Need a fun, unique idea for a young child’s birthday party? They can make their own stuffed animals! It is similar to Build-a-Bear but in the comfort of your own home (and a lot cheaper, too). I did this for my daughter’s 4th birthday party and it was a hit! Here is what I did:
Make Your Own Stuffed Animal Party Invitations
I designed the invitations myself using Adobe Photoshop Elements. I now sell this invitation in my Etsy shop; I can personalize it with your information and you will receive the digital file to print where you like!
Zoo or Jungle Animal Party Decorations
I kept the decorations pretty simple for this party.
- Colorful balloons that coordinated with the invitation
- Bright (cheap) plastic tablecloths added color
- green paper lanterns
- Happy Birthday banner, coordinating with theme
I made the banner and now you can buy it in my etsy shop. Simply print out the pages on card stock, cut the letters out, punch holes in the top, and string them with ribbon.
Cake Decorations for Jungle Animal Party
I kept it simple with the cake; I ordered it from Costco. They have the best cake! It’s only $18.99 and feeds 48 people. (I get the white cake with vanilla custard in the middle.) I usually have them only write “Happy 4th Birthday __________” on the bottom of the cake, and then I figure out how to decorate the top to coordinate with the theme of the party.
So for this one, my daughter wanted sprinkles on her cake (again). So we did that and I added coordinating cake toppers that I made and printed on card stock. (You can buy them in my etsy shop.)
After printing the cake topper PDF file to card stock, I cut them out. I then cut/broke bamboo skewers in half. (To do that use a scissors to score them, then they are easier to break.) Then I taped one skewer to the back of one cake topper square and then taped another square to the opposite side. So the skewer had one picture on the front and a different one on the back.
Make Stuffed Animals
The main activity was making their own stuffed animals! This is sort of like Build-a-Bear, but in the comfort of your own home. I ordered the animals online from The Zoo Factory. They come with wishing stars that you can put inside the animals as well as birth certificates. I ordered the 16″ animals, $9 each, but chose to get the stuffing elsewhere (cheaper).
Supplies for Making Stuffed Animals
In addition to the animals themselves, I purchased a big box of stuffing (5 lbs) at Hobby Lobby using a coupon (it came to $12). That was plenty for the nine animals we had. I also purchased large craft sticks (7″) to push the stuffing into the legs and body of the animals. (I bought mine at WalMart.)
When each guest arrived, I presented this box of animals (above) and let her pick out the one she wanted. Then she put her name on it (I had written the names on sticky labels) and put it in a bag where it could wait until we were ready to start stuffing the animals.
I had already pre-sorted the amount of stuffing they would need and put it into plastic bags, which I put into these animal bags (purchased at the Dollar Tree). I also had the large craft sticks in their bag, so when it was time to stuff the animals, they could grab their bag and had all they needed!
The kids enjoyed stuffing the animals, although they still needed help from the adults (most of the kids were 3 and 4 year olds). The stuffing took longer than I thought, about 30 minutes or so. But the kids really liked their animals and were all hugging them!
Decorate Shirts for Stuffed Animals
The kids really enjoyed decorating shirts for their stuffed animals. I also bought some plain shirts for the kids to decorate (for the animals to wear) through the The Zoo Factory website ($2 each). Since I knew I would be using fabric paint (see below) I cut out pieces of cardboard to put inside the shirt while they painted it, and until it dried. (I think it takes a good 24 hours to dry so the kids went home with the shirts still wet.) It was also a good idea to have little paint brushes to help decorate the shirts, too.
Supplies for Decorating Shirts
I bought a pack of glitter fabric paint (six colors to the pack) at Target that worked perfectly for decorating the shirts. (Here is a similar one on Amazon.) You could also use fabric markers, but I think these paints were cheaper, maybe $6 for the set of 6 and all the kids could share them. For cheap smocks (the paint stains) I purchased bigger size packs of boys plain white undershirts. Fairly cheap and easy to slip over the kids heads.
Stickers and Coloring
Even though the stuffed animals and shirts would have been enough for activities, I also had a few small things available for kids to do either at the beginning of the party while we were waiting for everyone to arrive, or else later on in the party when the kids are just playing with toys.
To go with the theme, I found a set of Silly Pets Sticker Face (by Bendon) at WalMart for $4. It’s a booklet that has pictures of pets and lots of different stickers for the child to make a face on the pet. They can add eyes, ears, tails, collars, etc. It’s very cute and the kids really enjoyed it! (Here is a similar one made by Melissa & Doug.)
I also did a search online and found free animal coloring pages and printed them. I bought a new box of crayons and that was a nice addition at the table, too.
The great thing about making these stuffed animals is that they also doubled as the party favors! Yay! No need to buy bags and fill them with cheap junk. 😉
Thank You Cards
I also made coordinating zoo, jungle, or safari thank you cards. I printed them on card stock (or, rather, I had them printed on card stock at Staples). I cut them out and wrote the note on the back. Easy! These are also available in my etsy shop.
The coordinating party supplies in my Etsy shop:
I hope these ideas help you plan your child’s zoo or jungle animal party!
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