For The Girl's birthday celebration with family and her closest little friends we decided on a bug theme. Kind of ironic given her fear of real live bugs, but she was really excited about "Ladybugs. Bees. Butterflies. Dragonflies."
If you've met Pinterest, you know it's full of a ridiculous amount of inspiration for parties. I had a party to do "wish" list and just eliminated things from my list as my priorities became clear. My biggest priority was to be able to enjoy the party myself. There just isn't time for everything. I tried to incorporate our theme in little ways throughout the party. And I made new outfits for The Girl and The Boy (to be featured in a future post).
Leading up to the party I did some bug related crafts with my kids to use as inspiration at our party craft table and to use as decorations. I also realized that we had a butterfly kite in the garage. Perfect!
I bought a set of bug masks, but there was only one package in stock, so I didn't have enough for party favor bags. I decided to just put them out for whoever was interested. At some point, The Boy was walking around distributing them to whomever was nearby. When kids were wanting masks later in the party I just sent them to The Boy so he could locate a mask for them. It worked great. My mom found these cute little solar doo-dads at the Dollartree. There was one with ladybugs and one with bees. The flowers and bugs bop around if they are in the sun.
After my husband spent the whole party on the grill for The Boy's 2nd birthday party, we decided that food needed to be easier and allow us more time with our guests. Also, so many of those adorable Pinterest ideas are... well... not the healthiest options. We catered the lunch with Chipotle (a big hit with the guests and so easy!) and got a couple Baskin Robbins' ice cream cakes for dessert. No picture, but the silverware was in small flower pots.
I made a fruit salad (well, Uncle Jeff did all the work!).
And of course I couldn't pass up a reason to make sugar cookies. Since it was a birthday party with cake I made little cookies. These are about 1 to 1.5" bite size cookies. The ladybugs were made on parchment paper and then attached to the flowers. (Same technique I used on my fire trucks, but less fragile.) The butterflies were all decorated wet-on-wet after first piping on the bodies.
With 15 kids coming between the ages of 6 months and 7 years old I think it's important to have options for the different ages, but not to schedule them through the party. There were no games. There were no prizes. Just activities for people to do (or not) and party favor bags for the kiddos on the way out.
We recently got a soccer goal that my kids are loving, so I had that out for the party. The basketball hoop was out as well. We moved our art table outside with some how to draw bugs directions and supplies to "Build a Bug". Kids had tubes, cardboard, construction paper, drawing paper, pipe cleaners, fabric, googly eyes, markers, colored pencils (no crayons for a backyard party in 85 degree heat!), dot markers, glue sticks and colored tape. My husband weeded the area against the back of the house that would be mostly in the shade for the duration of the party so we could setup the art table in the shade. I wish I had pictures of the creations to share.
We also had sidewalk chalk and bubbles, cause FUN. Sidewalk chalk was a big hit judging by the amount of art on our patio. Auntie Jenn drew these to get the party started.
I got red and yellow bags and used some black cardstock to decorate them to look like ladybugs and bees. Once I had settled on the bug theme, I knew I had to get Nano Hexbugs for the kids. We'd received one a couple years ago as a party favor and it was so fun... and perfect for our theme! Ordering batteries in bulk online meant I could include a couple spare batteries as well (so favor bags were delivered with an "I gave your kids batteries" warning). I rounded out the bags with bubbles, insect stamps, and bug and flower stickers.
Update: You can see photos of the party outfits I made for the kids here. The preview of The Girl's top in progress can be seen here.