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Dinosaur Beach Road Trip

I have written about dinosaur themed road trips for many years, but we hadn't gone on one until this spring.  The kids voted to make our beach trip into a Jurassic Park excursion.  At the risk of being repetitive, I'm going to write about dinosaurs again.  Here's a few highlights from our vacation and how we incorporated giant lizards into a beach trip.

*My kids haven't seen any of the Jurassic movies.  They only know some of the music, a bit of the plot from the Lego version, and some of the dinosaurs from the merchandise.  Plus, their parents are nerds who play the video game*

Set the Mood with Products

You don't need to spend a lot of money to set the mood of your themed road trip with some fun products.  Since our theme was Jurassic World, we bought a few dinosaur items to help us get in the Jurassic frame of mind.

Dinosaur Eggs- I bought bulk toys and chocolate eggs and placed them inside these plastic eggs to instant dinosaur hatching fun.  They made a great surprise toy.

Jurassic World Uno- My kids really enjoy Uno, so I bought them this Jurassic World themed game as a surprise.  They enjoyed the dinosaur pictures on every card.

Dinosaur Umbrella- It wasn't really a shock to us that it rained most of the weekend, but it would have been nice to have this fun dinosaur umbrella as part of our Jurassic World themed trip.

Dinosaur Backpack- On a road trip, it's a good idea to give kids their own bag with their own belongings.  This dino-pack would have really helped us set the mood.

Jurassic World Headphones- Although we tend to go "screen-free" on our road trips, these fun headphones would have made a great addition to the trip.

Jurassic World Funtainer- My kids tend to be very hard on water bottles, so I know that these amazingly awesome dinosaur ones wouldn't work for them (these are the ones we bought instead).  However, for kids who like straw cups, these ones would work well.

Mosasaurus- The only scene of Jurassic World that my kids have seen is the "happy park stuff," like the mosasaurus show where he eats the shark.  My kids now want one as a pet- I think this one will have to be enough for them.

Jurassic World Fruit Snacks- We never buy fruit snacks, except for on road trips (if we can find ones that match our theme).  These JW candies were a fun addition to our beach vacation.

Jurassic World T-Shirt- It's practically a requirement for our kids (and the daddy-saurus) to get themed t-shirts for our road trips.  The dinosaur ones are especially fun.

Matchbox Cars- My kids love tiny toys like these cars, so you should buy these cars for your kids.

Blind Bags- I think every kid loves the surprise of a blind bag, which is why they're so popular right now.  It's like the vastly more expensive version of the toy dispenser at the restaurant.  We don't buy them often, but for a road trip I justified the treat.  The toys were fun and came with some articulation.

Fallen Kingdom Slime- If you're feeling brave, these slimes are very cute and on theme.

Colossal T-Rex- What's better than a tiny t-rex?  A giant one!  One that can eat other dinosaurs?  Yes, please!  Hide toys and snacks in his belly and the road trip fun will never stop!

Set the Mood with Printables
Printables are often free and are a very easy way to set the mood on a themed trip.  I wrote a few weeks ago about the Jurassic Park labels I made to use on our food box, luggage, and elsewhere.  Parents can also find free dinosaur learning printables from blogger like 3 Dinosaurs, Royal Baloo, Itsy Bitsy Fun, and others, which are a great way to carry the theme into the travel activities while sneaking in a bit of school at the same time.

One of the places we stuck our fun Jurassic Park label was on our toilet can.  This was our first time doing a road trip with a travel potty, and my husband and I agree with it was an asset.  We added a garbage bag to the can and then filled it with cat litter.  It worked very well; although I think next time we'll try using something other than litter.

Set the Mood with Food

Can anyone every be unhappy when they have great food to eat?  Since everyone needs to eat, food can be a fun and easy way to get up a theme.  Just "Pinterest" party foods and you'll get a good list of ideas.

One of the ideas I found on Pinterest was a dinosaur pudding cup.  We did the sand/beach cups on our last Oregon Coast vacation, so I wanted to do something different this time.  When I made the sand cup, I made the pudding from scratch and added in whipped cream, which was delicious but way too much work for hotel cooking.

This year, I simplified them greatly by starting with store-bought chocolate pudding, added some oreo cookie crumbs, and topped it with a chocolate egg.  So much easier and the kids loved the special treat.

Dino Egg Oatmeal Packets- You can buy these at the store, but you can easily DIY them with a bulk container of instant oatmeal, some spices, a few chocolate Easter Eggs, and some ziptop bags.  Measure the oatmeal into the bags, add the spices and chocolate, and pack it up for cooking with warm water on the trip.

Dinosaur Pudding Cups- This classic party food is just as easy to assemble in your hotel as it is to make at home.  Take a store-bought pudding cup (or make your own), add chocolate cookie crumbs, and a toy or candy dinosaur for effect.  Add decorate with plants or candy rocks as desired.  Picture from  "Views from the Ville."

Chocolate Dinosaur Nests- Remake the spring favorite of bird's nests into dinosaur nests by calling them by a new name.  Melted chocolate and shredded wheat or chunky chow mien noodles combine to make the pokey nests, then add jelly bean eggs for effect.  Be sure to pack them in the cooler or assemble at your destination.

Dino Sandwiches- I couldn't decide whether to list this as an easy food or a creative food, because it's such a simple, cute idea.  You make a sandwich like normal and then cut it out with a specialty sandwich cutter, which cuts off the crust and give you two dinosaurs out of one sandwich.

Boiled Dinosaur Eggs- Hard boiled eggs and then crack the shells without pealing them.  Dye the shells with either food coloring or tea (like the one in the picture).  Serve for snacks or with lunch for a fun dinosaur surprise.

Fossil Cookies- Make normal sugar cookies and then press a small dinosaur or dinosaur footprint into the cooked treat.  Paint with a bit of color or dust with cocoa powder to make the print fossil pop against the background.

Rice Crispy Eggs- Another simple food craft with a bit impact.  Make rice crispy treats as normal then shape into egg shapes.

Stegosaurus Snack Mix- Just as the name sounds, mix up some snack foods like popcorn, pretzels, and chips and add some dinosaur shaped candy or crackers to make a quick treat for in between meals.

Amber Treats- I'm not sure how well this one would travel, but it was too fun not to include it.  Mix up jello and add some tried fruit to them to look like bugs.  In very adventurous families, use real freeze-dried bugs.

More Easy Foods

Candy Dinosaur Eggs- egg jelly beans bought before Easter

Dinosaur Bones- a box or individual package of Scooby Graham Cracker Snacks

Gummy Dinosaurs- store-bought candy

Veggies- herbivore food (wink)

Raptor Claws- bugle chips

Dinosaur Nuggets- buy them and cook them (our hotel has an oven!)

Dinosaur Teeth- anything triangular shaped like cheese or fruit

Surprise Eggs- food in an old Easter plastic Easter egg (or do a whole meal)

Set the Mood with DIY Toys

If you've been reading this blog or my other one (Homeschooling My Kinetic Kids) for every long, you know that I love using Altoid tins for all sorts of things.  For our road trip, I dug out a felt small world that I made a few years ago and added some new Safari Ltd. Good Luck Mini dinosaurs.  These same dinosaurs are the same as the ones I used for my Jurassic World battleship-style grid game, which we also brought on our trip.  Here are a few more ideas:

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