Bennett loves and adores his older brother and it was no surprise that he wanted his 8th birthday party to be just like Hunter’s. But Bennett has different interests than Hunter and I knew we could find a theme that would better suit his interests – so we created a science experiment party. The key to impressing 8 year old boys – is dry ice. I might need to buy it more often just because it kept them entertained for a good while!
Here’s what we did to entertain the kids:
HOMEMADE DRY ICE, ICE CREAM
We started by making dry ice, ice cream. I didn’t test this before hand and we were taking a gamble by doing it with the boys but it was a hit. I used this recipe from www.addapinch.com. I had to make the base before hand but then it was just sitting in the fridge ready to go. We used a mallet to break up the dry ice until it was a find powder. We slowly added it to the ice cream mixture and the boys took turns stirring. The dry ice makes the mixture bubble and starts to thicken. Keep stirring. Slowly add more dry ice and let it bubble out. Make sure it gets stirred really well so there’s no chunks left. We put the ice cream in the freezer until we were ready to eat it.
HOMEMADE DRY ICE ROOT BEER
With dry ice, ice cream, naturally, we needed to make root beer. Once again, the kids loved helping. We found McCormick root beer extract at the grocery store. Here’s the ratio we used for one gallon.
- 4 quarts (16 cups) cold water
- 2 1/2 cups (1 1/4 pounds) sugar
- 2 1/2 tablespoons McCormick Root Beer Extract
- 1 pound broken dry ice
Next we took the kids outside and made a rocket using a liter of diet coke and 7 mentos. I watched a lot of you tube videos and read all sorts of science articles and evidently, this combination is ideal. Not Sprite. Not Coke. Diet Coke and 7 mentos. Hunter was the assistant lucky enough to put the mentos into the soda. He used a piece of paper and rolled it up with the mentos inside. He used that to get the mentos into the soda. I also found a cool contraption on Amazon that is supposed to do this even better, it just wasn’t going to get to me in time for the party. I’m still tempted to buy it.
The kids loved this. They loved it so much we had to do it more than once. And the kids’ parents are going to love me because I sent each kid home with soda and mentos so they could do the experiment on their own. (funny enough I saw a neighbor boy with his soda and mentos outside this afternoon with his siblings making their rocket!)
DRY ICE EXPERIMENTS
If you do a google search online you can find all sorts of kid-friendly experiments with dry ice. We did the crystal ball over and over again – the kids never grew old of it. Take a bowl of dry ice and water, and with a cotton strip soaked in soap/water mixture run it over the top of the bowl and it will create a bubble that fills with gas. It will eventually pop on it’s own and release the gas, or the kids had fun popping it.
We filled a cylinder with water and dry ice and added dish soap. Bubbles start to grow out of the cylinder and the gas is released.
We made little dry ice rockets with medicine syringes. We filled the syringes by removing the push stick, and then I held my thumb on the small opening to make sure water didn’t leak out. I put small crumbles of dry ice in the syringe and put the push stick back in. Slowly the gas would build and then it would shoot the push stick into the air. The boys would scramble to try and catch it.
On top of it all they just really liked to watch dry ice come out of the bowl! It’s fascinating for every age category.
At the end of the party we served the home made root beer and ice cream and I was rather impressed with the results. The ice cream was really creamy – it would be a great recipe in an ice cream maker!
Hunter said we skeptical that we would actually do any experiments that were fun – he was impressed with the whole thing. Bennett was beyond thrilled with the results which made everything worth it! It was just the right fit for him.
I mentioned my niece’s baby shower back here and here. At the time she was 36 weeks pregnant and didn’t know if she was having a boy or a girl. A month later she’s holding a healthy baby boy in her arms. What a difference a month can make – especially in the last month of a pregnancy! A family friend hosted the gathering; we had a beautiful brunch with a sweet and savory buffet with simple decor.
This is the definition of a support team – look at this family love. Cousins, aunts, great aunts, mom, sister…and others related but I’m not entirely sure if there second cousins, 1st cousins once removed…lets just say a whole lot of love and even more excitement of having a newborn baby in the family again.
My niece had her baby shower last weekend and I think her family is not so patiently waiting for this bundle of joy to join the family (first grandchild!). They decided to wait until the hospital to find out if its a boy or girl so a gender neutral shower was a must. Here’s the invite which speaks to my niece’s clean and simple style. It fits her perfectly!
Hallie had her last themed birthday party this year. It was tricky to come up with a theme that was appropriate for the teenagers that were going to be attending. But Hallie seemed to have a clear vision from the start – she wanted a glow-in-the-dark party. Which took me longer to figure out than I thought it would – which meant she had a party two weeks after her birthday.
Originally I was thinking glow in the dark games in the backyard with glowsticks. Somehow that morphed to using a gymnasium and black lights and it was awesome.
Here’s a couple things I learned while planning this. I looked at renting backlights and they were a little pricey. I then started looking at buying them but a quick search on Amazon will tell you that the options are endless from all sorts of vendors and the prices range from cheap to expensive. I bought a set that had great reviews – only to realize, they weren’t really black lights, they were purple lights and they are not the same thing. I returned three spot lights and bought 4 bar black lights. They were more than enough for the space we were in and they made things glow great.
Here’s a little tip: When you go out shopping for things for the party – take a small black light so you can see if they glow. Some things seem bright and fluorescent and yet it didn’t glow. For those of you not in scorpion country, you may not have a black light readily available – I noticed several things at Party City noted that they would glow under blacklight.
I found bright fluorescent fabric at Joanns and my black light proved it would glow. It was by far the brightest decoration under the blacklight and Hallie made the fabric banner. We also used those strips of fabric and tied them around the girl’s head or waist to help them glow in the dark. (We also suggested all the girls wear fluorescent or white clothing to make sure they would glow.)
We started by painting UV friendly finger nail polish on all the girls and they each made a sign with their name using highlighters. I found that yellow and orange highlighters glow really well and I bought a huge box to make posters. When making the posters, the girls realized that highlighters used on their bodies would also glow. They used up a large box of 24 highlighters by drawing all over their bodies. I looked at buying UV face paint and I’m so glad I didn’t waste the money. Buy highlighters!!
Coming up with games in the dark took some thought. Here are three games that were a hit.
Cupside Down: A game where one team tries to turn all the cups upside down and the other team tries to turn them right side up. At the end of the time, whoever has the most their way wins. If you want to play with more than 2 teams, you can buy each team a different color cup, and the team with the most of their colored cups turned right side up when the time runs out wins. We played with four teams and four different color cups. After playing some rounds as individually teams we started pairing two colors together to form a single team. We set the clock for one minute and the girls ran around frantically flipping cups. These cups are UV friendly and were perfect for this game.
Hungry Hippo: I’ve seen these life-size versions of hungry hippo floating around the web and recreated it in a black light setting which was hilarious. It was hard to get any decent pictures but we used four long boards (skateboards), a couple of buckets and a whole lot of tennis balls (which are great in the black light). The girls took turns laying on the skateboards and their partner pushed them in and out of the center of gym grabbing tennis balls with their bucket. We had those girls screaming and laughing the whole time.
Ball Toss: Because the tennis balls were so fun in the black light so centered another game around them. We had multiple baskets worth different amounts of points and the girls tossed balls to try and gain the most points as a team.
The girls had the best time and Hallie was so grateful for such a fun party – a party which she played a major role in the preparation. I created a glow in the dark party bucket for the garage and I’ve got a feeling we’ll be pulling it out a few more times.
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