would like to have you throw my husband’s 60th party! He’s not a fan of dinosaurs, but he’s almost as old as one! 😉 Loved the cake and the poster. You have some talented dads, as well! Lastly, I can’t believe your Dash is three. I have been reading your blog and am amazed that time has passed so quickly! Once again; nice job on the party. I’m betting a lot of young moms will be copying your stuff out there!

  10. love, Love, LOVE your kids party posts. So. Much. Fun.
    Chocolate rocks? Dinosaur bones necklace? How do you come up with these things, not to mention find them?? You rock (rock..get it)!!

  11. Happy Birthday, Dash!! What a perfect party for him! I really love your “party posts”!!! xoxo

  12. P.S. That T-Rex balloon ordeal (chasing him down the street) sounds hilarious and awesome, hahaha!

  13. Looks like the kids had a blast. I love throwing kids parties and creating everything around a theme, unfortunately my son is pretty much past those days and just wants a party at the local laser tag center this year.

  14. Heather Larkin says:

    If I was a kid, I would want you to plan all my birthday parties!!!!! You think of everything and it always looks amazing.

  15. You have the best parties!

  16. Fantastic post! Happy birthday to your boy:)

  17. I was so looking forward to reading this post. My daughter turns three in a couple weeks and we are planning a dino party as well. My kids are getting dino tails as a take home gift, but you’ve got some great ideas here. Thanks for sharing Kellie, and Happy Birthday Dash!

  18. Jemma Thomas says:

    Great party! Love, love, love all the details! Did you fill the dino balloons with helium or air? It didn’t fly away? And if it was helium, did it fit in your car to take to the party store to inflate or did you use like three disposable tanks to fill that t-rex? Lol! Super fun party!

    • It’s filled with helium but has several little weights that stick on so it stays grounded…but does glide and lift a little. It comes in a few pieces, so Party City filled them all but put the head and tail in a separate bag so I could get it home. It fit fine in my minivan. Hope that helps!

  19. you ladies are breaking my heart with your big babies!! Im so lucky that my son has promised me that he was never going to grow up!!!!!! 😉 super cute party ideas!!!

  20. Wow! The attention to detail and that huge t-rex balloon are fantastic I bet the adults at the party had as much fun as the kids :-)

  21. Lisa Goddard says:

    What an awesome party. I just have to say, that dinosaur skirt that you found for Lainey could not be more perfect! Love it all!!

  22. You are simply amazing, Kelle…

  23. If you ever get tired of running this blog your real calling is PARTY PLANNER Extraordinaire! Unbelievable patience and attention to detail and so creative!

    • I agree, Sandy! Kelle could hire herself out and make a living with the way she seems to pull these ideas together! Not to mention racking up some SERIOUS airline miles LOL!!
      Happy Birthday, Dash! Looks like you had an AWESOME birthday, big guy!

  24. Adorable! How fun! I want to have a dinosaur party when I turn 41 next year! Can you come to my party and make the jello shots with alcohol please? :)

  25. Brilliant!!

  26. Oh, my gosh Kelle… your birthday posts are always SO FUN. Looks like an incredibly memorable time for all! And the part about the T-Rex creeping in on Nella? Priceless. That’s one that will go “down in history”! :)

  27. OMG…. so much cuteness…. I’ll prob forget something.

    The look on Dash’s face.
    Lainey’s skirt.
    The look on Brett’s face.
    Your necklace!!!
    The watermelon ~ your dad did a fantastic job on it.
    All the food.

    LOVE LOVE your Bday parties!! This one ~ one of my favs. :)

  28. Kelle, this party looks like so much fun! Everything came together perfectly. I love that each idea is so simple – but when combined, party magic! Your kids will really enjoy looking back at their birthday parties. :)

  29. Awesome party!! We used have have a dog named Winston, who ran away often. The only way we could get him back was to yell “hot dog.” I ran down the street on any number of occasions yelling, “Winston! Hot dog!!” to the amusement (and/or irritation) of the neighbors, Your t-rex situation made me reminisce.

  30. Happy birthday little Dash. Kelle I started reading your blog, like really following, just before you made his gender reveal video. Time flies as fast as that T-Rex!! My fave – apart from Dash’s happy little face – is the look of complete besotted love on Brett’s face. Killer smiles all round.

  31. Whoa.
    I’m way over in CA but I’m seriously considering taking a trip out to FL just to attend one of your kids’ birthday parties. My son will be three in June. He is close to Dash’s age. So I’m inviting him to Dash’s 4th birthday party. I’m booking the flight right now…oh, darn. The airline won’t let me book that far in advance. Oh well 😉

  32. Would your Dad adopt me?? I love how involved he is in making magic for your kiddos!

  33. Hahaha! I love this! I love living vicariously through your parties being that this mama has no creative juices flowing unless you count pinterest and stealing it from other people’s brains. :) Oh yeah…and I’m a procrastinator. Looks like a fun day! Happy late birthday Dash!

  34. You throw the best parties!!

  35. Your parties are always fantastic! My son is turning 3 in 2 weeks but I’m 9 months pregnant so… this year he will have to do with a simple playdate + cake with his best friend! But ever since you posted about your North Pole party, I’ve been dreaming to organize it, as my husband is actually from… Finnish Lapland! I’ll probably try it next year :) – Elena

  36. I love your idea, such theme celebrations are wonderful for kids, kids dive into their favorite environmentand feel excited. And the your idea of dig site is a pasteriece, thank you for the ideas and a great mood a got while reading your story! May your son grow healthy and happy!

  37. Forgive the very very late post, but this is incredible!! You’ve got this down, Kelle. It looks like everyone had a great time.

  38. Hi Kelle! Just wondering if you could share how you attached the letters of his name to the back drop? We’re celebrating my son’s 3rd birthday this weekend with a dino party and was wanting to do this! Thanks!

  39. I love your Dad so much. I want him for my very own. So involved, so engaged, so genuine, so loving, so giving, so handy, so everything a Dad should be and more! Happy Birthday Dash! Wait, wasn’t he just born?!??!

  40. Where are those darling pajamas from???

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