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Last week was rather manic and I didn’t manage to post – sorry and I am now back and ready with this week’s party theme!

If you can’t face the idea of taking a group of excited kids to the zoo (you don’t have the manpower), or you can’t afford the big bucks a party at the zoo would set you back, then bring the zoo home. These are a few ideas for a zoo-themed party.lion3

Invite

I like the idea of sending everyone an invite in the shape of an animal mask. The kids are then asked to re-use their invite as a mask for the big day. *You’d only write on the back of the invite so as not to ruin the mask. I would recommend having a few masks available on the big day in case any kid forgets theirs, ruins theirs, or doesn’t like the animal they got with their invite.

You can buy the masks or you can look online for free printable masks that you colour-in. Such as the ones here  and here.

Dressing the room and setting the scene

There are actually a lot of ideas for this theme on the internet so I have picked out a few I like!

Parenting and Tip Junkie have quite a few ideas for cake themes and decor.

Depending on the size of your space you can separate areas into the themes you would find at a zoo (reptiles, birds world, savanna, etc). I also like the idea of having a background soundtrack of animal sounds, scattering toy animals around the room, hanging paper birds from the ceiling, having animal printed balloons, or if you have the time (and skill) make your own animal balloons such as the monkey below (it could also be a fun kid activity at the party).

I like the idea of putting food on a table saying “Animal Feed” and labelling each of the bowls of food.

This Parrot Pinata is from Party City

This Parrot Pinata is from Party City

Animal Pinata’s are easy to get hold of at party stores and can be a nice, fun and decorative addition too.

Some animal related science activities

As the kids walk through the party space they can have different stations which have different animal related activities (just like you would in a real zoo). Below are a  few ideas.

Guess the animal home

The kids can be split into two groups. There is a world map stuck on the wall and a pile of animal stickers. They have to work in teams to match the animal to the continent it is native too.

Ew, animal slime!

First get the kids to name some slimey animals, and guess which they think is the slimiest. They probably won’t guess the Hagfish! It is a bottom dwelling fish that is found in the North Atlantic and Mediterranean seas. It is thought to be the slimiest organism on earth! Some interesting and yucky facts about the Hagfish:

– it is one of the few surviving jawless fish

– it lacks a bony skeleton, but has a spine formed by nodules of cartilage

– pores along either side of its body generate lots and lots of incredibly strong, sticky mucous, which can suffocate predators and act as a lubricant for the hag to slip in and out of carrion

– it feeds on both small, live prey and on the bodies of dead or dying fish, burrowing inside and rasping at flesh

– it is the only fish capable of sneezing (which it does to clear its own slime from its single nostril)

– the only vertebrate animal that can tie itself in a knot (which it does to provide leverage when boring into flesh and to clear slime from its body)

Now the kids can try making their own slime. I featured this in our “Funny Fluids” party.

Paper animal-planes

dragonflyrgbLearn more about animal flight by getting the kids to fold their own paper planes and test which flight mode is best. You can find out all you need (folding methods, animals, and science) here.

Chromatography butterflies

These are so pretty (like the real things) and the kids get to learn about chromatography and colours. Here

Snake-inspired robots

Friction is a force that holds back a sliding object and one animal that makes great use of this is a snake.  The scales underneath snakes generate the friction with the ground stopping the snake’s head sliding to its tail when it moves. This mechanism has led engineers to build snake-inspired robots.

Here is a fun way to demonstrate just how adhesive friction can be. All you need is some plastic bottles, uncooked rice, and chopsticks.

Why do frogs have webbed feet?

Some species of frog have webbed feet and these two demos show just why this adaptation is an advantage.

Swimming: All you need is a tub of water and plastic sandwich bags. Get each of the kids to spread their fingers and move their hands through the water. Then ask them to put a plastic sandwich bag over their hand, spread their fingers and move it through the water. They’ll feel they have much more force behind them when they have the plastic bag. This extra surface area helps them push the water away and propel themselves, giving them much more swimming power!

Flying: Some frogs jump far distances between branches. So their webbed feet act like parachutes. A quick demo is done by using two sheets of paper. Crunch one up in a ball and leave the other flat. Pick them both up and at the same hight drop them. The flat sheet will take longer to fall to the floor – this is the same effect as webbed feet. The flat paper has a greater surface area and with this it creates more drag which acts in the opposite direction as gravity.

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