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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Planning a Mad Scientist Party!!! The Best Party to Plan Ever! Part I

So you want to plan a Mad Scientist birthday party?!

I'm so excited I got to do this. My 5 year old is a science freak and to be honest with you, most kids ages 4 and up are. I mean who doesn't love stuff that fizzes, bounces, foams and shoots into the sky?!

I came across this theme unexpectedly. I was at a loss for a theme for this party and I love throwing themed parties. I have done Elmo Music, Race Car, Jungle, Cowboy, and Firefighter (email me if you are interested in any of these, I will post be posting about them too!)

I was leaning toward "astronaut" because we just saw the Discovery shuttle launch or "pirate" because a treasure hunt would have been fun, but then I came across this: Mad Science Tampa Bay, a company that brings the experiments to YOU!

Now, I lucked out here on this because I didn't have to come up with my own experiements but the good thing is that Mad Science has locations all across the world  (Click HERE to find a location near you!) not just here in Tampa Bay. There are two locations in Tampa Bay, by the way, one that serves the Tampa area and one that serves Pinellas. And both of them are super accomodating. Sidenote: I had to change my party date pretty quickly because of my trip to LA that popped up but not only did the St. Pete branch quickly accomodate me, the Tampa location was willing to if St. Pete couldn't, so they are all really nice and accomodating.

My favorite thing about this though was that you could hold the party at any location (for me it was at Safety Harbor City Park which is free to residents), have a huge guest list and the price is very affordable (unlike bouncy house places that allow for 15 kids and it costs hundreds of dollars without food.)

Now, the party itself was affordable, but darn it if I could keep myself from spending time on money on cool decorations, which I couldn't help myself! Also note: clearly think out the guest list (class? no class?) because honestly, this turned out to be such a cool theme that parents didn't want to pass it up, so if you invite them, THEY WILL COME. The good part though is that it almost doesn't matter how many people you have because the rates are so reasonable, however it might matter when it comes to food and favors. Just a thought.


So I will start first with the invitations and decorations.


I used clipart basically and some wording I found online and put it together in Photoshop. I took one copy to Kinkos and copied it onto fun green paper and used green, blue and red envelopes.


For decorations, I found a lot of cool ideas online. First I made a Mad Scientist Hall of Fame.
I printed out pictures of famous mad scientists (Dr. Doofenschmirtz and Dr. Evil were my favorites) but also there was Doc from Back to the Future, Dr. Frankenstein, and I had two pictures of my kids from a children's museum where they were mixing "chemicals" i.e. colored water and I used those too. I printed them out as 8 x 10's in black and white (to save ink) except for Dr. Doofenschmirtz who deserved to be in color, and I took them to Kinkos and laminated them for $2 each. I hung up a piece of string and used a clothes pin to hang them.

I also found these at the dollar store. Sweet!
I bought a cylinder set and test tubes from an educational store in Tampa (a SUPER STORE, ACTUALLY called "Lakeshore Learning"!) and filled them all with colored water. I bought dry ice which was only $1.50 a pound at my local grocery store and put dry ice chips in them to make an experiment display.
I have never used dry ice before. Have you? The only thing is, it melts pretty quickly. So you have to keep putting ice chips in it. Which was fine because it looked.REALLY.COOL. But I kept having to replenish it which was sort of annoying. I probably should have used big chunks and less water, so you can learn from me!

I found signs at the party store, they were joke signs that said "quarantine," "toxic waste," and things like that, but we had to black out some of the wording on one of them because of some adult language that I didn't notice at first (whoops! I guess the word "prostitute" at a kids' birthday party is a little inappropriate!) But it was fine print anyway so you could barely see it.
Birthday Boy!
Mad Science gave the birthday boy his own lab coat as chief mad scientist.

I wanted so.badly. to get lab coats for every child and online there are really reasonable rates for disposable lab coats. However, don't wait till the last minute on this. If you want to do this, do it early so shipping prices are cheap or free. I made that mistake. I waited too long, BUT, that's ok because it was so hot outside and I would have cooked all the children if we used them. So it was a blessing in disguise. If you're interested in lab coats though, I found some online for cheap here, at Mr. Disposable, on Ebay, Amazon and on So they're out there.

What I did instead:

Nametags for each "mad scientist intern." When they came in, they went to the check-in table, got a full body scan (i.e. glow stick with me saying "beep! beep!" as I waved it around them, "cleared" them, and handed them their name tag.)
The name tags worked out well because the head "Mad Scientist" could call the volunteers by  name and also because we had a lot of kids who didn't know each other, so they could read the name tags (or at least parents could.) Also, everyone knew who the party crashers were too! Because we had two child party crashers who didn't have nametags who were mooching off our pizza.

I used colorful table cloths (orange and bright blue) and found little labels like "hypothesis" and "purpose" and taped them all over them. My mom said she overheard the parents and children talking about these words, so that part ended up being educational! On some of the other tables, I taped cutouts of black question marks. I also found squishy monster heads in the dollar store and put them in jars on the table and used rubber gloves for balloons and caution tape.
The caution tape ended up being AWESOME because it kept the kids out of the "danger zone."


Honestly? Food wasn't the star of this party since it was at 3:30 and the party was packed with experiments, so I kept it simple. We had pizza, I made a fruit salad, had individual bags of chips on the tables and coolers full of bottled water, Capri Sun and soda. And cake. That's pretty much it. However, this ended up being super cool!
Kool-Aid Fun Fizz
Kool-Aid just came out with Kool-Aid Fizzies!

So I had tiny bottled water for each child and gave them a tablet so they could fizz their water. Little tiny experiments! (That was my mom's idea, thanks mom!) That was a huge hit!

It was a packed house.
I am pretty sure everyone had a good time.

I'm "this many."

This one was in his glory.

Tomorrow I'll be posting the favors, the cake and the actual awesome experiments!
* * *
Part II of the party is HERE.

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