Do you want to throw a woodland animal-themed party? I’ve got some ideas…
When we were planning Madeline’s birthday party last year, she had two ideas. She either wanted to have it at the animal shelter or a pool party. We have done it at the shelter before, and loved it. I didn’t want to repeat it so soon. And as far as the pool party, with a February birthday, that means it would be inside, and most hotels that do pool parties do not have lifeguards, so that means parents (ahem, me) are responsible for all the little kids swimming. And while Madeline swims like a mermaid, I’m not keen on having the responsibility for the other kids, whose swimming abilities I’m not familiar with.
So, we were back to square one.
Knowing how much she loves animals, I wanted to try and keep that element in for her, and we somehow ended up focusing on woodland animals.
You know, all those cute and furry creatures you would find in the forest. When you’re planning a party, although I love a spontaneous fete just as much as the next person, I love having a theme too, because it makes it a fun challenge to keep everything following the same thread … food, invites, décor, favors, what have you.
First, the invitation. The photo above is the invitation I used. Ok, not exactly a woodland animal, but cute nonetheless, and Madeline didn’t approve of the first design I made. For this one, I used a picture I had taken at one of our many zoo trips (I loved that the goat’s mouth was open! This goat in particular was at the Baltimore zoo, and we brushed him and his friends while we were there), and added the text. Once I was done, I got it printed at Costco as a matte photo (very inexpensive), and picked up envelopes at Staples.
Next, the entertainment. We decided to hire someone to bring animals to the party for Madeline and her guests to learn about and interact with. Most companies that do this focus on animals like snakes and lizards and such reptiles … no thank you. But I was able to find a company that had a really wide variety of other animals, and many that would fit nicely into our woodland creature theme. Eyes Wild was wonderful to work with. From their list of available animals, I gave them 6 animal choices, and they make the final cut based on other engagements and which animals were feeling like being entertaining that day. Many of their animals are rescues, which you know we loved even more. The host that came was wonderful with the kids, and he brought a white fox, a hedgehog, a chinchilla, a groundhog, and a porcupine.
Now for food. Pizza. Because it’s easy, and that’s what she wanted. And then I had big bowls of assorted chips on the guest tables, and bought clear cups, and filled them with dip and carrots. Cute, right? For the cupcakes, I ordered them from the local grocery store, both chocolate and vanilla, and found the most adorable woodland animal sugar toppings online. Like, so perfect. I also made a few batches of Chocolate Dipped Oreos to coordinate with our white/green/brown theme… super simple.
For decorations, I kept it centered around white, green, and brown and we put assorted animals (we totally scored in Target’s garden section) as the centerpieces with clear vases and a bit of greenery.
For favors, I abhor filling the bags with junk, whether it’s food or some random trinket that won’t make the ride home, so we really try to steer clear of that. I used plain brown Kraft bags, and tied a small wooden rabbit to each handle (from Michael’s).
Inside we put crayons and pencils made from tree bark (loved them, and it was so perfect for our theme!), puffy stickers, and animal crackers. I also made several batches of molded crayons using silicone molds, again (mostly) in keeping with our theme.
All in all, a perfect day and I wouldn’t have changed a thing. And Madeline was smiling from the beginning to the end … #goals.