EARLY PREPARATION: I believe that early preparation is KEY to planning a party. Not only did I have 6 months to plan – it helped me to spread the cost out, rather than having it all at once - which was good since I spent more on this party than on most. Another key to starting early is being able to get good deals. Since we knew we were doing a science party we were able to keep our eyes open for things that would be good for our theme. Here are some things I found months before the party:
-2 microscopes at the local thrift store for only $1 each. They made awesome decorations.
-24 bottles that looked like science bottle at the thrift store. They were brand new and we filled them with colored water. They looked really cool when we added dry ice to them.
-10 pack of test tube powdered candy at the dollar store. I attached these to the invitation.
This also makes it so you can search for really good deals online and have time to get them to your house before the party. I wanted to get lab coats and goggles for each child, so I spent weeks looking for the best deal. I was able to get them both for $1.75 per child. This was an awesome effect and the kids loved wearing them. I am glad I chose to buy them.
Another advantage is finding several ideas them making them your own. I loved researching science parties online and tweaking the ideas to what I wanted to do.
INVITATIONS: I made them on SCRAPBOOK MAX. This is what I printed on the envelope front and each child that was invited had their name printed on it. The test tube candy was attached to the envelope.
Here is the invitation I made.
The fun part was how we delivered them. We took them my son’s school class. My mom is a science teacher at the middle school and she came with us. She talked to the kids about the scientific process (we worked this into our birthday experiments since the science fair was coming up and each child had to do one) and then we did some fun science experiments. While the kids went outside to do some fun experiments, we put an invite on each child’s desk. Outside we did Diet Coke/Mentos rockets and let off an air hog rocket that shot 40 feet in the air. The kids were jumping around and were so excited. The huge smile on my son’s face was priceless. I heard several kids say, “This is the best school day ever!” My son's grandma was a big hit and we got the kids excited to come. I sent out 55 invites, invited 62 children, and we had 32 kids show up. Crazy to some – but I loved having that many kids come.
DECORATIONS: I did many things to decorate with so I am going to break it into sections.
1. Drop cloths: I used drop cloths to wall off areas in my house. We have half walls in our LR and music room, so we hung the drop cloth so it blocked the rooms from the entrance. Over the walkways we cut it so the kids could walk through it. It really gave it a laboratory feel.
2. Signs: I printed several signs – danger, restricted area signs to put on doors that I didn’t want them to go in, restroom signs, radioactive signs, the individual labs signs, and several science clipart pictures to post everywhere. When the walked in there were large letters that said, “Ethan’s Mad Lab!” I also ordered a birthday banner that we put out front that said,” Ethan’s Scientific Laboratory of Cool Science Experiment’s and Smokin’ Birthday Fun!”
3. Lab Equipment - Since my mom is a science teacher, we had lots of thing to decorate with. My sister is an explosive scientist and she had donated several real glass science equipment to my mom, so we used those as well. We had several glass jars filled with colored water, a brain floating in water, orbies in glasses, microspcopes, magnifying glasses, etc. Hopefully the few pictures I got will help you have a better idea. We put tin foil on one of my shelves and used a mini strobe which gave it a mad scientist feel. It was real cool.
THE PARTY: We have a large house, so we could set-up several lab and party areas. On the invitation, we asked that the kids come with mad scientist hair, so the kids looked real cool when they arrived. Upon arrival there was a check-in process.
CHECK: IN: We had a table set-up with my laptop and speaker and a small toy that had a fanned out plastic piece and made some cool sounds. We used it to do a “retinal scan, and them the computer said, “Welcome Doctor Smith, your retinal scan had cleared, you may now enter the laboratory.” We did this by using a text to speech website, and we had all the words typed in before-hand and then changed the name as each child check-in. The kids though it was so cool!! We had one person doing the retinal scan as another typed the child’s name into computer. They then walked through the plastic drop cloth into our music room, where we had another table set-up and they got their supplies. Before-hand I printed a name badge for EVERY child invited. They got their name and added their fingerprint to it, and then we slipped in into a plastic badge cover so they could pin it on. I also had printed up lab schedules, which I color coded, so we could have about 6-8 kids in each lab. The child got a color sticker to know which lab group they would be with, a lab schedule, a radioactive stick (glostick,) a biohazard bag to collect their specimen samples (party favors,) a lab coat, and safety goggles. Then they walked through another doorway of plastic into the first lab.
MOLECULE STRUCTURES: Everyone did this one together, while we waited for all the kids to arrive and get checked-in. I had 4 tables set-up with a box of toothpick’s, small red paper plates, and a bag of mini colored marshmallows. They got to build marshmallow structures any way they want. The kids made some really cool ones.
The kids then moved to their individual groups and rotated labs, based on their lab schedule. Each lab was 10 minutes and we use an air horn (from the $store) to end each lab.
ERUPTIONS: This was in our kitchen. I had 4 cookie sheets laid out, with 2 large red solo cups on it. There was one cup for each child. Fill each cup about ½ full with hot water. Have the kids drop a few drops of dish soap into the cup. The adult then takes small chunks of dry ice and drops them into the cup. It immediately starts erupting bubbles. When the kids grab them or poke them the bubbles pop and out comes the fog from the dry ice. The kids loved playing with this. They only have small amount of soap on their hands, and it isn’t even sticky. Just have them rinse their hand before the next lab. Each child was given a necklace or keychain to put into their bag. I bought small ampule bottles off ebay, filled them with colored water and seed beads, glued on the cap, and hooked them to a necklace or a key chain. (Looking back – I wouldn’t do this again. I ordered the bottles off ebay and was hoping they would be big enough to fill with oil and water, creating a lava lamp look, but the bottles were too small. Although I already had the leather necklaces and key-chains, the ampules were a big expense and not the theme I was going for)
OOZE AND GOOZE: I had saved my baby food containers for this activity. They had snap on lids. I added some white school glue to cover the bottom of the container and added a little water. I stirred in neon green food color and some glow-in-the dark-paint. I made cute little radioactive slime labels to cover the gerber words and the food item words on the sides. This activity was done at my craft table downstairs, which was right next to the bathroom, which was the radioactive room. We put a black light in there so the kids could tell if it was radioactive (glowed under the light). I set one food container for each child and I gave them each a wooden craft stick to stir it. I had mixed borax in water and I poured a little bit into each child’s container and they stirred it until it turned into slime. Then they looked at it under the black light. They got to take home their slime.
MAGNETIC ATTRACTION: I bought some petri dishes online. (Ebay) I filled them with a small amount of magnetic powder (got this from my mom, not sure where she got it) and glued the petri dish closed. I bought little magnetic buttons (Walmart) and the kids got to play with the magnetic petri dish and take it home. I also had snake eggs, magnetic rocks, and lots of magnets for them to experiment with.
NOW THAT”S COLD: We bought some instasnow from the Family Dollar. (It was $2 for a tub and we only used ½ scoop per child – It grows a lot! We didn’t even use ¼ of the bottle for 32 kids!) You can also buy it online, but it is more expensive. I have even seen it at the $Store.) Each child got a small amount put into their hand and they used pipets to add drops of water until it turned into snow. I gave them little Ziploc snack-size bags to take their snow home.
BLAST OFF: We used little diabetic canisters that my uncle had saved for us, but if you can find them, film canisters they work too. We filled them with a little water and gave each child a packet of 2 alka-seltzer and let them break them into 4-5 small pieces each and they put them in the canister and watch the lids pop off again and again. We did this activity outside. They got to take home the canister in their bag.
Next we had the kids come in and open presents and do the exploding molecules, while we set-up the sundae lava bar.
EXPLODING MOLECULES: I wanted a fun way to give the kids the candy, but in a different way than a traditional piñata. So we decide to create a balloon molecule structure and fill the balloons with candy. This was done in trial and error. I searched all over online and I couldn’t find anything. We used punching balloons (3 for $1 at the $store). These work well because the neck is thick and long and the balloon is thicker than most. We chose several different colors. My husband would hold the neck open and stretch it to provide about a 2 inch opening. I would stuff the candy in until I could fit no more. We then used an air compressor to fill it up. We then opened the neck again and as quickly as I could, I would stuff in more candy. The blowing up of the balloon would make it so we could add the rest of the candy. We filled each with 50 small pieces or 25 large pieces into 2 balloons. Once we had the desired amount of candy, we filled them with air and tied them. Do not overfill with air, as we lost one balloon and had to refill the candy. My husband attached them to some dowels crisscrossed. We filled the balloons different sizes and he hooked them so that the dowels were balanced. We hung this from the ceiling. Then when the kids were ready, he popped the balloons with a push-pin. Once he had popped 2, it seemed to cause a chain reaction and then they popped by themselves and caused the candy to explode out and onto the floor. It was really cool.
VOLCANO CAKE: My mom made a cake using 3 different cake pans to create a volcano shaped cake. She frosted it in a dark black frosting and sprinkled crushed Oreos all over it. She used red melting candies and dripped on the lava. We used a tall skinny glass vase and it slipped perfectly inside the cake. We filled it with water and then dropped dry ice into to create the volcano exploding. She then used red cellophane and put it inside the top of the vase to complete the look. We did this while the kids sang Happy Birthday, but saved the cake for later that night for the family party. (It was his brother’s one year birthday family party)
I also took petri dishes and filled them with yellow jello and small gummy circles and gummy worms, so the kids each got their own “grown bacteria” to eat.
SUNDAE VOLCANO: I made labels for the sundae volcano bar – volcanoes, ash, rocks, lava, smoke. We bought small clear plastic cups and added a scoop of ice cream in each. These were the volcanoes. The kids would get theses and then add what they wanted on their sundae. We had crushed oreos for ash, chocolate chips, toffee bits, and pop rocks for the rocks, and strawberry syrup, chocolate syrup, caramel, and hot fudge for the lava. We added whipped cream if they wanted it. We then took larger red plastic cups and fill them about 1/3 with water. We dropped in a small chunk of dry ice and then dropped the small plastic cup filled with their sundae into the larger one. This created the exploding volcano effect and looked so cool.
H2O WATER BOTTLES: I made labels for water bottle that said h20 and had the h2o molecule picture on it. I taped these to the water bottles. I gave each child a water bottle and a single koolaid packet so they could create a “chemical change” of their own, by making their own punch.
The kids went outside where I had tables set-up to eat. Then, while we waited for the parent’s to pick up their children, we had a fog/bubble machine set-up and let them pop the bubbles and play with the fog.
TAKE HOME GOODIES: I made an experiment manual that said, “Thank You for coming to Child’s birthday” and had the experiments that we did at the party, so they could do them later if they wanted too. They also took home: Lab Coat, Goggles, Glo-stick, Name Badge, Biohazard Bag, Lava lamp Necklace, Slime they made, Alka Seltzer Bomb canister, Perfume Bomb, Petri dish magnet, instasnow, and candy.
Lab Manuel: I printed these on 8 x 11.5 paper, cut them in half and stapled them together. Super easy!
Thanks for reading –