Bugs Party

INVITATIONS
  • Buy large or small plastic bugs at a novelty or toy store and superglue them to the party invitations or to plain white cards. Write the party details around the bugs and place the cards in envelopes. Drop a few more bugs into the bottoms of the envelopes for an added surprise, and mail to guests.
  • Create your own critters from black construction paper. Trace or draw bug shapes on black paper. Cut out the shapes and glue them onto sheets of white paper. Write details (names, origins, favorite foods) about each "party bug" on the white paper, or use metallic paints and write on the bug cutouts. Add party details, and mail to future entomologists.

COSTUMES
  • Ask the kids to come dressed as bugs! They can create costumes that replicate their favorite bugs, or make up unique new species.
  • Have the kids give their alter egos names, such as Bug Man, Caterpillar Kid, Worm Head, and Scorpion Girl.

DECORATIONS
  • Fill the party room with plastic bugs, insects, worms, ants, and other creepy and crawly things. Sprinkle plastic ants on the table, stick Gummy worms in the snack bowl, hang spiders from the ceiling, and spread bugs all over the floor.
  • Tuck some insects into a few surprise places to give the kids a little jolt when they reach for a napkin or sit in a chair.

GAMES
  • Have a bug race and see how many bugs the kids can spot in the backyard or park in five minutes. Draw sketches of bug types or give the kids bug charts to help them identify the bugs they find.
  • Have the kids collect bugs. Give them bug boxes to hold their specimens, and see how many bugs the kids can collect in a set time. Have the kids return the bugs to the yard when the game is over.
  • Play Caterpillar. Have all the guests stand in a line, bend over, and hold onto the guest in front of them. Then have the first player in line lead the rest of the "body" in a game of follow the leader. Give each player a chance to be the "head" of the caterpillar and lead the body up, down. and around the yard.

ACTIVITIES
  • Make Refrigerator Bug Magnets. Spread out newspaper on the party table. Place bug-making materials on the table, including small pom-poms, felt. wiggly eyes, pipe cleaners, feathers, and other art accessories available at craft or toy stores. Have the kids cut out felt shapes to use as foundations for their bugs. Then have them glue on pompom bodies and heads, wiggly eyes, and other details. Suggest that the kids make ladybugs, beetles, worms, caterpillars, or create a strange new species. When the bugs are complete, give each guest a strip of magnetic tape (available at craft and hardware stores) cut to fit the length of the felt foundation. Peel off the paper, and stick the magnetic strip to the bottom of the bug. When the bugs are finished, watch them magically stick to the refrigerator!
  • Have a Snail Paint. Find snails in the yard and let the kids paint them with nontoxic paints. Have a race with the decorated snails, then return the snails to the yard when they're all tuckered out.

FOOD
  • Serve the kids a Lady Bug Salad. Spread lettuce leaves over individual plates. Set a canned pear half in the center of each lettuce-covered plate. Top the pears with red hots candies or pimento pieces to make spots. Set two canned apricot halves on either side of each pear to make wings. Make antennae from strings of celery and top the antennae with cherries or grapes. Make legs using raisins. Serve to hungry insect-eaters.
  • Make Buggy Ice Cubes. Place edible candy bugs in the bottom of an ice cube tray, add water, and freeze the tray. When the ice cubes are frozen, place them in party drinks.
  • Make spider webs from cotton candy.
  • Create bug nests from coconut or shredded wheat.
  • Make fly paper from fruit rolls - then stick candy or plastic bugs onto the fly paper.

FAVORS
  • Send the entomologists home with a handful of plastic bugs.
  • Give the kids bug boxes to use for studying insects in their yard.
  • Hand out books to help identify insects, or give the kids storybooks about bugs, such as The Very Hungry Caterpillar, by Eric Carle.

VARIATIONS
  • Take the kids to an insect museum to study bugs up close.
  • Go on a hike and have the kids find bugs along the way. When you locate a new bug, look it up in your guidebook to identify it.
  • Have a picnic when you reach your destination, but try not to eat any ants!

HELPFUL HINTS
  • Be sure to tell the kids when the bugs are plastic and nonedible and when they can eat the food bugs!
  • Don't put plastic bugs inside anything the kids might eat.

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