My favorite birthday party for my daughter was her ladybug party.
We made edible ladybugs out of SnackWell's devil's food cake cookies. The children, mostly 2- to 3-year-olds, used craft sticks to cover the cookies in red icing and Junior Mints for the heads. I had a tube of black icing and placed dots wherever the kids showed me their bugs "needed" them.
I also gave out "bug boxes." Since the party was outdoors, one of the activities was to go looking for bugs, hoping to find ladybugs. We talked about what bugs eat and how the ladybugs like flowers. This discussion took place in front of a huge flower-shaped piñata, which helped me hold their attention.
The party favors were a book about bugs and the bug boxes. My daughter wore a cute dress with ladybugs on it. It was great!
Last fall, we thought everyone needed some cheer after the events of September 11. So for my daughter's 4th birthday on October 12, we invited her friends and their moms and dads for a home-cooked lunch.
The decorations for the party doubled as favors -- happy-face balloons and blow-up globes. Other favors were happy-face stickers and globe-shaped pencil sharpeners. They also had fun stringing beads for colorful bracelets and decorating party hats.
We baked yellow and chocolate mini-cupcakes and arranged them on a round tray to form a happy face. After the candles were blown out, the kids got to decorate the cupcakes with colored frosting, sprinkles, and mini-M&Ms. Everyone had a great time!
Nancy Singer Olaguera
We started with foods from the carnival. We invited adults as well as children, so we had smoked sausages with green peppers and onions on hoagies, corn dogs, cotton candy, a lemonade stand, and french fries.
We had game stations -- pick-a-duck, throw a sponge at the clown (made of cardboard), toss a ping-pong ball into a goldfish bowl -- and a "prize booth" stocked with inexpensive prizes. We had face painting with water-based face paints, which can be bought at most party supply stores, for easy cleanup and no staining.
Church Hill, TN