Safari Party -9yr- Safari to Africa
Jill in Spanish Fork UT USA
October 2008 Winner
My daughter Savannah loves animals and chose a safari theme for her 9th birthday party. This is what we did:
INVITES: we made passport invitations from a folded piece of blue cardstock. On the front we copied a picture of the US seal and printed PASSPORT above, and United States of America below. Inside said We're going on a safari! Get ready to go into the wild and have some fun! This is your passport for Savannah's Safari birthday party. We will be taking you on a safari trip around remote areas of Africa. Our expedition starts on ________ at 4:00 pm. All explorers should bring their passports. Safari wear is optional but adventurers may want to dress to go outdoors weather permitting. Our trip will conclude at 6:30pm." ON the reverse side of the invitation we typed Passport ID#_______ issued to (name) of (city) on (date) expires (date).
DECORATIONS: I made trees from colored butcher paper and put them all over the walls of our house. I added vines made from twisted brown crepe paper and then put monkies in all the trees and some were swinging and hanging from the vines. We created a fake waterfall with an 8' length of metalic shred hanging on the wall and blue butcher paper on the floor below to look like a pond. Our basement is unfinished so my husband painted the stairs and a pathway to the main room downstairs blue to look like a river. He added white accents to make it look more realistic. I made palm trees from fabric rolls and brown and green felt that we wired to the front posts on the porch outside and put around the house. We taped a sign that said "welcome to Serengeti National Park Tanzania Africa" on the front door and made animal prints in chalk on the sidewalk up to the front door. I painted on the front windows of the house with Crayola washable paints things like beware of the lions and don't feed the animals. We planned on playing a cd of animal sounds thru the house but ran out of time. We gathered all my daughter's stuffed animals and put them around our yard grouped by family.
ACTIVITIES: When our guests arrived I greeted them in the hallway at a table set up like a customs desk/health clinic. I welcomed them to Africa and took their passports (for those that didn't bring them I had my daughter give me a positive ID on them). I gave them a red candy and told them it was a malaria pill then "innoculated" them with an empty syringe against typhoid. I warned them not to drink the water feed the animals and to watch out for the monkies. Then I gave each girl a white plastic safari hat (bought from Zurcher's for $1+ each) which they decorated at a table behind me with colored Sharpies. I told them our tour guide would be there shortly; we were lucky to have him as he was a prominent nature guru who had wrestled with crocodiles in the wild and written a documentary. When my husband came down the stairs into the room (dressed in tan shorts and shirt Outback hat thick wool socks hiking boots a walking stick and flashlight) I introduced him as Sir Nigel Higginbotham. He doing his best poke at an English accent told them about our tour we'd be going on. As the girls followed him out of the room I handed them each a pair of toy binoculars (also bought at Zurcher's for $10 for a pack of 12). My husband led them outside and around the yard stopping at each station of animals. He gave them each a funny African name like brown-butt monkey and black butt bears which had the girls laughing. He really hammed it up.
GAMES: After the tour we took the girls back to the patio and had them do an elephant walk following a set of elephant prints that we had spray painted on the grass. Each girl put her left hand between her legs and grabbed the right hand of the person behind her. It was hilarious and they all got a good laugh. At the end of the prints we played elephant tag. I got this idea from Family Fun magazine. We cut the legs off 6 pairs of pantyhose and put a rolled up pair of socks in the toe of each. Each girl put the thigh part of the pantyhose on her head and they played tag with "it" getting people out by pulling off her "hat". When they were down to 2 people we quit.
Next they played Musical animals in the center of the yard. We spray painted a giant circle on the lawn in white and had 11 small toy animals in the center. While my husband sang "the lion sleeps tonight" the girls walked around the circle. When the music stopped they had to run and grab an animal. Whoever didn't get one was out and came and got a safari fruit snack from me. (like musical chairs).
When we had a winner we went inside and played animal charades with each girl acting out an animal and the other guessing by making the animal sound instead of yelling the name. This didn't work out so well as no one knew what a giraffe says and more than one animal growls. I'd suggest letting the actor make the sound and the other girls guessing by name. They yell it out anyway.
Next we played make a critter where each girl draws a part of an animal and passes it to her left. You're supposed to end up with an animal with different body parts but it didn't really work and the girls couldn't follow the directions. They still thought it was funny. Then we told the girls there were monkies in 3 different rooms in the house. Anyone that could find them all and come to me with the number would win a prize. It took awhile for someone to get them all but they did and we rewarded her with a stuffed gorilla from the dollar store.
Lastly we took the girls down into the basement for a relay. This was everyone's favorite part. My husband told them this was when our tour got a little bit dangerous. We were going to descend into the bowells of the African jungle to search for snapping crocodiles hissing spiders and vampire bats. They'd have to be on the look out and watch themselves if they were to survive this leg of our tour. We had them follow the "river" across the floor down the basement stairs and through the hallway to the carpeted area of the main open space. I had hung green crepe paper from the ceiling down the stairs which we told them to avoid touching as it was poisonous jungle weeds that would grab them. At the end of the river we constructed a relay they had to get through in order to go eat at the banquet hall. We have gymnast rings hanging from the ceiling which they had to use to swing over the hissing crocodile swamp (computer print outs of crocodiles on the floor). We had also set a Halloween laughing skull in the middle of the crocodiles telling the girls that our last tour didn't do so well and poor ol' Joe had gotten himself eaten by the crocodiles. They thought that was funny.
Then then had to crawl through the bat cave which was 2 big appliance boxes taped together to form one long box. I had hung rubber bats and black crepe paper from the roof of the boxes. We threw black fabric over the top of the boxes to darken them and make it look more like a cave. Then they had to dig through the cauldron of worms (cooked cold spaghetti noodles floating in water in a dutch oven) to retrieve the diamond crystals that were stolen from the goblet of death by Evil Lord Norbert and return them. We hid clear glass bubbles (the kind used to make your own magnets; I had them left over from a previous craft project but you can get them from a craft store) in the noodles and had the girls put them in a Halloween cup when they found them. It was the clear plastic cups with the fake skeleton hand holding it at the bottom.
Then they had to fish out a hissing spider from another black cauldron and place it next to the bowl (I put plastic spiders in ice cold water inside a plastic Halloween black cauldron). Then they had to walk the bridge of no return ( a line of duct tape on the floor) jump three times on the bottomless quicksand pit (a mini trampoline covered by a sand colored carpet remnant) and then lastly eat a hanging glow worm without using their hands (sour gummy worms hung from the ceiling by black yarn). I sent the girls thru fairly quickly so they wouldn't get bored waiting for their turns. I was surprised for all the girls wanted to do the relay multiple times they even had me dump the diamond crystals back into the noodles so they could dig them out again. Even the squeemish prissy ones wanted to do it again. The gymnast rings were the biggest hit.
FOOD: After the relay we took them back upstairs to open presents while my husband was finishing cooking the food. We had mini hamburgers on buns skewered snakes (I cut hot dogs lengthwise into fours and threaded the pieces onto bamboo skewers two to a stick in an S shape to resemble snakes) bugs on a log (mini pretzels dipped in peanut butter and rolled in chocolate sprinkles. I set them on a plate lined with leaves to look more authentic) chips animal crackers fruit salad and jungle juice (green strawberry kiwi juice with pop rocks added at the last second to pop and fizzle). The girls loved the jungle juice but some wanted to know if the pop rocks were store bought or not as their mothers warned them about drugs looking like candy. I laughed and assured them they weren't drugs.
Then we had cake and ice cream. I frosted a regular 9x13" cake green and added a small hill in the corner using a cup cake I trimmed a bit. Then I added leaf accents around the edge of the cake and made a blue river running from the top of the "hill" and over the side of the cake. I made this with blue sugar sprinkles. I made palm trees with mini pretzels and frosting leaves. Then I added my daughter's mini plastic animal collection placing zebras and lions and monkies all over the cake. When the girls went home my daughter presented them with a homemade cd of jungle songs we titled "Savannah's jungle jams". I hate gift bags as most of the stuff gets thrown away anyway so this was easier and cheaper for us to do. The girls all seemed to have fun. This party cost me about $100 to throw; it could be done cheaper if you have time to bargain shop. I didn't. It was really fun to put together and the jungle effect on the walls was really cool. Thanks to everyone who contributes on this site as many ideas came from other creative moms adapted to our theme."
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