Idea No.


Bug Party 4yr - Spider Web Challenge



May 2007


Pilar in Barcelona, Spain

Special Mention

Bug Birthday Party

Some months ago, I realized that it was not uncommon for Spanish moms to call their child bicho (bug) or bichito (little bug). I do so with my son, and several of his friends are also called so by their mothers. So we decided to have a bug party for his fourth birthday. 

INVITATIONS The party invitations set the mood for it. We made them by folding in two a sheet of paper (size A-4), that was to be held horizontally. On the cover, it said: Como abejas a la miel (Like bees to honey) with a bright sun over the words.  When you opened the invitation, you could see the text on the bottom half (everything in colorful letters): Si eres un bicho y te encantan las fiestas, sigue a la abeja, hasta la colmena. Kienan te espera el cinco de mayo para celebrar su cumpleanos. Cuidado con la tela de arana! (If you're a bug and you love parties,/ follow the bee to the bee-hive. Kienan awaits you on May 5th  to celebrate his birthday. Careful with the spider web!)  

We decorated the page with some flowers, and right after the word bee-hive there was a bee that followed a dotted line that zoomed across the whole page (we added some bees along the line to show that the bee was following it) and then had the line end on the edge of the page. When you closed the invitation, you could see the line continue on to a map to show the park where we would have the party. We marked the park on the map with a bee-hive surrounded by all kind of bugs: dragonflies, ladybugs, worms, ants, beetles Next to the map we gave the address of the park, the exact time of the party, how to get there by bus or train, and the contact details so that we could know how many children (and parents) would attend.  Our son gave out the invitations in  envelopes that had the name of the child we were inviting, and where we had also printed a personalized stamp, with our son's name and then, instead of typing the value of the stamp, it said 4 os (4 years old). Everybody loved the invitation! 

GAMES AND ACTIVITIES Whereas we love games, we do not like the idea of some children winning and others loosing, so everything we organized was thought to make sure that everyone would go back home with the same rewards.  The children were actually to become bugs when they arrived at the party, so we prepared some antennae for each one of them. At a craft store, we bought Styrofoam balls, very large confetti and a kind of wires covered in colorful felt. With some water and a paintbrush, our son used the confetti to color the Styrofoam balls (i.e. glue the confetti on the balls). We stuck a ball at each end of the wires and then wrapped the central part of the wire to a headband so that it looked like antennae. 

The warning in the invitation was not without justification. We actually set up a spider web between two trees using a long, colorful string. As they arrived, children were to go through it in order to graduate and become actual bugs (and get their antennae). That was actually our first activity. Some of the kids kept going through the spider web because they liked it so much.  For the next game, each child was given a roll of toilet paper to wrap it around his/her parent-caterpillar. The parent was then to break free from the cocoon transformed into a butterfly. As a prize, the parents got a bottle to blow bubbles.

The children then played to pop them by using flyswatters.  Before the children arrived, we had hidden in the area of the park where we were having the party a bunch of plastic bugs (spiders, worms, crickets, beetles), so our following game was to go bug hunting. Each child was given a plastic bag decorated with ladybugs that we had found at a local store to collect the bugs (and the other party favors they would get later). We helped the children that were having trouble finding bugs to make sure that each child got at least 2 or 3 of them. 

Next, we asked the children to imagine that they were bees. With their stings, they were to pop the balloons where we had previously inserted some small bug-related party favors: butterfly-shaped erasers, ladybug and bee stickers, etc. We had different colors of balloons, so we called out a color and each child went to the tents were we kept the balloons to find one of that color and then sit on it and pop it. That way, we made sure that each child got a set of everything. (we used two play tents connected with a tunnel that we had at home)  Since bugs like flowers so much, and since we were having the party in the spring, in the last balloon we put some flower seeds wrapped in paper, so the last activity was to plant them (we had brought enough pots and soil with us). The children would then have a lasting souvenir of the party. A couple of weeks later, ours is already growing! 

CAKE AND DECORATIONS After the balloon-popping, we blew the candles on the cake. It had the shape of a butterfly: we cut a round cake in half and placed each piece next to a long shaped-one, with the round sides touching the central part; we used cream cheese frosting, M&Ms to make the yes and to color the wings, and licorice for the antenna. We had candles in the shape of a butterfly, a ladybug and two flowers. The plates and napkins actually matched the bags for the party favors (they had ladybugs on them). Also, we had painted black stripes on yellow balloons (bees) and black spots on red ones (ladybugs) and hung them on the tents and on some branches, and we used red and yellow paper cups for the drinks.  The party still lasted for another hour and a half or longer, as children played in the park and parents enjoyed the conversation and the games.

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