Animal Party -4yr- Paper Roll Binoculars
Sylvia in Kennesaw, GA, USA
For my daughter's 4th birthday, she decided she wanted an animal party. I eagerly began my planning!
For the invitation, I dressed her in her Halloween costume (a homemade pink mouse costume) and took her picture with my digital camera. Using a Printshop computer program I placed her picture on one side of the postcard sized invitations which read, Maggie's turning 4! Let's party like ANIMALS!" Maggie's house Sat. Feb. 17th from 1:30 to 3:30pm. Wear clothes your can ge dirty! Using small envelopes from an office supply store I decorated them with a large animal sticker (Oriental Trading).
I decorated the house using Maggie's favorite color--pink. We had pink tablecloths($1each from Walmart) and pink crepe paper through the house. I used baskets filled with stuffed animals for center pieces in the breakfast room and dining room. I place my Southern Living metal basket on the front door and filled it with small various stuffed animals and put a sign on the front that read "Welcome to Maggie's animal party!" I also printed out a sign for my master bedroom that readBeware, do not enter! Wild cat sleeping inside! (I knew our house cat would not appreciate any company during the party.)
I also decorated with many many children's books about animals. They added a lot of color and looked wonderful on the coffee tables side tables and mantle. (Perfect touch and oh so cheap!) I love Sandra Boynton books so I chose several of her animals to draw on big posters (less than $1/each). Using her artwork as a guide I managed to create a cat moose dog and elephant (all included pink marker in some form) for decorating the china cabinet in the dining room and windows in the breakfast room. I also had out a variety of simple snacks (pretzels chips etc.) on the counter along with a sign that readGrazing area.
When guests arrived they were given a clear cup with their name on it and they chose two small sponge animals to grow in their cup. I found the mystery grow animal sponge set at Walgreens but I have seen them at the Dollar store. My husband poured the warm water for the children to watch their mystery animal grow (they LOVED this!) while I greeted people at the door.
Next the children went into the dining room to create their binoculars. I premade binoculars out of toilet paper rolls. I stapled two together and secured with tape to cover the staples. I also covered them with black paper ahead of time. The guests decorated with stickers and chose which color of yarn they'd like for the string.
After that we all went upstairs for some more fun. I read one of Maggie's favorite books IF YOU GIVE A PIG A PARTY. We played "Doggie doggie where's your bone." I used a real rawhide bone for the game. We played the very simple version since there were a variety of ages & some time constraints. Then the children danced to the fun song "Animal Action." Four children really performed and the other six enjoyed the entertainment.
Near the end my husband who had really dressed the part of a zoo keeper (wearing his Indianna Jones hat zip off outdoor pants hiking boots and flyfishing vest) came in and announced that the animals had escaped from the ZOO! This REALLY got the children excited!!! The kids quickly got their binoculars and followed my husband outside to our very wooded backyard to search for all of the animals. Prior to the party I had found 50 plastic animals in our house. I had everything from plastic dinosaurs to Little People animals. I hid them all over the backyard and made a list of how many frogs dinos dogs etc. I had hidden. While my husband supervised the hunt I was in the house cleaning from the previous crafts setting out the Zoo pals plates and preparing the cake. Maggie chose a pink cupcake cake with a Hello Kitty compact and purse (purrrrrfect for our theme!).
As the children came in after the hunt they chose an animal mask (Oriental Trading) and gather around my daughter for a group picture. They all each got a drink from the cooler and picked their Zoopal spot. We sang ate and then opened presents. Everyone had a terrific time.
For the gift bags I simply used brown sandwich bags which included a beany baby (great deal at a yard sale!) an animal necklace craft (Oriental Trading) animal crackers and animal stickers. I decorated the bags with animal stickers and printed out an animal themed name tag from the computer. (Very cheap but looked so great!) All in all this party was very cheap to throw and so much fun to plan and enjoy. The parents that attended really praised me for the low-cost creative ideas I was able to incorporate.
FYI: For thank you notes I took another photo of Maggie roaing in her lion costume (old Halloween costume) and wrote…Thank you! I just love the ________ you gave me and I'm not LION! "