Hungry Caterpillar 1yr - Egg Carton Caterpillar
Mary in Cupertino, CA 95014
For my daughter's first birthday party we had a Very Hungry Caterpillar party based on the book by Eric Carle. Since it was her first birthday and we wanted to invite long list of people we planned the party for both inside the house and in the backyard and then crossed our fingers for good weather.
INVITATIONS: For the invitations I made little books that looked similar to the book by Eric Carle, but instead of the "Very Hungry Caterpillar" it was "Our Swiftly Growing Girl". I used photoshop to combine pictures from her first year with images from the Very Hungry Caterpillar to illustrate the following story: "A year ago, by the light of the moon, we knew our baby was coming soon. On Monday morning the sun came up and -pop!- we were joined by a tiny baby girl. Those first few days she did little but eat and sleep. But she was still growing. Over the next couple of months she began to smile and coo. But she was still growing. Soon she was laughing and learning to sit. But she was still growing. Then she was pulling up and starting to crawl. But she was still growing. Before we knew it she was standing and starting to walk. Now she isn't a tiny baby girl any more. She is our great, big baby girl." The last page gave the date, time, and place of the party etc. printed over an image of a butterfly wing. Each page in between had a picture of our daughter at the stage we were describing. The total invitation was 3 half sheets of paper folded in half. I had double sided color copies made that I cut in half, put in order, and then used my sewing machine to sew the "bindings" of the little books. They turned out great.
DECORATIONS: Since I started planning well ahead of time, I planted extra pots of flowers for around the house and yard as part of the decorations. I got a bunch of small feather butterflies on wires from Oriental Trading Company and put those in with the flowers. We also had red and green balloons, like the caterpillar, and streamers. I found vinyl table cloths with butterflies and fruit on them that I used to cover all of the tables I had set up for crafts. I also made signs, again with photoshop, that had images from the books and gave directions for the crafts, directed people where to hang art to dry, etc. Our art drying area became a big decoration as the kids filled it with butterfly and caterpillar themed crafts.
ART ACTIVITIES: Since both my daughter and older son love art and there was a wide range of ages invited to the party, I set up 4 tables with art activities out in the backyard. I borrowed child sized tables and chairs from our church and covered them with vinyl table cloths. I attached a sign to the end of each table next to the materials explaining how to do the project so the parents could help their kids with the crafts without having to track me down each time for explanations. I also set up a drying area with a table covered with a plastic table cloth and a clothesline with pins to hang art to dry. The first project was making caterpillars from egg cartons. I had cut the bottoms of egg cartons in half so that each egg carton produced two strips of 6 "bumps". These bumps were the caterpillars body. I had paints on the table so the kids could paint their caterpillar, then they each got two short lengths of pipecleaners to poke in for antenna and two google eyes to glue on the front.
The second project was butterflies made from dolls head clothespins and round coffee filters painted with watercolors. The children brushed watercolors onto the coffee filters and watched the colors bleed together. While the filters hung on the line to dry, they decorated their clothespins with markers and stickers and wrapped half a pipecleaner around the "neck" to for two antenna. When the filters were dry, they crunched up the center and pushed them into the clothespins for wings. The third project was using fruit halves as stamps like the illustrations from the book. I cut in half different fruits from the book and they dipped them in paint then used them to stamp fruit images onto paper. The fourth project was making butterfly costumes. They got to select 3 or 4 sheets of tissue paper in different colors, then they used strips of cardboard to wrap around the center of the stack of paper and stapled it into a loop, gathering the tissue to make "wings" I had made figure eights out of 1/2 inch elastic that could be placed through the carboard loop so that the children could wear the wings with one loop of elastic going around each shoulder. They also made hats out of paper plates with the centers cut out. They decorated the plates with markers and butterfly stickers then stapled on two pipecleaner antenna and two pieces of yarn to tie under their chins. By halfway through the party most of the kids were running around in their butterfly costumes looking adorable.
OTHER ACTIVITY: My daughter's other love is music, so we did a short "circle time" where we read the book "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" and sang some songs. We did one song where we danced with scarves to the tune of "The Wheels on the Bus" but with the words changed to reflect the life cycle of a butterfly. "The caterpillars are wiggling all around, all around, all around" while wiggling our scarves on the floor in front of us, then "The caterpillar's eating munch munch munch, munch munch munch, munch munch munch" while pretending to much on our scarves, "The caterpillar's building a cocoon, a cocoon, a cocoon" while wrapping our scarves around ourselves, then "The butterflies are flying all around, all around, all around" while we jumped out of our "cocoons" and danced around the room waving our scarves.
FOOD: I took a white paper table cloth and wrote the story of the "Very Hungry Caterpillar" on the table cloth. The food was all take from the book, and I placed each food item by the line from the story that inspired it. The first five days were fruit, so the story wrapped around a big fruit platter. The sixth day had lots of great party food like pizza, candy, cake, ice cream, pickles, etc. For the big green leaf on the seventh day we had a green salad. I also printed out pictures from the book and placed them near the parts of the story they belonged to.
CAKE: For the cake I made a bunch of cupcakes. I iced one cupcake red and added eyes for the head then iced 7 more green for the body. I put this "big caterpillar" at the end of my story on the tablecloth. I also made a bunch of cupcakes iced white and then piped little caterpillars on the top of each one with red and green icing and put them at the start of the story. For my daughter's cake I made a small butterfly using a metal butterly cookie color lined with foil as my cake form. I iced it to look like the butterfly from the book. I found "A Beautiful Butterfly" bib from the Carter's Eric Carle line for her to wear while she dug into her cake.
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