Zoo Safari Party -3yr- Binocular Craft
Michelle in Bedminster, NJ USA
For my son's 3rd birthday party, we chose to have it at the zoo and do a safari party theme. The local zoo in our area is a smaller zoo and perfect for smaller children with a zoo train and carousel. We rented the picnic area at the zoo which was covered and a perfect area for a party at the end of May. We took several ideas from this site and added a few of our own to make a great party.
INVITATIONS: We used the idea of creating a passport for the invitation using white cardstock and 1 additional sheet of paper for the inside. On the outside of the invitation, we created an emblem of 4 different animal drawings that came from some stickers I found (to be used later during the party) that took the place of the United States seal on a regular passport. The top said PASSPORT and Safari Birthday Party at the bottom. On the inside front cover, we created the look of a passport with a place for name, birth date, photo, etc. The passport number was the same for everyone which was my son's birthday. And the Issue Date and Expiration date were the date of the party.
On the inside front page was the invitation which read: Come join us on a safari for Gabe's 3rd birthday party. There will be pizza, cake, and crafts for you And a safari hunt in the zoo! Then, it listed all the details of the party as if it were a travel itinerary from a travel agency: Destination: Name of the Zoo; Date of Departure: date of the party; Time of Departure: 10:30am - 12:30pm; Safari Hunt: 12:30pm - 2:00pm;Travel Confirmation; and Confirmation Deadline. At the bottom of the page was a comment: All Explorers will need to bring their completed passports.
The next 3 inside pages were pages with a map of the world in the background (light like a water spot) and divided into 4 sections for stamps like a real passport. The last page (inside back cover had the Safari Posts (named for the animals to visit and their habitat) and tentative times: 12:30pm Reptile Swamp; 12:45pm Turtle's Nest; 1:00pm Gibbons Trees;1:15pm Cougar Mountain; 1:30pm Red Panda's Den; 1:45pm Toucan's Rainforest; 2:00pm Penguin Island. This way if anyone got lost in the zoo, they would know how to find us. We also include a small insert in the invitation with a miniature map of the zoo with the meeting location circled that said Gabe's Safari Party to make it easy to find us.
PARTY: Since we were dealing with picnic tables, I had purchased some colorful plastic table cloths form Oriental Trading to keep everything clean and start to create a party atmosphere. The zoo wouldn't let us bring in a lot of decorations like balloons and streamers because it was not good for the animals, but the table cloths were just the right touch to set the mood. As each guest arrived, one of my friends helped out in letting them select an animal tattoo and helped them apply it. Then, each child went to the craft table and was helped to make binoculars for the safari hunt. I had precut all the pieces ahead of time, so the kids just had to decorate the pieces with markers, animal stickers (the same animal images from the invitation) and letter stickers to make their names. Then, the adults helped them put them together.
BINOCULAR CRAFT: I bought a packet of colored card stock from the office supply store and created a template on my computer to cut the pieces. Each sheet of card stock would make 1 set of binoculars. I made sure there were enough sets to have several different colors to choose from to let the kids choose what they wanted. The template was made so that there was one long strip the length of the long side of the cardstock and the remaining piece was cut in half and had a hole punched out in the middle top of each one. After each child decorated the 3 pieces of cardstock with the markers (recommend doing the stickers last), the adults helped put them together. Each halved piece was rolled into a tube and fastened together with glue stick and tape.
Then, we taped the 2 tubes together making sure the holes faced out so that we could attached a string for the strap. The middle of one side of the long strip was applied with the glue stick as well as about 1 of the end on the same side. The long strip was then wrapped around the 2 tubes making sure the glue side was touching the tubes and then taped on the end to hold it all together. Then, we just threaded and tied the precut pieces of string to the holes and let the kids finish adding the stickers and letters for their names. These came out very cute and the kids put them on immediately. Next, we ate lunch (just pizza and sandwiches) to make sure everyone had a good meal before we started our safari hunt. We decided to do the cake right after lunch because it would have been too difficult to keep everyone together at the end.
SAFARI HUNT: After cake, I handed out the safari gear for our trip. Each child got a drawstring backpack that I had bought from Rhode Island Novelty and created iron-ons of the same animal images on the invitations and stickers. Each backpack had a different animal and was very cute and color full. In each backpack, was the food rations for the trip: a small bottle of water, a bag of cut apples, a small bag of fruit snacks, and a small bag of animal cookies. As we got ready to go, we made sure everyone had their passports and then my husband took over as the safari guide. He was dressed just like a safari guide with vest, cargo shorts, safari hat, boots and a set of play binoculars that he borrowed from my son. (He was so authentic that he was afraid people in the zoo were going to think he worked there!!) He then explained to our group that we were going to visit several posts throughout the zoo and as we did, he would tell them some fun facts about each animal.
After everyone heard the fun facts, we would then pass out stickers for that animal (again the same style stickers as the passport, binoculars, and backpack) and the kids could put them on the pages inside their passports. There were stickers for each stop: Reptile stop was a frog, turtle was a turtle, Gibbons was a gorilla, Cougar was a tiger, Red Panda was a raccoon (the closest image we could find that looked like a red panda), Toucan was a toucan, and Penguin was a penguin. We also had one last special surprise. The zoo we went to also had roaming peacocks and you never knew when you were going to see one.
So, we also had printed out a photo from the web and showed all the kids what a peacock was. We told them that if we spotted one, everyone would get a special surprise and learn something fun about this beautiful bird. We didn't get even get to our first stop on the hunt before someone spotted the peacock!!! So, everyone got the prize right away which was a colorful compass clip from Oriental Trading. The kids loved them. My husband led the group through the predetermined path in the zoo telling everyone all the neat facts about the animals as we passed them. (We created some note cards to help him remember all the facts in case he forgot.) And the kids loved seeing the animals and getting stickers to put in their passports. It was such a great day!!!. All the parents and the kids had such a wonderful time that the next birthday will be hard to beat. Everyone is still talking about this party!!!