Deep in the heart of Arlington, a jungle blooms.

For the past two months, nearly 90 children in the county's summer recreation program have spent their afternoons fashioning paper, glue, bits of cloth, tiles and even clothespins to bring the jungle to life.

The result is a decidedly unusual: a room populated with a horde of multicolored lions, tigers, bears, giraffes and transparent birds (made from sheets of plastic) set against a floor of sand and shaded by a giant banana tree.

"We learned to make feathered birds, to be with other kids and to get along with everyone," said 11-year-old Theresa Smothers.

"It was nice," said Rudy Tyson, 6, who as a member of the "tigers" (5- to 6-year-olds) found out that "they run and leap."

"You're not bored all the time," said 11-year-old Angela Graham.

The arts and crafts project was part of a summer-long program for the youngsters that included field trips, swimming and movies.

"I thought this art show was the best we've had so far," said Portia Ethridge, director of the special summer program.

The program included children from the Lee Summer Camp, the Langston Summer Camp and the Langston Junior Jamboree. "It's a learning experience as well as a fun experience."

In the past four years, themes have included the underwater world and outer space. Ethridge is the catalyst. "They're pretty good with ideas as long as you motivate them and give them directions," she said of the children.

Some of the larger animals included:

* A four-foot-high papier-mache giraffe.

* A wall hanging of a lion made of cloth and yarn.

* A long snake that began its life as a piece of rug.

* "Next year we're going to do Candy Land," Ethridge said. "It's going to be pretty.

The jungle, which was put together in the Langston Community Center, was dismantled last week, with the various parts going to their creators.