Jungle Expedition -5yr- Animal Face Painting
Doris in Gilbert, AZ USA
For my daughter's 5th birthday, she wanted to go to the Rainforest Cafe. However, we wanted to have some type of activity for the kids other than just eating, so we had a Jungle Party at our house, followed by a trip to the Rainforest Cafe for dinner.
We made the invitation on the computer, and used a clip art picture of a monkey with a banana. It read, Hey party animals let's go bananas! Come monkey around at Brenna's 5th birthday party. Join us for a journey through the jungle critter crafts and gorilla games all followed by grub time at The Rainforest Cafe. It's going to be a swingin' good time - no lion." We included the location/time details and also used the Rainforest Cafe logo. The birthday girl my other 3 daughters and my husband and I all wore tan/khaki or animal print clothes that we already had.
Since our living room is a jungle-type decor it was easy to add small details to make it look like a real jungle. We hung green plastic table covers (Party City) from both doorways and the cutout between the living and family room and cut them from the bottom up into 2 inch strips. (Looked like vines.) I covered up the entertainment center bookcases dining room table and piano with brown mailing paper ($1 store) and crinkled it up a bit to make it look like large rocks/boulders. We placed "jungle" stuffed animals from my daughter's stuffed animal collection all around the room - tigers monkeys an elephant a parrot etc. We moved all of our potted plants and trees (both real and fake) into the room and placed them in the corners. I put a few stuffed animals in them to look like animals hiding in the jungle and even hung a few bananas from the largest trees. Finally we scattered a couple of toy binoculars bananas and some grass clippings onto the dining room table.
When the kids arrived we had jungle-themed music playing in the background. (Used our own CD's - Jungle Boogie Morris Day's Jungle Love etc.) Each child received either an animal-themed purse - girls or a khaki-colored backpack - boys ($1 store - these were a great find and my daughters continue to carry these purses around months later!) I wrote their names on labels to stick on their bags so they wouldn't get them mixed up during the party. When all 20 kids had arrived they sat in a circle on the floor and were divided up into groups of 4 based on age since we had an age range of 5-12. Each group decided on an animal name (i.e. the Mad Monkeys Crazy Crocs etc.) then began rotating through the various activities 15 minutes per activity. Each activity had a sign that we had made using 8 x 11 poster boards and markers/stickers.
1. Animal Faces: face painting in the playroom. I posted pictures of 5 animal faces to choose from (i.e. snake tiger giraffe cheetah monkey) which I printed off of a face painting website. My sister used the pictures as a guide to do the painting. For those kids who did not want their face painted they also had the option of having an animal painted on their hand or arm. The children waiting for the painting watched The Jungle Book movie and played in the fort in the playroom. (The painting took a while so I would recommend having more than one adult painting faces.) Once each child finished having their face painted they climbed into the fort and stuck their face out of the small window so I could snap a picture of them.
2. Gorilla Games: games in the living room. My other sister led games like Hot Banana (just like Hot Potato but with a banana) Push the Peanut (rolling a peanut with your nose from one marked end of the large area rug to the other) and animal charades (acting out an animal for the other kids to guess.) Each child received a small prize for each game such as Gorilla gum ($1 store) animal fruit snacks (Walmart) and jungle animal tattoos (Oriental Trading.) They placed their goodies into their purses/backpacks.
3. Animal Safari: in the family room. My husband led the kids on an animal safari using small plastic jungle animals ($1 store) that he had hidden around the room. Before the party I had taken a picture of each of the animals and printed several copies. Each child received 4 pictures and these were the specific animals they needed to find. He gave them each a set of plastic binoculars to help with their search (Oriental Trading) and as each child found their 4 animals they received a sheet of animal stickers as a prize (Walmart.) They also got to keep their plastic animals. They placed their goodies into their purses/backpacks.
4. Animal Cookies: in the kitchen. My daughter does not like cake and wanted cookies instead. We made animal-shaped sugar cookies ahead of time using cookie cutters. (These were hard to find in the store but I finally got them on-line.) Each child decorated 2 animal cookies of their choice using various frostings we dyed with food coloring edible gel pens mini m&m's sprinkles etc. (Walmart) Plastic knives and toothpicks were offered to help with the frosting/decorating. Two adults assisted with this activity. Each child placed their finished cookies on a paper plate with their name on it and later when they were completely dry we put them into ziploc bags with their names. Then they placed them into their purses/backpacks.
5. Critter Crafts: at the dining table. I purchased various wooden animal picture frames w/markers ($1 per kit at Michael's) and the kids colored their frames. I laid out a few glitter pens and jewels to add as well. (I later mailed the pictures from their face painting for them to put into their frames. But it would have been better to upload to a one-hour photo and have an adult go pick up to avoid having to deliver/mail the pics later.) I also had bowls of goldfish crackers pretzels and animal crackers along with juice boxes at this table for the kids to snack on while coloring their frames. After each group had rotated through all 5 activities we gathered them all back together in the living room.
The kids entertained themselves with all of the goodies in their purses/backpacks while watching my daughter open her gifts. When she was done we loaded everyone into the vans/cars (had several adults to help transport - most of the parents came along) and drove to the Rainforest Café where we had made a reservation. We chose a Wednesday night for the party as kids eat for $1.99 from the kids menu every Wednesday after 5:00 p.m. Each child was told they could order whatever they wanted from the kids menu. (We paid for the adults who helped with the party and the other adults who came paid for their own meal.) The kids all sat at 2 tables and a few of the older kids were put in charge of watching the younger ones. I had brought along animal activity pads (3 for $1 Walmart) and colored pencils for the kids to entertain themselves while waiting for their food.
The adults sat at another 2 tables right next to them so they could relax and enjoy adult company while still keeping an eye on the kids. When the kids inevitably wanted to walk around visit the gift shop etc. the adults took turns bringing groups of 3 or 4. We also passed out pennies for the kids to throw into the "crocodile swamp" which they loved! My daughter and her guests had a blast at this party! The overall cost was about $250 including the food bill for all of the kids my husband and me and the other 4 adults who helped at the party. The total party time was approximately 4 1/2 hours. "
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