Ladybug & Butterfly 1-4yr - Butterfly IceCream
Laura in Owings Mills, MD USA
I had a joint birthday party for my 1 and 4 year old daughters with a theme of ladybugs and butterflies. I wanted a theme that would be appropriate for both ages and this seemed to fit the bill. Once I had the idea, and did a quick internet search, I was able to adapt and come up with several ideas to incorporate the theme into our party. We had about 25 guests, all family, but this included 10 cousins ages 1-7!! Anyway, here are some of the things I did for each aspect of the party.
Invitations: I couldn't find premade butterfly & ladybug invitations that "matched" in style, so I printed up the text of the invitations on the computer, mounted them on ladybug and butterfly scrapbook paper and cardstock and finished it off with little ribbon bows. They turned out really cute, were similar in style, and really didn't take much longer than printing all the information on store-bought invitations.
Food: Along with some regular dishes, I made a few items to go along with our theme. For the kids, I used a butterfly cookie cutter to cut peanut butter & jelly and ham & cheese sandwiches into butterfly shapes. They were a big hit, and really easy to make. I also used the butterfly cookie cutter to make butterfly-shaped ice cream slices for the kids to decorate with sprinkles. I simply bought a half-gallon box of vanilla ice cream (a rectangular-shaped one), let it soften slightly, then used a knife to slice it into about 3/4 inch slices. With the cookie cutter, I cut the butterfly shapes (filling in any gaps with the softened ice cream). I put each butterfly on a small paper plate & covered with waxed paper, then put it in the freezer to harden until party time. When the time came, each child used a variety of colored sugars and sprinkles to decorate their butterfly. It was cute and gave the kids something to do while an adult was cutting the cake.
Cake: I also made a butterfly cake, using an 8-in round cake pan (I found the directions in a cookbook, but an internet search would probably have a diagram of how to cut the circle). I made a waxed-paper stencil so I could sprinkle colored sugar designs on the butterfly and used a pastel-striped candy stick as the body of the butterfly. Finally, I made a ladybug ice cream cake (we really like desserts!!). It's really easy to do, using a springform pan, softened vanilla and chocolate ice cream, hot fudge sauce and crushed oreos. Just do it one layer at a time, refreeze between layers, release from the springform pan, and frost with tinted CoolWhip.
Games & Activities: It was a little challenging coming up with ideas because we had such an age range (1-7yrs) of kids but everything worked out well. I ordered a foam handprint butterfly kit from Oriental Trading company that turned out cute for all the kids, it was actually cute seeing all of the finished butterflies with the range of handprint wing sizes! I also had a ladybug and butterfly hunt. I printed out clip-art butterflies and ladybugs on colored cardstock, cut them out, then hot-glued wrapped Smarties and Starbursts on each one. On one butterfly, I put some tin foil on the back side of the paper butterfly before I glued on the Smarties. At game time, I gave each child a small gift bag with their name on it (the empty favor bag, actually), then they got the chance to gather as many ladybugs and butterflies as they could. After they were all found, I had the kids carefully check their butterflies to find the special silver one. That child won a $5 gift card. (It worked out well too, because the older children ended up finding way more candy, but one of the 2-year olds ended up getting the gift card!)
Finally, I had some ladybug and bumblebee beanbags. We played a game of "hot potato" using the beanbags, with the twist that whoever had the beanbag when the music stopped got to keep it and put it in their treat bags. I continued with the additional beanbags until only one child was left, and they too, got a gift card. Once again, it worked out well with the range of ages, no one had their feelings hurt and everyone (except my one-year old) was able to play.
Favors: Each child was able to leave with their gift bag filled with candies from the ladybug and butterfly hunt, their bean bag, a insect catching kit I found at the dollar store, some butterfly tattoos & make your own butterfly stickers (from Oriental Trading) Overall, everything went smoothly for me and I think all the guests enjoyed themselves.
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