Mad Scientist Birthday Party

I never know how many details you want from my kids’ birthday parties so today I will give you absolutely all of them.  And then I’ll give you more tomorrow, and the day after that as well.  Today’s theme: If You are Crazy Like Me and want to Plan this Party then Read this Post.

I made the invitations in Photoshop and added a picture of screaming Vincenzo, then finished them off with a gobs of glitter glue:


When guests came, they had to scan in:


Then they went to the bathroom to receive lab coats and name badges and to give themselves a crazy hairdo.  The lab coats were $1.60 each from Mr. Disposable, which was awesome…but s/h was $16, which was not so awesome.  I got the name badges from Oriental Trading.


Next the kids headed out to the deck where they had glasses of water and the food dye colors of red, yellow, and blue; their job was to create orange, purple, green, brown, and black.  Our deck is now also purple, green, brown, and black.



Once everyone had arrived we headed inside for an experiment to blow up balloons (I had prefilled balloons with 2tsp baking soda; we added some vinegar to the bottles then attached balloons and dumped contents.)




I talked a bit about static electricity, then took the kids to the basement where we had scattered a bunch of tissue paper squares; the kids had to rub the balloons on their heads and use them to pick up the paper and put it into bowls.  It was freakin’ hilarious.  Pro tip: the balloons from the experiment didn’t work very well, but fortunately we had blown up a bunch the old-fashioned way and they worked fine.


While they were busy picking up tissue paper, I went upstairs poured some milk onto each child’s plate and added some food dye.


Then I called them all upstairs, talked for about 10 seconds about surface tension, and showed them what happens when we break surface tension (by adding a couple drops of dish soap).  Super easy/fun experiment to try with your kids even if you don’t throw a party!


Next, the kids gathered around a table where I had a tray of 12 objects, some of which were magnetic and some of which weren’t.  They each got a sheet of paper with pictures of the objects on it and they wrote “yes” or “no” by each picture based on whether they thought it was magnetic.  When everyone was ready, Vincenzo held each object up to a magnet to show.


For the next experiment we filled a bottle with hot water and died it black, then put a bottle of cold water on top of it (we had the kids make predictions about what would happen first).  The hot water moved up, which wasn’t quite as cool as the favorite prediction that it was going to explode, but it was still pretty cool.



Still with me?  No matter; I’ll keep going.  We took an experiment break for lunch, which included:

Punch with dry ice (huge hit), monster burgers, buggy hot dogs, eyeball Jell-o, and fruit molecules.




I totally cheated for this party and purchased the food labels and a few other things from Celebration Shoppe.  Well worth the $8.

Then I sent the kids downstairs for a Monster Mash Dance Party, where the fog machine, bubble machine, and a disco light (don’t ask) all came in handy.


We cleared the table and set out the cakes while the kids all drank beer and made out downstairs.  (Just seeing if you’re still paying attention.)  Ready for my favorite part of the party?


The cakes were shockingly easy to make.  Heh, heh—shockingly easy.

And of course, we couldn’t have a science birthday without the ol’ exploding volcano.  A couple weeks previous, we made 4 batches of play dough and stuck it on a Perrier bottle, along with a few dinosaurs we picked up at the dollar store.  We had to cover the whole thing with Polyurethane so the salt wouldn’t leech out.



Favors (test tubes also from Oriental Trading, tags from Celebration Shoppe).


Not the cheapest party in the world to throw, but it didn’t cost as as much as our wedding did.

I think.  The final bills aren’t in yet.

32 thoughts on “Mad Scientist Birthday Party

  1. I feel like you just ran Chuck E Cheese over with your SUV, backed back over him again, and then sped off laughing like a mad scientist.

  2. Having been at your wedding…it looks close. What a wonderful party. Can you plan Brent’s 3rd? It’s 2/21/11.

  3. This party is AMAZING!!!!!!! I love it!!!! Are you for hire? Could you come to my classroom?????

  4. Awww, thanks Kim. Trust me, the only reason I can throw these parties is b/c I don’t work. Instead of teaching for 9 months a year, I throw 2 great parties a year. The effort is the same either way. 🙂

  5. Hi, how did you make the name tags? what format did you use?
    Im planning my son’s 9th bday party, would love to know.

  6. Maia: I used an archaic photo editing program called “Digital Image Suite” that I have on my computer–I’m sure any photoshop type program will work though! I ordered the name tag covers/lanyards from Oriental Trading. Have fun with your party!

  7. Miriam: The punch was some combination of green jello mix, lemon-lime juice, and lemon-lime soda, with a slab of dry ice (be sure to put a towel below the dispenser, as it will bubble over a bit). As for the Jell-O eyeballs, they were a PAIN and I don’t think I’d do them again. We got plastic eyeballs from Oriental Trading and drilled two holes in each one, then made Jell-O and added the eyeballs. They wanted to float so I weighted them down with a plate until the Jell-O was almost set. Good luck! If you do make the eyeball Jell-O and have a better way, I’d love to know what it is!

  8. Love your party ideas! Having a mad science party for my son this Friday. Curious – I’ve read on some boards that you can’t consume the dry ice. Did you put it directly in the punch dispenser? All was well?

  9. Mandy–I had read the same thing but also read that it’s okay to put in punch (maybe because enough of it evaporates?) so I put it right in the punch, and everyone was fine. Good luck this Friday and have fun!

  10. Awesome food display. The brain cake is something I know my children would find a hoot. The punch and dry ice effect is something I’m sure your little guest will never forget. Terrific photos!

  11. Awesome awesome party…do u still have paper with various ites and whether they are magnetic? Also, with dery ice..I assume u drop the piece in frozen? How long does it last for? 10 min? Thanks so much in advance!

  12. Thanks, Raquel! If you send me your e-mail I can try to dig up the magnetic items sheet for you. Yes, just put the dry ice right from the freezer into the punch. I don’t remember how much I put in, but it lasted for about 1/2 hour and then I added some more.

  13. Hi Asia! The cake is super simple to make–I just used a regular buttercream frosting (powdered sugar, butter, and a little milk). For the meter like decorations on top of the cake, I frosted those onto waxed paper and put them in the freezer for a couple hours, then transferred them to the already frosted cake. Everything else is just licorice strings (unraveled from a big red licorice wheel) and Skittles. For the brain, I baked a cake in a metal bowl then used gray frosting and a really large frosting tip to make brain like patterns. Hope you have as much fun making it as I did!

  14. Just curious. I have read not to put dry ice in glass containers because it can break. My beverage dispensers are glass (looks like yours was too)…. did you have any issues with the extreme cold and glass?

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