The Very Hungry Caterpillar -1yr- Caterpillar Cake
Kim in Show Low, AZ, USA
For my son Erick's 1st birthday I had a Very Hungry Caterpillar theme.
INVITATION: I made the invitations look like a mini version of the Eric Carl book using 2 sheets of a quarter-fold card format. In his true style I made the illustrations collages using various printed papers. For the cover page I had the caterpillar from the story wearing a party hat. In place of the title I wrote The Very Happy Birthday Party for Erick (our last name) in the same font as used on the book. On page 1 of the booklet I wrote "One Thursday morning a tiny and very hungry baby boy was born." and used a newborn picture of my son for the illustration. One the next two pages I wrote "He ate through lots of bottles and jars of baby food but he was still hungry. He ate through lots of Cheerios and ice cream but he was still hungry." and used matching collages pictures. On the forth page I used a current picture of Erick and wrote "Now he isn't a tiny baby anymore he's one year old. But he's still hungry so on Saturday he's having a party." The final page had all the party info. I folded and assembled the book in order then sewed it on my machine down the center to bind it. I also glue the openings on the bottom and side edges of the pages together to make it more book like.
DECORATIONS: For a color scheme I went with the red and green of the caterpillar but added yellow and lavender (his eyes and antennae) so it wasn't so Christmas like. Since you can't buy paper goods in this theme I just mixed and matched using the above colors and added caterpillar and butterfly stickers to the cups. I did the usual party streamers and balloons in these colors as well. I also made a giant balloon caterpillar by taping eight medium green balloons together in an arc with a larger red balloon taped to the front to which I added a paper face and antennae.
For centerpieces I made pom-pom caterpillars in the same fashion as my balloon one with small wiggly eyes that I glued to the top of a large lollipop (which were later given as favors) I then stuck the lollipops into a silk plant in a plastic planter that was painted white with colored dots stamped around the bottom using the eraser of a pencil (to mimic the title page of the story). I also used a hole punch to punch holes in some of the silk leaves to look as if the caterpillar was nibbling on them.
In addition to these arrangements I also made snow globes out of baby food jars with a "Sculpey" caterpillar and base inside. I used "Shrinky Dinks" to color and cut the fruit with a hole punched in each before baking and shrinking. These plastic fruits were put into the globe along with glitter a drop or two of glycerin and water before sealing shut. I painted the lids with model car paint. I also put stretchy rubber caterpillars on the tables. The buffet was decorated with various rubber caterpillars and butterflies as well as pictures of my son over the year and various "Very Hungry Caterpillar" books and merchandise.
FOOD/ACTIVITIES: For food I served all the food items mentioned in the story substituting baby spinach leaves for the real leaves. I read a big book of the story to the children and had a helper offer them one of each item as I read that part of the book leaving the sweets for cake time. The adults then served themselves. I made a special small cake for my son and even found a #1 candle that had the Baby Einstein caterpillar on it. Since one thing the caterpillar in the book ate through was a cupcake I arranged six green and one red cupcakes on a platter in the shape of a caterpillar for the children and decorated it with candies. Other guests had the chocolate cake and cherry pie to choose from.
Since there were already so many sweets I was able to buy mini ice cream cones at Walmart to make the part of the story. I had also made appetizers that were "healthy" caterpillars by skewering green grapes and a cherry on a toothpick and green olives and a cherry tomato on toothpicks. I arranged these on a bed of lettuce.
GAMES/ACTIVITIES: As the children arrived I had two crafts set up. One was to decorate the traditional egg carton caterpillars with stickers pipe cleaners and wiggly eyes. I didn't want to mess with paint. The other craft was to make a party hat by gluing various green paper circles together with a red circle head to form a caterpillar headband. The only game we played was a butterfly matching game in which I printed 8 copies of a butterfly drawing then colored each one differently and cut the butterfly in half down the middle. I then hid these halves around the house and had the children first find all they could then work together to match the butterflies back up.
FAVORS: For party favors I was able to find little bug houses with tweezers magnifying glasses and other bug collecting items inside for only $2 each at a dollar store. Inside each house I also put a stretchy caterpillar but what I would recommend if you live in a better part of the country than me and depending upon when your child's birthday is is to catch real caterpillars to put in the bug houses. Or possibly try to get caterpillars from one of the butterfly garden kits you can buy."