Jungle Party

Jungle Party -5yr- Story About a Jackel




Swarnalata in Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, India


November 2009


Special Mention

We celebrated my son's 5th birthday (15th November) with the jungle theme. As I work 12 hrs a day and am always busy, I could start only 2 weeks early and had to plan, plan, plan a lot.

Invitations: We bought invitation cards with animal toons and birds. I customized them by drawing paw prints all over the covers and asking kids to guess which animal it is. Instead of stamps I drew animal prints with crayons. I got some wordings thanks to another jungle theme here and added some more. Dear _____________I'm celebrating my birthday and all the jungle animals have promised to come by. So make sure you come and join the fun. See which animal is waiting eagerly for you Be on time so that you catch the fun on the cake & don't miss out on the jungle games. You can bring a carry-on parent if you want. See you at my jungle party!! Regards, __________.  I also added a sheet of Google map with the party location mapped. Though I wanted to invite only a few classmates of his, when we went to the school, the principal asked us to give the invites to all the class (20 kids) or some kids might get upset. She told us that all will definitely not come. But the card wordings excited the kids & some came online to chat with me and ask more details. In all we had 18 kids and 16 adults turning up!!

Decorations: I bought lot of chart paper and crepe paper in different colors. I cut strips from green colored ones and pasted on a string to look like jungle creepers. I hung and tied this string all around our home's terrace which was the party venue. With the chart paper, I cut lots of flowers, butterflies and snakes (these are pretty easy if you combine the different colors and cut at one shot). I used the bright colored crepe paper cut into patterns to paste on these to make them stand out.

Next, I bought some wild animal coloring books (they print the animal on one side and provide the outline on the other side to color). I cut these printed animals out and stuck backing paper to help hang/staple them to the green vines.  I used some of the good outlines to cut out more animals and painted them with water colors.

I also cut out strips from brown paper, stuck them like a plus sign and glued animals at each end. These I put over the tables with the animals hanging around them. I bought wild animal b'day welcome banners and stuck them at the entrance. I also bought green and yellow color balloons and hung them on the main b'day banner. All this must have cost only 8$.

Games: As soon as the kids came in, they went around excitedly looking at all the animals, birds, snakes etc. We also had music in the background to set the atmosphere. Then I started the games. Each game had a story to it. First one was the hungry jackal story which goes like this. Once upon a time a hungry jackal fell into an indigo color tub while searching for food.  Other animals get frightened when they see its strange color and run away. This gives the jackal an idea to demand food from other animals in the jungle saying it is sent from God. One day it is very happy and hearing other jackals crying out, it also starts whooping and howling. The animals realize that it is just a jackal and trying to catch it, they run it out of the forest.

I made a jackal cutout (used thick chart paper and painted it blue using a sponge which is pretty fast) and a loop with a thick rope. The kids had to throw the loop such that it fell around the jackal catching it. I told the story first and then each kid took turns to catch the jackal.  The second game was a simple one where two teams are formed and one kid comes from each team to the center. They have newspaper roll sticks and a ball. They have to try and score goals by hitting and sending the ball to their own goal posts. The team with the most goals wins. I converted this game to lion and rabbits theme. Used 2 card board boxes and called them caves. Put a rabbit soft toy in each. Bought two lion face masks.

The story: 2 wicked lions are roaring around in the jungle, so the rabbits are scared, hiding and hungry. You have to try and feed your rabbit with the carrot (used real carrot instead of a ball) before the lions come and catch you. Two of the big kids wore lion masks and caught the players if they took more than 5 mins.  The third game was a pull string pinata. It was a simple shoe box with a hippo and crepe paper bits inside. Outside I wrapped it with a chart paper strip and painted it to make it look like a boa constrictor. I told the story that this snake got very hungry and it has trapped a hippo inside its rings. The hippo has thrown out help lines (the ribbons) and they have to pull these and rescue it. They took turns pulling at the ribbons and whooped with delight when the hippo finally got rescued. All winners in the games got flower print pencils and sharpeners in different colors.

Cake: We ordered the cake which became the show stopper with kids and adults alike. It had mountains, jungle trees and waterfall with wild animals here and there. They put one real looking toy lion in a slippery chocolate pond in the middle of the cake. It could walk (since it was slipping, the toy stayed at one place instead of walking out of the cake), wag its tail, open/close its mouth, flash red lights from its eyes and roar a lot!!

Snacks: Knowing that it would be the show stealer, we opened the cake only after the games got over. It was like a magnet for the kids, they could not stop patting the lion and oohing and aahing over it. Some got scared of its roars though. We had to wait for fifteen minutes to let them get over the excitement before we cut the cake. I bought chips, cold drinks and strawberry ice cream. Prepared pancakes with chickpea fillings and a dry fruits dessert (yellow colored) at home.  I bought jungle print disposable napkins, plates, glasses and spoons.

Favors: Return gifts were a wild animal and an insect (I got plastic real looking spiders, centipedes, grasshoppers, flies etc) for each child.  The kids were tired by the end. Throughout the party they played all the games with great gusto since they had never heard a combination of game with a story. Plus point is that all the food also got consumed since they got hungry with all that playing and shouting.

The party took two hours which is more than enough time for 4-5 year olds. I got lot of compliments from everyone for the planning and execution. My brand new 5-year old son was the happiest of all.

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