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How to Create a Very Hungry Caterpillar Themed Birthday Party

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The inspiration

caterpillarthemebirthdayparty

Easy Steps to Creating A Themed Party

A potential source of stress for any new mom or mom of young kids is the THEMED BIRTHDAY PARTY. Even though it's a little stressful (you stress because you care, right?), I love planning and putting on a themed birthday party. I'm going to list the steps and resources I used to put on a 2nd birthday party for my son, with a theme inspired by the children's book "Very Hungry Caterpillar" by Eric Carle (his favorite book at the time). Hopefully, you will consider it easy, economical and low-stress, because in the end, it's always worth it!

Step 1:

Nail down your theme, guestlist, location, date and time of the party. Create and send an invitation.

Other than my wedding invitation, I don't think I've ever sent a physical invitation for a party. For all my events, be it baby shower, birthday party, or get-together, I like to create my own e-invitation. That is, create and send a jpeg (picture) that contains the invitation, or couple a cute photo with an email invitation. It is a cheap (free), easy, and unique way to send the word out. Some love Evite.com (the popular online invitation website) but I don't like how your personal information is out there in the web-verse, so I prefer to make my own "e-vite" by creatively putting together pictures and information. For a VHC ("Very Hungry Caterpillar") invitation, I found artwork from the book online (you could also scan pages from your book), played off the counting lesson in the book, and made the invite using images and text boxes in Microsoft Publisher (you could probably use Microsoft Word too).

The invitation

caterpillarthemebirthdayparty

A caterpillar loves fruit!

caterpillarthemebirthdayparty
caterpillarthemebirthdayparty

Step 2:

Think of food, decorations, favors/goodie bag ideas. DIY (do-it-yourself) as much as possible.

Food:

For a VHC theme, if you remember the book at all, fruit is key. So I included sliced fruit of the kinds in the book - apple, pear, plum, strawberries (strawberry punch in my case), and oranges (little cuties clementines). I also wanted to include more finger foods, so drawing from the other foods mentioned in the book, I laid out pickles, sausages, salami, and cheese (plus crackers). The main food was grilled pork sandwiches, pickled vegetables, and noodles (provided by my awesome grandma, mom, and mother-in-law), which aren't theme-related but were oh-so-yummy! On the sweet side, I offered lollipops (leftover from Halloween) and I made little cherry-topped brownies (to look like the chocolate cake the caterpillar ate). For drinks, I had a glass beverage jar dispenser filled with strawberry punch and the usual water and beer for adults.

My little caterpillar

My son's Halloween costume and the foods the caterpillar eats to fatten himself up.

My son's Halloween costume and the foods the caterpillar eats to fatten himself up.

Balloon caterpillar

caterpillarthemebirthdayparty

Decorations:

After a quick online search for ideas, I made a caterpillar out of balloons (greens and blues, with a red one for the head) and used streamers and a green/blue tissue paper pom-pom on the ceilings. For a birthday banner, I stayed up one night and found and print out (from an educational website) a caterpillar with letters on each section of its body. I used it to spell out "happy birthday" and my son's name. Colored and glued together, it made a cute banner! Also, I printed out text and pictures from the book and attached to toothpicks to make signs for the fruit display. The great thing about ALL of these decorations is that I had leftover balloons, ribbon, streamers, and tissue paper from other parties, so I spent next to nothing! Helium balloons are also a great way to add a festive touch. You can try Amazon.com, Party City, Target, or your local supermarket or 99cent store for helium balloons and other supplies.

caterpillarthemebirthdayparty
caterpillarthemebirthdayparty
caterpillarthemebirthdayparty

Goodie bags (favors):

I wanted to combine a traditional birthday party goodie bag (usually given to guests/kids upon leaving) with a fun activity the kids could do during the party. So into a colorful paper bag I put: boxes of crayons (25cents per box during a back-to-school sale), plastic bugs and frogs and crazy straws (about $2/kid, for 8 kids, for everything), and the coup-de-grace - an activity booklet I made using Eric Carle books' themed free coloring pages and games I printed from the internet (just used regular paper, printer, and some time to format it). The kids got to color and do activities at their own table during the party.

Activities:

It can be hard to figure out a game or activity to keep the kids engaged and the parents happy during a big birthday party. Luckily the kids at my son's party were all 5 years old or younger, so it didn't take much to keep them happy (in-between the eating and running around that they're going to do anyway). Besides the activity booklet I gave everyone so that they could color, I decided to do "caterpillar crafts" to go along with the theme of the party. To warm up, we made caterpillar chains out of construction paper. For a second activity, we simulated a caterpillar going through metamorphosis (as the book teaches about) by coloring a paper caterpillar, gluing it onto a clothespin, decorating its "cocoon" (a cardboard toilet paper roll) with scraps of paper and stickers, and coloring a paper butterfly that we stuffed into the cocoon roll (so after the caterpillar goes into the cocoon, it clips onto the butterfly, and flies out as a beautiful butterfly). Even some adults had fun doing this craft, me included!

Two very different caterpillar cupcake cakes

How my cake turned out....yummy but a little wonky

How my cake turned out....yummy but a little wonky

What I wished my cake looked like!

What I wished my cake looked like!

Step 3:

Make the cake...and enjoy!

You don't have to be Martha Stewart to make a great birthday cake for your kid's birthday. I got the idea off the internet to make a cake from cupcakes decorated to look like a wiggly caterpillar. For the body, I made lemon cupcakes (from a box mix) topped with cream cheese frosting I made from scratch, colored green. For the head, I cut a rough shape out of a pan of brownies and frosted with some reserved frosting I colored red. I had plans to make candy eyes and licorice feet for even more awesomeness, but alas, I only had time to stick leftover brownie pieces all over the place (he looks a little cross-eyed as a result, oh well!). I think this last step of making the cake yourself, be it from a mix or from scratch, or even personalizing a store-bought cake, is important and crowd-pleasing to boot. It really says you took some time to celebrate your kid's birthday! So once you sing "Happy Birthday" and dig into your creation, you can relax and be satisfied that you put on a great themed birthday party.

Caterpillar Themed Party Supplies

General Party Supplies

Comments

sunbun143 (author) from Los Angeles, CA on March 17, 2012:

Hehe yes we were both all-caterpillar all the time for months on end...then it became more about trains and trucks and electronic toys (he got a lot of that stuff as gifts)...We still enjoy reading it but he's too grown up to be surprised by the "beautiful butterfly" that appears at the end anymore...Thanks for reading and commenting!

susanm23b on March 17, 2012:

This is super cute! My children are older now, but I remember those "theme" party days. I have girls so princesses were big in our house :)

Your ideas were very creative. I love the photo with your son in his little caterpillar costume. All you need to see is the look on his face to know how much he must have loved your ideas. Great job!

Alissa Roberts from Normandy, TN on March 10, 2012:

I love these ideas especially the caterpillar balloon decoration - how clever! For the past several years I have been making all my own invitations and decorations for my kids' birthday parties too - so much easier on our limited budget. Maybe I can convince my 3 yr old he needs a caterpillar party next month so I can use some of these cute ideas! Voted up and awesome!

sunbun143 (author) from Los Angeles, CA on March 05, 2012:

I'll try to remember to take more pictures next time I get ready for a party and share it here! Thanks for reading and enjoying it! Seriously love what a quick image search on google or pinterest pops up. And the free resources out there. Sinea - love your blog Ducks N' A Row! I'm a follower...Thanks for sharing.

Sinea Pies from Northeastern United States on March 05, 2012:

Totally agree with Stephhicks68...in fact, I liked this so much I Stumbled it and shared it directly with my Kindergarten-teacher friend. She loved it too.

sunbun143 (author) from Los Angeles, CA on March 05, 2012:

Thank you so much! I bookmarked your Dr. Seuss hub so I can reference it later when I do his next birthday party....most likely a Dr. Seuss theme (why not continue with the book inspirations). Thanks for reading!

Stephanie Marshall from Bend, Oregon on March 05, 2012:

Wow - this has got to be just about the cutest birthday party theme I have ever seen. Love the invitation, the ballons, and the food! Really wonderful - I'm off to go bookmark and share this one. Your son is just adorable. :) Steph

Jamie Brock from Texas on February 20, 2012:

Awww... thanks sunbun :0)

sunbun143 (author) from Los Angeles, CA on February 20, 2012:

In my hubpages adventures lately, I realized I've been ignoring this first hub of mine! Thank you so much for your kind comments! Sinea - thank you for featuring me on FB. PracticalMommy and Jamie - you are my inspirations! And everyone - thanks for reading and following. I plan to do more craft and cupcake hubs soon.

Jamie Brock from Texas on January 30, 2012:

Wow, what a neat party you did for your little boy.. I bet he had so much fun. The toilet paper roll cocoon is such a neat activity.. it really helps them learn about the different phases. I love the balloon caterpillar, too! Thanks for sharing this.. I have a 4 year old little boy and I bet he would love this!

nityanandagaurang on January 28, 2012:

very cute and beautiful hub sunbun143.voted up sunbun143.

RTalloni on January 28, 2012:

Such cute ideas in a really neat hub. That balloon caterpillar takes the cake! This idea should help busy moms think outside the box for other themes.

Marissa from United States on January 28, 2012:

What a cute party idea! I love the balloon caterpillar!

Welcome to HubPages! This is a great first hub. :)

Sinea Pies from Northeastern United States on January 28, 2012:

Back again :) I really need to share this with my Hubpages followers and will be Stumbling it too. I work in a school and our preschool & kindergarten teachers are also getting a link. Keep up the great hubs!

Sinea Pies from Northeastern United States on January 28, 2012:

Sunbun143, you are a kid-party genius! So talented. My blog readers will love this post. I'm facebooking it on Ducks 'n a Row today! Just the cutest.

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Ducks-n-a-Row/135753...

sunbun143 (author) from Los Angeles, CA on January 27, 2012:

Thanks for the comments! I added a pic of my son in his caterpillar halloween costume...so cute! Making him happy is my inspiration :)

Aurelio Locsin from Orange County, CA on January 26, 2012:

What a creative idea. I especially like the balloon caterpiller. Voting this Up and Useful.

Susan Zutautas from Ontario, Canada on January 26, 2012:

This is such a cute idea for a themed birthday party. My children loved the book The Very Hungry Caterpillar. Thanks for sharing and Welcome to HubPages.

sunbun143 (author) from Los Angeles, CA on January 26, 2012:

Thank you so much! I'm not new to decorating and designing and party planning, but I am brand new at feeling proud enough to write about it. But you just have to pat yourself on the back now and then, you know? Hope I can write more hubs soon.

LoriSoard from Henryville, Indiana on January 25, 2012:

Really good ideas. I love a theme for a party. For my daughter's graduation, we've decided on a simple, elegant black and white theme. Can't wait to see where the creativity takes us. Voting you up.