Friday, June 17, 2011

A Ladybug Birthday Party

Children's parties can become quite large, and elaborate. Believe me, we've been there, done that. But, these days, we prefer the simple, do-it-yourself type parties, keeping the focus on the birthday child, rather than the festivities. I like it, because the less hectic pace, means I have more time to join in the fun, and the children like it, because they don't get lost in the busyness.

Happy children means fewer fatigue, and sugar induced melt-downs, which makes for a better party experience for everyone. So, for C's 5th birthday, this year, we enjoyed a quite, stay at home, ladybug party - and had a blast.

We started with a color-your-own tablecloth activity, while listening to Russell Hoban's A Birthday for Frances (click here, to read about that).

Then, we moved on to headwear. The younger children wanted party hats, so I made them buggy antennae, using four pipe cleaners each - two, twisted together, to make the crown, and two, twisted onto the crown, on one end, and wrapped around my finger, on the other, for the antennae.

Lunch was just plain old peanut butter and jelly sandwiches (the birthday girl's request), made special with the addition of juicy aphids (green grapes), and soda pop, which the children aren't normally allowed (one of our few strongholds of good nutrition).

We were between rain showers, after lunch, so the children went outside to play a game of ladybug tag, while I cleaned up, and reset for cake (this time with milk).

Ladybug tag involves one child playing the ladybug, one child playing the ant, and the rest of the children playing aphids. If the ladybug tags an aphid, the aphid sits down, and remains out of the game, unless tagged by the ant. If an ant tags a seated aphid, they can return to the game. If the ant tags the ladybug, the ant wins, the game ends, and starts over with new children playing the ladybug, and ant. But, if the ladybug manages to get all the aphids seated, without being tagged by the ant, then the ladybug wins. For younger children, the game can be played without the "ant".

I called the children back in, for cake (click here for baking, and decorating instructions). It did turn out to be nicely done, all the way through, for those of you who were wondering.

Cake was followed by a few presents. Taking the lead from David Shannon's Too Many Toys, we've been trying to take it easy, when it comes to gifts.

The older girls gave C homemade cards, with coupons for having them do her hair, prepare a dress-up outfit, or paint her nails. And, E gave her the sweetest, most adorable note, a mother could ever hope to see.

After the presents we went back outside for some bubble fun . I only mention it, because I happened to pick up an inexpensive pack of "Super Miracle Bubbles". The packaging had some statement along the lines of "Earth's Best Bubbles!" I'm not sure if that's true, but I will say, it was the best bubble solution we've ever used - the bubbles were strong, plentiful, and long lasting, perfect for chasing.

Back inside, we played stomp the aphid - the object being to pop all the small (water balloon size) green balloons, without accidentally popping the red, "ladybugs".

Of course, there was also pin the dot on the ladybug, and a rousing game of aphid-aphid-ant (sometimes played as duck-duck-goose).

Finally, we opened the ladybug eggs, which the younger children had discovered, under C's chair, just before lunch (click here, for a pinata step-by-step).

And, another party was over, just in time for naps.

It's great to be a homeschooler.


OurWanderingAdventures said...

Looks like a lot of fun was had!! Love the idea of creating a DIY tablecloth!!!

Christy Killoran said...

First of all, that note from E to C was just so sweet! I love moments like that between my children. I also like the gifts of pampering from the older girls.

I really like the way you made the party so special and kept it so simple at the same time. Perfect!

We are trying to cut back on our gift giving too. I just read that the average child receives 70 toys each year - isn't that crazy???? That was from the book Simplicity Parenting by Kim John Payne. Our family members tend to give the children a lot of toys; it can be very frustrating. Sorry to get off topic.

I hope C had a wonderful birthday!

Joyful Learner said...

Happy Birthday! I love your family and how well they seem to get along! It's also nice to have a family party.

K played a game of chaos tag with other homeschoolers of different ages. It sounds a lot like your ladybug tag game. Tag is so complicated these days. When I was young, we only had one player be "it". Things have evolved since then.

Last year, we went all out on the birthday party. It was fun but lot of work. This year we cut back a little on the preparation and guest list and it was still fun. I think we'll keep cutting back every year until it's just simple and fun. Need to work on it as I tend to get carried away...

Karen said...

What a great ladybug birthday! I agree with the toys..isn't it just insane to do so much?

I know your girl had a wonderful birthday that she will always remember. I love the cake and the pinata eggs!! The note from E to C was precious. Happy Birthday C!!! 5 is a very important age. :)

Ticia said...

We have so many toys too. It's so hard to cut back because I love to give gifts.

I love your party!

Natalie PlanetSmarty said...

E is such a thoughtful big sister and a great artist too. How fun that you have enough kids for a complicated tag game. Your party really sounds very lovely - I wish we could be there :)

Unknown said...

I love that you have enough family members to have full birthday parties! SO SWEET!!!

Elise said...

The beautiful note from E to C is such a heartfelt gift - truly precious.

A party with just family members sounds perfect. So much fun was had and I bet you'll be talking about this for years to come.

Elle Belles Bows said...

What a wonderful birthday party! Love the ladybug eggs and the tablecloth ideas! Fun!

Definitely agree about the toys and will check out the book!

Happy Birthday to your C.


Phyllis said...

What a cute, sweet family party!

Kids Birthday Party Supplies said...

Great ladybug birthday party ideas! Good job!

Ladybug Birthday Party Supplies