“The very hungry caterpillar” by Eric Carle seemed like the perfect gender neutral birthday party theme for Emma and Sam’s 4th Birthday. My inspiration had come from seeing a party pack all ready to go with all the invitations, plates and decorations etc at www.PartyPieces.co.uk.
However between picking my theme (pretty much right after their third birthday) and the children’s actual birthday I discovered “PINTEREST” and quickly found loads of other mothers had also done this theme for their kids…so after 2 months of solid pinning I had all the inspiration and directions I needed to go about making pretty much everything myself.
One of my favourite things about using this theme was there were ample opportunities for Emma and Sam to be involved in making the many bits and pieces we needed. It seemed to make sense that they could contribute to their party and have fun too. I think it gave them a great sense of ownership and importance too.
Here are some photo’s of all our hard work.
Emma and Sam decorated the envelopes by fingerprinting cute little caterpillars. Sam is such a perfectionist and really concentrated to make each caterpillar just right. Emma, on the other hand, got a bit bored with “the right way” to do it and went off on a creative tangent, that involved more of a smear than defined fingerprints. Unfortunately as I did it with them separately I don’t have any examples of hers…but they were just as cute as Sam’s ones.
We had been to the Whitton Sports Centre 4 weeks earlier to another party so that had been great for me to see how the place worked as a venue. The kids all had a great time playing in the bouncy castle and on the enormous bouncy slide. There were squashy blocks and smaller slides to for them.
I missed most of this bit of the party sadly due to setting up the food room for the second part of the party. And lets just say it took most of that first hour to get everything ready.
I made a Hungry Caterpillar decoration using tissue paper pom poms (although they were more like rosette’s which suited me fine).
The other main decoration was our table runner (Idea from Elegance Catering and Events). I got a cheap disposable white table-cloth from Tesco’s and then cut out many different coloured tissue paper circles. I halved the table-cloth length ways and one Sunday afternoon Emma and Sam had a great time with some watered down PVA glue and the tissue. It was really easy for them, as it didn’t need to be perfectly flat and the circles could be fairly randomly placed. It came out great. Even Gavin was impressed! These ended up hanging in our lounge for a couple of weeks so we got to enjoy them for a bit longer.
The Very Hungry Caterpillar story really lends itself easily to planning the party food – given the whole story is about what the caterpillar eats. And thankfully most of it is healthy.
My favourite food was the ‘icecreams’. These are made from rice krispies, melted marshmallows, and then iced and completed with sprinkles and a ‘cherry’. They looked great but were pretty sweet so plenty of leftovers.
I also saw you could buy printable water bottle labels mostly made in the states. And knew I could replicate these myself and was really happy to serve water rather than juice to the children. I think they liked the water a lot better in the hungry caterpillar bottles.
Nice and easy choice here – a butterfly for Emma and the Very Hungry Caterpillar for Sam. Amazing cakes made by my amazing husband. My main contribution to the cakes was sitting on the floor of Wilkinsons, in front of the pick and mix stand, sifting out only pink and purple smarties. Another job I didn’t need on Saturday morning!
What other shape could it be but a cocoon because we all know what happens to caterpillars. Thankfully a cocoon is a very similar shape to a balloon, so I paper mached one over a period of a week, cut a flap at the bottom and attached the pull strings, finally I added a brown tissue paper trim. (Instructions for how to make a pull string pinata from Young House Love)
And of course – what comes out of cocoons? Butterflies! (I saw these on several different blogs, so not sure who credit should go to for these). These were a lot of fun to make. Emma and Sam were in charge of painting 9 pegs each – not very adventurous with colour choices, but it was up to them and so blue and pink / purple it was. After they had dried I hot glued on the eyes and Emma and Sam stuck on the jewels. Much to the kids disgust, we had to wait until the next day to fill the bags and finish them off…but I was pretty happy with the end result. Pity the pinata just fell off the pole when the kids pulled the strings, but you live and learn, so next year will sort that out. More on how to make a peg butterfly treat.
The Loot Bags
As a mum with a lot of
crap toys to find a home for I was conscious of trying to make a loot bag which the kids would like but wouldn’t clutter the house too much. I was also trying to keep to a tight budget too. So the contents were
- Home made playdough (note to self- playdough requires salt, and given we don’t use it often best to check we have enough before the morning of the party when nothing opens until 11am!) for kids to make their own hungry caterpillars (idea from Learn with Play at home).
- Very Hungry Caterpillar colouring sheet
- A cupcake.
- Large Swirly Lollipop. In the book the hungry caterpillar goes on a binge on Saturday and a large swirly lollipop is one of the caterpillars treat. Who knew how hard these would be to buy. I finally ordered some on a website a week before the party and was told at 4pm the Friday before the big day that they were out of stock. Cue passive panic from me. So Saturday afternoon was spent trawling shops in Hounslow (already looked through Twickenham and Richmond) and finally found an OK lollipop. Not the colourful one I wanted but it had to do.
- Very Hungry Caterpillar balloon on a stick.
Rather than buying the pretty loot bags already printed I decided I could make my own more cheaply. So I got a whole lot of white paper bags and printed a label for them.
So that was it – and it was all over in a blink of an eye. Now what theme for next year???