Bug Bash 4yr - Live Ladybugs
Christine in Upper Marlboro, MD, USA
Our little girl recently turned 4 and I knew exactly what type of party to throw. A bug bash! Our little girl loves bugs when the cicadas cam to Maryland it was a field day for her she went nuts collecting and playing with them it was crazy! So naturally we would have a bug bash for our little entomologist! I made almost everything.
I made the invitations on the computer (we mailed and e-mailed invites) the invite that went into the mail had bugs and spiders on it and said come bug out with us at _____(name) buggy bash! And listed the date and place etc. I also included driving directions and a color map of the location (we had people coming from out of town) and I included a list of some of the activities - a big hunt, buggy crafts, buzz around the playground etc. The place was at a local park with a playground and nature center (more on that later) The invite that went out by e-mail was a picture of our daughter holding cicadas and said. Our little love bug is turning 4 come bug out with us! Same details as paper invite. For the invitations that were mailed I purchased these great green envelopes at a stationary store and some fun sparkly bug stickers form the 99 cent store. My daughter helped me fold and stuff the invites and put the stickers on the envelopes. I got a lot of calls on how great the invites looked.
There were lots of crafts for this party and my daughter was able to help it was wonderful for her to be able to be a part of the planning a prep for this bash she even made cookies! We made the party hats ourselves out of construction paper. They were bug hats with antenna. Red and Green for caterpillars and ladybugs. I used construction paper cut into strips (the long way), pipe cleaners for the antenna that we twisted around pencils to make them wiggly and glued then on the inside of the hat poking out and stuck sparkle pom poms on top of the antenna for more fun, attached wiggle eyes on the front and pipe cleaners at the back to secure the hats. I wish I could attach a picture these hats were so cute!
Of course my daughter was the queen Ladybug so her party hat had glitter and special sparkle pipe cleaners and pom poms. We also made lady bug using pom poms! Get tacky clue, medium red pom poms small black pompoms and mini black pom poms at a local craft store. Take one medium red and one small black pompom and glue together with tacky glue to form the head and body and glue a few mini pom poms on the red body for the spots and some black wire cut in tiny pieces for antenna on the head once they are dry you can stick the little guys on pins using the tacky glue (you can get the pins at craft stores also) Trust me they were totally cute! Again I wish I could include a picture.
We also had arts and crafts at the party. The party was held at a park and we had an outdoor shelter (this was in August) with several long tables so we had a table set up as a craft table. After the children arrived they got their party hats and bug pins (parents got pins too) and then they went to the craft table where they made caterpillars from egg cartons and pipe cleaners and painted them with paint and decorated with glitter and even wiggle eyes! The kids really loved this craft especially because each got his/ her own paint brush and paint (purchased on line for dirt cheap). The decorations were bugs all over the place! As you walk up to the shelter there were extremely large helium filled ladybug and bumble bee Mylar balloons I found a a local party store these things were huge! A large colorful butterfly happy birthday banner hung front the shelter. The tables had yellow tablecloths and we tied multicolored latex balloons to the tables with ribbon (we purchased a helium tank and blew the balloons up at the park much better than trying to get 50 balloons in the car!) We sprinkled bug confetti on the tables (found that at a party supply store also) the plates and cups had butterflies flowers and bees on them and I got these at a 99 cent store!
The food was simple, hamburgers and hotdogs on the grill. My daughter and I also made a few butterfly sandwiches to keep the kids snacking while the food cooking (using a butterfly cookie cutter) we also made and butterfly sugar cookies. One of the games was a bug hunt this was another hit! I (with the help of my daughter again) put together bug catching kits. Using plain brown bags with handles (purchased on line for almost free) I attached a label I made on the computer it said "Critter Collection Kit" and had pictures of bugs and a little girl with a butterfly on her hat (looked like my little girl) and various other cute bug related images at the bottom it said "birthday girl's name buggy bash August __ 2004" Inside the critter collection kit was a bug keeper which was a plastic box with a lid and a strap to hang it on your shoulder it even had tweezers in it! (Purchased at the 99 cent store!) Bug tongs (on line dirt cheap) a magnifying glass (on line dirt cheap) and some bug stickers. For the bug hunt we hid tons of bugs and frogs in the grass and let the kids loose with their new critter collection kits! They went crazy (oh there were 25 children at this party) Imagine the shrieking and giggling! Great! Next we went on a nature hike (there is a nature center at this park with great trail and you never know what you will see there but the best part, they have a butterfly garden! The children lost their minds! The adults lost their minds! It was great!
When we came back it was time for one more great big surprise the center of the party - live lady bugs! Purchased on line from a beneficial bug supplier! (Amazing what you can get on line!) And so cheep! 1,500 ladybugs for 6.00 and you get 1,500 free! We ordered some bug cups (on line again and dirt cheap) they were little plastic cups with air holes and a magnifying glass on the top. We actually transferred ladybugs into the individual cups so the children could take them home. Let me tell you it was a fabulous idea but if you do it - do it outside! We sat around the dining room table (we being me, my daughter, my husband and some extended family) with all these bug cups and using hands, spoons, bug thongs tried to transfer live crawling flying ladybugs into these little cups it was crazy!! We will never forget that adventure and we still come across a wayward ladybug in our kitchen or living room every now and then! I found two in my daughter’s room upstairs!
But back to the party, yes live ladybugs my husband played teacher and gave a mini class on ladybugs and we even had a little question and answer session we asked the children questions like are lady bugs all ladies, what do the spots mean and stuff like that, the children really had fun and we made it a learning experience without them even knowing it! The children did get to take their bugs’ home. They were so excited. We got calls and e-mails from the parents over the next several days about what they decided to do with the bugs where they were released etc. After the ladybug presentation we did the happy birthday thing with a great cake and juice.
After that the kids just ran around the park while some did more caterpillar crafts. At the end, we even had a handout for the parents (the kids party favors were the critter collection kits and the ladybugs) for the parents I made up a sheet to "keep the bug theme going" I printed out a list of great bug themed books and some lyrics to some fun buggy songs. Put those in an envelope with colorful glitter bug stickers. The parents thought that was a great idea and many went out and purchased some of the bug books!
The party was a big hit and even the gifts my daughter received were bug related! We also had a sign in sheet I made on the computer it had pictures of bugs etc and said "child's name bug bash" at the bottom of that it had the sign in section that said fellow entomologist in attendance. But the bug theme did not end there I found some great thank you cards at a party shop with bugs in a jar at a bug party totally cute so we had to send those out. We also sent each person a few of the great photos from the big bug bash.
The party was a complete hit the children had a great time so did the adults-actually a few adults got into the act and joined in the arts and crafts and the bug hunt! Some even put on bug party hats! It was a great day and my daughter is still talking about it she wants to know if we can do it again! Maybe next year...I am sure she will be over bugs and on to something new! A whole new theme for me to come up with! Good luck and have a great party!
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