Monday, February 14, 2011
So I always feel a bit like I'm scrambling at the last minute to have her party. Fortunately for me, Daughters like to think about their birthdays much much ahead of time, so mostly I know what I'm generally going to do, although I might not have all the specifics. We had decided soon after her 4th birthday party LAST year that she wanted to have a Beetles, Bug and Butterflies birthday (from the Lauren Child's book But Excuse Me That is My Book (Charlie and Lola)) and it was perfect because it could include boys and girls at her party.
As it was her last year at her wonderful preschool, I also gave her the option of inviting every girl in her class. Previously I had discouraged inviting everyone and instead had her focus on her best friends, but this year gave her the option of including all the girls. She was very excited about this and simply couldn't wait for her big day.
To make things easier for me, I made it a drop off optional party for the parents and decided NOT to include lunch. The lunch birthday parties up to now have made my life a lot more complicated and I just really wanted to focus on the fun of the party and not so much the food ... although there would be food. (Which is where I had the most fun.)
I vacillated between being cute and elegant and being slightly gross with the food...and in the end, I went with slightly gross.
Light Snack Menu
Green Beetle Juice (Lemonade mixed with pureed kiwi)
Grasshopper dip (Spinach dip) with vegetables
Roly Poly Cookies (Chewy Crispy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies)
I made the hanging leaves which I found on Martha Stewart (here). I just cut them out of tissue paper and it was really easy.
I made a really pretty (at least I think it is) butterfly tree attaching butterflies to some branches I had in a vase. The effect was very pretty and one of my favorite decorations. The kids, however could have cared less. It was based off of this craft. You'll need one of these butterfly punches. (got mine at Michaels with the weekly 40% off coupon.)
Finally I printed out in color a number of bug pictures from clip art and just taped them around the room.
I started out with a story. I read from the book that inspired it all. But Excuse Me That is My Book (Charlie and Lola) I am always so excited to read aloud to kids because they always really just love hearing a story. I also find it a really wonderful way to start a party as it gathers everyone together and sets the tone. It really is a fun way to start.
Entomologist Training and Initiation
I wanted each activity to tie to some major goal, and the goal was for kids to be in "entomologists in training." I spent some time explaining that entomologists are scientists who study bugs and that we were going to be scientists as well. I stressed that entomologists would not be grossed out and rather than saying, "EWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW" they would say, "OHHHHHHHHHHHHHH or AHHHHHHH" upon an encounter with a bug. It was really fun getting the kids to practice saying OOOOOOOOH!
Making Goody Bags and Specimen Jars
I love having kids make their own goody bags. Because of the nature of the goodies they were taking home this time, I opted for brown bags with a handle (which can be expensive, but I used a 40% off Michaels' coupon to get them for less) and then had them decorate them with a bug shape. I bought these bug stencils at Oriental Trading and had the kids go nuts with markers. This was one of the first steps in their entomologist training. I also had them decorate specimen jars with some bug stickers. (Specimen jars can be bought here.
Entomologist Training Relay Games
Using the slew of bugs I bought from Oriental Trading (here) I had a couple of fun relay games. One involved having kids use a pair of training chopsticks (like these) to pick up a single bug from one point and hold it and drop it into a speciman jar at another point. I only had two pairs of chopsticks so the kids took turns and they had a blast. Daughters #1 and #2 are good with chopsticks but for other kids, they had never been successful with a pair of chopsticks, so this was exciting and novel for them. (and moving bugs from place to place didn't hurt either.)
The second game was basically like an egg relay only with bugs. I had two spoons and I made the kids walk passing the bug back and forth between them, on the spoon only. (no hands) Also very fun for the kids.
Entomologist Training Evaluation
I did not use the word test, but just kept on continuing to use the word "training" for all the activities. The final training activity was one where they did two worksheets on bugs. They were age appropriate (even EASY) and the kids had lots of fun doing them as well. Young children love to show off their skills. Some worksheets that I found online are here. (Bug worksheets)
Bug Hunt (non-competitive)
I made sure I had more than enough bugs and had one of my friends (who stuck around to help) hide all the bugs (the ones from the Bug relay games) and had each child find 5 only and then return to the table to prepare for snack.
With mother in law's help, I managed to make 20 of these to give out as party favor. I cut all the fabric and she helped me sew them all and I was very pleased with the end result. I got the basic idea from here
All in all it was a super fun party and all the kids had a fantastic time! I was exhausted and worn out afterwards but it was well worth every single minute.
Posted by Joanne Choi at 1:15 AM
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