Idea No.


Caterpillar Party 4yr - Caterpillar to Butterfly



August 2006


Cailean in Seattle, WA USA

Special Mention

Caterpillar Party

My daughter just had her "caterpillar to butterfly" party. She is fascinated with butterflies and had wanted a butterfly party ever since last summer when we grew butterflies from larvae. So for her fourth birthday, I wanted to plan a party that was fun for her. It's a theme that has been done many many times, so I wanted to do something a little different and educational too. I read some of what was on here and got some good ideas so thank you!

DECORATIONS: I wanted to create a nice scene for the kids to make it seem a little magical. Down our hallway I covered the bottom portion of the hallway walls with a strip of green paper (party store) cut into grass and taped up. To complete the garden scene I had 8 big flowers cut out of tagboard alternating red geranium-looking blooms and orange tulip-looking blooms with a long green tagboard stem. I then took felt and cut out butterflies (felt wings, body, and antennae all hot-glued together), one per child, and glued these to yellow gift bags. I had each child's name printed out and glued to the bag. I then hung nails near the flower so that when you hung the bag next to the flower, it looked like the butterfly had landed on the flower (the butterfly really dominated the bag and filled it up so you could hardly see the bag).

Another decoration which was so easy and cheap but looked great were balloons blowed up but not fully with construction paper wings glued on behind it and paper antennae too. These were quick to make. You just poke a hole in the middle of the wings and pull through the little end of the balloon and tape, then tape to the wall. We had a lot of these on the wall and they were so colorful. Also got plastic butterflies (Oriental Trading Company) and strung them up and hung from our lamp above the table and also in the doorframe between the kitchen and the party area. Looked like they were flying in mid air! 

ACTIVITIES: I wanted the kids to actually learn something about butterflies. While everyone was arriving they each took out some butterfly bubbles (OTC) from their bag on the wall and played with bubbles on the deck. Then when all had arrived, we gave them each an antennae headband (bough kiddie headbands and wrapped pipecleaners on one end and hotglued pompoms to the other end. I then wrapped the antennae around a pencil and made it all spiral-y. So they sat then with their antennaes on and listened to a library book From Egg to Butterfly  it had simple writing and lots of up-close photographs of how a caterpillar turns into a butterfly. So now our little caterpillars went into the hallways with the grass/flowers and we laid out a big green tablecloth that covered the floor. We told them they needed to crawl through the grass and pull off a leaf (I had bought green fruit leather and taped it to the underside of a construction paper leaf and put one on each big flower). So they each did that and were happy to see the surprise on the other side of the leaf. They put it in their bags.

Then they needed to get into their cocoons so they did a cocoon hop. I had bought one pillowcase per child from the local thrift store  just .99 each, pretty good deal! They each climbed into a pillowcase and hopped from one end of the room to the other and their prize at the end was a little bag of gummy worms! They put that in their bag too. Finally they turned into their pillowcases for a set of wings we had made with tagboard (two wings were made per sheet of tagboard) and some ribbon. They put their wings on and then we sent them on a hunt on our deck for flowers since butterflies love flowers. We'd cut out tagboard flowers and taped on little sacks of M&Ms in the center. Those also went into their bags.  

FOOD: The table was decorated with a green tablecloth and some butterfly confetti. The main centerpiece was a caterpillar made of turkey sandwiches on rolls  they were laid out in a wiggly formation and had jelly beans for legs, the first one had a face of candy on a toothpick for eyes, and mini carrot antennaes. I also made farfalle pasta (butterflies), and we bought some Pepperidge Farm butterfly crackers and to go with that I cut out little flowers with cookie cutters from slices of cheese  the middle was a circle of cheddar to go on top of the Monterey Jack flower). Also we found some Bug Bites crackers at the grocery store. Also had Pirate's Booty and a little sign that said Cocoons and fruit (butterflies love fruit) and finally I made a little butterfly snack: You cut celery into about 2 lengths, fill with cream cheese, stick in a pretzel or two (we got yogurt pretzel), and raisin eyes and little strips of carrot for antennae. Very cute! The kids especially loved the yogurt pretzels. The drinks were water or lemonade. 

CAKE: I wanted the kids to keep having fun so they decorated their own cupcakes. I did the adults in advance and then showed them one as an example. I baked sprinkle cupcakes and put a dollop of Cool Whip on top and then a half a gummy worm (a regular gummy worm was too long so I cut in half), a short length of Twizzlers for antennae, and then candy fruit slices for wings. The kids had fun putting their own together. 

FAVORS: The kids simply took home what they accumulated  wings, antennae, bubbles, fruit leather, gummy worms, and M&Ms.  It was a lot of fun and the kids were entertained the entire time! It was especially cute to see them acting out each game and to see them in their wings and antennae. Made for some cute photos!

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