Chunky Monkey

Little Londyn turned 1 in May, and to celebrate themed her party after her self-explanatory nick-name, "Chunky Monkey." Our house became a jungle outpost named after the birthday girl.
Sitting Area
In the front yard we set up a canopy to allow for more sitting room since I have yet to add on a huge party room to our house. Under the canopy we set out chairs and laid a blanket with toys for the little kids to play with. It was a one-year-old party, after all, so some of the guests were wee ones. The above welcome sign sat on the porch, and behind it hid our sound system playing a fun jungle-themed music like some Harry Belefonte, Tarzan, Jungle Book, some Reggae, and Londyn's theme song "Big and Chunky" from Madagascar 2. I’d planned to hang some raffia trimmings and vines from our porch overhang and windows, but ran out of time.

Opening Activities: Handprint Craft
While waiting for everyone to get there, we had a few things going on inside the Outpost. First was this little handprint craft where the parents could help their kids make a handprint then glue on cute leaves and flowers provided by my sister-in-law and her Cricut. The poem that went with it is adapted from one that a few people used on for jungle parties. The original, for more general jungle parties, reads "Can you remember my jungle call from when I was so small? Or when I left my monkey prints clinging to the wall? Like a giraffe I'm growing and soon will be so tall. My lion roar and sticky fingers will be hard to recall. Here is a handprint so you can say: This is how my handprint looked on so-n-so's birthday." But I took out the other animals to keep the focus on monkeys. Mine read "Can you remember my jungle call from when I was so small? Or when I left my monkey prints clinging to the wall? Before your eyes I'm growing and soon will be so tall. Here's a handprint you can keep to look back and recall. This is how my handprint looked in May 2009."
Londyn's First Year
For the adults, we'd hung twelve photos of Londyn, one for each month of her life. The photos were out of order and guests had to try to figure out the right order. We set out a small table with instructions, slips of paper, pencils, and a jar to place guesses in. Only one person was able to guess right, and she got a watermelon for a prize (we go for randomness). We added some homemade paper lanterns for festivity and color.
Outpost Bulletin Board
This bulletin board was hanging on the wall with pictures from For snacks we had a chocolate fountain with bananas, strawberries and pretzels to dip, potato chips and dip labeled "beetle wings," grapes labeled "snake eyes," apple slices labeled "crocodile teeth," and craisins labeled "dried ants" ( under Jungle Expedition Party). We served banana slush punch in a punch bowl, and milk to go with the chocolate, labeled "Monkey Milk." We used tableware and supplies from Oriental Trading's Neon Monkey theme because it was fun and colorful. I actually found a lot of the stuff for cheaper at
Jungle Explorers Guidebooks
Once everyone had arrived, I announced that they would now be going to explore the jungle. To help them out I provided Jungle Explorer Guidebooks containing all of the different sites to see. On each page was a box to place a sticker they'd get after visiting each site. To make these booklets I simply copied and pasted free clipart from online that related to the jungle creatures living in each site. As I was explaining all of this to the guests, suddenly I made a ringing sound... and pulled a banana out of my pocket that served as my phone. I asked everyone to excuse me while I took this call, and basically had a loud conversation with various jungle creatures who were complaining to me that the monkeys had been causing mischief again! After I hung up, I told the kids that they would now need to help out the jungle creatures while they were exploring.
Photo Op
At the entrance to the jungle on the side of our house, we set up this photo op I'd painted following the Neon Monkey theme. Everyone lined up to get their photo taken, which helped spread them all out as they entered the jungle.

Jungle Volcano
We had transformed our backyard into a big jungle maze! We measured out the yard and used graph paper to design a maze. Then for several weeks leading up to the party I started mowing the lawn according to our design… I’d mow the pathways and let the “walls” grow until it got super long and jungly. It ended up looking great, with cattails and all kinds of crazy plants popping up where we let them! Then we lined the walls with palm trees- I called around to some carpet stores and managed to gather about 20 carpet rolls, 12 foot long each, which we sawed into sections of two or three to end up with 50 “trunks”. My mom and I spent hours making palm leaves out of green butcher paper with florist wire weaved down the center to make them hang outward more, then we taped four to each trunk and wrapped a couple of strips of brown butcher paper around the top of the trunk which were slit a few times to hang down like palm tree bark. We placed the trees around the maze on tent poles and long wood stakes stuck into the ground, then wound green streamers between the trees as vines which also served to mark the walls even more. We made more vines out of red, orange, and yellow butcher paper to wrap around some of the trees to make the jungle more colorful, plus added fake tropical flowers here and there from Dollar Tree. I’d bought 21 stuffed monkeys from Dollar Tree with long arms and Velcro on their hands which we hung in some of the trees.

Jungle Maze
The big black thing was our volcano, constructed out of boxes and covered with garden ground cover. On top was a bucket that we put water and dry ice into to make the volcano fume!
Bat Tunnel
Underneath the whole thing was one long box that we made into a tunnel, lined with bats and bugs, that the kids could crawl through.
This was one of the monkeys in the trees, the one who stole my watch! The kid who found it got a prize. Each of the six main sites had a certain jungle creature asking for help. We wrote instructional poems on poster board and cut them out into speech-bubbles to place next to the creatures. Site Instructions
I also made these little trays by folding up the bottom half of a sheet of cardstock, cutting little tabs and gluing the tabs. The trays would hold the stickers for the Guidebooks, and the top portion had detailed instructions for the parents so that they would know exactly what to help their child do at each site.
Tiger Den
"All I want is peace and quiet, but monkeys love to cause a riot. Please choose a song to sing to me, and maybe I can get some sleep!” Each kid had to pick their favorite song and sing to the tiger to calm him down, then get a tiger sticker for their Guidebook.
Butterfly Meadow
"Monkeys do such silly things, they stole the color from our wings. Please paint our colors bright and new, and later we’ll fly home with you!” This table sat in a clearing decorated with flowers and butterflies. It had a bunch of butterfly suncatchers, paints and brushes that the kids had to use to give a butterfly its color back. Then they got to keep their butterfly.
Fish Pond
“Those monkeys in their wicked pleasure left behind this stolen treasure. Please fish a coin out of our pond and take it back where it belongs!” The pond was a kid sandbox we filled with water and rocks, then bought some cheap little feeder fish to swim around in it! There were plastic gold coins floating in it also, and each kid had to use a provided fish net to remove one gold coin from the pond and later drop it off in the Treasure Trove.
Treasure Trove
The kids simply had to toss their gold coin into the treasure pile to receive their sticker. We had treasure chests full of colorful glass "gems", gold coins, and vases spray painted gold. In the middle of it all was a big blue Tiki head with a battery operated flame in its mouth.

“The monkeys dropped us lizards here and made the campers disappear. Use your eyes to find us all. Look carefully, we’re pretty small!” Here they had to play I Spy to spot all the plastic lizards we'd strewn about. The parental instructions included the correct number, and once they found them all they received their sticker. Dragonfly Hollow
“My dragonfly friends flew away when all the monkeys came to play. Borrow a net to bring one home, out of the jungle where they roam!” The kids then had to go find one of the dragonflies we’d spread around the jungle, “catch” it in a net, and set it in the grass back in Dragonfly Hollow.

Stepping over the Bug Pit
There were also a few obstacles along the way. This was a Bug Pit, where the kids had to use the flower shaped stepping stones (Dollar Tree) to walk through a bunch of plastic bugs.

Bridge over Snake Den
They had to use this bridge to cross over a den of snakes. I was planning to string fake spider webs and spiders across the trees leading to the treasure trove for the kids to crawl beneath, but ran out of time. I also wanted to cover a couple of old trunks with brown or black paper and set them across a pathway as boulders for the kids to climb over, but ran out of time on that one, too. Several ideas had to be sacrificed due to time limitations, but no one knew that. :)

Supply Drop
After a while I leaned out of our kitchen window overlooking the jungle and announced that we were expecting a supply drop really soon, and that I could hear the airplane. I asked everyone to watch the sky for the supplies and gather them up to share. Then I had my brothers chuck a few packages on parachutes out of a top window. They sailed gracefully to the ground, and it was a riot watching the kids run around the maze to catch them! Inside the packages were some cute Neon Monkey lollipops for everyone.

Limbo Contest!
Monkey Stompede
Everyone had a yellow balloon (banana) tied to their ankle and had to protect it from being stomped on while trying to stomp on everyone else's.

Monkey Jungle Cake
This was Londyn's personal monkey cake, made by my sister-in-law. Very cute!

Neon Monkey Cupcakes
These use Nilla Wafers for the muzzles and Nilla Minis for the ears. The faces are painted on with icing tubes.
Goodie Bags
All of the kids went home with a goodie bag. Londyn and her friends got some banana baby food, Gerber banana-yogurt juice, Gerber banana shaped toddler cookies in a monkey face snack container (Dollar Tree), fruit snacks, and their monkey lollipop. The older kids got yellow salt dough in monkey face snack containers labeled "Mashed Banana Playdough- Not for eating!", some Laffy Taffys and tropical Starbursts, fruit snacks, and Neon Monkey tattoos along with their monkey lollipops. Each kid also got to take home one of the stuffed monkeys from the jungle so they'd stop bothering all the other creatures! :)

Banana Boat Kits
For the adults we'd prepared Banana Boat kits- packets of chocolate chips and marshmallows tied to a banana with a colorful recipe card attached reading "Slice the banana peel lengthwise, making sure not to cut all the way through to the other side. Stuff marshmallows and chocolate chips inside the banana. Use a spoon to dig out some of the banana if you want to make more room! Wrap the banana in aluminum foil and bake for 5 minutes in a 300 degree oven (or in a campfire or grill) until chocolate is melted. Eat with a spoon!"
*Recruit a Crew! -I could NOT have pulled off this party without an entire crew of helpers, so THANKS CREW!! Ma, Pa, Caj, Carg, Trog, Wendhy (my awesome photographer, too, check out her website, Bryan, Nikkie, Liz, Mike, and everyone who attended and made it fun! Many family members or friends may love to help you with the preparations, setup, and management of your party. Even those who may not have the same "party passion" as you do will probably be willing to help out, so ASK! It's in everyone's benefit to pitch in and make it great!
*Inform your Crew!- By letting more people know the game plan, you increase the chance of everything happening smoothly. Crew members can also remind you of things that you may forget when you as the host get wrapped up in keeping all of your guests entertained. For example, each child was supposed to leave with a stuffed monkey from the jungle and luckily my mom reminded me about that as they started leaving.
*Stay in the Mix- As soon as we sent the kiddies off into the jungle, I thought I'd use that time to check on behind the scenes stuff, like restocking the food trays. Later, my husband asked me where I'd disappeared to during that time, and I realized that I'd missed out on seeing my guests actually enjoying what we'd worked so hard to prepare! Especially my own daughters. The birthday girl and my toddler were taken around by family members, which was fun for the family members since they didn't have their own little ones to participate with, but I regret that I didn't tag along! I'd even asked crew members to keep an eye on the food for me, so I just should've relaxed and enjoyed the activities a little more.

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