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Option 1: Safari Animals Invitation
Place a tree on two opposite sides of the invite. Take clip art of safari animals and place them so they’re peeking out from behind the trees. In the center, add this wording, “Lions, tigers and bears, oh my! Come join us at (child’s name) Safari birthday party for a “roaring” good time. There will be monkeys, zebras and elephants galore. We’d like you to come with us to explore!”
Option 2: Passport Invitation
Cut a few sheets of 8-1/2 x 11 in half and then fold those in half and staple them to make a notebook. On the outside, write “This is your passport for lots of fun at (child’s name) Safari birthday party.” On the inside, write, “(child’s name) will be leading an expedition through the jungles and sahara plains at (your address) on (date) at (time). Please contact the Customs Office at (your info) by (RSVP date) to confirm your reservation.”
Tie green, brown and black helium balloons to the mailbox to let your guests where the party is located. Hang green crepe paper from the ceiling and low like vines. Cut out trees from poster board and hang them on the walls. Place pictures of animals hiding in the trees so the kids can play an iSpy game with the animals that they find. Buy or make large animal cutouts to place around, along with stuffed animals.
For the party tables, use solid color tablecloths like green, orange or yellow or use ones with an animal print. Place plastic safari animals and toy jeeps for the centerpiece. Or, place a green tablecloth on the table and cut out a blue table runner from a tablecloth to represent water and place it on top of the green tablecloth. You can place the safari animals so that their facing the blue runner to make it look like they're drinking the water. Place a camouflage hat and a pair of mini binoculars at each place setting.
Ask any adults who are helping at the party to wear khaki shorts and shirts and give them name tags with their names and “Safari Guide.”
Games and Activities
As described above, set up an iSpy game by placing animals in the trees, but visual enough so the kids can spy them. For a bigger challenge, you can use features of animals instead. At the last safari party I gave, I used features such as an elephant’s trunk, a monkey’s tail, a rhinosaurus’ horn, a tiger’s stripes, a leopard’s spots, a zebra’s stripes, a cheetahs’ spots, a lion’s mane, part of a gorilla’s face, part of a snake wrapped around a tree near the leaves so it was camoflauged, a giraffe’s neck with the giraffe towering over a tree and eating leaves so all they saw was its neck, and we had some blue plastic on the ground representing a river with a mouth of a crocodile, a snout of a hippopotamus, eyes of a frog, and then above the trees were an eagle’s wing.
Act like an Animal Relay
Make a starting and finish line. Divide the kids into two teams and have them stand behind te starting line. Choose about four animals that you think will be easy enough to act out. Have the first player from each team start with a tiger balance by walking on 2’ x 4’ boards across the length of your room. Then the players had to move back across the room slithering like a snake using their bellies. Then they had to fly like a bird across the room by flapping their arms. Lastly, they came back by walking like a monkey with their hands on the floor. The first tea to finish wins.
Have everyone line up and have the first person bend at their waist, extend one arm out for the trunk and put the other arm through their legs for the tail. The next person behind them extends their arm to hold the first person and places their other arm through their legs. They continue until everyone on each team is linked together. Have them run across the room linked up.
Catch a Tiger by its Tail
Have everyone line up and hold each other’s hands. The first person on line is the head of the tiger and the last person is the tail. The head has to tag the tail and the tail used the other kids to protect him. When the tail is tagged, that person becomes the head.
Guess Which Animal
Whisper the name of animals to the kids. Have each kid acted out the animals and the others have to guess which animal it is.
Don’t Wake the Animal
Take a large stuffed animal and lay it down on the floor. Take a long piece of string and place part of it under the animal (the tail) while a child holds the other end. The kids have to remove the “tail” very slowly as to not disturb the animal by moving him. If the kids move the animal, stand close to the toy and growl like an animal. It will get a lot of laughs from the kids.
You’ll need two paper rolls for each child, plastic wrap, tape, string, markers and spy-themed stickers. Have the kids color the paper rolls and add sticker. Place plastic wrap to both ends and secure with tape. Tape the two rolls together. Take a long piece of string (enough to wrap around the rolls and then use it as a strap around their necks), wrap it around the rolls and secure it with tape and tie the ends.
Make sandwiches and cookies and cut them with animal cookie cutters.
Cheetah Cheesy Pizza
Elephant Trunks Hot dogs
Monkey Banana splits with Chunky Monkey ice cream
Crocodile Teeth sliced apples
Mini binoculars, compass, animal print sunglasses, safari animal coloring book or coloring pages and crayons, animal print notepads and pencils, temporary animal tattoos, box of animal crackers
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