Elephant Party -2yr- Feed the Elephant
Cailean in Seattle, WA USA
For my daughter's 2nd birthday, she requested an elephant. It is hard to find just elephants when searching for ideas - they are usually tied in with jungle or safari ideas. So I had to make it up as I went along.
INVITATIONS - I cut out a medium-sized elephant head - circle head, ears, trunk. I added pink to the inside of the ears and glued on black dots for eyes. The party details were typed up and printed out and glued on to the trunk, which was then folded up to fit inside the envelopes.
DECORATIONS - I purchased a green plastic tablecloth and a tissue paper fringe that looked like grass so I taped it onto the entire table. I placed some toy elephants we already had plus photos in frames on the table. We also purchased 12 inflatable elephants to scatter around the room - they were about 2' tall so very popular with the kids to play with. I also made my daughter an elephant barrette by cutting out an elephant with fabric and felt and sewing it onto one of her barrettes.
GAME - As the kids arrived I had put together a craft for each of them. I had cut out of silver gift wrap a rectangular bag and had put together a baggie filled with eyes, a trunk, and ears. Each had glue dots already on them and all the kids had to do was take the backing off the glue dot and place them on their elephant bag. Some kids ended up with Picasso-like elephants and that made it more fun! When they were done, I scattered on the floor a bunch of elephants I'd cut out of construction paper, about 8"x10" big. I used a Martha Stewart template for elephants that I'd found on her site, but enlarged it to be bigger. We then played "musical elephants." We played some kids songs, stopped them periodically, and the kids had to jump on an elephant when the music stopped and we gave them a peanut in their bag. We did this about 5 times so each kid had 5 peanuts.
The last part of the game was to feed an elephant. I came up with an idea to create a big elephant scene on the wall with a working trunk. Of course elephants don't actually eat with their trunks but little kids don't know that. I bought some tagboard and taped two pieces together to make a big scene, covered it in blue for the sky and then on top of that glued on a big piece of green that was cut into grass blades. I then used the same Martha Stewart template (but for this I had enlarged it much much bigger) for the elephant, cut it out of silver paper and added a pink ear and black eye, but I'd cut off the paper trunk. I put the elephant behind the grass. The tricky part was to make the working trunk. I had bought a pair of men's grey socks for it. Once the elephant was glued onto the scene I used a toilet paper roll and cut it in half so it wasn't as long. I traced the circle onto the scene where the trunk would be and cut it out.
To make the trunk, I put another toilet paper roll on the inside of the end of the sock and duct taped the sock end on the inside of the roll to hide the roll. I cut off the toe of the sock and put the half toilet paper roll on the end of that but left some sock hanging off. That half roll I had actually sticking into the hole I'd cut out from the scene. This way the trunk was stiff but still flexible. I taped the end of the toe part that was hanging to the back of the scene. This secured the trunk to the scene. So the kids would feed the elephant their peanuts by holding the trunk out, sticking the peanut in, and then lifted up the trunk and the peanut would fall down into the other grey sock that was taped to the back of the scene (and also taped to the end of the first trunk sock). This was a BIG hit with the kids! They fed the elephant until the back sock was so full that he'd start "throwing up" the peanuts. My daughter even fed him one of the Nutter Butter cookies that were on the table.
FOOD - I cut out pieces of cheese with an elephant cookie cutter, made elephant sandwiches (same cookie cutter) out of peanut butter/honey and turkey/cream cheese, Nutter Butter cookies, and made an elephant snack out of Ritz (head) with cream cheese spread on top, chocolate chips (eyes), apple chips (ears) and pretzel sticks (trunk). That was also a big hit. Also we had two red bowls and two blue bowls that I turned into an elephant (one was the head and one was the body) with eyes, toilet paper rolls covered in paper for the feet, a trunk glued on, ears, etc. The red set held apples and caramel dip and the blue set held vegetables and dip. The body bowl had a celery stick with the leaves in tact for the tail. The stick was simply stuck in with the food and worked out to be a handy scoop for the ranch dip.
CAKE - I made cupcakes, frosted them with green frosting, and sprinkled green sugar on. I found an elephant game (plastic elephants with trunks and tails that hook together like the same similar monkey game) and used the elephants as cupcake toppers.
FAVORS - I used the same cookie cutter to make soap for the kids. Just used Ivory soap, grated it into flakes, added enough water to make a playdoh consistency, and also added blue food coloring. I then smashed it down on plastic wrap (sticky) and cut out soaps, let them dry for a week, then wrapped in tracing paper and put an elephant sticker on top of the wrapped favor and a gift tag that had in elephant font "Thank you for coming." Kids also took home an elephant. It ended up being a lot of work but I spread it out over a few weeks of preparation. It was worth it though and was a LOT of fun and the kids had a blast with all the elephants in every aspect!