Science Lab themed 4th Birthday Party

Context

For my son’s 4th birthday party, I was going to go low key.  That is my intention every year since his first birthday. We did the big birthday thing the first year. And I loved it, but I doubt that he remembered anything at all. Therefore I thought, okay, let’s do a second birthday party, and at this event something happened that I did not expect.  He was SO SURPRISED and so vocally grateful my little mother’s heart just swelled with happiness and every time I think that I will go low key this year, I can’t. I see his eyes light up and his baby voice squealing “thank you Ammu, this is the best birthday ever!” 

I start a pinterest board and for a lack of a better word, go off the deep end.

This year I was thinking robots would be a good and easy theme.  There is so much on pinterest already. So I would just whip up something fun and be done with it.  I pinned all my favorite ideas and put a whole bunch of stuff in my amazon cart and was feeling like this was a #momwin

WRONG. It was a #momfail.  My kid comes to me and says, “Ammu, I want a virus and bacteria themed birthday party!” 

You what?

Basically, he has been spending a lot of time learning about viruses and bacterial infections from my brother in law and he is fascinated!  

Science is not my forte.  I didn’t take most science courses after grade ten so you can imagine my creativity hitting a rut.  However, he is my first child client and I really wanted to make him happy. We came to a middle ground and decided on a science lab theme and I basically dove into all the fun science-themed details. 

Science Themed Elements and Decor

The first thing I thought of was the periodic table of elements.  This needed to be a part of the design. I took to Canva and created Azu’s own element.  The design was simple enough and could be used for various purposes.  I could have used them as thank you cards, a banner, a design element that i could use to customize favours. However, I had to reel in my thoughts so I opted to send the design over to t-shirt printer and had her print it on a shirt for Azu to wear for the party.  What a fun and great way to ensure Azu has a fun memento from each of his birthdays! 

I made a balloon garland to use as a backdrop behind the dessert table.  I thought to use smaller balloons because they look like molecules and are much easier to manage outside in the heat. (Larger balloons will pop if it’s hot outside.)  I love balloon garlands because this is such a modern twist on an old birthday classic. I mean, is it really a birthday if there are no balloons? I don’t like the traditional balloon bouquets so this option is perfect for me! 

On the table all I could think about was beakers and graduated cylinders.  I bought a few sets of glass flasks and beakers from amazon.  I also bought a few jugs and carafes from Ikea that doubled as jumbo beakers and graduated cylinders.  This meant that for minimal effort we were able to set the scene in a fun way.  We filled the glass items with water coloured with food colouring and dropped dry ice into the beakers every 20 minutes or so for the fun bubbly effect and the smoke.  The parents and kids loved it and some kids were curious enough to ask how it does that. It gave us the opportunity to explain the fun chemical reaction as well. I knew I did not want to display the desserts in a conventional ways; because, dishes are not found in labs… Hello, I did warn you that I tend to fall off the deep end during theme development.  I opted to use baking trays and baking pans to create height and give that sterilized metal – lab feel to the table. I had wished for a more metallic finish on the trays, as they were dark, but you win some and you lose some. 

I love creating my own printables on Canva However I was scouring the hundreds of fun printables now available through etsy and I fell in love with an editable party printables pack.

I love editable printables because they are instant downloads and you don’t have to worry about shipping being late.  I love the option of being able to make last minute changes as needed and it’s not a huge expense. Click here to see the printables I purchased. I used almost all of the items found in the bundle.

Desserts

When I do a dessert table, I don’t believe in filling up the whole table – unless you do this for a wedding.  This is a birthday party, that too, at home. I like to pick an odd number of desserts or split the desserts evenly and do two trays of each. so that I can place the cake in the center and do a mirror of items on either side.

On the table for our science themed dessert table were:

Science Lab Slime Cake – I chose vanilla because this is always a winner. I love drip cakes and wanted to incorporate it into my son’s cake. But the best part of this cake was that it was a secret passage cake.  When you cut into it, sprinkle came flowing out! The kids had a field day! And each slice got serves with a side of sprinkles! WINNER!

Biohazardous Cupcakes – We added cupcakes this year, most years I wouldn’t because I feel like cakepops and cupcakes are redundant when you have cake.  But this year we had a one tier cake and were worried that we would run out of cake. Well I am glad we made that decision because the cake was totally gone and we only had 4 cupcakes left!

Science Element Cookies – Remember how I said I made a custom element for my son.  This is another place I utilized it. I got in touch with a custom cookie maker and she was able to recreate his element in royal icing! 

Petri Dish Jello – I made halal jello in the party colours and set them in bead organizers that I found at michaels – they look like petri dishes. Then topped them with sprinkles and they looked like bacterial cultures! They were tasty and gross at the same time and my science obsessed BIL was very impressed.   

Atomic Oranges – Always have fruit on the dessert table because not every child eats sweets and in summer time, the freshness is a treat!

Activities

For the kids we had set up a slime station.  We created work stations for each kid. We gave them all the ingredients to make the slime and took them through each step.  The kids had a great time mixing glue and shaving cream and some other chemicals and the parents were glad that it didn’t happen in their homes.

We also had a science demo where my sister and brother in law, dressed up as mad scientists and showed the kids how to:

Inflate a balloon using baking soda and vinegar

How to get a circuit going using a potato

Elephant toothpaste chemical reaction

It was a riot! It was also super fun and educational and the kids were transfixed and watched the entire time without losing interest.  The mad scientists were so enthusiastic the kids hung on to their every word. The lab coats and goggles really helped the whole thing feel authentic and fun! Also, having siblings that will go to the ends of the earth to see their nephew smile is priceless. 

Loot Bags

I’m not a fan of loot bags.  Usually I find them full of little toys and trinkets and candy that end up getting lost in the creases of my couch.  So I usually give one thing. A little thank you favour of sorts. This year my BIL had the great idea of sending the kids home with a take home experiment.  He somehow got his hands on professional grade petri dishes with the agar in them and my sister created pamphlets with the particulars of the experiment where the kids would learn the importance of proper hand washing and what happens when we don’t wash our hands properly. For days after the party, Azu checked his petri dishes and now has become diligent with hand washing because he got to compare a clean hand to a dirty one.  I think it will be a while till we can out do these favours! 

Needless to say, all these things are hard to do without the involvement of a team.  Each year, my whole family hits nose to the grindstone to make these birthdays happen for my little one.  My mother cooked for a whole week to feed everyone Azu’s favorites… and no it is NOT pizza. Think pulao, chicken roast, beef curry, chinese veggies, achari begun, the whole nine yards.  My sister and her husband have been my consultants for the theme that really stretched me. They also helped the entire weekend with prep and execution. And my hubs, who knows I fall off the deep end but trusts me not to put us in financial distress; although each year I come dangerously close to it. 

I hope you enjoyed my run down of my son’s 4th science lab themed birthday party.


Links:

T-Shirt Printing: Christine’s Creations

Printables: Printable Studio 505

Table Scientific Decor: Glass Chem Lab Flasks, Glass Chem Lab Beakers, Ikea Pitcher, Ikea Carafe

Cake and Cupcakes: Sweetest Things TO

Element Cookies: Fantasy Cookies

Rentals: Action Party Rentals

Slime Station items: Dollarama

Decor, Planning and Execution: Facet Events

Images: Various guest

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