Idea No.


Gone Buggy 7-10yr - Bug Games & Crafts



April 2002


K C in Tampa, FL U.S.A.


Bug Birthday Party


AGE GROUP/SEXES: 3rd, 4th & possibly 5th graders (ages 8 through 10 or 11) We gave this for a 3rd grader turning 8 and invited only girls -- you would have to "masculinize" this party a bit for it to appeal to boys.

LOCATION:  Our front porch, dining room,  the living room and back yard.

HELPERS:  I hired two 8th grade girls and the birthday girl's dad helped also -- in addition, my youngest daughter was farmed out to her cousins' for the duration of the party which was a big help! 

DECORATIONS: On the front porch swing chains we clipped many, many  butterflies we'd made from clothespins and coffee filters. I tied a white string to a Halloween spider and also hung the spider (by the string) from the porch swing chains.  We have a potted tree on the front porch to which I clipped more butterflies, hung another spider on a string, and also taped multi-colored pearlized balloons.  I made a garland of construction paper flowers and leaves and draped that around the front door.  Then I clipped a couple of butterflies to some of the flowers and glued some pipecleaner caterpillars to the leaves.  Inside on the sidelights I taped white string - pulling it taut and taping top and bottom. At the top I covered the taped ends w/a couple of pearlized balloons.  Along the string, I clipped coffee filter butterflies. 

I had three tables and chairs I'd rented from a party company (the children's size -  and believe me, 8 years old is the LAST year you can do this!!! Some of these kids were really scrunched at those tables!) These were covered w/pastel, solid color plastic tablecloths I'd gotten from the Dollar Store.  In the adjoining dining room, the table was covered w/a plastic buggy tablecloth from the PartyStore (I also got matching  plates and plastic forks there).  All around the purchased cake were plastic bugs (old party favors from other parties and Halloween and stuff from all over the house!) and a few the birthday girl and I made from pipecleaners and beads.  Hanging from the brass chandelier were cardboard cut outs of a bumblebee and butterfly from Party Store.  The chandelier was draped in curling ribbon hanging down in long spirals.  Tied across the corner of the living room was a string (like a clothesline) on which I'd clipped more coffee filter butterflies.  Also clipped coffee filter butterflies to the candlesticks on the sideboard and had  Beanie Baby stuffed ladybugs etc. scattered across the sideboard.

THE BEGINNING:  As guests came in, they got a sticky nametag w/an iridescent bug sticker on it.  I then took a Polaroid picture of the guest while she wore bug antenna "deely-boppers" that I'd bought @ the Party store.  (I only bought one set of antenna -- the guests all liked it and were a bit disappointed that antenna were not part of the party favors.)

THE SPIDER WEB HUNT:  All across the backyard I had strung different pastel colored yarn to make a giant "web".  The end of each yarn strand was attached to a vaguely worm-shaped cardboard piece I'd cut out.  All along the yarn, various small party favors were tied -- bug pattern pencil, cute butterfly mirror, etc., ending w/small bubbles decorated with butterfly stickers.  The guests (after their picture session) were given baskets and sent to the back where my two eighth graders were directing the Web Hunt.  The guests rolled their yarn around the cardboard and collected favors tied to the yarn and put them in their baskets.  (I learned from this and used it in a Halloween party for my other daughter:  #1: cutting out 18 cardboard worms was incredibly time consuming and  not particularly noticed by the guests.  Use Popsicle sticks instead -- if you want to decorate them to look like worms, glue on some googly eyes, or just put a micro bug sticker on them.  #2, While the tying of presents along the yarn was a neat idea, and possibly appropriate for a party of 8 or fewer, I barely finished doing this before the first guest arrived!!!!!  Just put all the loot in a bag or tissue or something and tie it to the end of the yarn -- that saves TONS of time.

The baskets were made from three brown paper lunch bags.  Roll a collar down on first bag as far as it will go.  Open second bag.  Blop a little low temp hot glue on bottom and insert into first bag.  Roll collar down until it touches top of first bag.  Open third bag.  Repeat 2nd bag procedure.  Make a handle from a brown paper grocery bag.  Just cut a strip wider than you want and fold it lengthwise to proper width [using small blobs of glue to secure].  Then insert handle  on each side of the bag between the first and second collar.  Secure w/hot glue and use a little more glue to secure handle up sides of "basket".  Decorate by cutting a "mousehole" shape from black construction paper and gluing it to the basket -- now the basket looks sort of like a bee hive.  Print out some clip art bees from computer, or photocopy some from a coloring book.  Glue a couple to the side w/the "mousehole" and make spirally lines [w/a black fine line Sharpie] behind them to indicate flight.  Glue one bee to the reverse side of the basket - again w/spirally lines. Write the guest's name on the handle of the bee hive basket.)

CRAFT ONE - THE QUICK ONE:  As each girl came back from the Web Hunt, she was directed to a table in the living room. She was given her Polaroid portrait and a sheet of paper that had leaves and flowers (coloring book style) around the edges.  The tables had glue sticks,  scissors, crayons and markers. The girls were instructed to cut out their heads from the picture and then draw themselves as a bug and color the picture.  This produced some really cute looking efforts.  As they finished, we hung the girl's creations on the "clothesline" thing in the dining room with the butterfly clothespins.

CRAFT TWO:  After all the girls had come back from the Web Hunt and at least had a brief stab at the "draw yourself as a bug" picture, we set out materials for the Beady Spiders.  Each girl had xeroxed instructions and a small cup w/ the appropriate number (plus a few) of beads.  I had pre-cut the cord and made one end pointed w/a "Scotch tape" needle. The girls made a spider and my eighth graders helped w/technical difficulties.  (I learned something from this, too. We had about 18 girls at this party.  Some of them caught on immediately to this craft [at the time I had the party - Sept. 1998 - the "Beady" Animal thing was the rage and my daughter had made several "beady" creations].  Some guests took longer and one was reduced almost to tears.  Thank goodness my husband can read diagrams, because he even got into the act of helping those w/difficulty.  I see now that the beady animal I chose was too hard for a party.  I should have chosen a caterpillar which did not involve legs.  The finished spiders were great looking and some girls said the spiders were the coolest crafts they'd ever done at a party.)

THE "SPELLING BEE" GAME:  Before the party, I wrote out some simple words that fit the theme -- for example:  bug, insect, spider, etc.  I then figured out which letters I'd used and how many and how many girls would be on each team.  I wrote the letters on shirt-cardboard.  The guests were divided into two teams, and each team had the same selection of letters (one letter for each team member).  The girls lined up outside in two lines facing each other.  A word was called out.  The first team to spell the word by having the girl with the letter step up front and get in the correct spelling order, won that word.  We played enough rounds for every team member to have a chance to be a letter in a word.  The winning team got to pick five pieces of candy from the "hive" bowl; the second place team picked four. (I gave so much candy because I was afraid to put the candy outside for the WEB HUNT for fear of bugs, so this was the only candy I gave out.)

THE QUEEN BEE GAME:  This is a variation on Musical Chairs. A circle of chairs was arranged w/one chair for each girl.  One of the chairs was the "Queen Bee" chair and was decorated w/ribbon and a Mylar bee balloon.  We played music (Flight of the Bumblebees would be ideal, but I think we played "I'm a Barbie Girl in a Barbie World") and the girls walked around the outside of the chairs.  When the music stopped everyone sat and the one in the Queen Bee chair got to select a prize from a group of wrapped favors.  I had found some garden/bee paper at 1/2 price and so the wrapped favors fit the theme beautifully.  I tried to have a bugish theme for the prizes - decorating those products that needed it with bug stickers.  When every girl got her prize, they unwrapped them all at the same time.

THE END OF THE PARTY:  Everyone had cake (a purchased one that had bees and butterflies on it) and juice boxes.  While they were eating, the birthday girl opened her presents.  Then I used my faithful standby - Sidewalk chalk - for guests whose parents were not yet there.  The girls drew bugs or whatever outside.  As the guests left with their baskets of favors and spider beady craft, we gave them their "draw yourself as a bug" picture and a computer generated - personalized -  certificate (decorated by the birthday girl w/bug & butterfly stickers) that they were Great Buggy party guests.  I got the certificate from Word, but Print Shop, etc. has templates for various certificates also.

MISC. DETAILS:  Even my youngest daughter who at the time was 5 almost 6 and who has "special needs", loved making the butterflies.  I bought a lot of colored plastic clothes pins from Wal Mart and some watercolor tins and coffee filters.  To make,  you just watercolor the coffee filter and let it dry.  When dry, fold in half, or just squnch in the middle and put the clothespin on it.  It is no stress and no fail.  To make pipecleaner caterpillars you can use one of two methods.  The easiest method is to wrap a pipecleaner around a pencil in a spiral.  Then use a black permanent marker to draw two eyes on one end (or glue on googly eyes).  Method two which I got from a Klutz book on pipecleaner sculpting is as follows:  Make six pipecleaner bundles (with a sort of small hole in the middle) by wrapping the pipecleaner around a pencil in a ball.  Take a seventh pipecleaner and fold it in half.  Insert one end of the seventh pipecleaner under one or two strands in one bundle and push the bundle down to the "v" fold in the seventh pipecleaner.  Then thread both ends of the seventh pipecleaner through the hole in the other five bundles.  You now have a six bundle caterpillar.  Bend the remaining ends of the seventh pipecleaner up and curl them to make antenna.  Optionally you can draw eyes on w/black permanent marker, or glue on googly eyes.  Finally, the construction paper garland I got out of Family Fun Crafts book.  You cut identical flowers and leaves from colored paper.  You sandwich a length of string or yarn between them and glue them together.  I used a length long enough to go all the way around my front door.

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