Jungle Party -3yr- Limbo to Madagascar
Giuliana in Dubai, United Arab Emirates
My son and his "little girlfriend" were turning 3 almost at the same time, so us parents decided to throw them a joint bday party, and thought the jungle theme would work best for both girls & boys---it was perfect timing as their preschool began teaching them about animals, so they were already in the mood for a jungle bash!
I made the invitations almost an exact replica of the one on the familyfun website (it's a leaf--but there is no template on the website, so I had to enlarge the photo and create my own template). I used Papyrus font which gave it a jungle look. They read "You're invited to ____&____'s Jungle Birthday Party Celebration! So come dressed for the adventure in some WILD jungle/safari clothes!". They came out great!
For the venue, I chose a party room in a children's party center. The room was huge and bare, so I decorated all 4 walls with a bamboo border (bought from a party store). I made a large (10 ft wide) poster/banner (I got the large poster paper from an architect friend of mine)and glued a green paper table cloth over it. I bordered it entirely with the "Jungle Party" themed wrapping paper. The banner read "Happy 3rd Birthday to ___ and ____" and I did the letters with rope and wooden skewers. I also made a sign at the front door to the party room which read "Welcome to the Jungle"..I did this with rope and toothpicks. A friend of ours drew large pictures of animals (a tiger, hippo, elephant, giraffe) and placed them as if they were standing behind the bamboo wall.
The party staff had a great idea to tape 20-30 inch strips of thin shiny ribbon from the ceiling to hang down to look like vines. We did it in light and dark green---it really looked amazing especially because they were curled prior to taping. I also had a big inflatable sun hanging from the ceiling in one corner of the room. As people arrived, I had "jungle sounds" playing in the background (a friend recorded it for me)..this really set the mood. There was also a fog machine which the kids LOVED (this was the best thing at the party I think!!)As for the activities, the first thing the kids did when they arrived was to get their face painted (by the party staff). I requested only a few whiskers and black noses, as sometimes the kids can look too scarry and there would be small babies coming, too.
Then they all did a painted hand print on a poster for the bday boy & girl (2 posters). This would serve as a nice memory for the bday kids as well as a fun activity. I made sure I had a packet of wet-wipes as a bucket of water would have proved too messy. As there were mostly 3 yr olds, I didn't want any competition games, so the first major "activity" was that we all held hands in a big circle and sang "If I were a lion, a lion, a lion, if I were a lion, I'do like this: (and then the children would roar). We did about 6 different animals, and the kids really liked it.
After this, we played the LIMBO to the Madagascar song and to Hot-Hot-Hot! The parents enjoyed this as much as the kids! No winners or losers: all the kids were just running around and having fun to the music. After this, I told the kids we were going on a lion hunt, and gave them all a pair of binoculars (bought at the dollar store) and a safari pith helmet (OTC). They were all searching and searching, then in comes an actual lion character! The kids were so excited to see "a real lion", although my bday boy son cried his head off, so we had to send the lion out.
After this, the kids took turns in hitting the Zebra pinata. They loved it! It never broke, so we had both bday kids break it open by hand (with adult help, of course). The kids were creative and placed all the pinata goodies in their pith helmets. After this was the food and then the cake. The background music was songs from the Lion King and Jungle Book, and other jungle/animal-related songs (like "See ya later alligator"). I had a large buffet table that I decorated with a green tablecloth and yellow nets, and placed shredded green tissue paper throughout. Each dish had a name stuck onto it by a wooden spoon (I made labels and cut & taped them onto wooden spoons whch I taped to the platters). Some of the dishes were plastic long banana leaves (bought at a party store).
The food looked really good on them. Items on the table were: mini-jungle pizzas, tiger taco salad, monkey mac n'cheese, cheetah cheesey sandwiches, jungle jello, worms (gummy worms--biggest hit), hippo-mud brownies, coccoons (marshmallows), butterfly wings (Pringles potato chips), rhino-rice crispies, and rock chocolate (granite chocolate bought at candy carousels at malls). I also served jungle juice boxes. We had two cakes (one for each bday child) one lion and one monkey, made from a bakery, but with the Jungle Party characters (I gave them a goodie bag to copy from).
The cake table and all the dining tables were covered with dark green table cloths and again with yellow nets (bought at a party store) over it (very uneven to give it a messy/jungle effect). I bordered the cake with a mini wooden lawn border (about 6 inches high), and placed snakes all over the border--as to scare the kids away from sticking their fingers into the cake! The cakes also layed on a thin bed of green shredded tissue paper. The kids were in awe. There were also large "Jungle Party" mylar animal balloons all around the cake table, and the kids especially liked the alligator one which we carefully placed at table level to "scare" the kids from the cake! It worked! All the other tables where people sat had bananas and coconuts as the centerpiece (along with the yellow net). The only thing I bought from the "Jungle Party" set was the wrapping paper for the banner, the mylar balloons, and the goodie bags.
All the plastic plates were just plain yellow and green, as well as the napkins and plastic cutlery. As each child left, I gave them a goodie bag which had animal bubbles, a safari pencil, a scented animal eraser, animal gummy candies, a 6-pack of animal figues (for boys) or a stuffed animal keychain (for girls), and a helium-inflated balloon (either purple of green). All the goodies were bought at the dollar store. The kids also took home with them the pith helmet and binoculars. They really had a great time, and it was especialy nice to see all the kids wear their pith helmets at school the next day. This party was definitely a hit--and all the kids are now asking their parents for the same party!
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