Tag Archives: safari party

Shrinky Dink for Printer

Shrinky Dink Scavenger Hunt

Shrinky Dink for Printer Having just told you about Shrinky Dinks as a birthday party gift last week, I now want to share with you a great idea for a treasure or scavenger hunt birthday party games using these cute little plastic do-dads. The best part is you can match the objects of your scavenger hunt to your party theme AND give the kids a take home memory.

You must use the shrinky dink plastic sheets specifically designed for ink jet printers: just click on the graphic to get to a source and to read the instructions about lightening your clip art or photos for shrinky dinking.

Choose clip art or photos related to your theme- perfect for princess parties, pirate parties, star wars parties, animal parties, and many other themes. Size and lighten them as directed and put as many as you can on any one sheet for printing and then baking. You might want to look at the shrinky dink accessories (things like rings to attach the shrinky dink to a backpack, necklace chains) to make your shrinky dinks even more fun.

Once you’ve made at least one for every child at your party, hide them for your scavenger – treasure hunt. Outdoors probably saves your house getting torn apart. Keep a log of all your hiding places in case the kids miss one or two. I’d recommend dividing the kids into teams so the groups can compete to see who can find all their treasures first.

Treasure hunts and/or scavenger hunts are always fun for a party but figuring out what to hide can be a chore that using these shrinky dink treasures makes easy.

Animal Post Its

What Animal Am I?

Animal Post Its A take off on the board game “Who Am I?”, play “What Animal Am I?” at your safari , jungle, zoo  or circus birthday party.

Like all kids party games that require some thinking, this game is best for kids age 6 to 8 and in elementary school rather than preschool.

All you need for this game is a pack of post-its. Write a different animal, that coincides with your party theme, on each page, one for each child plus one extra. If you want to get fancy and use graphics as I’ve done in the picture above, you’ll need to make your own post-its: print out your chosen graphics and cut them into squares.

Make sure there are no mirrors or reflective surfaces in the game room. Place a post it on each child’s forehead such that everyone else can see it but the wearer can’t. If using home made post-its, just swipe the top of your squares with a glue stick.

It’s probably best to demonstrate rather than explain how the game is played, so have a post it made for yourself to wear and stick it on. Demo the play as follows: ask the group yes or no questions as you try to narrow down your identity. For example, do I have 2 legs or 4, fur or fins, or feathers, do I eat plants or animals, do I live where it’s hot, where it’s cold, etc.

Once the kids get the game, tell them to move around among all the guests asking their questions of many different kids until they figure out who they are. Have a sheet of paper on a table or taped to the wall with each child’s name on it and when they know their identity tell them to come to you to report in, but then return to the group to answer questions from others.

You can have a small prize for the first to figure out what animal they are- or not.

Simple thinking games like this one can often be used to calm things down and get the kids focused.


Racetrack Game

Racetrack A fun game for up to 6 kids at a time- take them to the races!

Make it matchbox cars for the boys or horses for the girls, they can even race cars against horses in this game and it will still be a fair race.

Their game pieces (the cars and/or the plastic horses) can be their take home party favors.

You can get fancy, but only if you want to, and make a 6 lane race track out of plywood and paint. But, all you really need is a roll of wide white paper and markers. If you can’t find a 24″ wide roll, use the 12″ wide and tape 2 piece together the long way to get 24″. Make your track about 6 feet long.  Mark out your 6 lanes, the start and the finish, and divide the remaining space in each lane into 12 spaces (I’ve used just 10 here in the illustration):


If using a paper track, place it for the game on a hard surface like the floor- not on a rug where it will tear much more easily.

You need two different color dice- one to determine whose turn it is NEXT and one to tell how many spaces they can move. I suggest making all 2’s and 4’s (on the dice that determines how far they can move) be ‘backwards’- meaning they have to move their game pieces backwards 2 or 4 spaces, instead of forwards. If these are the rolls at the start- that game piece stays in the starting gate until their next turn.

Start the game off with the player in Lane #1 rolling the one die that determines who gets to roll. That player then rolls both dice, moves his  or her game piece and passes the roll to whichever player’s number was rolled by the dice that determines who rolls next. Repeat as necessary until one of the game pieces crosses the finish line- the winner.  If they’re enthusiastic, let the winner stay in the game with the next bunch of players.

Include this as one of your party games for your carnival birthday party, but it can also be adapted to a variety of party themes by changing the game pieces: dogs for a Scooby-Doo party, other plastic animals for a safari or jungle party, plastic kittens for a Hello Kitty party, monkeys for a luau party- you get the idea.

Paper Tiger

Paper Tigers

Paper Tiger Thank you, New York Times, for your ‘Personal Tech’ article this morning about all the different ways we parents can use our printers in creative ways. And thank you Canon Creative Park, for making available so many cool projects for download.  The one I want to pass along to you here today includes 45 different animals you print out on single sheets of paper and cut – fold – glue into cute little paper animals for your animal themed or safari jungle birthday party.

Print out and make one for each guest to take home, but use them first around your party space or on your birthday table as decorations. Make it quality time together with your birthday child making these together before the party. It took me about 10 minutes to complete this paper tiger- the cutting needs to be done very carefully and probably not by a child.

Print out another set of one (or more) per guest to give them to take home along with their already made paper animal so they can make one themselves with help from their parents.

As you’ll see on the Canon site, this is but one of myriad printed paper projects they have for you, so look around and see what else you see that works for your party or as a kids activity on some long afternoon.

Your party favors don’t need to be expensive or be some silly plastic doodad that just gets thrown away.

Safari Invite

Safari Jungle Passport Invitation

Safari Invite What fun to receive a cryptic, puzzling piece of mail- especially when you’re a kid that rarely gets any mail at all. If the child knows what a passport is, fine, and if not, it becomes even more of a puzzle and even more fun.

And a passport is the perfect complement to any jungle party or safari party your planning for your next birthday bash. It sets the stage for your jungle decorations and safari party theme and animal games. It gets them all excited and thinking about going to exotic places.

I’ve created this printable WORD based FREE safari jungle party invitation you can download and edit for your party particulars. Those particulars are on the inside of this quarterfold invitation, styled to look like and blend in with the other Visa stamps on the page. It takes a bit of looking to find them, and that’s the point. Each of the 4 entries- “Bring your Passport to join our Safari in Jungleland”, the date, the location and the RSVP info, are textboxes that you can edit for text, color, and style as you choose. Add another textbox if you wish them to come in costume or for any other message your invitation needs to convey.

Your birthday invitations needn’t be fancy for little kids- they’re not about to critique your graphic skills or make note of how much you spent on the invitations. They just want a party to look forward to, and the more fun the invitation is, the more they will do just that.

Animal Puzzle Cupcakes

Bear Cupcake PuzzleThe perfect complement to your jungle party, safari party, or zoo party – a teddy bear cupcake puzzle. If you prefer, it can also be configured as a fish or a turtle, and instructions for doing so are included.

Basically, these are silicone cupcake cups, washable and reusable, in various shapes that can be configured to make these three animals. There’s also a transportation set that makes up into a train, rocket or dump truck cupcake puzzle.

Given that these silicone cupcake cups are totally reusable, these are a good value at the $14.99 price tag as of this writing.

Easy to make- just place the cups on a cookie sheet in the proper configuration as per the directions, fill with your batter and bake. Frost as  shown when cool and VOILA- ready to party!

When served, the kids get to pull the cupcake puzzle apart. You know they’ll enjoy choosing which piece they want and extracting it.

It will look like a professional designer cake but the cost will be as for homemade. That’s a good deal.

So for your next animal themed party, keep the [cup]cake right on track with your party theme with this easy cupcake set.

Animal Puppets

Animal Hand PuppetsThe best toys are the ones that spark the innate creativity in the child. Toys that let the child take a bare-bones concept and adapt it with their imagination to their own play scenario. Puppets are just such a toy. So they make a very thoughtful birthday gift.

Alternatively, one of the 12 for each child at your animal or safari/jungle party would make a delightful take-home party favor.

These particular animal hand puppets at Amazon are soft plush velour that the kids will like the feel of.  Small parts like the eyes make the recommended age 3 and up, so they’re just right for preschool age kids, and also young elementary school age kids, i.e. age 6 or so. And this whole group of 12 animal buddies will cost you less (as of this writing) than many other birthday party gifts you could give.

Animals make an excellent puppet ‘subject’ because young kids instinctively know what to do with them- they know how animals sound and that’s all they need to start their imaginary play. Give them a sheet and any kind of table and they have their theater for play acting with their new animal friends. The puppets can be played with alone or with a friend or sibling, so it’s a very versatile toy that can give hours of pleasure.

Check out the reviews on the Amazon page and you’ll see how the young children really enjoy their puppet play.

Hand puppets like these animals are another example of an old fashioned toy that still gives play pleasure in our digital age. And the creativity and imagination that goes into the play acting is far more beneficial to our childrens’ developement than sitting in front of a screen passively watching someone else’s imaginary world play out before their glazed over eyes.

Coloring the Animals

ElephantEither a jungle  or a safari theme party are terrific birthday party themes. And when it comes to animal, nothing beats National Geographic. And they’ve now provided you with both a craft and the props for a game at your next animal themed party.

On the linked page above, you’ll find almost 50 different animal outlines for your party guests to color. Print off as many as you’ll need and provide the crayons. Any birthday party craft like coloring makes a good activity for the kids while you’re waiting for everyone to arrive, or when you need a ‘settle them down’ break from the more active parts of your birthday party.

Here’s another way you can use these free animal printables for an actual birthday party game. Print off 2 each of 12 of the animals National Geographic offers on heavy paper like white card stock. Have your party guests color them in- one of each in the actual animals colors and the 2nd of each pair in crazy colors- like a red elephant with yellow polka dots or a purple and orange striped tiger. Those doing actual colors are Team 1 and the crazy color group is Team 2. For that matter, have them make all the animals in wacky colors since that’s probably more fun and just divide them into 2 teams.

Now you’ve got the game pieces for ‘Concentration’- to be played out on the floor. Arrange the pictures in a 6 x 4 grid, obviously with pairs separated, upside down on the floor. Taking turns, a member of each team will choose 2 cards from the grid to turn over- if the animals match they stay turned over, if they don’t match, turn them back over so the pictures aren’t visible. Continue until all the pairs have been matched up. Keep score for the teams if you want ( or not) and award a small team prize (or not).

This is the simplest of kids party crafts that also becomes a party game. Simple often works best with preschoolers and boys of even more advanced age. And all it costs you is a little ink and maybe a big box of crayons that you’ll then get to keep.

Chalk Picture Splash

Sidewalk Chalk SplashTwo separate activities rolled into one big fun kids game for your warm weather, outdoor party.

In a post with various ideas for games for a  Star Wars party, I found this one that is adaptable to almost any other theme you might be using-  princesses, pirates, soccer or other sports, etc. If you or they can draw anything related to your theme that can serve as a target, and you’ve got a driveway, you’re good to go.

Have enough sidewalk chalk for all your party guests and divide the group into two teams. If they’re old enough, challenge them to divide themselves: either have them do it mathematically (evens and odds),  alphabetically, whatever works. Once divided, physically separate them on either side of a waterproof line on your driveway- like tape or mop handles.

If they’re old enough to draw themselves, you can do this game in two parts.

Part 1: Have the kids draw anything they want related to your party theme.

If not old enough or interested enough in drawing, you do it before hand. And if you’re not artistic, don’t worry about it, just draw either a bunch of bullseyes on both sides of the line or a great big on on both sides of the line. However, if you want something more interesting, surf the net for simplistic graphics that you can copy with your chalk. For example- draw soccer balls or footballs for a sports theme party; jolly rogers, parrots, ships for a pirate party; crowns for a princess party; death stars or space ships for a star wars party; animals for a safari jungle party- use your imagination but it doesn’t have to be complicated. If you’re artistic or daring, you can draw Shreks,  SpongeBobs, Dora’s etc.

Part 2: Once all the drawings are in place, it’s time to clean up the driveway- with water balloons!! Have at least 3 water balloons per child all ready to go OR have the kids make their own arsenals with your hose (yet another party activity to keep them occupied). You’ll need two hoses so invest in a cheap splitter at the hardware store so you can attach two hoses.

You decide if you want organized chaos or just plain chaos- have them take turns trying to obliterate the drawings with the water balloons or let the two teams just go straight at it- and at each other, no doubt.

Have towels on hand.

Dice and Draw

DrawingKids enjoy drawing- they like creating something from nothing. Using your party theme, crayons or markers and a pair of dice, you can turn drawing into one of your party games.

Choose a theme related object for your game. For example, if yours is a jungle or safari party, choose something like a creepy crawly bug. If a pirate party, make it a sea creature such as an octopus. For a star wars or space party, an alien. And if your theme isn’t conducive to a theme oriented object, just make it a monster or an animal or a person. This is what the kids will be drawing.

Get a pad of newsprint at the craft store and a roll of painters masking tape at the hardware store. Tape up two sheets one on top of the other for each child to the wall in your party room (two so there’s no marker leakage through a single sheet). Give each child a few markers or crayons.

Decide what body parts your drawing object will require, i.e. head(s), legs, arms, antennae(s), tail(s) eye(s) etc. Assign each a number between two and 12 and make a sheet on your computer for each child. There can be repeats, i.e. 1 can be head and 7 can also be head, and this is where it gets good and silly.

Armed with their paper on the wall, their crayons/markers and their sheet telling them what each roll of the die will require them to draw, it’s time to start with the first person rolling the dice and starting to draw their object.  The dice will pass from child to child.

If you’re having trouble visualizing this game, check it out at the source– scroll down the page about 3/4 of the way to “Draw that Creepy Crawly Jungle Bug!”

The first kid to finish drawing their object wins the game. An apt ‘prize’ would be a neat looking pencil. If they’re old enough to handle it, let the others all finish/embellish their drawings after the first is done and then have them vote for the best drawing (no one can vote for their own creation).

Simple sometimes is the best.