Simba, like all beloved childhood figures of the past, eventually has to grow up and get a wife, kids, white picket boulder ring and a nine to five job guarding the Pride Lands – or rather have his son in charge of the Lion Guard (good security strategy that). That means that there is a whole new generation of lions (and other African wildlife) to delight the new human generations (though let’s be honest here, we sneak in a peek as well). In a bold celebration of diversity, we have a team comprised of lions (Kion), cheetahs (Fuli), honey badgers (Bunga), hippos (Beshte) and egrets (Ono). Oh, and there is also Jasiri, the one that teaches us to “Never judge a hyena by its spots” and Sisi ni Sawa (‘we’re all the same’ for those that are not fluent in Swahili). With sing-along’s, fun characters and lessons on friendship, equality and diversity mixed in it’s no wonder the Disney show is a hit (for both parents and children). On the downside, the show is relatively new when compared to other cartoons which makes it harder to put together a Lion Guard birthday party (most tutorials and tips out there are heavily focused on the Lion King and especially Pumba and Timon). But, Hakuna Matata friends (have no worries) – below you’ll find a whole host of Lion Guard birthday party ideas from favors to costumes to cakes and invites.
The Lion Guard Birthday Party Invitations
At the start of each great story, there is the forming of the band of heroes – the Lion Guard in our case. Just like Kion, you’ll have to face trials and tribulations before you get the ok to constitute the band (though yours will mostly consist of patience, otherwise known as dodge the frustration of crafting). If you want to dodge it altogether, then online shops like Etsy are your best friend – there are dozens of Lion Guard party invites available (even with customizable options). If you’re feeling brave enough to tackle it on your own, then you can start with a Circle of Life sunrise backdrop. Then you can add these lovely clipart images of the Lion Guard characters (separate and together). To give the card just that extra bit of magic, you can add catchphrases (and thankfully the show is rife with them, both Swahili and English translations): Kion (Hevi Kabisa”, or “totally intense), Bunga (“Zuka Zama”, or “pop up, dive in”), Fuli (“Huwezi”, or “you can’t (catch me)”), Beshte (“Twende Kiboko!”, or “let’s go, hippo!”), Ono (“hapana”, or “oh,no!”). Alternatively, you can ask the Lion Guard to join Kion (birthday boy/gal) in protecting the Lion Guard Lair at Pride Rock (your humble abode) from the hyenas. For added entertainment, you can place an origami lion inside as well. Or, since we’re on that topic, why not make a pop-up lion card. Or for that matter, a lion pop-up box card. If you’re not quite sure what that is, here’s a tutorial on making a box card and this is what the final result should look like. Feel free to replace the lion in the tutorial with cutouts of Kion and his band.
Another option is to make a pull Kion’s tail waterfall card. It’s easy to make. All you have to do is fill in the squares with cutouts of Kion, Bunga, Fuli, Beshte and Ono. To make it more fun, Put Kion on the last tab and place a cutout of his tail on the pull-tab. You can even make a felt Lion Guard card – your guests will love touching it. Just cut out the characters from different colored felts and layer them like you would with paper. Here’s a model of various felt card animals – don’t they look so soft? To achieve the look, you’ll have to sow on the animal’s outline (or trace the contour with a fine tip marker).
The Lion Guard Birthday Party Decorations
Once the roar to assemble the Guard has been sent, it’s time to panic (since the Lair is far from being ready, especially for the small stampede that will occur). Armed with courage and a pair of scissors (a decorator’s little helper) we can start sprucing Pride Rock a bit. First things’ first – color scheme. Lion Guard follows the tradition of its predecessor, so you’ll do fine with gold-red-black. Then, it’s time to rock the jungle look. And what better place to start than by making some vines. You can cut out giant leaf shapes out of green paper and make the vines by twisting butcher paper. Don’t be scared to go a little crazy when covering things with vines. Once you’re done with that, you need to prep your jungle hallway with the aid of different shades of green streamers and looping garlands hanging from the ceiling (if you couldn’t add more vines). Then you can up the ante by adding some floating coconut trees with the aid of paper leaves, balloons and streamers. While we’re on that theme, why not make your own DIY palm tree decor – they are sturdy, easy to make and guaranteed to impress your guests.
Another Lion Guard party decoration idea is to recreate the Lion Guard Lair. While there are no available mini mountains inside your backyard for you to dig out, you can make your own paper craft cave. Alternatively, go for a pillow fort to end all pillow forts (just make the pillow casings brown, to resemble rocks). You can spruce it up with some paper leaves and vines.
You can also place a Lion Guard (lion king African sunset) backdrop – you can print, buy or even make it (it’s super easy to paint). And if all the vines weren’t enough, you can add some other floating decorations like lion balloons (made by twisting balloons), animal print balloons or paper lanterns. Here’s how the paper lantern lion looks. As for the cheetah, you can use the same idea, strip the mane and add black spots.
The Lion Guard Birthday Party Table Setup
No Lair is complete without some feasting grounds, unless you want your small Lion Guard horde to drag their spoils of war everywhere – they might do that anyway (who here hasn’t found food in the oddest of places after a party?) but at least it’s a bit more concentrated place. You can start off with this gorgeous pineapple palm tree serving tray – as nice as it looks, it’s not really that difficult to make. You can dress the table with some animal print runners (leopard print is very easy to find).
Another Lion Guard Party table idea is to turn your fruit punch bowl into a watering hole (make a sign with the indication) and then add cat prints, bird prints and hippo footprints next to it (you can place a light brown bit of cloth under it and add the prints to it). If you don’t mind the sacrifice, you can even add some bird footprints on the bowl itself with the aid of a marker. To better get into the jungle theme, you can add some grass cupcake or cup wrappers. If you have some time and don’t mind a bit of crafting, you can make your own Lion Pride Cake stand – based on this wild cat cupcake stand (use instead a hippo, a cheetah and a lion).
The jungle undercurrent of Lion Guard lets you play with many, many table setting options, like having coconuts for bowls, or palm leaves instead of plates. You can even wrap the cutlery in leaves or use plastic palm leaf serving trays.
But the most fun to be had is with plates. Here are just a few suggestions of animal paper plates: paper plate Beshte (hippo), leopard print plates, Kion and Fuli plates, Ono paper plate birds (use white or yellow/orange feathers).
The Lion Guard Costumes and Birthday outfits
Every lion king (or prince/princess in this case) has to look his or her best. The good news is that there are plenty of lion and cheetah makeup tutorials and costume ideas. The bad news is that honey badgers, hippos and egrets are not as popular – who would have thought?. Let’s start with the head of the pack, the young Kion. You can either do a Kion face paint (based on Simba, just add a red tuft of hair at the top of the head) or make a Kion Mask (here’s even an alternate mask). Now comes the fun part – the costume. Here are some 20+ ideas for lion costumes – lions are a popular choice and given the abundance of tutorials (this is just scratching the surface) you can just pick a look that you like (or looks easiest to make). Out of all the ideas, here’s my personal favorite lion costume tutorial.
On to Fuli. You can start with a Fuli face paint tutorial and then round off the look with this National Geographic costume tutorial – all you’ll need are scissors, furry cheetah material, black felt, wires, a glue gun and a stapler (add to that a light yellow shirt +pants combo and you’re set).
If your child loves Beshte, then here’s a printable mask. For the costume, you can use grey clothes/PJs and attach a tail (you can make the tail with grey rope, or spray paint the rope and add a black tuft at the end). You can also use some pink felt for the soft hippo underbelly. Just cut a big circle and attach it to the front of the costume/one piece PJ. For more realism, add a pillow under the costume and secure it in place with a belt.
Another Lion Guard birthday costume idea is to try and make a Bunga costume. For that you can use a honey badger mask . For the rest you can use a skunk costume as a base. Follow the tutorial but replace the hoodie with a light grey-purple hoodie.
Unfortunately, if your child loves Ono, then you’re out of luck. Or are you? You can use this bird costume model though you’ll have to play with the colors a bit. For the feathers you’ll have to use orange, white and yellow and the pants should be black with orange stripes, like so.
The Lion Guard Party Food and drinks
Once the preparations are complete, it’s time to brace yourself for the stampede – and the first place to go is always the food table. A chocolate fountain mud bath is set to keep the entire tiny horde happy, not just the hippos in the crowd. Then comes the main feast, the holy grail of Lion Guard food items – the grubs. Since the animals on the show are obsessed with bugs, bugs, bugs (Timon and Pumba have taught them well). For grubs you can use gummy worms or strips of hot dog. You can make beetle wings with chips and present raisins as dried ant. In fact, you can make some ants on a log with celery, cream cheese and raisins. Then there’s a corndog centipede for those that feel that gummy worms are not long enough (or those that like a bit more of a struggle from their meal). You can also try your hand at some snail sandwiches or make some cookie crumble cheesecake caterpillars. There should be enough bugs to satisfy event the hungriest Lion Guard members. If you’re feeling punny, you can even serve them some cheetah Cheetos .
Another Lion Guard party food idea is to go slightly crazy with the lion theme. For instance, you can make some lion pizza or some chocolate cream lion brioches. And if you’re looking for a healthier option you can even make a lion veggie dip platter. While on that note, why not make a Beshte watermelon hippo. And to make sure Ono doesn’t feel neglected, you can top things off with some cheese bird sandwiches.
The Lion Guard Birthday Cake and Cupcakes
La crème de la crème, the tasty grub on top of the worm plate is the birthday cake. A good way to go about it is to go to a cake decorating shop. For a cheaper option, you can ask them to print a cake topper using edible ink. If you’re thinking of giving it a go yourself, you can try to make this Kion 3D face cake – based on Simba. It’s moderately difficult, it just requires some good cake cutting skills – and the video is detailed enough to help you put the look together. Another option is to make fondant toppers and add them to safari, savana or jungle themed cakes. Here’s how to make a lion topper, a hippo topper, and a bird. For Fuli, the cheetah, you can use the lion model, just strip the mane and add black spots (either with edible markers or with fondant cutouts). Sadly, badger topper tutorials are shy, elusive creatures, mythical in nature since I was not able to locate a single one. To the animal toppers you can add some coconut trees or more complicated fondant palm trees. As for the cake background, you can try your hand at this waterhole safari cake.
The Lion Guard Party Games and activities
When all that isn’t nailed down has been eaten, it’s time to entertain the tiny Pride Rock guardians. The easiest way to do that is with a put the tail on the Lion Guard member game (you can even include Jasiri as an honorary member). For something a little more complicated, you can have the kids play Kion’s roar (a version of stand up and roar). For that you need to count the number of people – let’s say there are 16. Once you say start, people have to stand up and shout numbers sequentially from 1 upwards – till 16. Anyone can start. You can’t sand up twice or shout a number at the same time as someone else. The last person up loses.
Another Lion Guard party game idea is to play ‘Monkey see, monkey do’, but with a Lion Guard twist: roar like Kion, run like Fuli, fly like Ono etc.
You can also play ‘Laughing Hyenas’ – the children sit in a circle. The game needs a judge, namely a parent (your lucky day). The judge designates a hyena. The hyena has to sit in the middle of the circle and act silly to get the others to laugh. Whoever laughs joins the hyena in the middle. The last person left in the circle is the winner.
Another game variation is sleeping lions. The Lion Guard is asleep (the children are lying motionless on the floor) while a hyena is on the prowl (a single child). The hyena has to make the Lion Guard laugh without touching them. Who laughs is either eliminated or joins the hyena. Last lion standing wins.
For another twist on childhood classics, play some ‘duck, duck, goose’ but with lions and hyenas. Have the children sit in a circle. One child is the lion and has to walk on the outside and tap each player while saying lion, lion etc. The child that gets tapped with hyena has to catch the lion before he or she occupies the empty space left in the circle. If the lion manages to sit down, the hyena becomes the new ‘it’ and has to tap children. If the lion is caught, he or she has to be ‘it’ for another round.
You can also make a Fuli obstacle race game, if you have sufficient space in your backyard. And if you haven’t had enough, here is a list of Lion Guard inspired activities (from crafting Ono binoculars, to making foam cheetah shoes).
The Lion Guard Party Favors
Once the party draws to a close, the pack members head home with little gifts to remind them of their time at Pride Rock. You can fill their party favor bags with Lion Guard necklaces – based on these DIY necklaces, tattoos, bottlecap necklaces, wind up Lion Guard toys, Lion Guard rubber bands and mini collectible figurines . Let’s not forget the grubs – here’s where you can let your imagination flow (or include some of the bug snack from the food and drinks section). After all, the trip home is long and perilous, and the Lion Guard members need to keep up their strength if they want to be in top fighting shape when they spot a hyena.
The Lion Guard Birthday Gift Ideas
When it comes to Lion Guard birthday gift ideas, the Disney store is a good place to start. You can find a pretty wide range of merchandise, from Lion Guard cupa and t-shirts to character plushies. The nice thing about it is that each character gets to shine in the spotlight – want a plushy of Jasiri? No problem. The same can be said for action figures – you can find them in mini figure set or individual characters. There are also plenty of Lion Guard playsets that you can explore with the figurines (like the ‘Defend the Pride Lands’ set).
For the game inclined children (is there really a child who isn’t?) you can purchase a Lion Guard matching game. There are even puzzles ranging in complexity (from 12 to many, many more pieces).
Another gift idea is to go traditional with some Lion Guard backpacks or lunchbag – there are even bedheets available. And if your child loves activity, you can get a huffy lion guard bike (that’s how it was listed, believe it or not).