So every year I ask the children what type of party they would like and then I go a little ‘Pinterest crazy’ working with that theme to create a fun and memorable party but ultimately homemade and something we do together. This year E chose a ‘Jungle Safari’ theme!….
We are very fortunate to have access to a brilliant space at Godinton which we sometimes use for parties, we then often use the grounds etc as well which is amazing. However we have also help parties in our home and garden too which works just as well – just easier for clear up if its not in our home!
(please note this is in no way a paid advertisement – I have listed companies where I made purchases to help if you would like to find the products yourself but I am in no way affiliated to them).
The first thing we did was design invitations. We kept them very simple brown paper with a ‘passport’ printed on them. E then added some animal print strips of card and wrote each persons name on the front of their ‘Passport’. Free download of the invitation available here.
I always want their parties to have lots of activities and to keep a constant run of entertainment for the children so I tend to plan a little programme to work to or challenges for them to complete. We worked with the idea of Safari Ranger Checklists (more later on that involved). I started gathering supplies of bits and pieces I thought would be useful. The most handy things were from the Poundshop! A4 animal print card and animal print tissue paper – I used this for everything! I also used lots of simple brown paper wrapping and brown card, plus our printer! It worked so well for all the projects and kept things looking uniform (which I really like and try to do!)
We kept lots of toilet rolls and used these to make simple binoculars. Double sided sticky tape is my best friend! Two loo rolls togther then a strip of animal print card around them to secure. Two holes and string to hang around their necks.
I wanted to give each child a pencil (to use with their checklists) and magnifying glasses to help with the challenges but also to add to the dress up and role play. (The animal print pencils I bought in our local garden centre Dobbies – they’re also made from recycled materials) – the magnifying glasses were from Amazon). So using the animal print card we cut strips (wide enough to hold the checklist), folded them in half and taped up the edges. Simple holes at the top and strung with string to put around their necks.
We then made Jungle Safari Passes which we stuck to the front of the pouches and wrote each childs name. I used the safari pass image from an amazing Pinterest party by Make Life Lovely (click here for the link).
Working with the safari theme I thought each child could complete challenges to become an ‘official ranger’ and then ‘adopt an animal’ at the end to take home. I trawled Pinterest for party game ideas and came up with a few myself. I then created a Safari Ranger Checklist for them to use to tick off after each challenge.
The challenges included:
Rangers Ready – Decorating safari hats (I bought ours from littlecraftybugs.co.uk ) They had a pot of sharpies to draw and then lots of jungle animal stickers and letters if they wanted to add their names.
Elephants poop! – this was really fun! We made a clay from used coffee grounds, sand and flour (recipe here from Pinterest) we then hid stretchy snakes inside and baked it in the oven. It goes hard on the outside but remains soft enough to break open and leaves a fossil print on the inside. The children had to go on a hunt (outside) to find the poop! It was so funny seeing their faces and then watching to see who would touch it first! As part of the hunt we also printed a series of footprints (I googled elephant footprint image) onto brown card and cut them out and the children had to follow the trail of footprints to lead them to an area where the ‘poo’ was!
Creepy crawlie creek – I filled a tin bucket with water beads (available in lots of places – I already had some) and then hid creepy crawlies in amongst the beads. The children then had to use giant tweezers to ‘rescue’ the bugs.
Slippery snakes – this was a really random idea but worked well! I cut a circular snake from a large piece of cardbord (large head on the outside then winding round to a thin tail) I then wrapped it in the snake print tissue paper. We then hung jelly snakes (Natural Confectionary Company) from string at various intervals along the snake. Two grown ups held the snake from either end and the children had to eat a snake without using their hands (like the donut game).
Giraffe Limbo – Im a terrible at keeping random bits of cardboard etc “just in case!!” and I happened to have two very large poster tubes in the shed! I taped them together and covered them in the giraffe tissue paper. We then used this as a limbo stick while the children danced to ‘The lion sleeps tonight!’
Feed the lions – Again more cardboard! Quite simple, I painted a lions face on a cardboard box with an open mouth. Cut the mouth out then used plastic balls as food for the children to aim in the lions mouth. I added some paper leaves we had cut out for a previous party and some plastic ones we had (again from a previous party!)
Safari Surprise – basically just pass the parcel! again I used the animal print tissue for each layer alternated with plain brown paper.
You can download the ‘Safari Ranger Checklist’ for free here.
For decorations we used green balloons, paper leaves (plastic ones I already had) and a few foil animal balloons that we picked up on Ebay. I also had some silverbirch wreaths that we’d made for my brothers wedding so I added these too!
I prefer to give each child a lunch box rather than a huge spread of food (I find it reduces wastage and its an extra novelty). So we pre-made little cardboard lunchboxes (that could then be reused if not soiled or recycled) I got them on Ebay. They had a simple ham roll, packet of crisps and little paper bag with sausage roll and mini sausages. I did put a platter of fresh veggies on the table which were handed round once they had their boxes.
My children love to use straws, especially at parties but I wanted to stop using disposable ones so I bought a set of silicone multicoloured straws (then each child has a different colour so can identify their drink) They also go in the dishwasher so easy cleaning! We also added a name sticker to the cups just to make it really obvious! Napkins were from John Lewis by Talking Tables.
For dessert we made strawberry and blueberry skewers and swamp jelly! (unfortunatley I didnt get a picture of this – it was basically jelly served in a giant fish bowl all mixed up once set so it was lumpy – we scooped some out into little pots for those that wanted some).
Finally party bags! Each child had already got a safari hat, magnifying glass, pencil and the homemade accessories, at the end of the challenges they also recived their Adopted Pet! Again we used cardboard lunch boxes as little homes for the pets. I picked up a variety of animals from Baker Ross but then also found some lovely ones in the Poundshop! Each one had a cardboard tag around their necks with the name of the child who was adopting them. We made little Adoption Certifcates too for them to take home, promising to look after their animals! I also added a couple of little bits to the boxes – a safari animal scratch picture (from Baker Ross), a chocolate animal bar and a sheet of stickers (from Ebay). Download the Adoption Certificate here.
I hope you’ve found this helpful and gives you a few ideas! I loved the whole process from making everything with my children and then seeing them enjoy it all with their friends. Any questions or if I’ve missed anything please let me know!
Thanks for reading! x