Jungle Party

Jungle Animal Party -2yr- Elephant Cake




Elizabeth in Beaverton, Oregon USA


June 2007


Special Mention

It was a toss up between a jungle party and a farm party, but our son is so crazy for elephants and hippos that jungle won out. 

INVITATION: We used the idea from Family Fun's party book and cut elephant head shapes out of gray construction paper. I drew faces and glued on white paper tusks and then accordion folded the long trunk and outlined the fold marks with black ink. I folded the ears over to cover the face and on the first ear I wrote, Have you herd?  On the other I wrote, The King of the Jungle is turning 2!  On each fold of the trunk I wrote a different phrase of the invite. Party animals wanted  To swing on over to the (Last Name)s  And wish Alex a Hippo Birthday  Saturday, June 4th from 11am-1pm - We'll have lunch, cake and lots of monkey business  RSVP ###. 

DECORATIONS:  The morning of the party, the weather was iffy, so we had all the decorations in our family room and kitchen nook and on the covered patio and deck. But the sun came out right before the party so we made a mad scramble and pushed much of the decor outside where we'd originally planned it to be. Our backyard was pretty green, but not as thick as a lush jungle so we used about 20 owned and borrowed silk trees and potted plants and clumped them around inside the house, out on the patio, and in the grass.  We hung green and light green streamers from the patio roof and a big sign I drew of a hippo in a watering hole. It said, Hippo Birthday Alex.  I bought a few yards of different animal print fabrics and made tablecloths for the food and cake tables.

For centerpieces we made scenes using African carved wooden statues and bowls as well as tropical fruit, greenery and stuffed jungle animals.  Wooden African masks hung on the walls along with an African spear (my mom had gone on a safari and bought lots of souvenirs.)  We also used lots of woven baskets.  On the patio was a fake tiger skin rug with some tiger skin print kids sized chairs around it. In one corner was a large stiff stuffed tiger you could sit on and in the grass was a 4-foot tall paper mache zebra and a 6-foot tall stuffed giraffe the kids could sit on. I cut out paper monkeys and wired them to a hedge so it looked like the monkeys were swinging. I made a sign that said Jungle Gym and tacked it to the top of our play structure.  A large poster of an elephant I had drawn was placed against the fence.

We also had a river running through the party. I used 3 long blue plastic tablecloths and held them down on the grass with large rocks and stepping-stones, making the stones look like the edge of the river and a way to cross it. At one end of the river a crocodile's head was poking out of the water. I made him out of boxes and paper mache, which I had painted.  At the other end was a hippo's head with a wide-open mouth, made of the same materials. The top of his head got a bit heavy so to keep his mouth open I painted a stick and wedged it in. ARRIVAL:  As the kids arrived, we had a CD of jungle music playing (mostly songs from The Jungle Book and The Lion King).  They were each given a jungle print paper goodie bag. I had written their names on tan cardstock and glued them to the bags.

GAMES: The first game was an ANIMAL SAFARI. Throughout the yard, I'd placed stuffed jungle animals (lions, tigers, snakes, elephants, monkeys, etc.) At the foot of each animal was a small basket filled with tokens I'd made out of poster board and round stickers I'd purchased from Oriental Trading Co.  (They have tons of jungle stuff.) The kids had to collect a token from each animal and bring them all back to me. Their prize was a pair of plastic binoculars. (OTC)

Next was HUNGRY HUNGRY HIPPO. The kids took turns tossing balls into the paper mache hippo's mouth.  They earned a jungle themed beach ball with a blow up jungle animal inside it. (OTC)

We also played PIN THE TAIL ON THE ZEBRA.  Even cheating, no one could get the tail on in the right spot (lol). I drew a poster of a tailless zebra and made black paper tails with the kids names written on them in white crayon.  Prizes for this were jungle stickers. 

Then we played SOAK SHERE KHAN (the villainous tiger from The Jungle Book story.) I drew a poster of the Disney cartoon of Shere Khan and colored it, then laminated it and stuck it to the side of our house. The kids took turns trying to hit Shere Khan with water balloons. A lot of the younger kids couldn't throw hard enough to break the balloons so a lot of balloons bounced off the wall and cement and got thrown again. And again. And again.  Hilarious, and the kids loved it.  After this we broke for lunch, but to get to the deck the kids had to play follow the leader elephant-style.  Standing in a line, each person uses one arm as a trunk to grasp the tail of the person in front of him or her. You made the tail by reaching your other arm through your legs to the person behind you. This was hard to do, therfore, really funny to watch. 

LUNCH:  We served grilled teriyaki chicken skewers and tropical shish-ka-bobs (steak, pineapple, red pepper and onion marinated in a teriyaki pineapple sauce and grilled). Preparing the meat sewers took a lot of time. I would recommend doing this the night before and refrigerating them. We also served rice and jungle fruit (mangoes, fresh pineapple and bananas). We served the food on Dixie animal face paper plates with some Pumba and Timon napkins I'd gotten on clearance. We used brightly colored plastic forks and spoons that had jungle animals on the handles.  We served Jungle Juice and bottled water.  After lunch we sang and served the

CAKE: Since Alex is crazy about elephants I made a 9x13 inch chocolate sheet cake and cut it into an elephant shape. I stuck a wedge of cake underneath the head to lift it a bit and give it more dimension. Then I dusted it with powdered sugar (no frosting due to food allergies, but the cake was so moist and rich it didn't need it) and filled the plate it lay on with rainbow sprinkles. 

PINATA: We had a parrot pinata, filled with party candy.  My best piece of advice on pinatas is this: move the pinata around, up and down, so it's harder to hit and takes longer to break, and have extra candy on hand for kids who don't get much once the pinata breaks.  Then Alex opened his presents, sitting in the tiger print chair. 

OTHER:  Kids loved playing on the jungle gym and riding on the patio on a couple of jungle animal riding toys we have.  We also took lots of photos of kids riding the different life-size animals and included prints in the thank you notes.  I borrowed a lot of decorations from friends. Everybody's got a little bit of safari stuff you could use and if you borrow enough you can make any place look like a tropical jungle.

OTHER IDEAS: We planned but didn't use these ideas We thought of making nametags for everyone, with each family having the same animal sticker on their nametags. (i.e. Everyone in the Jones Family has tiger nametags, the Smith family members have gorilla nametags…) Also some games we didn't get to were Tarzan Says (like Simon Says), Name That Tune (Jungle Boogie, The Lion Sleeps Tonight etc.) that would have been fun for adults and older kids, and Animal Charades.

CLEAN-UP: We asked the kids who were still at our house after the party was over to capture as many stuffed jungle animals as they could and bring them to the animal rescue center (inside the house). That made it a bit easier to clean up.

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