Zoo Tycoon Party -6yr- Eat Like An Okapi
Christie in San Bernardino, CA, USA
My son was turning 6 and wanted a Zoo Tycoon birthday party. (Zoo Tycoon is a computer game and he loves it).
For food, I had the kids make their own pizzas. I pre-made the crusts using a mix, and then had sauce, cheese, and toppings for the kids to choose from. I called it Grizzly Bear Pizza. I had one kid coming with Celiac's disease, so except for the pizza crust (he got his very own special one), everything at the party was gluten free. Hormel makes gluten free pepperoni and meat products. We also had Flamingo fruit salad. I chose the red/pink fruits (watermelon, strawberries, red grapes, etc) and put little flamingo picks in the salad.
We also served lion lemonade. This yummy concoction was lemonade (you could use a frozen concentrate), some frozen lemon yogurt (just take the regular container of lemon yogurt and put it in the freezer, and lemon-lime soda. I blended the lemonade with the frozen lemon yogurt. I used a large punch bowl and had to blend it in batches. I used about one and one half pitchers of lemonade and 10 regular sized (8 oz) forzen lemon yogurts. After blending those together in batches, I added about 1/2 of a 2 liter bottle of lemon lime soda. It was a little work, but this was worth it. Everybody loved the lion lemonade. (This comes out white, but I added a little yellow food coloring to make it yellow like a lion. You could keep it white and call it polar bear punch instead).
For games, I had the kids wrap each other in toilet paper and black streamers to make zebras. I took pictures of each child as a zebra, and later I will e-mail or give the picture to parents. The kids played pin the trunk on the elephant. I painted a cartoon-y trunkless elephant and made several trunks (just big thick J shapes). We played pass the penguin, which was just hot potato with a stuffed penguin. We used Christmas music as the music because it was supposed to be a cold penguin exhibit (Let it Snow, Winter Wonderland, etc.) That was funny because the party was in July, but the kids liked it and got the point.
We played a game I called "Eat L:ke an Okapi." My son's favorite animal is an okapi, so I showed the kids pictures of an okapi (I got them off the Google Images), and showed them how an okapi has a long tongue to eat with. I had strings hanging that had four pretzels tied to them, each about 4 inches apart (we used the gluten free pretzels, which taste just like regular pretzels, so the picky eaters didn't know the difference). The kids had to eat all four pretzels on their strings without using hands. After a while, the kids cheated and used hands, but they had fun and that game was really a hoot. If you were really ambitious, you could take green tissue paper and twist it onto the strings to make them look like jungle vinse (the tissue paper representing the leaves every so often). I didn't do that because I didn't think of it until later, but it would have made a nice decoration. We also had a pinata. There are many different animal shapes out there.
For the craft, I had white stuffed animals I bought at the dollar store, and we tie dyed them. You could also tie dye shirts instead. For the shirts, I think I would say, "Animals have fur to protect them. Which ones wear the prettiest fur? Cheetas, maybe? Zebras have interesting stripes. Well, you don't have a fur coat, but today you are going to make something pretty for you to wear." If you tie dye, you will probably want to have trash bags that you cut a head hole in, to protect the party clothes. We used four colors, and we just used the dye at the grocery store. I think 3 or four colors is a good number. Because it is so hot here in July, we left the stuffed animals outside and they were almost dry by the time the kids were going home. Still, we put each one in a plastic grocery bag to take home.
I made the (gluten free) cake into the shape of a croc. I used two packages of Kinnikinnik chocolate cake mix and put them into a bundt pan ( I had a little left over for four cupcakes). Then, when the cake was finished baking and cooled, I cut the bundt into thirds. I arranged the thirds to make a wavy S pattern, instead of a circle. I trimmed a little over here and there to make the pointy croc head and tail. I used the trimmings for feet and eyes. Then, I frosted the whole thing in green frosting (Pillsbury is gluten free if you don't want to make your own). I saved out a little white for the eyes and teeth.
I got the party favors from Oriental Trading. We used the animal print foam visors, the juncle animal cups, animal print ball point pens, jungle animal stickers, and animal stampers. The kids got to wesr the visors, and the other items I put inside the cups along with some candy. The kids had a great time and, except for the food, it really wasn't a lot of prep work. This whole party took about 2 or 2 1/2 hours, but if you have a really big crowd, you might plan for 3 hours.