Many toddlers have a natural interest in animals, so when it comes to throwing a party for a 1- or 2-year-old, many parents turn to the zoo animal theme. Once the guests arrive, the house is sure to turn into a zoo anyway, so plan decorations, food and activities around the theme and enjoy watching the children party it up! Whether the budget is small or extravagant, a zoo party is perfect for a toddler.
Zoo Animal Decorations
When decorating in a zoo theme, use some items that may already by in the house. Place stuffed animals such as bears, monkeys, lions or tigers in the party area with balloons tied to them. AmazingMoms.com suggests keeping balloons out of a toddler's reach, to avoid choking hazards. Cover the table with a white paper tablecloth and provide children foam animal stickers from a craft store to decorate the table themselves. Invest in some zoo-themed cups, plates and napkins and your toddler will be ready to party.
Food for a Zoo Party
You can purchase or make a cake that centers on a favorite zoo animal, but young children may need something to munch on before it's time to cut the cake. A grazing table is perfect for the little animals to come and find a bite to eat. Have bowls of animal crackers, goldfish crackers, pieces of cut up apples and bananas, and carrot sticks. Around the back of each bowl, place the picture of an animal that would eat that snack, such as a bear with the fish crackers, a giraffe with the carrots, and a monkey with the bananas.
Animal Party Games
For a zoo party, create an animal such as a roaring lion out of thick paper and suspend it from the ceiling. Give children bean bags and see if they can throw them in the lion's mouth. Toddlers can also play a game of hot potato with some help from parents. While music is playing, let children pass a stuffed zoo animal around in a circle. When the music stops, whoever is holding the animal gets to keep it as a prize. Keep playing until every child has won the game, since toddlers won't appreciate the competitive aspect of games yet.
Zoo Animal Activities
Toddlers enjoy digging and looking for things, so place many small (but not choking-hazard small) animals in a large plastic bin and cover it with uncooked rice. Children will enjoy digging and scooping until they've found all the animals. Disney's Family Fun website suggests gluing pictures of animals on index cards. Children can pick one and pretend they are that animal while other kids guess what animal was on the card. For those willing to go all-out for a zoo party, hire a traveling petting zoo to come and entertain the children.
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