Elliott is FOUR!!

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 hung our animal handprints around the house amidst jungle vines…

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!

He’s as tall as a tiger!
Can you see the bees, ladybugs and ants crawling on the tree leaves?

I cut out this grass, but Elliott drew all of these little bugs! Aren’t they adorable!?!!

Tis little pony bead alligator and elephant were cheapo crafts from Michaels. The kids LOVE pony beads, so these were a hit.
The kids each made a couple of these monkeys that we kept finding hanging around the house!!! (See the little banana in his hand?!)
They’re everywhere!
They each made birds that could REALLY fly! 🙂
We made suncatcher butterflies to hang from our sliding glass doors. I think they turned out beautifully!!
After mixing together colors to make orange for the orange handprint animals, Elliott just painted the rest of the paper plate so the whole thing was orange. Then he asked if we could turn the orange plate into a lion. So we tuned it into a lion mask! Then I thought it would be fun if we gave everyone a chance to “be a lion” so we put the mask up on the mirror in the entryway and drew the rest of his body…
Elliott LOVES penguins, so I thought it would be fun to turn everyone who went to the bathroom into a penguin…so Elliott and I did this on the bathroom mirror :).
This is his goofy penguin face, hahaha!!

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…)

Elliott’s Zoo!!
We loaded our mantle with some of our favorite animal books, Daddy’s monkey from when he was little, and a zebra 4!
The day before the party, Elliott helped me make the cupcakes!

The day of the party…

We found wild animal tracks leading up to our front door!!!
The party room is all ready! You can’t really read it, but the banner strung up says, “Happy 4th Birthday Elliott” out of various animal print papers.
Elliott had a few super special guests fly in for his birthday! His cousin Micah, Uncle Kevin, and Grandma and Grandpa!

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.

Here’s everyone working hard on their crafts. I love this special moment that I caught between Elliott and Auntie Suz :).

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.

These are Elliott and Selah’s snakes. We talked about patterns and they had a great time creating these!

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.

Selah would look through her binoculars and say, “I SPY YOU!!!!!”
Here’s the Mighty Quinn, on the hunt!!
Look what Micah found!!!

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!

We let Elliott go first and he put the tail EXACTLY where it should go! Ha!! He looked at me afterwards like, “Um, why was that so hard?” Hahaha!!
Our buddy Malachi!
Sweet Fable!
Dramatic Selah 🙂

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!!!

The first one was a three-banded Armadillo!!
You can tell how my kids felt about him!!
Elliott even had the chance to feed it a live cricket! (It’s hard to see, but he’s holding long tweezers with a cricket pinched inside.) It’s all fun and games until said birthday boy accidentally lets the live cricket loose…
It was all we could do to encourage him to take a picture with it :).

Next up was a real live SNAKE!!

Fable’s face says it all!!! HA!!
And then, a TURTLE!
And last, but not least, a Chinchilla!

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!!

Animals…behind pretzel cages.
Elliott helped me decorate…and sprinkled some with “grass” and left others white so they would look like snow.
Blowing out his four candles!!
Everyone devoured their cupcakes, including this wild girl.
Elliott’s friends were so generous and thoughtful and he got some super fun gifts!
The party animals!
The Moberg Pack!
Such a fun day celebrating this wild 4 year old!!!

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