The Very Hungry Caterpillar was one of my favourite stories when I was growing up and I am utterly thrilled that both my children have inherited my enthusiasm for this beautifully illustrated book. I’m not sure what it was that made us hit upon this idea for Giddy Girl’s 1st birthday party but it worked perfectly.
Now some people argue 1st birthday parties can be too overwhelming for the birthday girl or boy and minimal fuss should be made. I very much agree that there is little point throwing a huge celebration for a baby that is uncomfotable in large crowds. However my daughter is a very sociable little thing, so we invited a heap of her favourite people. She positively revelled in the attention and particularly adored being surrounded by her buddies at the tea table.
I completely love the idea of sending a green card leaf invitation with holes punched out with the details of the party printed on the back. As it was I don’t think we did anything other than send out an email detailing the party.
The birthday girl’s granny and her big brother helped me with the decorations. Granny making the magnificent number one caterpillar door wreath that greeted the guests upon their arrival. My son painted six paper plates green and one red. Granny was then in charge of cutting the feet and eyes out of felt and attaching the pipe cleaner antennae to make our very own giant Very Hungry Caterpillar.
Meanwhile I strung the balloons on a piece of cotton to create a Very Hungry Caterpillar balloon banner. If you’ve never used this method of tying balloons I highly recommend it. Just thread a needle and cotton and pierce the balloon through the knot, or just below and pass the needle and thread along the balloons and hey presto in seconds the balloons are all strung. A string of paper butterflies decorated the walls and a copy of the book, a small butterfly balloon and several hungry caterpillars decorated the fireplace.
The food described in the story and so beautifully illustrated was the perfect inspiration for our party tea. Slices of watermelon, strawberries, apples, plums, pears, oranges and strawberries adorned the tea table alongside platters of swiss cheese, salami, gherkins, mini chocolate brownies, ice cream cone cakes and mini cherry pies. Almost everything was eaten by one child or another and if I recall rightly the birthday girl tried a bite of everything.. In addition I cut some sandwiches into butterfly shapes and served on green leaf platters.
With so much cake on offer, alongside the more healthier fruit options I decided to bake a very simple cake, designed to appeal in particular to the birthday girl. In the end I opted for a classic victoria sponge sandwiched together with strawberry jam, topped with glace icing and decorated with tiny sugar butterflies and smarties.
Although the birthday girl was unable to participate in any games, the guests took part in a wriggling caterpillar race (this consisted of them wriggling across the floor from one side of the room to the other,) sleeping caterpillars (a take on sleeping lions,) and musical butterflies. The guest had to flutter around the wings to music and when the music stopped they had to pretend they were in their cocoons and stay perfectly still. Anyone that wriggled like a caterpillar was out.
Just before the party ended we hung up our fabulous butterfly piñata for the children to pull. If you’re going to have a piñata I recommend not hanging it up until the point you want the children to pull the strings or bash it as at least one child will drive you bonkers trying to get at it through the entire party.
Each child was handed a green and white striped candy bag to collect the goodies that fell from the piñata. This was effectively their party bag. To accompany the piñata treasures, each guest was given a polysterene butterfly kit and a large lollipop just like the one in the book.
I will be posting my miniature cherry pie and ice cream cone cupcake recipes over the next couple of days, so do look out for these if you are feeling creative.