Owen is obsessed with gems, minerals, diamonds, and anything that sparkles. It must be the age, because a lot of his friends are into them too. If it’s library day, he’s checking out books about emeralds. If he’s in the backyard, he’s searching for “gems” under the deck. For Christmas, Casey even got him a small pickaxe, so he can break rocks open and search for geodes.
So for Owen’s 8th birthday, I asked if he wanted to have a GEO party with his friends—something based on geology, geometry, and geodes.
He was totally into it.
And it was such an easy party to throw.
I guess because I like to keep birthday parties simple…just a few games/activities, a few treats, and plenty of time for the kids to play.
I also like to keep the groups smaller, about 8 kids or less, so it’s almost like a play date. Cause I just feel like some of the kids get lost in the large group, including the birthday kid.
To prep for the party I gathered some simple treasures that I knew Owen and the other kids would like–fake diamonds, fake gold pieces, rock candy, chocolate coins, and plastic coins. My original idea was to hide gems and gold in the dirt and let the kids go digging for them, like a geologist. But then Casey thought it would be more exciting to have an actual treasure hunt. So while the party was happening, he and Lucy came up with riddles and clues, and hid packages of treasure in different spots around the yard. Then I had little gold buckets for each child to hold their treasures as they found them—which became their party favors to take home!
For the geometry part of the party I covered the table with brown painter’s paper, and as the kids arrived at our house, they could draw shapes and pictures all over the table while eating snacks and pizza.
Then we did something I’ve always wanted to do!
The classic toothpicks + marshmallows thing! Haha. Does it have a sophisticated name? It’s been floating around Pinterest for years. And before Pinterest, I’m sure it was floating somewhere else.
And you know what….it was so fun! Why have I waited so long to do it??
After the party Casey and I even sat at the table and made shapes for about an hour. Simple pleasures. And the kids were so proud of their creations. I think one of these was a space craft??
After geometry fun, we played some other simple games, and had the treasure hunt—which the kids LOVED and went crazy over. They ran from place to place searching for a hidden bundle of treasure (each bundle had something with each child’s name on it).
What would have been really cool—since this is a GEO theme—is to make the treasure hunt a geocaching thing where they have to look up coordinates to find the treasure.
But we stuck with traditional hand-written clues + riddles. And at the end of the hunt, they dug up a small treasure chest from a hole in the ground, filled with all sorts of treasure to share. But the birthday boy got to keep the giant amber diamond.
He loved it.
Then we finished up with a good crowd pleaser:
Chocolate Marshmallow Cake.
I could eat it every day.
And that was pretty much the party, in a short 2 hours! And on a Friday afternoon (I love after-school parties).
Now I just wish I had some more of that cake…
That is such a great party theme! If you’re family is ever in Utah in the warmer months, our family operates a triolobite and geode quarry, kids love it if he would also love hunting for fossils, if you’re ever interested let me know, I’ll hook you up! http://www.u-digfossils.com
(also love the new look of your site!)
Oh awesome! That’s good to know! Thanks Jessica!
Dana realmente me encanta tu forma de exponerte ante tus seguidores me encanta tu familia las cosas q nos enseñas no me queda mas que agradecerte y pedirle a DIos que les Bendiga agradecidad por aportarnos tus conocimientos,
Gracias! 🙂 🙂
How did you negotiate the “no gifts” mandate with your kid? I have been trying with my own daughter for the past two years. She is six now. I talk about how much she already has, and how many family members will be giving her gifts, and maybe she can think about choosing a no gift option for the friends party (or maybe even organizing a mini canned food drive in leu of gifts). She thinks about it, and the thoughtfully concludes that gifts are fun and she would please like her friends to give them.
It’s funny that you bring it up! It’s actually something that’s been on my mind a lot this past year. So I think I’m going to do a separate blog post about it, to see what other’s think also.
How could you tell there were no gifts?? Oh, I guess I wrote it on the invite 🙂
Lori, We have had exactly this conversation with exactly this outcome!
Do you have the book “Sam and Dave Dig a Hole”?? It is really good and one I think he’d enjoy. It’s a picture book, but still one that is enjoyable for older kids, I think. Look it up and see what you think!!! If you look closely at the pictures, you’ll find some surprises!
I love when kiddos want unique party themes! Mine choose them, too. And, while it’s a little more work, it’s so much more memorable. And, as a former classroom teacher, I believe Pinterest knows about toothpics and marshmallows because teachers knew about them way back in the day. 😉 Awesome job, as always!
hahaha. YES. I figured teachers have been doing that since the early 1900s :)….or whenever marshmallows were invented! haha
Love the creative things you did! So fun! I bet the kids all loved it. And I also love the no gifts policy. 🙂
Yea, I’ve leaned more towards no-gifts lately…and my kids don’t seem to miss it….and it’s so much easier for the parents.
I’m actually going to do a follow-up blog post about the topic I think. I’d love to know how others feel about it.
Please encourage this in your young ones. This will eventually show a love of the outdoors. A love that will last a lifetime.
Lovely, party! Looks like a cool theme, and the kids seem to have had a blast. I’m in for the no-gift post update. Another question, how do you avoid inviting the ‘whole class’. That’s the question I always run into and I’m not quite sure how to negotiate. We’ve always said, “no one likes to be left out.” So it seems weird then, when I don’t want all the kids for the party and only besties. My daughter is younger (preschool), and the every kid has a whole class invited party. Its been exhausting.
What a fun party idea! Maybe I’ll suggest that one for my soon to be 8 year old. I’ll have to steal that marshmallow and toothpick idea for my cub scouts! Great job!
Love this idea! Your son and his friends will remember it always. Wish more parents would do something like this instead of hiring a clown, princess, etc…. or taking them to McDonalds.
I love how this theme is unique. Your boy is a smart one. Glad it was a success. Mahalo for sharing; it was fun to read about it.
Have you been to the Inner Space Cavern yet?! We just moved to Austin (bee cave) and over spring break we did a drive over to Georgetown and went on the cavern tour!! It was incredible. My 5 year old loved it, 3 year old enjoyed the adventure, and I can’t wait to go back! Anyway…I’m assuming you’ve been but if not its right next to you and he would LOVE it!
I also like the idea of no gift parties. I think it would be better to give the birthday child their gift from the family. Then all his friend could share in the excitement. Your party theme sounds awesome. While vacationing in NC one summer, we went to the gem mines. It is a pretty big business there. They give you the dirt, and a sieve, and the water runs through a slew, which washes the dirt away. Then they have people who help you identify any gems in your sieve. I don’t know who had more fun, us adults, or the kids, but it was quite a learning experience, and we got some gems to take home. They have a gemoligist on site, who tells you which stones are really good gems.
So cute and fun!! My 10yo is obesessed with geology too. And I just barely threw a gem-themed baby shower for a girlfriend! I put together a whole Pinterest board for it and there’s so much awesome inspiration out there! Our kids are so on-trend 😉
hey Dana! Im a Long time reader and I wanted to share with you that my best friend owns a super cool rock, mineral & fossil shop called World Of Rocks. They have lots for kids and they ship, too! Which is awesome . Their website is under rennovation But it has their i fo and how to contsct them in case Owen has something in mind he really wants, they probably have it. http://www.worldofrocks.com/ they had a huuuge emerald not too long ago, too ☺️
What a great party! I’m happy to say I did an after-school party for my son’s 10th birthday this week and it was super fun and easy too! We had ice cream cones and they had a massive water balloon fight (we filled 300 for 3 boys!).,,,that was pretty much it and they loved it! The invitation was so fun — we delivered filled water balloons with a laminated note inside and and a note attached that had a play on words. Highly recommend simple after-school parties! Happy b.day Owen!!!!