Sunday, January 16, 2011

A Science Birthday Party

We did a science party for Maddy's 11th birthday party. It was a lot of fun. I thought I would share what we did for it. The invitation was a drawing of a wild haired scientist holding a flask of bubbling green stuff, with google eyes added. (And try as I might I can't get this image upright)

We decorated with caution tape, latex glove balloons, plastic painter dropcloth hanging in strips in the doorways and signs welcoming the guests to Maddy's Scientific Research Facility, Caution: Scientists at Work, Engineering Dept, Cafeteria, Field Research and Chemical Research Lab. The colors were hot pink, lime green and caution yellow. (Don't use vinyl gloves, they don't stretch. And the gloves need to be tied with ribbon or something. You can't twist and tie like traditional balloons.)

I made name badges with the guest's name, a type of scientist and a pseudonym that went with the name. Such as Dr. Dolly Fin for the marine biologist, Dr. Clara Skyes the meterologist, Dr. Pam Demic the epidemiologist, Dr. Ginny D Enay the geneticist, Dr. Gemma Stone the geologist, etc. When the guests arrived, we pinned them on their back. They had to to ask people yes or no questions to guess what kind of scientist they were. Once they guessed it, we moved the name tags around front. I was hoping to have disposable lab coats and googles for them, but waited too long to order them online and couldn't find them locally.

Then they headed to the Lab Cafeteria (kitchen) to eat pizza and drink soda. Afterwards they headed to the engineering dept (dining room) to build structures with toothpicks and marshmellows. This took a lot more toothpicks (400 wasn't enough), and not as many marshmellows (One bag instead of two) as I thought.

A structure similar to this seemed to end up the strongest. We now have a 4 foot long version of it, once a couple of them were assembled together.

Meanwhile, I cleared up the kitchen to transform it from cafeteria to Chemical Research Lab. They came into the kitchen and we did almost a dozen experiments gathered around the island. We had 13 kids, so it was cozy, but worked. I had all of the materials organized by experiment and ready to go before the day of the party, so we were able to quickly move from one to the next. And having the sink and microwave right there was handy. Especially for cleaning up the oobleck up to the elbows. The girls really enjoyed that one, but it was potentially a very messy project. I might hesitate doing that one with, say energetic 8 yr old boys.

The finale was heading outside to do the mentos geysers. We made cardboard tubes to hold the mentos and make them easier to put into the coke all at once, but Maddy really wanted to help do it. She was a little afraid of it, I think, and we ended up losing some of the mints in the snow in the getaway. I'm not sure if that is why they only hit around 6-8 feet high or not. I kinda expected them to go a little higher. The girls seemed to still enjoy them and were in really high spirits. We had to shoo them inside before the snowball throwing got out of control. Thankfully it was cold and they were willing to head in to get warm.

We then came in for cake and ice cream. The cake was a 12 inch pipe with a cap, wrapped in foil in the center of 2 bundt cakes. We were supposed to put dry ice into the pipe to make it seem like it was steaming, but everyone in town who sells it was out. The girls still seemed to like it.

I wanted to find hazard waste bags to use for the goody bags, but couldn't locate any. (Princess parties are definitely easier to find stuff for. There was no science themed party stuff at our big party store, except Sid the science kid.) Instead, I found plain red plastic goody bags and hot glued Caution: Open at Your Own Risk signs on the outside of them. Inside was silli goo, test tube shaped bubbles, pop rocks, smarties, gummy worms, cosmic brownies and those pill things you soak in water to make a sponge animal grow.

Maddy loved it and I think the girls did, too. I heard one of them say they were going to "remember this party forever." That was pretty satisfying. I had wanted to do science as one of our summer classes, but never got around to doing it. This was a fun substitute. I'll post all the experiments in my next post.


  1. Ah! That’s nice! Really liked the food arrangements and the theme. It is different from many other themes. I am sure one of my kids would love to have this theme on their birthday. It will be best if I book an event space Chicago for that because their experiments might just fail (ha-ha)

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