Tag Archives: jungle party

Mouse Cakes

Here’s yet another cute animal faced cupcake for your next animal party or jungle party or safari party. Get those mouses out of the pantry and onto your party table!

No cake design skills needed here- these are easy. You can even use store-bought cupcakes and ready-made icing if you so choose. You’ll need some sturdy plastic bags like the zippered ones, chocolate sprinkles (jimmies), ‘Famous’ chocolate wafer cookies, little round snack cookies or chocolate cheerio shaped cereal, chocolate mini chips, black licorice, and small pink jelly beans.

For presentation at your party, do include the cheese for your mice, using yellow taffy and a pastry tip to cut out the ‘swiss’ holes. Array the mice cupcakes and the cheese on a platter so it looks like the mice are all going after the cheese, and the kids will love it.

As with any fancy finger food you make for your party, you can make more and send these cuties home with your guests as their take home kids party favors. Perhaps serve chocolate mice at the party and send white mice home.

Cupcakes are perfectly kid sized, and easy to decorate in creative ways to complement your party’s theme. Would you have guessed that mouse cakes would be so simple to make? And when you can start off with store bought cupcakes, it makes your party food that much easier and quick.

Elves, Wizards and Giants

TagHere’s a ‘run off some energy’ outdoor birthday party game that I never heard of that can be tweaked to work with many different party themes. That makes this a valuable addition to the potential repertoire of party games for many different types of parties for a variety of age groups.

As odd as it sounds, this is a combination of that old standby ‘rock-paper-scissors’, and tag. You need enough kids to make two teams and you need plenty of outdoor space for one team to chase the other into a ‘safe’ zone.

Going with the elves, wizards and giants format, start by having the kids all practice the signals that indicate whether they are elves, wizards or giants (hands up to form pointy ears making high pitched noises, hands out casting a spell saying abracadabra, kazaam, etc., arms up making booming, growling sounds – respectively). Of course, the teams could be different animals at your jungle or safari party, different alien species at your Star Wars or space party, enemy pirate bands at your party party, different vehicles at your cars party… you get the idea.

Make a big poster of the ‘rules’ and go over them with the kids. In this version, it’s Elves outwit Wizards, Wizards zap Giants, and Giants squish Elves. Adjust as needed for your theme.

Once all practiced, divide the kids into their two teams and have the two teams  ‘huddle’ to decide which of the three choices each team will be. Once all have decided, the two teams face off against each other a few feet apart.

Here’s the rock-paper-scissors part of the game: at “3-2-1” each team will reveal who they are with their hand gestures and accompanying noises, and the victors (as per the rules) chase the losers as they dash for the safe zone. Any loser tagged has to join the winning team, and the two teams repeat until everyone is all on one team. And by then, everyone will have run off some energy and had a bunch of fun.

Thanks to the princesspartygames blog for bringing this new and different addition to our party games resource for you.

Pretty Party Food Ideas

Party FoodYour birthday party food can be all or most of your decorations, and I’ve found you a visual resource that will give you a slew of new ideas.

What I particularly like is the idea of putting food in small child sized cups that then make a pretty display. You can use either the smallest sized paper cups or the mini muffin sized cupcake papers.

Pretty red or dark (black) berry garnishes instead of more sugar on top of these individual snacks is a nice and healthful touch. Mint leaves too.

Tie narrow ribbons around the cups for even more pretty. Pink for your princess party, black for the pirate birthday, green for the jungle or safari party, or whatever your color scheme. Arrange your individual treats on tissue paper or even construction paper cut outs for color contrast on your treat table.

Need a way to display lollipops or cookies on a stick? Styrofoam to hold them covered with easter grass or the crinkly confetti paper you can buy at the craft store works beautifully. You can even use smallish rocks you’ve gathered from outside- with a touch of spray paint on the top layer or covered over with the ‘grass’ as above.

Use your printer for colorful themed labels for your treats. For kids, use cartoon or movie characters, even with cartoon quote bubbles  like you can get in word (in autoshapes- callouts). Make these fun labels oversized and your treat table will have loads of character and fun about it. Glue on triangular stand-ups on the back for maximum effect.

Use themed character masks from the party store on the corners of your treat table. With these in place, the underlying table cover becomes almost irrelevant, and practical plastic might just do fine for the kids.

None of these food embellishments will take forever or cost a fortune, and your treat table will look like a million bucks. Pretty up your party food with these tricks. Got other tricks you’d like to share here with a comment?

Bird Masks

Bird Mask

Photo courtesy of pinkandgreenmama. blogspot.com

I’ve posted about the fun of mask making for birthday party crafts before, and here’s the proof– courtesy of the ever creative Mary Lea over at the Pink and Green Mama blog.

If you can find cheap, undecorated paper masks to give the kids to start with, good for you as I couldn’t find any on line that weren’t too expensive. However, you can make them easily yourself with plain paper for creating your template, scissors and posterboard or card stock for the final masks, and elastic to keep them on. Here’s a template you can start with. Play around with the size and the eyehole placment with your own child for proper sizing, get your template and then cut them out for your party guests. Attach the elastic to keep them on and they’re all ready for the kids to make their masks.

This mask has been decorated with bits of colorful tissue paper, a colorful triangular beak that you may have to help them with, feathers and jewel stickers around the eyes. If you’ve got it, bits of colorful felt would also work well.

Expect, or encourage, lots of bird calling. Bird dancing (i.e. freeze dancing) in full plumage will shake out some sillies. Have the kids play ‘floor concentration’ using bird graphics from the web (if they’re at least kindergarten age) – see “as a birthday party game” on this post for instructions to play this.

Bird masks are a perfect craft activity to add an avian component to your animal party, safari party or jungle party. And if you’ve got any other bird related games to add to the mix, please let people know about them here.

Getting Relatives Involved

CowboyI’ve suggested on many occasions that having Mom or Dad dress up relative to your child’s birthday party theme is a great way to become more a part of the celebration. Any pirate birthday, princess party, cowboy party, star wars party, an animal or jungle/safari party, or other character based party gives you the perfect opportunity to do this.

But how about passing that honor on to a special relative for this important occasion? This is a super way to involve that relative in your child’s life in a special and different way that will likely be remembered for a long time.

Grandparents specifically come to mind. The one in your family that’s most likely willing to act a bit like a kid themselves would be your most obvious choice.

Most grandparents have more time to put in to their costume than today’s crazy busy parents do. Send them up into their own attic or to the thrift store to put their outfit together.

Even better- both of you dress up for the party! Each a little differently, with your own unique styles. Have some fun yourselves doing this together.

If not a grandparent, then a favorite uncle or aunt.

Take a look at this grandma who drove some 70 miles in full pirate regalia to be part of her grandchild’s party. She certainly must have gotten quite a few stares as she drove by.

The whole point here is to give the chosen family member a special role to play in this birthday. Not babysitting, not surrogate parenting, not just helping out with the party- this is pure fun and relationship building for all involved.

The kids love to see the adults participating at their level, and dressing up puts you or Grandpa right there. Do you have any other ideas for actively including other family members in your birthday celebrations to help build those relationships? If so, please add them here.

Themed Cookie Cutters

Pirate Cookie CuttersThink the kids would enjoy a pirate ship shaped PBJ or skull and crossbones jello? This is a simple way to fancy up your birthday food food!

Party themed cookie cutters are available for various party themes– a pirate birthday party, a fairy party, a dinosaur party and with a marine life theme (think Sponge Bob party here), and many other themes as well, and all are reasonable priced. They’re an especially good bargain when you remember that these can be used to make fun shaped cookies anytime, not just use them once for the party and never touch them again.

Each set contains between 4 and 6 cookie cutters.

For the Pirate themed set it’s the skull and crossbones, pirate ship, treasure chest, a medallion and a pirate hat.

The Fairy set (really a princess party set) includes a frog, a frog prince, the castle, a tiara, a wand, a princess cone hat and princess shoe.

Dinos include triceratops, apatosaurus, stegosaurus and, of course, T-Rex.

The farm animals are cat, dog, lamb, cow, pig, duck and chick.

Noah’s Ark animals, perfect for an animal themed party, are horse, elephant, camel, giraffe, kangaroo, and pig.

The zoo animals are monkey, lion, zebra, giraffe and elephant.

The transportation set includes a race car, truck, train, airplane and motorcycle.

The Construction set (think Bob the Builder here) has a hardhat, saw, bulldozer, hammer, wrench and drill shapes.

There’s an insect set with butterfly, caterpillar, ladybug, dragonfly and bee shapes.

There may even be other sets– be sure to scroll through Amazon’s “Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought” section. >[DISCLOSURE: If you make a purchase at Amazon through the link on this page, I make a commission from Amazon. Seems reasonable to me…..]

You can even turn your themed cookies into a party activity and a party favor– make lots of different colors of cookie icing, provide sprinkles etc, and let the kids decorate your themed cookies to eat and to take home. They can put the icing on with plastic knives- it’s pretty hard for them to hurt themselves with those. And if your birthday child is old enough, have some fun making the cookies together before the party.

Bring an extra smile to the kids faces by using these various cookie cutter sets to coordinate your party theme to your party food and snacks.

If you have other ideas for using themed cookie cutters to enhance your birthday party, please post them here for other parents to see. I just thought of one- trace the shapes onto paper for the kids to color and/or decorate as they wait for everyone to arrive at your 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

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):

Racetrack2

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.