Ideas for a Three-Year-Old's Zoo-Themed Birthday Party

by Rosenya Faith, Demand Media
    Arrange for a Burmese python to visit your birthday party.

    Arrange for a Burmese python to visit your birthday party.

    Lions and tigers and a room full of children -- Oh my! You've decided on the theme for the party, but now it's time to incorporate the theme into all aspects of the event. At the same time, you need to make sure that you have an adequate arsenal of activities to make sure that party room full of 3-year-olds doesn't turn into a wild horde fit for the zoo.

    Invitations

    If you have a talent for making balloon animals, use these instead of traditional party invitations to hint toward the party’s theme. Make balloon animals, attach a card with the party details and hand-deliver the invitations. If you're planning a party with a fairly elaborate budget, you can always splurge and purchase stuffed animals for the party invitations. Attach a party card to each stuffed animal and hand-deliver these to your invitees. For a less expensive, but creative party invitation, gather some pictures of different zoo animals from the Internet and print the pictures onto card stock. Cut out each picture and write the party details on the back.

    Decorations

    Transform the party room into a zoo habitat. Make giant trees from large sheets of cardboard. Paint the cardboard trees and tape them to the walls. Add a few real indoor trees to add an authentic ambiance to the room, and then hang leafy garlands or vines across the ceiling, instead of party streamers. Fill the room with as many stuffed animals as you can find. Place large animals around the corners of the room and the smaller stuffies on all of the tables. Cover the tables with green tablecloths and then top the tablecloths with paper cutouts of cute animal paws.

    Activities

    Incorporate the theme of the party into every activity. As each guest arrives, let him become his favorite zoo animal with face painting. You can do the face painting yourself or you can hire a professional to provide the zoo-themed makeovers. Start the activities off right with an animal-themed safari hunt. Hide small plastic animals throughout the yard or party venue and send the group off on a hunt to collect every one. Instead of Simon Says, play a game of "Monkey Says." Play an elephant-themed peanut race, where each member must race across the yard balancing a peanut on their spoon. But be sure that nobody has any peanut allergies before playing this one! Let the group burn off a little more energy with a game of animal tag. The game is played with all players moving on hands and knees, instead of running on feet. When a person is tagged, the tagger calls out an animal for the tagged to impersonate. Think how cute those little froggies are, hopping around.

    Foods

    For party snacks, what more fitting zoo-themed treat than store-bought or homemade animal cookies? Turn the beverages for the day into yummy swamp juice by pouring some popping candies into glasses of sports drinks. Kids love to watch the drinks crackle and spit. For the main course, create snake pizzas from scratch. Roll the dough into the shape of a snake and top with your favorite toppings. Bake the pizzas as usual. You can also make worm sandwiches for creepy crawler lovers by cutting hot dogs into long, then strips and boiling them until they curl like wiggly worms. Serve the worms on hamburger buns instead of hotdog buns. For dessert, serve cupcakes topped with miniature animal figurines or bake sugar cookies cut into animal shapes and have the party group decorate the cookies.

    References

    About the Author

    Rosenya Faith has been working with children since the age of 16 as a swimming instructor and dance instructor. For more than 14 years she has worked as a recreation and skill development leader, an early childhood educator and a teaching assistant, working in elementary schools and with special needs children between 4 and 11 years of age.

    Photo Credits

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