Katie decided in January - yes, three months before her birthday - that she wanted a Jungle Party. Based on the Jungle Book. Knowing that my life is totally crazy at the end of March/beginning of April, I took advantage of her sureness and did a little planning every week, with a lot of internet help.
We ended up with a really fun party, and Katie helped a lot. She wanted some boys at the party (yikes - we're already there!), but I was glad to know they were boys I knew and liked! They played 20 questions, guessing their animal IDs, and started to grow sponge animals before the pizza. Big hit, that pizza, and everyone was done with lunch in something like 10 minutes. I have to give credit to elementary school timetables.
My word-oriented kid wanted a word puzzle, so I made a scrambled jungle word game. All the kids managed to finish, with parental help, clues, and Dave making elephant noises!
Then they "fished" for piranhas, made and decorated homemade binoculars, and went searching for wild animals (cute nail brushes with tiger and elephant heads).
Then they had to jump for the food in the trees (we hung bananas and animal crackers from these palm trees) so they could have ice cream sundaes/banana splits. It was funny trying to keep the candle lit in the ice cream! Every party has to have present opening, which was a big to-do.
But I think the most fun was for all the kids to have free play with the jungle balloons, and their binoculars, and their natural energy and laughter. I think everyone had a good time, particularly the birthday girl!