Tuesday, June 26, 2012

A Very Hungry Caterpillar party

{WARNING! The following post is LONG and has LOTS of pictures!!}

Our special little lady Lani celebrated her upcoming 5th birthday (tomorrow) with a Very Hungry Caterpillar party with the girls from her class on Saturday. As usual, I spent many many hours searching Pinterest, planning, collecting supplies, crafting and creating to make it perfect. I tend to go a little overboard with my parties, but I absolutely love doing it, and they only have a party every second year, so I like to make them super special.

I purchased a little digital kit and created this invitation to help set the theme.

Mummy was under strict instruction (and constant reminder for a couple of weeks) to make a special Caterpillar dress, so we got to that last weekend. Missy loves her new dress and was very excited to wear it all week and finally on the day of her party!

These little cupcakes went to Prep on Friday for her class to share. I found the idea on Pinterest, and it was perfect for 'On Monday, he ate through one apple' as per the Very Hungry Caterpillar story! I think they were all well received, except maybe those sour worms!

I also made this little hungry caterpillar hand puppet to tell Eric Carle's story. This has been on my list of 'to make' for my teaching resources for many years, but since I haven't been teaching for a few years now, I've never made it, so this was an opportunity I couldn't resist! It was the perfect way to tell the story to the girls - and lots of fun for them too, as they were all able to help me tell the story!
I'll be making a tutorial for how it was all made in the next week or so, so keep an eye out for that!

In fact, I spent a lot of the week leading up, crafting and making things for the party. And I don't think it turned out as expensive as some of my parties have in the past, as many things were made from cheap craft items or freebies from the net (Score!).

I couldn't resist making some cute little caterpillar toppers for pencils for the kids to take home. They were super easy (just 1/2 a pipe cleaner/chenille stick, a little pom pom, some googly eyes, a pencil and a hot glue gun) and looked so cute too!

And what caterpillar party is complete without little caterpillar antennae for each of the hungry little caterpillars that came along... For these I just folded a pipe cleaner in half for each antennae, twisted it around itself all the way to the end, and then curled the ends a bit. I found that they stood up better with them doubled over, but Jai made the green ones for himself and he only twisted the pipe cleaner around the base... works either way really! 

One of my favourite decorations was the Very Hungry Caterpillar himself - created from large paper lanterns in green, and a red one for the head of course, with easy paper eyes and nose glued on. He looked so good, and everyone commented. He's still hanging out outside too!
(the biggest pain was putting up the lanterns, but wonderful trusty hubby did that part for me!)

I had all intentions to sew up some table runners in the Eric Carle spotty fabric but ran out of time with all the other crafting I was doing, but I had some spotty tissue paper which was perfect enough to add a pop of colour to the main table setting (actually with all the food on the tables, you can't even see it!). I loved how it all looked with the food and everything on it!

And here's a closer look at the food...

It was pretty easy deciding on food for the party - it was all from the book! An added bonus that a lot of it was fruit too (although there was a bit of that left-over). We served apple, orange, strawberries and watermelon, as well as cheerios (the 'sausage' in the story), a salami/kabana/cheese platter with crackers, ice-cream cone cupcakes, some popcorn for good measure, some spearmint leaf lollies (the green leaf in the story would have been much healthier!) and then some chocolate birthday cake.

In my travels through Pinterest, I found these food labels that were perfect for labelling the food and connecting it all to the book. You can find them at Polkadots & Puppies from her own child's Hungry Caterpillar party... thank you, they were perfect!

My wonderful friend Bron from Bronnie Bakes was also kind enough to let me use her labels that she made for a Very Hungry Caterpillar party she hosted (check it out here, totally awesome). Thanks Bron! I used them for water bottles and poppers, the popcorn cups, and put the girls names onto their party bags. Totally finished the look.

 To start the party, I told the story of The Very Hungry Caterpillar (by Eric Carle) using my hand puppet and food cards. This was really cool! I handed out all the food items to the girls to help me tell the story. They loved being a part of it, and helped me with the 'But he was still hungry!' part too!
(Look at that big baby bump!)

After the story, we made some beautiful tissue paper butterflies together! The girls really got into this easy craft (with a teeny bit of parent help for the concertina folding) and made some really gorgeous butterflies.


The tongue hanging out is a VERY important part of the creative process, right Lani?

And then time for some FOOD and a spot of free play - on the trampoline. (on a side note, girls are so much quieter than boys! I'd rather an all-girls party any day! They all stayed in the one spot! Elijah's boy/girl party last year was madness!)

Notice how some of the girls pegged their butterflies to their headbands? LOVED THAT!! So pretty! (and aren't they all so sweet in their caterpillar antennae headbands!)

After a play, we all went on a Caterpillar Scavenger Hunt around the garden (just before it started sprinkling rain too!)...
I put these guys to work the afternoon before to get the little caterpillars made in time! 

We cut the bottom of egg cartons into 4 parts and painted them all different colours. The next morning after they'd dried, the kids and I stuck on googly eyes and threaded a pipe cleaner through holes in the head to make little antennae. Really easy and how cute are they!? 

The girls had spotted little caterpillars around the gardens since the start of the party, and were keen to finally play the game to find them! I made them a little checklist sheet and they grabbed a cute caterpillar pencil and went off on a caterpillar hunt to see where they were hiding. They had to find one of each colour and tick it off (there were two of each colour in the garden). This activity, as well as fun, also used pre-reading, fine-motor skills and colour sorting (the teacher in me!)...

Then it was time for CAKE! I made the fondant topper and foods using the fabulous tutorials for VHC cake from Bronnie Bakes. The little circles were to border the cake. I did them all the night before (the caterpillar REALLY should have been done about a week before coz he wasn't hard and he broke easily, but thankfully made it through the party so that's all that really mattered!)

I used a layer of white choc mud cake that was still in the freezer from my party (recipe on Bronnie Bakes in this post) and also just made up a regular chocolate cake (not mud) from the Woman's Weekly kids cake books. I just layered the white one in the middle of the other two. Was perfect for a bit of extra height.
My kids and I aren't huge fans of fondant, so I didn't really want to cover the cake this time, so just opted for an easy white buttercream in the layers and on the outside. (I always do a crumb coat first though, especially for white icing on chocolate cake - a thin layer of icing that 'catches' all the crumbs from the cake. Pop it in the fridge or freezer to set before doing your 'good' coat of icing. And I also always have my cake in the fridge or freezer before cutting into it - there's less crumbs that way and it's less likely to break on you!)

Lani enjoyed helping me to put the decorations on, and it literally only took about 20 minutes to ice and put it together. I like that!

 Lani received so many beautiful gifts from her friends. I think her favourites were the THREE Pillow Pets - and amazingly, they were all different ones too!

Thank you to all her friends that came to share this special day with my darling girl.

And Lani Lou, you are so loved, you precious little Princess you!


  1. Sangeetha GardinerJune 26, 2012 at 9:22 PM

    Happy birthday beautiful girl and how lucky is she to have a mummy who put so much effort into her party? Looks like it was an awesome day enjoyed by all. Well done Nat!! :)

  2. looks like you all had such a fab time, i will be keeping my eye out for how to make the hand puppet thought that was a great idea

  3. AMAZING job as always Nat!!!! Such a creative and clever party. You did such a wonderful job and Lani is such a beautiful girl. I'm sure she had a wonderful birthday!!!


  4. WOW amazing job!!!! Beautiful party!!!!

  5. Hello! Your daughter's party was precious! Do you mind sharing the templates you created ? Thanks in advance! My e-mail is andruss@live.com. If not no worries :)


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