Throw a jungle-themed kids' party in your own home with these low-cost, creative ideas. Kids love tigers, elephants, monkeys, and other exotic animals, and a jungle party is a fantastic, easy way to bring this theme to life. Before you begin, there are a few things to consider. You should set clear start and end times for your party (no more than two hours), and have activities scheduled at set intervals. A well-organized kids’ party should have no more than eight guests. You will also need to prepare invitations, decorations, snacks, crafts, games to play, and last but not least, a cake! These tips will start you on your jungle adventure.
Invitations should be easy and inexpensive to make, depending on how elaborate your decorations are. You will need colored construction paper and jungle stickers or stamps. Two different types of invitations are discussed below.
Passport invitations: Fold a sheet of construction paper in half “hamburger-style,” and then fold it again “hot dog style.” You should now have a small card you can open and close. On the front of the card, write “Passport” and decorate it with animal stickers or drawings. Inside, write “Jungle safari adventure at (child’s name)’s house--Passport required for entry!” Each child should bring his passport to the party, and they will get jungle stamps or stickers for each activity they complete.
Elephant invitations: Using grey construction paper, cut out the shape of an elephant’s head and large ears. Also cut out a trunk. Draw the eyes and other features on the elephant’s face, leaving room for the party information. Glue on the trunk to give the card some depth. Fold the elephant’s ears on top of each other to create a folding card. On the outside ear, write “An elephant never forgets…” On the inside ear, write “how to have fun!” Write the details of the party on the elephant’s face or trunk.
Decorating for the party should not be difficult or expensive. Use simple materials such as streamers and construction paper. Hang green streamers from the ceiling to look like leaves and vines. Gather stuffed animals and place them around the room as if they are “peeking” at the guests. Wrap furniture like coffee tables and ottomans in brown mailing paper to look like large rocks.
Cut large palm leaves out of green construction paper. Use wrapping paper tubes to make “tree trunks.” Blow up green, yellow and orange balloons and spread them around the room. The kids will enjoy walking through them as if they are walking through a jungle. Play a CD with sounds of the jungle. Decorate the table with a green tablecloth and orange, yellow, and brown plates. The centerpiece could be a stuffed animal such as an elephant or lion, or even a palm tree.
As soon as guests start to arrive, lead them through the “jungle” to the table. Get them started on their crafts and snacks right away. Allow at least 15 to 20 minutes for them to make their craft and eat their snacks.
Snacks should all relate to the jungle theme. Set out some trail mix (peanuts, raisins and M&Ms), animal crackers, jungle fruit such as pineapple, coconut, or kiwi and some gummy worms.
Create “ants on a log” by cutting celery sticks into 4-inch pieces, coating them with peanut butter, and placing raisins along the top to look like ants. Make cheese or peanut butter sandwiches and cut them into animal shapes using cookie cutters. Create a delicious green “jungle punch” by mixing lemon-lime soda with lime sherbet.
Jungle Party Crafts
Keep crafts simple and easy. They should take no more than 15 minutes to make, and materials should be easy to clean up. Homemade binoculars are a great jungle party craft. Each child gets two toilet paper rolls and some black string. Cut out circles of colored cellophane to use as the “glass” at the end of the binoculars. Have the kids decorate the rolls and connect them using glue or tape. Then tape the cellophane to the ends of the rolls. Use a hole punch to make holes for the string. They can use the binoculars to play the “Safari Search” game later in the party.
As soon as craft time is finished move the kids to another area to play games. While they are playing, an adult can clean off the table to prepare for the cake. Games should be easy to understand and simple to organize. No more than three or four games are needed; they should last about 10 minutes each.
Elephant Relay: For this game, you will need two spoons, two bowls and some unshelled peanuts. Divide the guests into two teams. The first person from each team must carry a peanut in the spoon across the room and drop it in a bowl to “feed the elephants.” They then run back and give the spoon to the next player, who must carry another peanut. The first team to get 10 peanuts in the bowl wins.
Jungle Charades: This is a simple variation of the classic charades game. Each child picks a card with a picture or name of a jungle animal. Each player must act out that animal, and the rest of the group guesses what animal he or she is. The child who guesses correctly gets to act out his or her animal next.
Safari Search: An adult hides small plastic jungle animals around the room, and guests must try to find them. They can use their new binoculars to help them. The child who finds the most animals wins a prize.
When the games are over, it’s time for cake. Gather guests at the table to sing “Happy Birthday” to the guest of honor.
Tiger cake: For this recipe, you will need one box of cake mix, orange and brown icing, and black licorice. Bake a 9-inch round cake and two cupcakes. Place them on a large plate so the cupcakes become the tiger’s ears. Cover everything with orange frosting, and use the brown icing to make some stripes, eyes, nose and mouth. Use the black licorice for the tiger’s whiskers. You can use green candles for eyes.
Guests should never leave empty-handed. Find some jungle-themed plastic bags and fill with small stuffed animals, animal coloring books, stickers and tropical candy.