Safari Party -2yr- Passport Invitations
Dawn in Great Falls, VA
We had a Safari Birthday party for my son Christopher's second birthday. I got most of the stuff from Oriental Trading Company.
I started out by sending "Passport" invitations to each child. I made them myself out of construction paper and actual pictures of passports from Slawek.com. They looked real! Inside the invitation was the child's name, date of issue and passport number (written so you would have to turn it to the side to read it like a real passport) and I stapled light blue typing paper (cut to fit, their were about 4 sheets inside the passport so the weight felt real when you held it). The passport read (I got much of the script from BirthdayIdeas.com), "This is your passport for a birthday safari filled with fun and excitement in honor of Christopher's Second Birthday! Christopher will be leading an expedition through jungles and sahara plains on Saturday, July 27th. The adventure will last from 2-4 pm.
All explorers must bring their passports to (our address) at the appointed time. They are necessary in order to obtain a travel permit. Adventurers should also practice their wild animal sounds. They will serve as passwords for embarkation. RSVP to (our phone number). On the day of the party, I had tons of animal print balloons in the trees outside. I also found American Embassy signs that I made into stickers and stuck them on our front doors. As the kids were walking up our front walk, they saw signs saying, "Please be prepared to show proper id." "All security measures approved by the seal of the President" "Enter at your own risk, it's a jungle in their!" and "Master Christopher welcomes you to Safari!" When they entered I was at the front door with a little table that looked like a customs desk, and I had on a safari outfit. They had to say the password (roar like a lion), get their passports stamped (I used an old office stamp that said 'APPROVED' with the day's date and animal stickers) and were told about the inoculation booth they would have to go to next.
I also gave them money from all different countries (Printed out on the internet, banknotes.com - they are beautiful!) to take to the Safari Depot to buy their gear. I gave them a travel permit (a picture of one from China I printed out off Slawek, personalized to each guest and laminated with a leather cord for a necklace) and sent them to the med booth. They received a malaria pill (jelly bean in a glass bottle with a big red cross sticker on it) and a typhoid shot (a toy needle) and were warned about yellow fever, DON'T DRINK THE WATER, etc. Then they were directed to the "Christopher's Safari Depot" where they received Pith hats, animal masks and binoculars.
The entire house was decorated in tons of green and brown crepe paper hanging very low so you had to push them out of the way like vines. I also had party palm trees and raffia all over the place giving it a real overgrown feel. Once they left the depot they went into the family room which was decorated with tons of African cloth (from my grandmother), animal print balloons, stuffed animals from my kids' rooms, raffia skirts cut and hung over the doorways and small animal balls and blow up animals (the animals and balls I gave away as prizes and favors).
We started off with a craft, animal necklaces for the girls and animal magnets for the boys. After that my husband did a game of "Animal Tarzan Says"-it's like Simon Says, and I got that idea off of Birthdayideas.com. The kids loved it. They all had to wear their mask or hat and when they got out they just took their stuff off, but could keep playing. The last child still wearing something won. We also did a Dinosaur Egg Hunt in the front yard. I got the eggs from OTC and each one had a little dino in it. My grandmother sent me a stuffed piranha and tarantula that she had gotten when she went on a real safari down the Amazon 40 years ago. I put it in a large, old trunk with raffia and crepe paper on it and used it as a guessing game for the kids, "What great safari treasure do you think I have in my treasure chest?" I gave the 2 pieces to parents to let the kids hold and touch them under supervision. THEY LOVED THIS.
I also had TONS of cool pictures of animals that I had gotten off of the Encarta program. I printed them and cut them out and pasted them on safari typing paper and taped them all over the house. I had reptile sections, mammals and even interesting facts about animals in your own backyard because when you go on Safari you have to see animals! After the food and cake (Costco is a life-saver!)
I presented each child with a Lion Roaring Award. I printed these out on parchment paper using my computer. They had a large picture of a lion and each certificate was personalized to each child. So one child got, "This award is presented to Joey for the MOST INTENSE LION ROAR at Christopher's second Birthday Party Safari expedition! Signed By: Customs Official" Another child got 'most vicious' then 'most lion-like' etc. I had these done up the night before and filled them out while the kids were doing their crafts. And I had 18 kids so you can imagine how tough it was to come up with 18 adjectives!
While the kids were eating I had a friend go around and give them each an animal tattoo (all this stuff is available from OTC). In the end the kids went home with Color-Your-Own animal goodie bags (I got animal print paper bag purses for the girls), a pith hat, animal mask, binoculars, Lion Roaring Certificate, magnet craft or necklace, tattoo, animal blow-up balls, laminated travel permit necklace, candy and the money. It was the greatest party!
The decorations and introductory stuff really made it special, and my son, who adores animals and animal sounds, had the BEST TIME!!!! A mother called me the next day to say how much fun her kids had and I could hear them in the background playing safari together with their masks, binoculars and stuff. It was a wonderful day.
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