Jungle Party

Jungle Party 1yr - Giant Tiger Photo




Karen in Dumas, Texas, USA


November 2004


November 2004 Winner

For my youngest son's birthday and my 30 something birthday, we celebrated together with my personal favorite theme - jungle!  I was inviting 24 little ones with 10 of theme being babies, so I needed a party simple enough for the babies, but action packed enough for the older kids. 

My INVITATIONS are usually toys or keepsakes.  This year, however, I became involved in Stamping Up, so my invites were white cards with a green jungle leave stamped background with a layer of ripped green cardstock on top with another layer of ripped white cardstock on top with JUNGLE PARTY stamped in the middle.  Inside I wrote:  It'll be wild and wacky as you swing into fun, so put on animal prints or Khaki and celebrate now that Ryan is ONE!  I included the time, date, address, phone number, ect. All in a cute comic font.  Inside I stamped a few more leaves.  Looked cute!  I put animal stickers on the envelope as well.  Along with each invite, I included an Oriental Trading (OT) It's a Jungle Out There picture frame kit keepsake for them to assemble.  After the party, I will send pictures to place inside as thank yous.  I placed the invite and the frame inside a white sack secured with a zebra print ribbon.  I hand delivered these of course and received lots of compliments!  To set the tone for the party, I wore an animal print outfit, my  two boys wore khaki safari outfits, and my husband wore khaki.  When we live in Houston, I wanted to hold the party at the zoo.  My niece had here third birthday once and they did a great job!  Unfortunately, the closest zoo to us is in Amarillo and they do no have an indoor party room and in in November it is cold here.  I looked into two wild reserves and both were cheap and had great party packages, but both were geared for ages 4 to 11.  I finally settled on the house which is already decorated somewhat for the theme and tried to locate someone with exotic pets to bring to the party, but again I was unsuccessful.  I considered calling Park Rangers, but the wild life here is either too dangerous or not that interesting.  Instead, I had The Wiggles's Safari and other jungle videos in the background.  I also had a jungle CD and reggae CD for the adults to listen to. 

As for DECORATIONS, my son's room is already jungle theme and so is one of the guest bathrooms.  My playroom already had vines zigzagging across the room from my older son's birthday party along with tissue paper and pipe cleaner butterflies.  I usded the brown packing paper from OT to make 3D trees in the playrrom and used a combination of green tissue paper and construction paper to make leaves.  Total cost for the decorations in the playroom were less than ten dollars and I truly had a jungle ready to go - all I needed was a few animals which I did add. In the hallway, I added streamers on the ceiling and doorway to make vines and covered the wall with construction paper leaves and animals. In the living room, I set up a life size tent, a cooler, a rolled up sleeping back, and suticases to look like a safari campsite and create additional play spaces for the kids.  Over the dinig room table I draped mosquito netting.  I also had two Rainforest CafĂ© safari hats to place on the table for added touches.  From OT, I purchased grass table skirts and door banners to help create a hut effect.  I placed the banner over most of the doors and the skirts on the table and one cardboard box for the children to play in.  I also made signs out of posterboards that sid things like:  Missing Safari Members:  Ben Eaten, Ima Goner, U R Next, Hippo Crossing, Do Not Feed The Animals, and of course Happy Birthday Ryan.  I decorated the posters with my own artwork.  They were cute!  I went to the teacher supply store and found a safari animal package to put up for both decorations and a safari hunt game. 

I also made my own critters using oversized construction paper for a playful and colorful collection of parrots, hippos, tigers, lions, giraffes, and zebras.  I made palm trees from carpet rolls and construction paper leaves.  I then took plastic rolls and stapled it to the trees.  I decorated with construction paper greenery and animals and created a maze for the kids to zigzag through for a safari adventure in our garage.  I also used inflatable OT animals and Ot zoo balls for decorations, games, and favors.  I then used extra stuffed animals too.  I also had a 9 by 6 foot canvas drop cloth mural of dinoland that I had made for my older son.  I just covered up the dinosaurs with safari animalss and had a safari scene.  I surrounded it with additional greenery and hung it in the garage. I brought out an oversized stuff tiger and lion for the children to sit on the lion and old the tiger in front of the mural.  I then took their picture and plan to use this as THANK YOUS along with individual family safari stories which I wrote, illustrated, laminated, and bound.  In each story, I wrote about the children in that family and my children. I also borrowed a strope light and fogger and placed a few carpet roll palm trees at the front door. From the time they arrived, everything looked really pretty much like a jungle.  It was over the top, but a really fun effect for the kids! 

For a CRAFT, I included one that even the infants could partake.  On a green piece of cardstock, I typed:  Can you remember my jungle call frown when I was so small?  Or when I left my monkey prints clinging to the wall?  Like a giraffe I am growing and soon I will be so tall.  And my tiger roars and sticky fingers will be hard to recall.  Here is a handprint so that you say:  This is how my handprint looked on Ryan's birthday.  Date.  I then had paint for them to put their handprint on the pages for a keepsake for mom and dad. I had extra paper handy in case they wished to make a additional masterpieces.  I also had paper plates with eyes cut out to make animal masks. 

For ACTIVITIES and GAMES:  As guests arrived, I gave them each an animal print pencil attached to black yarn.  They had to roll these up to find their safari supplies which included an animal print tote bag, animal print stickers, animal print notepad, pith helmet, and binoculars (all OT).  I do not like the binocular toilet paper roll idea because just think about were it has been hanging out and what germs it has collected.  Once everyone had arrived, we left on a safari and ice age adventure making sure to take our survival gear with us.  I pretended to be a time traveling scientist and that my assistant had gone back to the ice age to kill off the wooly mammoths so that elephants would no longer exist.  I told the kids that I needed their help to stop him, but that first we had to take inventory on the world's current animals to make sure that none other had been endangered.  I gave them each a malaria pill (jellybean) and toy shot injecitons first.  We went through the jungle maze, over mountains (blocks), across crocodile invested water (blue table cloth), rivers, etc. and in our notebooks recorded all the animals that we had seen.  Then I loaded tehm into a time machine (SUV) and drove them to the ice age (our neighborhood decorated with a few ice age animals).  I choose the ice age because in the middle of November in the Panhandle it can be snowing and doesn't feel too jungley.  We, of course, saved the wooly mammoths and elephants.  I fave them each a copy of the story with their names and specialities mentioned.  Older kids then played pass the jungle pack while opening presents.  Each person had a turn opening  the pack (elephant backpack) and pulling out an animal sticker.  They got to keep the sticker, but had to act like that animal first. 

We also had a lion roaring contest while opening presents.  We had a tiger pinata (OT) filled with Birthday express candy and OT anaimal shaped playdoh molds.  I generally like Birthday Express pinatas better, but this tiger one was too cute!  We also had two ball pits filled with plastic animals, suckers, and baby friendly foods for the kids to crawl through and pick out prizes.  We have an elefun game that we also played. For the adults we had an ostrich and elephant relay.  In the ostrich relay use must carry a ballon between your legs and for the elephant relay you put one hand in front as a trunk & one through your leg for a tail.  The person behind you graps your tail & then you race. I also had two survior games for the adults.  One was melt the ice cube to win your spider prize and one was to eat gross foods (sour, sweet, baby food). Last we had another true safari hunt where they looked for inflatable animals to take home with them.  I also had them help me clean up while playing this one.  We pretended to be foresters relocating the animals and returning them to their homes.  We then became farmers and cleared the land of trees, etc.  Adult favors were Hersey's hugs and kisses wrapped up in sour cream looking containers made out of animal print paper and placed out as added decorations.  I also had an animal print book out for the adults to write wishes and first year memories into.  Originally, I made a quilt for this but couldn't bear to let anyone write on it.  Ahead of time, I put in pictues of the birthday boy along with my own memories and comments for them to thumb through and enjoy as well. 

PARTYWARE were zoo pal plates and Wal-Mart primary colored plastic zoo shaped plasticware and cups.  I used green table cloth over the grass skirts for a grass effect.  Since the party was from 6 to 8, dinner was included. 

I kept the FOOD simple, however.  We nerve serve peanut butter because my oldest is allergic. Instead we had wild boar (hotdogs), fried ostrich (chicken nuggets), vegetables, fruit, chips, and dips.  I added food coloring to the dips for added drama.  I also had animal shaped cookies.  The birthday boy's CAKE was a lion's face.  The others had grass green frosted cupcakes  with cookie animals on top surrounding a watering hole.  They were from a cake lady here in town and delicious! 

GOODIES included their original survival gear, candy and prizes from pinata and ball pits, ice age adventure story, and inflatable balls and animals from the decorations and safari games. I tried wrapping candy in crepe paper from them to unroll and put on animal faces so that they'd look like little animal faces, but I couldn't pull it off so I skipped this project. 

THANK YOUS were photos taken in front of the safari mural along with the personalized and laminated story books that I made for each family. The kids all looked so cute in their safari type clothing, pith helmets, binoculars and sitting on a lion while holding a tiger in front of a jungle mural! Plus parents enjoyed placing the photos in their jungle frames. I know that I am forgetting something, but I hope this helps and thanks for all the great ideas.  I couldn't have pulled off a well planned and decorated party that was both stress free and fun without this site!  I also had so many compliments about each part of the party from invites to thank yous.  People already, thanks to this site, ask me to plan their parties and I have.  Now even more are asking!  Once again thanks for the inspiration and sorry if this was too long or not detailed enough.

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