Zoo Party -3yr- Musical Bird Nests
Laura in Grapevine, TX, USA
We had a zoo party for my son (turning three) and daughter (turning five). It was held at our zoo in their education center. It was a good theme for a joint party, being very gender neutral, and also a lot of fun.
INVITATIONS: I found some really cute plastic goodie bags with an all over print of cartoon zoo animals, and then I found some stickers that went with them, and this was the inspiration. On my computer, I printed: Hey Party Animals! Daughter's turning 5 and Son's turning 3. Sounds like a reason for a party to me! Please join us for a roaring good time! followed with the party info and request for an RSVP. This was printed on white card stock and an animal sticker was centered underneath the first line. I printed them three per page so they were tall and narrow. I layered this over a jungle green card stock that was cut just a bit bigger, and tied it all together with blue grosgrain ribbon. This was all slipped inside the animal print goodie bag, which was used like an envelope. They were hand delivered.
DECORATIONS: The room that we used was usually used as a classroom, so it was pretty nicely decorated to begin with. I did add a few green streamers hanging haphazardly around the room like vines in a jungle. We also printed a banner for the wall and a banner for the door, both covered with green leaves with different animals, saying Party Like An Animal! and the kids names. My husband is able to get this free at work, so we are pretty lucky. We covered the tables with green table cloths, and that was about it.
ACTIVITIES/GAMES: We had name tags with zoo animal stickers on them with a sign that said, Name that Animal! and giving directions for people to make a name tag with their own first name and an animal that starts with their initial (like Larry Lion for example). Then they sat down to color a zoo gift bag. I made these from some inexpensive leopard print gift bags. I printed half sheet coloring sheets from the internet and glue sticked them on each side of the gift bag, which was then used as a favor bag.
After the gift bag, they made a zoo visor. It was a foam visor with foam zoo animals to stick on, which I found at the dollar store. They actually really enjoyed this, and my daughter wore hers through the whole party. After that, the zoo staff brought in four different animals for the kids to see close up, though no touching was allowed. One of the animals was a baby alligator, which my son just loved! They told a bit about each animal and let the kids ask questions. They really liked this part, and it was educational too!
Before the party, I hid little plastic eggs filled with candy around the room. After the animal show, I told the kids that an alligator thought it was too cold outside for her eggs, and she had put them in our party room, so we needed to find them all. Each child was instructed to find one egg. Of course when they did, they knew it was candy and I had them put their egg in their gift bag.
Then we played musical bird's nests. I laid hula hoops out on the floor and had the kids walk around the group of hoops until the music stopped, then they had to hop into a nest. Of course, there can be more than one bird in a nest, so nobody got out. After they got the hang of it, I started removing hoops, so each nest was more crowded. It was silly, and the older kids loved it (not so much for the little ones, though) after that, we ate lunch, had cake, and then the party was over. We did start to open gifts, but it was a bit crazy, so we decided to finish opening at home. The fabulous part was that after the party, everyone got to go spend the day at the zoo.
COSTUMES: We didn't have any costumes, but I did make a cute zebra print t-shirt dress for my daughter to wear. If I was a more accomplished seamstress, I would have made something for my son, but I was not that skilled!
FOOD: We wanted to serve lunch and wanted it to be easy, so we purchased a fruit tray from a grocery store deli and ordered pizza, which was delivered right to the zoo. We had bottles of juice and soda and water on ice in a big plastic tub. We used those Hefty Zoo Pals plates, napkins and cups, where each item is a different animal. The cups have lids like a sippy cup, which was great for preventing spills, and they were so cute! Everyone ate and enjoyed their lunch.
CAKE: We ordered a cake made up of cupcakes frosted all together, shaped like a lions face. It was so cute and super easy to serve and eat. We were able to get some cupcakes chocolate, and some vanilla.
FAVORS: We made a CD from Itunes of animal songs, lots of feel good songs like Crocodile Rock and Jungle Boogie and The Lion Sleeps Tonight. We used it during the party, and had a copy for everyone to take home. Each child had colored a gift bag and had found an egg filled with candy to put in it. During lunch, I slipped in their CD, their zoo tickets, an animal print fruit roll up, an animal print horn, and a full size bottle of bubbles with personalized labels. I just printed them on my computer, cut them out, and glued them on. They also had their visor that they had decorated, but most of the kids were wearing that. It was a fun party and the kids enjoyed themselves.
THANK YOU'S: I found some really cute cards at the hobby store, and I will be making thank you cards with pictures from the party on the front, layered over animal print paper. I got so many ideas from this website, which is one of my favorites. Thanks to all the parents out there that so freely share their great ideas!