Lions and tigers, zebras and giraffes, monkeys and elephants… Cute and furry or ferocious and fierce, what child isn’t fascinated by animals? The jungle safari party is a creative theme full of games and activities to let the kid’s imaginations run wild. It is also a natural choice if you’re celebrating a birthday at the children’s area of the zoo, wildlife park or even jungle-themed indoor playland. Whether you’re going to deepest Africa or bringing it home to your living room, we have suggestions to help you take your little explorers on an expedition they won’t forget.
Jungle Safari Party Invitations
You’ll want to let your guests know they’ll be going on safari with a colorful and fun invitation. There are many wild designs to choose from, including cartoony jungle scenes, animal prints and cut-outs of animal shapes. You can even send a personalized photo of your little explorer in their safari hat and expedition gear, or dressed as an animal… It’s the perfect way to tell their friends to “swing on over and monkey around!”
When writing the invitation, a fun way to get the children excited and involved is to ask them to arrive dressed as their favorite animals. You can even ask your guests to bring along their favorite stuffed animals as jungle guides!
Jungle Safari Party Costumes and Favors
Put on your pith helmet and khakis and greet the children with safari hats, bandanas and compasses as they arrive. If the children would rather dress as animals, have kid-friendly costume makeup on hand to paint stripes, spots, whiskers and black noses on their faces. It’s a good idea to have another adult to help with this, or even enlist their parents. You can even give them animal “ears” by hot-gluing construction paper or felt ears to headbands ahead of time.
Jungle Safari Party Decorations
Let your guests know they’ve arrived in the jungle by covering the entryway with hanging green and brown streamers to simulate overgrown vines. Inside, you will want a lot of green to represent the lush vegetation of the jungle. Hang more streamers (primarily green, with some brown, tan and orange) and decorate the walls with inflatable or cardboard palm trees. You can make your own by painting large cardboard tubes and adding leaves of felt or construction paper and brown balloons as coconuts.
Place posters of animals on the walls, hide stuffed animals in the leaves, even throw down rubber snakes and plastic bugs for the creepy-crawly jungle floor. Balloons weighed down by stuffed animals make the perfect centerpiece for the table, and plates and napkins should feature African or animal patterns and designs.
Of course you’ll want a piñata, and there are no shortage of jungle animal shapes to choose from. A creative alternative is to tape grocery bags together with paper packing tape, wrapped with twine and adorned with a label reading “Emergency Supplies.” Don’t forget the music! Set the mood with a “sounds of the jungle” CD as the guests enter. When the party is in full swing, switch to soundtracks from jungle and animal themed movies such as “The Jungle Book,” “The Lion King” and “Madagascar.”
Jungle Safari Party Games and Activities
Jungle safari parties are all about letting young imaginations run wild. While the kids may have fun just pretending to be explorers and animals, it is a good idea to have enough activities planned to keep them entertained throughout the afternoon.
What is a safari without a hunt? For the younger children, hide small stuffed or plush animals throughout the house or yard and leave paper cut-outs of paw prints as a trail. Let them take home the animals they find in their goody bags.
If the adventurers are a little older, you can make it more of a challenge. Assemble a list of directions to hidden treasure that require the use of compass to find (for example, “move to the tree directly south of the mailbox.”) Make sure to map the coordinates accurately, and buy enough toy compasses for the party!
“Jungle Charades” is a game that is sure to be popular. Prepare cards beforehand with images of animals (animal stickers work well.) When it is their turn, each child draws the card and has to act like the animal in front of the group. Unlike regular charades, making animal noises is encouraged… But no talking allowed!
Another fun game is “What animal am I?” Attach a card with an image of an animal to each of the guests’ backs, so that everyone can see their animal except for them. When it is their turn, each child will try to figure what animal they are by asking the others “yes” and “no” questions.
Jungle Safari Party Crafts
Jungle safari parties are a great opportunity for children to unleash their inner artists. Making animal masks from crafting materials and other odds and ends is an activity they are sure to enjoy. Start with paper platters or cut-up cardboard boxes with eye and mouth openings prepared and let the kids add yarn, ribbon, bits of construction paper, plastic bottle caps, and (of course) paint and marker to create their own wild designs. When they’re finished they can even wear them to play animal games!
Young children will be happy with animal coloring books, and if they’re a little older they’ll enjoy painting jungle scenes on posterboard. You can also let them make animals from modeling clay (or Play Dough.) Do your homework and prepare some books or computer print-outs of exotic animals as references to draw or sculpt from.
Jungle Safari Party Refreshments
Your guests work up quite an appetite with all of these jungle activities, so provide them with plenty of tropical treats to graze on. For all-day snacking you can cut peanut butter sandwiches into animal shapes with a cookie cutter and provide “Jungle Mix” by adding banana chips and dried tropical fruits to granola and chocolate chips. Gummy animals and reptiles are always a hit, and for a healthier snack try fruit kebabs on skewers or pretzel sticks.
Mixing lemon-lime soda with lime sherbet will make a green, almost glowing “Jungle Juice” that your guests are sure to adore. If they like their food deliciously gross, make “Snake Sandwiches” by cutting hot dogs into strips and boiling until they curl… Though you may find pizza decorated with toppings in the shapes of animal stripes and spots much more appealing.
There are many animal-shaped and themed cakes to choose from. If you are baking it yourself, frost it with zebra stripes or cheetah spots, or cover with green icing and adorn with toy animals for a jungle scene. Serve with Chunky Monkey ice cream, or even a banana split buffet!
After the Jungle Safari Party
When the party is over you will want to send your little explorers home with goody bags. For a cute container, try painting zebra stripes on white paper lunch bags. Fill with boxes of animal crackers and tropical fruit candies, animal toys such as finger puppets and pencil toppers, and jungle safari themed stickers and activity books. These, along with the favors and crafts will make memorable souvenirs of their jungle safari. Don’t forget to take plenty of pictures to their parents afterwards with personalized thank you notes!