Jungle Safari Party -7yr- Animal Races
Heather in National City, California, USA
We chose a zoo theme for my daughter's 7th birthday party, but then changed to a Jungle theme, because wild animals were more fun than caged ones!!
Invites were the elephant design mentioned here and on another web site. Only addition is that we glued craft eyes on, and used white pipe-cleaners for tusks to make them even more 3D.
Decorations were mainly blow up animals from Oriental Trading (including the big monkey), and my kid's stuffed animals which were scattered around the yard. We had a few animal posters we taped to the house and garage, some animal print cloth, strategically located, and some palm fronds and dried grass placed around the fences.
As the kids came in they reached the craft tables. I had some animal door hangers from OT which they could color and also the animal masks that they could color. I had drawn on some outlines with a black marker for these as otherwise it was a bit hard to tell which animal was which. I also had some animal stamps so some of the younger ones enjoyed putting those on construction paper. My girls had also brought out some of their animal books, so those were availble to be read while we waited for more kids to arrive.
The other craft activity, which we didn't get to was to decorate animal cookies. I bought the ones already cut out (pillsbury?) which have a lion, bear, and a rhino. I used some of my girls play dough cut outs (cleaned of course) to cut out a few more! I had left over icing from the cheetah cake I'd made, and some sprinkles, but we didn't really have time for this! Games and activities: After everyone had their mask we gathered in a circle to start the fun. I had cut-out some pictures of animals from magazines and glued those onto index cards. Above the picture I wrote roar like a lion" or whatever action that animal could do. On the back I then wrote a fun fact about that animal. Each child chose a card and then took turns reading the front then we all did the action and then they read the "fun fact". There were about 20 kids there and the ones in 2nd 3rd and 4th grade really liked this. The younger ones had trouble with the reading but we all helped out.
They even got down on the ground for the float like a hippo etc. Since my daughter's favorite animal is the cheetah I threw about 6 pictures of cheetahs in the pile which all said "run like a cheetah" and so we did lots of running around! Then it was time for the ZOOLYMPICS. This is a good age for relay races so we divided the kids into 2 teams by counting off as either a tiger or a cheetah. I lined them up by height first so the teams were very evenly divided. I had bought some material in tiger and cheetah prints and then just cut strips of this material. I used some as decorations but handed each child their "buff" for their team. Some kids tied them around their waist others their head or even arm. By the end of the olympics the parents had picked out their favorite team and were sporting their own team colors!!
Races: 1. Elephant on Parade. Each person put their hand between their leg and the person behind grabbed it and then they ran to the finish line. They then turned around and raced back.
2. Penguin Walk. A balloon was placed between the ankles of the first person to represent the egg and then they ran with the balloon to the end and back and then passed to the next person etc.
3. Cheetah Cub Pass. Kids passed a plastic animal over their head and between their legs down the line. (over and under). This was to simulate how the cat family carry their young.
4. Giraffe Stretch. We tied powdered donuts onto the swing set and one person from each team had to take one bite and then the next could go etc. Be sure to have extra donuts on hand so they can all have one at the end.
5. Opossum Over. I had 2 mothers volunteer to be the mother opossum (the only North American marsupial) and they were each equipped with a cup full of m&m's. The m&m's represented the tiny opossum babies. The kids then had to move the babies from one end to the other by spoonfuls. This took awhile and many m&m's ended up in the mouths but it was fun to watch the techniques.
6. Cheetah Run. Since cheetahs are the fastest land animal we just had a good old-fashioned running relay race I think it was for the tie-breaker!! Everyone had a lot of fun with the zoolympics and we got lots of exercise and learned something about the different animals too! By the end everyone was cheering on their favorite teams. I think the buffs really added to this activity.
Jungle Safari. We then passed out some home-made toilet paper roll binoculars and went on a search for wild animals. Many were in plain view (the decorations) but there were some smaller ones hidden in the back back yard that we hunted for too.
Puppet Show. I'd bought my daughters some jungle animal puppets a few years back so my middle-school age nieces designed a puppet show. It was very good and the audience enjoyed it. We have a little play house so covered the big window with another piece of material which had lots of jungle animals and it worked perfect for the show. The younger kids then put on 2 or 3 more shows throughout the day. We also had a swing set which many enjoyed and a mini-jumper that added to the fun. I made a cheetah cake and cupcakes. I decorated the cupcakes with white and orange frosting and them made black stripes for zebra and tiger cakes. Some got cheetah spots too. The other food was mainly finger food. I wanted to have everything ready so that I could play with the kids. Fruit and veggies (like all strong animals need) and assorted chips and dips. Also some Jungle juice (fruit punch). I think the kids were too busy so didn't really get a chance to eat but the parents enjoyed it. We also had a beautiful cheetah pinata. We live close to Mexico so my husband drove over and brought that back along with some Mexican candy. The pinata was so heavy that not many had a chance to hit it before it broke but don't think they minded. Goody bags were animal print from OT along with an assortment of animal stickers plastic puppets tatoos notepads stamps an animal sippy cup etc. A lot of work but a lot of fun too! "
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