Towards the beginning of January, Elliott suddenly said to me, “Mommy, I would like an animal birthday party.” I hadn’t talked to him about a party theme, but I will confess that I already had his entire birthday planned out in my head–with a different theme! I’m not used to my kids being able to articulate their desires like this :). So, I’ll admit–it took me a couple days to be inspired, but thanks to some help by Pinterest, I was fully hooked in no time. And it was SO MUCH FUN to do something that was initiated by Elliott!
When I asked Elliott what was most important to him with the animal birthday party, he said, “I want REAL LIVE ANIMALS there!!!!”
The hilarious part about that, is that Elliott is TERRIFIED of animals. Seriously. He’s always been utterly fascinated by them, but he doesn’t want to be anywhere near them. Selah has acquired the same fear. We’ve definitely had some breakthrough over the years, but both of them are still terrified.
Going to the zoo itself just wasn’t practical this year, so we decided to have the zoo come to us! I pressed and prodded Elliott, reminding him that he’s often “a little” scared when he’s near animals, but he insisted that he wanted to see real live animals. When we got everything arranged and I told them we would have “REAL, LIVE animals” coming to our house, he was so excited. And when I asked him what type of animal he would really like to see, he boldly exclaimed, “A LION!!!!!” 🙂
So…party preparations began a few weeks prior to his birthday, because the kids and I made all the decorations. Oh my, it was SO.MUCH.FUN preparing together! Elliott L-O-V-E-S crafting and so it was incredibly special for him (and Selah) to be an integral part of the decorating. It was so awesome spending a few weeks making animal crafts and for the kids to watch our home slowly transform into a little jungle…
The first thing we made were my absolute FAVORITE decorations…I can’t get over how adorable these turned out. Both of the kids made each type of animal, so we had two of each kind–one big and one little. I just cut a Trader Joe’s bag into rectangles, and they stamped their hands right on each one! Then I added the details.
We printed off pictures of animals and found their heights, and put them up next to our growth chart so the kids could see which animal they were as tall as. Then, we decided to turn the growth chart into a tree! The kids cut out most of these leaves by themselves, fringes and all, and then put their thumbprints on them to make a few different types of bugs crawling through the trees!
I cut out this grass, but Elliott drew all of these little bugs! Aren’t they adorable!?!!
Right after we decided to do an animal birthday party, I found Elliott in his room during quiet rest time making the coolest cage out of his straw builder things (or whatever they’re called, ha!) I said, “Hey! Should we make this into a zoo cage for all of your stuffed animals?!” He loved the idea, and he and Selah went to work the rest of the afternoon building a cage. Then, he painted this sign all by himself!!! (I did help him with apostrophe…)
The day of the party…
All of his other friends arrived, and they started off by doing the thing that Elliott loves–crafting :). They each had a paper bag set out for them and they got to decorate it using animal stamps and stickers.
Then, they got to use they same supplies to decorate the covers for their very own binoculars. While the adults assembled binoculars, the kids got to make these cool snakes out of pipe cleaners and pony beads…again, one of Elliott’s FAVORITE crafting supplies.
And THEN it was time to hunt for animals using their binoculars! Elliott and Selah hid tiny plastic animals all over our living room and all the kids set out to hunt for them.
Then we went downstairs for a little “pin-the-tail-on-the-giraffe”…while half the kids were playing the game, the other half pretended to be monkeys and swung around on our gynamstics equipment in the basement!
Then, it was time for lunch! Highlights included: pigs in a blanket, zebra popcorn, lion veggies, goldfish crackers, animal crackers, penguin gummies, mice-infested meat and cheese tray and meatballs :).
After these wild party animals had their fill, there was a knock at the door…the REAL LIVE ANIMALS had arrived!!!
Next up was a real live SNAKE!!
The kids all got the opportunity to touch each animal and it was such a fun experience!! Elliott was FASCINATED with the animals and couldn’t stop talking about them…he just still didn’t really want to be near them…as I suspected :).
After the animals left, we had cake and opened presents!!
You are so awesome. Love you lady!