Zoo Party -2yr- Giraff Neck Ring Toss
Amy in Saint Amant, Louisiana, USA
My son loves animals so for his second birthday we planned a zoo themed party. Since it rains during June just about everyday where we live, I planned all the activities for indoors.
First for the invites I used a clipart picture of a monkey standing with his arms out in front of him and then I pasted another clipart pic of a bunch of bananas that opened up, with the party info inside, on top of the monkey's hands. To make the banana bunch, I copied and pasted the clipart of the bananas so that I had three identical banana bunches, then I flipped one of the bunches vertically so that I could put the bottoms of two bunches together and when folded where the two bunches met it would look like one bunch of bananas. I lightened the color of the two bunches that were now together and that is where I put all the party info in red using jokerman font. The invites read: It's time to answer the call of the wild, and bring out the party animal in every child, It's sure to be a zoo, as Isaac turns TWO! (I found that on this site).
The third bunch of bananas was cut and pasted on the outside of the other two after they were folded up, then the whole thing was pasted to the monkey...the result was a monkey holding a bunch of bananas that flipped down and had all the info inside. It was a lot of work, and the cost was about $1 dollar per invite (two color copies on card stock), but the end result was well worth the effort. I also printed a small insert that had my son's interest (ex. Books, animals, movie, crafts..) so that those wanting to purchase a gift would have an idea what to get.....I got a lot of compliments on that. I also purchased a roll of magnets that I cut into thin strips and placed on the back of the monkey so that they could be hung on the fridge. I had to use an envelope that was 9 ½ x 6 ½ to accommodate.....and I also learned a valuable lesson in mailing an envelope that size, you have to address it horizontally and the cost of postage is one stamp....if you address it vertical then you need two stamps (I found this out the hard way).
For the decorations I kept it simple and used a lot of what I already had. I ordered some blow up animals from rhode island novelty (oriental trading has them as well) that I just tossed into the living room for the kids to play with. And I had a lot of small cut outs of zoo animals that I strung with fishing string and hung against the walls. I used some zoo animal figures that I had already bought for my son at walmart, they were only 88 cents a piece, for table decorations. I covered a table for the kids to sit at in art paper and tossed crayons on top it.
The party time was 3pm so I only prepared snacks...I had a grazing table set up that the kids could easily reach, I put a picture of a zoo animal on the back of a bowl and then filled it with foods that particular animal might eat.......bear gold fish; zebra hay (shoestring French fries); monkey bananas; Elephant peanuts (nutter butters); Lion animal crackers; Giraffe Trees (marshmallows on pretzel sticks dipped in white chocolate and rolled in green rice crispies, these were a huge hit). I also set up chips and dips for the adults in the kitchen.
For games I decided on four easy games that a child as young as 2 could enjoy but that an older child might also want to play. We did pin the tail on the tiger, feed the elephant, feed the hippo, and ring the giraffe. I used clipart pics on poster format...it printed them on nine sheets of card stock that I then had to cut, overlap, and paste together so that each was large enough. I laminated each piece for extra stability. For the tiger I just left the tail off and printed out the tails separate, I cropped another clipart of a tiger so that it was only the tail. I used a tail that was curved but still slightly straight so that after the game was over they were given as bookmarks. The tails had a message on back that went along with the invites: It sure was a zoo, as Isaac turned TWO! and the date.
For the hippo game, I chose a clipart of a hippo with his mouth open and I cut out a large hole inside the mouth. I mounted it on top of a box, also with a hole where the mouth went. I cut leaves out of green construction paper, laminated them, and pinned them onto bean bags. The kids took turns tossing (the little kids just put them in) the bean bags into the mouth (this was their favorite of the games).
For the elephant game I had a large elephant clipart with the trunk raised and curved. I laminated the elephant and then pasted it onto poster board, leaving the trunk free and then I cut the trunk on one side so that if you lifted the trunk you could access the mouth (which was just a hole in the poster board). Since the trunk curved there was a cut out in the middle to I tied fishing string to that and then strung it through a small hole in the top of the poster board. I pasted the poster board onto a large box, so that the mouth of the elephant was above the top of the box. I cut another hole in the box at the bottom so I could get the peanuts back out easily. The kids were asked to feed the elephant and when they approached him I lifted the trunk with the string and they dropped peanuts inside, I then let some older kids help retrieve the peanuts for the next child. We made peanuts using a brown paper bag that we cut up and rolled, taped in the middle, and drew black dots all over. I placed them in a pail we labeled peanuts.
The giraffe game was a clipart of a giraffe that had a long straight neck; I used a ruler for extra support on the neck and then laminated the giraffe. I pasted him onto a small box so that the top of the box was just above where the ruler started. I made rings out of paper plates; I cut out the center, leaving only a small amount of the rim. I colored the rings and then laminated them, I had to put two laminated rings together and tape them all the way around so that they were stable enough to throw. I made two rings total and the kids tried to toss it around the giraffe neck, the younger kids enjoyed just placing them around the giraffe (and themselves).
For the cake I had my sister in law make it, she loves to bake. We had a banana cream cake, the top of the cake had green whipped icing around the sides and on parts of the top, she made a hill using some extra cake, and then on the other side she used blue whipped icing to look like a water fall. The middle had chocolate icing. I purchased some bendable zoo animals from rhode island novelty (oriental trading also had them), that we place in different positions across the cake, some laying down, some crawling, some standing and waving. It came out really cute!
For favor bags, I used white paper bags and decorated them myself using animal stickers and markers. I wrote thank you for coming and then had Isaac do handprints with red paint on top yellow construction paper, I cut them out and pasted them on the bag and wrote love, Isaac. I filled them with zoo color books, a pack of zoo crayons, animal stickers, and zoo bubbles (all from rhode island novelty) and one piece of candy. I added the tails from the tiger game also. For the four babies (under a year) I had invited I bought small stuffed zoo animals.
For thank you notes, I had my sister get pics of each kid at the party (with Isaac if possible) and I used those pics in the thank you cards. We had a wonderful time. There were a total of 13 kids present from age 2mths to 4yrs, all of them had a great time.