I really enjoy home parties. It probably is because that's how I grew up, but I just like memories being created at home (or at Mimi and Grandpa's as we often do). Parties at jump places, pizza arcades, and such are fun but sometimes they just feel a bit generic.
Each birthday around here starts with a theme. This year, my oldest son, Brooks, turned 7. In the past we've done themes such as basketball, Star Wars, Superheros, safari, Bob the Builder, etc. This year I just knew he was going to pick a football party. However, I timidly suggested a Mad Science theme and was thrilled when he said yes! Theme chosen, I picked a color scheme and moved forward. Here's how it all went down:
The hand-assembled invitaions (made easier thanks to my mom and her Cricut!)
This was the slime making table.
Insta-Snow from Steve Spangler Science was so, so cool! Easy to do but made a huge impact on the kids. You can buy it on-line from several sources.
The kids had fun makng their own "lava lamps" here. I did realize too late that I should have gotten an actual lava lamp to show them since none of them really knew what one was!
I ordered these geodes from Oriental Trading Company. They were really neat and the kids LOVED them even more than I anticipated. I would recommend ordering more than you need because some proved impossible to break.
In my opinion, the coolest thing we did was Naked Eggs. Because these take a few days to prepare, I made them all ahead if time and had them on display for the kids to touch and look at and then take home. On another table we had various insects in little jars with magnifying glass lids; these were displayed with Brooks's academic fair project for which he had taken various pictures with his computer microscope and then made a lift-the flap style guess what this picture is game.
What can I say, kids + exploding Diet Coke= chaos. The Diet Coke/Mentos geyser was really a blast (pun intended). We did it several times using the different tips in the geyser tube kit--you can order it on-line, but I later saw them at Hobby Lobby as well. Just a word of caution: The unexploded portion of the Diet Coke quickly became used ina Diet Coke battle of sorts--it gets messy. That, by the way, is the reason for Diet--it's less sticky.
Up until this point, I will take credit, but not for this one. My husband declared that there was going to be a volcano at the party. I agreed and began talking paper mache and baking soda and vinegar. He said no--he wanted a big, giant volcano. I told him it was his baby--count me out. Well, in collaboration with his dad, I will say that they produced one heck of a volcano. It had recorded eruption sounds, popping streamers, dry ice steam, and spewing "lava" made of jello. It was a huge hit. Come to think of it, I think it deserves a video segment. Watch the fun:
We also had fun with the food. A chocoalte fountain was filled with toxic slime (white chocolate and food coloring) for dipping pretzels and fruit. Petri dishes were filled with specimens (gummy critters) and green jello Dishes of gummy worms sat ready for disection. Peanut Butter in celery topped with raisons were "Ants on a Log". I ordered a set of cookie cutters from ebay and used the beaker one to cut PB&J sandwiches. Water, labeled H2O was available to drink.
The next activity took some advance planning and got messier than I anticipated but it was worth it. I split the kids into pairs and they made their own ice cream to go along with the cake. It really tasted good and even the adults were impressed.
The party favors were a science book that I got at the 99 cent store, a sparkly green test tube full of nerds, and a booklet giving instructions for each experiment and explaining the "why" behind each one. I found the test tubes without lids at the Dollar Tree (they were supposed to be shot glasses; believe me I got a weird look when I said they were for my 7 year old's party). I also got coordinating plastic shot glasses there which were the perfect size for the Insta-Snow experiment. The test tubes with lids, petri dishes and plastic beakers were purchased on-line.
I'm going to be honest; this was the most exhausting party to plan, prepare for, and execute. It required help from our families and a whole bunch of work. But it was totally worth it. More than one child told me it was, "the best party ever." And more importantly, Brooks was happy, and we created a wonderful childhood memory as we celebrated my first baby boy.
I'm going to post my entire party planning list with the recipes I used and the explanations I published in the party favor book. Please understand that I gathered this info and ideas from all over the place--internet, books, experience. Just click on see more to view the entire document: