Idea No.


The Jungle -8yr- Tunic Animal Costumes



June 2013


Kathy in Glenview, IL

June 2013 Winner

Jungle Rainforest Party

For my daughter's 8th birthday we had a Jungle themed party. It was held at our house and we had 5 guests besides the birthday girl and her sister.

INVITATIONS: For the invitations, I got light green, dark green and brown card stock and jungle-animal stickers at Michael's. I cut the light green into quarter-page rectangles and my daughter decorated these with a fringe of grass" cut out of dark green. We have a pair of "shredding scissors" which we never use to shred documents but which make great fringe! The fringe was glued on with the glue applied only to the solid part and the fringed part loose so the animal stickers could "hide" behind the long jungle grass. Sometimes she made variations such as cutting a branch out of the brown card stock for a monkey sticker to swing from. On the back of each invitation we glued a piece of white paper with the party information printed on it.

DECORATIONS: We decorated the dining room and living room with jungle animal paper cutouts from Oriental Trading honeycomb tissue toucan decorations from Dollar Tree monkey and banana wall cling stickers also from Dollar Tree and tissue paper and pipe cleaner flowers which my daughters made (these were used to decorate the stair railing). I also set out any appropriate stuffed animals and plastic animals that I could find and the birthday girl and her best friend colored a big poster for the door. I meant to also get animal-print balloons but I forgot. Outside we have a swing made from a board and ropes hanging from a tree. We turned it into a jungle swing by making vines out of green plastic-coated wire and green felt leaves and attaching a vine to each rope. Our other outdoor decoration was an 8-foot-tall green metallic fringe curtain which we bought from Oriental Trading. We  share a driveway with our neighbors and it runs right in between the two houses. So I got three sections of fringe curtain (for a total of nine feet wide) and stapled them to a string to make one continuous length and we strung it across the driveway by attaching it to our window on one side and our neighbors' window on the other side. This way it created a dramatic entrance to the back yard.

COSTUMES: Each guest could choose a costume which was a simple no-sew tunic made from animal-print fabric (zebra tiger or giraffe pattern). I made ears to match out of felt hot-glued to cheap plastic headbands.

ACTIVITIES: As the guests arrived they could put on their costume play on the jungle swing and have a snack (Pirate's Booty animal crackers and water in Dixie cups with a jungle-animal print). Then we had games: Water Balloon Fight Tug of War Monkey in the Middle and Sack Race. For the sack race I just used heavy-duty garbage bags and I told the kids that they were monkeys who had been caught and put in sacks by the zookeeper and they were trying to escape. I had some more games planned (Tag Follow the Leader with animal motions It's Midnight Mr. Lion like It's Midnight Mr. Fox but with a lion instead and Egg and Spoon Race) but it started to rain.

We went inside to do arts and crafts in the living room. I had modeling clay and Wiki Sticks for the kids to make animals. I also had tissue paper and pipe cleaners but nobody wanted to make a tropical flower. Finally I had toilet paper tubes which they could cover with colored paper and then attach a paper head and legs to make an animal. I had brads (paper fasteners) to attach the legs so that they could move back and forth. Not all of the children understood this project though --some of them just wanted to make hats or fortune-tellers out of the paper.  We had one more game before dinner --I stuck a label with a jungle animal written on it on each child's back and each child had to sit with his or her back to the group and ask questions to guess what animal he or she was.

Then we had dinner (see below) and played two more games outdoors (it stopped raining temporarily). One game was Animal Sounds. I assigned each child an animal noise --Grr Grr Tweet Tweet etc. I had to use some barnyard animals because I couldn't think of enough jungle animal noises. One child went in the middle of the circle blindfolded and all the other children said their different animal noises all at once. The child in the middle  was told to locate one particular animal just by listening and distinguishing that sound from among all the other sounds.

The final game was Banana Bite. This was like that game that's played with apples or doughnuts at Halloween parties except I used bananas. I had a half-banana for each child. I peeled back and cut off the skin part way and pierced through the end of the banana that still had skin on it with a skewer so I could thread a string through it. My husband stood up on the deck and dangled each banana down and the child standing on the ground below had to try to bite the banana using only his or her mouth (no hands).

A game that I shopped and prepped for and then totally forgot to actually do during the party was Runt Hunt. We made a bag of Runts for each guest and made sure that each bag had the same number of banana Runts. The game was going to be that they had to close their eyes reach into their bag and try to pull out all the banana Runts by touch since they are a different shape. Since we forgot to do it I had to just put the bags of Runts into the favor bags! At the end of the party we had the cupcakes (see below) a movie (The Jungle Book) and roasting marshmallows on the fire --the kids could have a s'more or a Banana Boat.

DINNER: We used the Zoo Pals plates and cups. The tablecloth was lime green and the napkins and forks were dark green. All of the food was labeled with cards that the birthday girl made.  We had Crocodile Food (hot dogs and brats) Tiger Food (chicken) Toucan Food (veggies) Monkey Food (fruit) Elephant Food (elephant-shaped PBJ's with pretzel "sticks" and matchstick potato "hay") Cheetah Food (Cheetos my daughter's little joke) and Explorer Food (sliced cheese). We also had lime Jello Jigglers cut in crocodile shapes which were very popular and green lemonade.

CAKE: I made a mix of 5 kinds of animal-face cupcakes. I used chocolate batter and white batter  --for the white batter I left part of it white and tinted part of it yellow and part of it orange. For the frosting I had chocolate and white and I left part of the white frosting white and tinted part of it yellow and part orange plus just a little bit that I tinted pink. The animals were: Monkeys --chocolate cupcakes chocolate frosting Nilla wafer muzzle Mini Nilla ears white and chocolate frosting eyes chocolate frosting nostrils and pink frosting mouth on the muzzle. Tigers --the cupcakes were layers of chocolate batter and orange batter. The frosting was orange with chocolate stripes white and chocolate eyes pink nose and mouth. For the ears I cut orange Starburst candies in half diagonally to make triangles. Zebras --the cupcakes were layers of chocolate batter and white batter. The frosting was white with chocolate stripes and chocolate eyes. The muzzle and ears were mini marshmallows outlined in chocolate frosting. Cheetahs --yellow cupcakes yellow frosting white and chocolate eyes pink nose and mouth yellow Starburst ears and chocolate covered raisin spots. Lions --yellow cupcakes yellow frosting white and chocolate eyes pink nose and mouth. For the mane I cut just the yellow and orange section off of rainbow sour belt candy using scissors. I folded over lengths of this to make loops and stuck these loops all around the edge of each lion cupcake. The lions were the most work but they were really cute! I arranged all the animals on a tray and in the middle was one plain chocolate frosted cupcake with the eight candles (animal print) in it.

FAVORS: The favor bags were animal print gift bags from Dollar Tree (tiger zebra giraffe cheetah). For the favors I got jungle animal stickers beach balls finger puppets and Beanie Babies from Oriental Trading and animal print slap bracelets from Dollar Tree plus each kid got a pencil flashlight. We wanted to have a Treasure Hunt for the prizes but it was too rainy so I had to just put them in the bags. 

THANK YOU CARDS: For the thank-you's I got a box of cards at Michael's, which are a variety of animal prints."

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