Safari Party

Safari Party -4yr- Tiger Ice Cream Cake




Jennifer in Cantonment, Florida, USA


January 2006


Runner Up

My daughter wanted a Safari birthday party for her 4th birthday. After some looking, I realized there were not a lot of Safari birthday supplies readily available, so I got creative and made most of my own stuff.

First of all, the invitations were so inexpensive and creative. I went to Hobby Lobby and for $4.99 bought 25 ivory blank invitations with envelopes. I got 4 sheets of dark green linen-look scrapbooking paper and 4 packages of Safari stickers from the sticker department. Total cost was about $10 (some items were on sale).  I then got creative and made the outside of each invitation different using the various stickers. For the Giraffe sticker, I cut the green paper to look like grass and made it appear the giraffe was walking through the grass. For the crocidile sticker, I cut the paper to look like waves and made the croc appear to be swimming between the waves, and so on using all the stickers. I wrote in handwriting on the outside: Your Passport to a Safari Birthday!

For the inside cover, I used a graphic from Microsoft Word to create a leopard print picture frame and next to that I left a space for Name, Age and Favorite Wild Animal. I made a text box inside the leopard print frame that said: "Insert Child's Picture here". Opposite this page, I used the computer to print a short poem: Lions roaring, hippos snoring, elephants galore, hey everyone, come on over, Francesca's turning four! Expedition begins at 2pm Saturday January 28th at Safari Headquarters (our address). Reservations (RSVP our number) and at the bottom I made it look like the invite was coming from a Safari tour company, by writing "Surname Outfitters" and I put a clipart picture of a rhino in there. 

The party started off with the kids getting their invitation passports stamped by my niece as they arrived. I had purchased, off Ebay, zoo animal self-inking stamps for this purpose. Then, the kids went on to the patio where there were crayons and Safari Animal coloring sheets for them. Some of the kids began to color, others went straight for the swing set and play house.

Once all the children had arrived, my husband came out decked in his Safari gear-khaki's, safari hat, crocodile dundee knife attached to his belt (in a sheath for safety of course), binoculars, and hiking boots. He invited all the children into the patio to get ready for the Safari. I had picked up, for 88cents per pkg/10 at Walmart, bunches and bunches of small plastic wild animals which my daughter and niece hid all over the yard before the party. My husband explained that there were lots of wild animals in the backyard and that after receiving their Safari supplies, they would be able to go on the hunt for wild animals. When they found an animal, they had to bring it to the "cage" we had set up on the deck. This was simply a box we had cut to look like a cage and spray painted it black.

The supplies were: binoculars (made from toilet paper rolls that were taped together and spray painted black), safari hats (these were really visors, as the real safari hats,even from Oriental trading, were too expensive for 24 kids), bandanas (made from Madagascar fabric I found on clearance for $3/yd at Walmart) and an "inoculation" which was really a hand stamp with the same self-inking stamps that they got on their passports.

Once they all had their gear, they went on the hunt. The kids had a great time searching the yard for the wild animals. The bigger kids helped the younger ones, and they also re-hid some of the animals so that everyone had plenty of chances to find lots of animals. The kids had a great time and there were lots of shouts "I found a gorilla!" and "I've got a zebra!". When they had found all the animals, we told them to go to the grassy area and sit in a large circle.

My daughter's favorite game is Duck Duck Goose, so we did a version of it called Giraffe Giraffe Tiger. The kids really enjoyed this and they played for quite a while. I had one more game for them. They had to get in a line and do an elephant walk. To do this, they had to hold the hand of the person in front of them with one hand, while sticking their other hand back between their legs and holding the hand of the person behind them. Then, the had to walk and walk and walk. The kids REALLY loved this, they were laughing so hard and falling all over the place, it was quite funny. It was really great because these are little kids and their arms aren't that long, so they were really having to stretch to reach eachother and it was really fun for them to try and keep their balance, hold the hands of the person in front and behind and see where they were going, etc. For larger kids, you could put them in 2 lines and let them race.   

Next it was time for cake and Ice cream. My daughter wanted an Ice Cream Cake, but the stores in our area were quite expensive for a large enough cake for 24 kids plus all those parents. When I was a kid, my mom always made homemade ice cream cakes, so I gave it a try. I found a picture of a 9" round tiger cake on www.familyfun.com and decided to modify it to make it large enough for all the people I needed to serve. To make the ice cream cake, I needed 3 cake mixes (of various flavors or all the same), 2 half-gallon containers of child's favorite ice cream in the paper cartons that can be unfolded, cool whip, and various food coloring, cookies and candies, plus the eggs and oil for the cake mixes. I used one cake mix to make two  9" round cakes, and with the other 2 cake mixes I made 2 sheet cakes of the same size (9x13). I also squeezed 2 cupcakes out of one of the mixes. I wanted the cake to be in the shape of a tiger, so I used the sheet cakes for the body, the round cakes for the head and the cupcakes for ears. I crafted a tail out of extra bits of cake (read on for intructions).

To make the ice cream layer cake, you need to cut the sheet and round cakes horizontally so you have thinner cake pieces. You must prepare this cake on the surface on which you will be serving it. Because this cake is large, I used a large cookie cooling rack that was covered with cardboard which was then covered with tin foil. Lay one of the sheet cake pieces out on your workspace and overlap a round cake piece in the upper left corner. Cut out the overlapped part (it should be 1/4 of the round cake) and set aside. Make sure the round cake is tucked up against the sheet cake with no gaps between. To craft the tail, use the leftover 1/4 of the round cake to create a tail coming from the right side of the sheet cake and curving over the body of the tiger. Then, open your ice cream and cut into 1/4-1/2 inch thick slices and cover the entire cake with it. Put in freezer to let it get firm. Remove from freezer and add another layer of cake in the same manner and another layer of ice cream and freeze again. Top with the last layer of cake. Put in the freezer to get really firm. Add food coloring to the coolwhip to make it as orange as possible (it takes a lot). Cover the entire cake with the orange cool whip. Freeze until very firm.

To decorate the cake, I used something called "drizzles". This comes in a package where you microwave it to get it soft, then cut the tip and you can squeeze out onto your desserts. I carefully squeezed it out along the edges of the cake moving inward in zigzags to create the "bands" of a tiger (see the tiger cake on www.familyfun.com). I made round eyes with the drizzles and then filled with green m-n-m's. I used chocolate covered round cookies for some accents as per the instructions on Family Fun web site for their tiger cake. I wrote, on the body of the cake, Happy Safari Francesca, in green icing. This cake must stay in the freezer almost until serving time! Take out about 15 minutes before serving time to allow some thawing so cutting is easier. The cake was a huge hit! No one could believe I had made it myself, heck, I could hardly believe I did it myself (with help from a friend)!

After cake, my daughter opened presents and the kids played in the backyard.   As the children left, we handed out goodie bags which were made from brown lunch sacks and tied with rough brown twine. I made stickers for the outside of the bags that said Safari Rations outlined in leopard print. Inside the bags were some items from Oriental Trading and also from Ebay, such as zoo animal bookmarks and notepads, safari pencils, zoo animal rings, compasses, magnifying glasses, wild animal temporary tattoos, zoo animal stickers and single servings of animal crackers.  

For snacks during the party, I had seen a party idea in Family Fun Magazine that showed a jungle theme. I used some of their ideas and made a bowl of dried ants (raisens), crocodile teeth (apples that are cut into thick slices), beetle wings (potato chips), and snake eggs (grapes). I also put out Madagascar Animal crackers too.  

The party decorations were very simple...I bought, from Ebay, animal print balloons (zebra stripe, leopard and cheetah print, and tiger stripe) and had them on the mailbox, around the gift table, tied to the Birthday girl's chair and all around the back yard. I used the zoo animal visors that I had gotten from Oriental trading to create wild animals in the back yard. Basically, I bought a few sheets of yellow and orange posterboard, traced the shape of the zoo animal visors (giraffe, lion and tigers) and then used a black marker to fill in the facial features of the animals, copying from the visors. I then put them on sticks (which were actually small paint stir sticks from the hardware store-free!) and stuck them all around the yard, peeking out of the bushes. It looked really cute.   Enjoy the Safari!

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