07 December 2008

Jungle Party

For Dash's fourth Birthday we had a Jungle Party. That was in the pre-soccer days, when everything was about animals. Dash was most commonly seen at that stage with a tiger tail attached to his shorts, scampering around on all fours.

His favourite viewing was Nature DVDs... so of course it was a Jungle Party for his fourth birthday!

We had just moved into our new house, with the large jungle-like backyard. Perfect!

I set the food up on a table under the carport (where the grapevine was growing) so it was very jungle-like. To add to the effect I also hung strands of green tinsel at each end, like jungle vines.

The table cloth was a $2 shop plastic one which I had printed with leaves and paw prints myself. I made a "paw" by cutting circles out of polystyrene and sticking them into a paw shape with toothpicks. I then applied brown poster paint to it and "printed" paw prints all over the cloth. The leaves were actual large leaves, painted green and then used to print leaves on.

This was a very home-made party, and didn't cost very much at all.

The kids were all asked to come dressed as their favourite animal. Could we find a tiger costume for Dash? Nope. A friend got hold of a really cool elephant one, which Dash kept on for five minutes and then went and put his old tiger tail on!

The food was simple, lots of fruit (watermelon, grapes, pineapple, bananas), jelly snakes and crocodiles, Jungle Juice plus the usual standard party fare. Cups and plates were green plastic disposable ones (10 for $2) with animal stickers on them.

Dash helped me stick the stickers on, of course. (The kids love being involved in the preparation for their parties).

I was hugely pleased with my cake and still think it's one of the best ones I've ever done. The trees were made out of wafer straws with a toothpick poked in to attach the spearmint leaves. I painted the grass and river using food colouring; there were jube rocks, jelly crocodiles and snakes in the trees, and a Flake bar log over the river. The river roughly formed a number 4.

For the games, we kept it simple. Daddy (with a Baloo the Bear mask I had created from a monkey one) was the Master of Games.

There was a game of cat and mouse (now called Tiger and Monkey) where the kids all hold hands in a circle and the Tiger has to chase the Monkey until they're caught; the circle can lift their arms to let the Monkey inside to hide, or drop them down to keep the Tiger out. It's great fun, lots of squealing! And so easy to organise.

Then some dancing competitions... the kids went inside and Daddy got them going doing animal moves to Jungle Music on DVD, songs from Jungle Book and Madagascar: I like to Move It, I Want to be like You and Bear Necessities. Tee Hee. Great fun to watch.

While they were boogying, I quickly hid the Treasure Hunt cards around the garden that I had prepared earlier...

For the Treasure Hunt I had printed out photos of jungle animals I had found using Google Image Search. These I stuck onto brown cardboard and printed the back with a paw print. I printed extra "dummy" paw prints onto brown card as well. These cards were hidden all around the garden.

Daddy had a checklist of all the animals.

The kids were all given a pair of home-made binoculars (made with toilet rolls I had collected for weeks beforehand). Then they had to scour the garden for the animal cards and bring them to Daddy when one was found.

Daddy turned the whole thing from a simple idea into a great amount of fun, by getting the kids to do animal impressions and making a great fuss (giving a prize and getting everyone cheering) to each kid who had found an animal card. Hugely entertaining.

Then it was party bag time...

I googled lots of animal characters on the internet, and made party bags individualised for each guest, by printing out a different animal character for each person. I used characters from all the Disney movies that featured animals: Lion King, Madagascar, the Wild, Jungle Book... The images were cut out and stuck onto white paper bags with handles. Dash chose which friend got which picture.

They had also got a drinking straw to match. I printed out A4 sheets with the characters on and got them laminated, then painstakingly cut them out and stuck them on the tops of the drinking straws. That way each kid could find their own straw (no sharing of germs).

Dash and his friends all had a fabulous time. It didn't cost much (just some creativity) and afterwards all the mums said we should hire Mr G out for kids birthday parties.

This was the party where it all started for me. It set the standard and from then on, we have been a crazy birthday party family!

Toilet Roll Binoculars

You will need...
Two toilet rolls per guest (with all the scraps of paper removed)
Silver Duct Tape (from the $2 Shop)
Black Poster paint
A Hole Punch

  1. Paint each toilet roll black and leave to dry (the birthday child can help with this, lots of fun and hard to get wrong)
  2. Cut lengths of duct tape and then cut in half lengthways (so it is thinner)
  3. Tape two toilet rolls together with one piece of duct tape near the top and one near the bottom
  4. Punch a hole on the outside of each toilet roll for the string to tie onto.
  5. Tie string through the two holes, so binoculars can be worn around the neck
    That's it!
(Dash and Miss Fab continued to play with their binoculars for ages afterwards until they finally fell apart, a year later. We also re-used the treasure hunt cards again and again - a very simple home-made game which could be done inside or out)

  • CLICK HERE for my FREE Printable Jungle Party Invitation
  • or get this personalised invitation on my Etsy Shop...

Source: etsy.com via Simone on Pinterest

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Rebecca said...

AMAZING!!!!! you should write all your party ideas into a book..they're brilliant!!

Louis said...

That's definitely the perfect party for your kids. Thanks for sharing.

kids birthday parties

Anonymous said...

i thinck it would be a awesome 4th birthday wish i was invited please invite me i live in hellwnsville 23 st james ave !!!!!!!!!!!!!! please oh and in new zealand :)

Anonymous said...

oh sorrry my name is jordan i wrote the 1 on top of this 1

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