Spring Parties

Ages: 4+

Invitations & Decorations

Bring on the flower power -- it's time to celebrate. Whether held outside in the spring and summer, or indoors to banish winter doldrums, this party will a be a blooming success for kids 4 years and older.

Invitation

Fold construction paper in half. Attach a real seed packet with a blob of rubber cement, so that it can be lifted off and used. Write "We're planting the seeds for a great party! Hope you can come!" Have dirt and starter pots at the party along with extra packets of seeds.

    Butterflies

    Delight your guests by dangling these fluttering friends from the ceiling.

      • Heavyweight patterned paper
      • Butterfly template
      • Chenille stems
      • Scissors
      • Glue stick
      • Craft glue
      • Pencil
      • Round craft punches
      • Fishing line
      • Tape

        To make: Using template as guide, cut butterflies of varying sizes from patterned paper. (If you like, punch holes in the smaller cutout so the pattern on larger cutout shows through.) To make butterfly, layer smaller cutouts on top of larger ones and glue together. For bodies, roll chenille stem around pencil to form spiral shape, bend another in half to form antennae, slide into spiral, and glue to center of paper. To hang, tie fishing line to chenille-stem body, and tape butterfly to ceiling.

          Decorated Straws

          Dress up drinking straws with our simple chenille bugs and flowers.

            What you need:

            • Chenille stems (standard and thin)
            • Pencil
            • Colored drinking straws
            • Scissors

              To make bumblebee:

              Wind together one standard black and one standard yellow chenille stem to make one striped chenille stem. Wind striped chenille stem around the top of a pencil, overlapping layers to form a small bundle. Slide bundle off pencil, and place over straw. Bend a small piece of thin chenille stem in half, and insert through bee body to make antennae.

                To make flower:

                Shape one chenille stem into three petals, leaving a small section of stem free. Repeat. Twist the free end of each three-petal configuration around the center of the straw to form complete flower. To finish, cut chenille stem in half and coil it around pencil top; remove and slide over top of straw to make flower's center.

                  Decorated Cups

                  Paper party cups really pop when you decorate them with colorful Con-Tact-paper patterns.

                    What you need:

                    • Colored paper cups
                    • Green Con-Tact Paper
                    • Scissors
                    • Pencil

                      To make:

                      Split seam of one cup to create template. Trace outline of cup onto back of Con-Tact Paper and cut out. Trim Con-Tact paper to resemble grass. Peel backing and place around an intact cup, smoothing out air bubbles.

                        Craft-supply sources:

                        Con-Tact paper from Decora; call 440-353-6410 for information.

                          Yarn Pots

                          Yarn and glue are all you need to make these stunning striped pots. Our yarn crafts were designed by Julia Bernstein, courtesy of the Craft Yarn Council of America.

                            What you need:

                            • Small plastic flowerpots (available at garden-supply stores)
                            • Craft glue
                            • Paintbrush
                            • Yarn in an assortment of colors
                            • Scissors

                              To make:

                              Using a paintbrush, apply glue to small section of the pot. Cover glue with yarn. Repeat until pot is covered. Let dry overnight.

                                Activities & Party Favors

                                Personal Gardens

                                Buy a dozen plastic flowering pots, some soil and different seeds, and smocks for the kids to wear over their clothes (or tell the parents to dress them in gardening gear). Then let them plant individual gardens which they can take home as party favors.

                                Garden Goody

                                A large brownie planted with several "flower" lollipops will look like a little take-home garden.

                                  Birds' Nests Favors

                                  Fill doll-size straw hats (available at craft stores) with raffia or moss and add a little feathered ornamental bird (also available for a dollar or two at craft stores). Perch a bird on each nest and then add egg-shaped wrapped chocolates, wrapped speckled egg candies or gummy worms.

                                    Flower Garland

                                      What you need:

                                      • Flower and dragonfly Stiffened Eazy Felt Shapes by Consumer Products Enterprises
                                      • Fabric glue
                                      • Yarn
                                      • Low-temperature glue gun and glue sticks
                                      • Scissors
                                      • Fabric stiffener (optional)

                                        To make:

                                        Using fabric glue, layer flower and dragonfly shapes as desired and let dry. Using glue gun, attach shapes to length of yarn, and hang. If you can't find precut shapes that fit your party's theme, cut your own shapes from felt, then stiffen shapes by applying fabric stiffener, if desired.

                                          Craft supply sources:

                                          Yarn from Coats and Clark; call 800-648-1479 for stores. Felt from Kunin; call 800-292-7900. Stiffened Eazy Felt shapes by Consumer Products Enterprises; call 800-327-0059 for information.

                                            Flower Box cake

                                            By Karen Tack

                                            flower_box_cake

                                            This charming chocolate-chip cake topped with edible flowers tastes as good as it looks.

                                              Prep time: 35 minutes

                                              Bake time: 45 minutes

                                              Yield: 12 servings

                                                Flowers

                                                • 3/4 cup yellow melting wafers, melted
                                                • 12 scallop-edged cookies
                                                • 12 green nontoxic craft sticks
                                                • 12 berry-shaped candies, trimmed
                                                • 1 cup vanilla frosting

                                                  Cake

                                                  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
                                                  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
                                                  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
                                                  • 1/8 tsp. salt
                                                  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
                                                  • 1 cup packed light-brown sugar
                                                  • 2 large eggs
                                                  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
                                                  • 1/2 cup milk
                                                  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

                                                    Frosting

                                                    • 1 1/2 cups heavy or whipping cream
                                                    • 1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
                                                    • 2 Tbs. Sugar

                                                      Decorations

                                                      • 10 Oreos, finely crushed
                                                      • 1 canister (14.1 oz.) chocolate-cream Pirouette cookies, halved
                                                        1. Line cookie sheet with waxed paper. Spread thin layer of melted wafers over each scallop-edged cookie. Using a dab of melted wafers, attach craft stick to underside of each cookie. Place on cookie sheet, and allow to set, about 15 minutes. Attach berry-shaped candy to each cookie center with a dab of melted wafers. Place vanilla frosting in small resealable plastic bag, and snip off 1" corner. Pipe petal outlines onto each cookie, and allow flowers to set on cookie sheet.
                                                        2. Heat oven to 350°F. Grease a 9"x 5" loaf pan. In bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
                                                        3. In large bowl, with electric mixer on high, beat butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla extract. Reduce mixer speed to low; add flour mixture, alternating with milk until combined. Stir in chocolate chips.
                                                        4. Spoon batter into prepared pan and smooth top. Bake 45 to 50 minutes, or until cake is golden and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Transfer pan to wire rack, and cool 10 minutes. Invert onto wire rack; cool completely.
                                                        5. Make frosting: In large bowl, with electric mixer on medium-high, beat heavy cream, peanut butter, and sugar until soft peaks form. (Do not overbeat or the mixture will become grainy).
                                                        6. Slice cake in half horizontally. Position bottom layer on cardboard cake board or serving plate lined with strips of waxed paper. Spread 3/4 cup frosting on top of bottom layer. Place top layer on cake, and frost entire cake with remaining frosting. Sprinkle top with ground Oreos. Carefully remove strips of waxed paper.
                                                        7. Press halved Pirouette cookies around sides of cake until completely covered. Refrigerate 30 minutes. Insert cookie flowers into cake.

                                                          QUICK TIP: Too busy to bake? Substitute a ready-to-serve 16-ounce-loaf pound cake, thawed, for the cake in this recipe.

                                                            Sunshine cake

                                                            By Karen Tack

                                                            sunshine_cake

                                                            Serve scoops of our no-cook sherbet cake right in the colorful cones that form the rays.

                                                              Freeze time: 4 hours

                                                              Decorating time: 25 minutes

                                                              Yield: 9 servings

                                                                • 1 quart orange sherbet or sorbet
                                                                • 1 frozen pound cake (12 oz.), thawed
                                                                • 9 sugar ice-cream cones
                                                                • 1 cup vanilla frosting
                                                                • 1/2 cup orange decorating sugar
                                                                • 2 chocolate candies, 1" round
                                                                • Chocolate decorating frosting
                                                                • Orange decorating gel
                                                                • Ground graham-cracker crumbs (optional)
                                                                  1. Coat 1-quart bowl with cooking spray, and line with plastic wrap. Spoon sherbet into bowl and press down. Smooth top.
                                                                  2. Cut pound cake in half horizontally. Place slices on top of sherbet; trim to fit. Cover with plastic wrap, and freeze until firm, about 4 hours.
                                                                  3. Measure cones to 3 1/2" in length from tip. Trim off excess with serrated knife. Spread an even layer of frosting on each cone. Place colored sugar on plate, and roll cones in sugar to coat.
                                                                  4. Remove top layer of plastic wrap, and invert cake onto plate. Remove remaining plastic wrap. Press cones into edge of cake to form rays. Trim chocolate candies to resemble sunglasses, and place on sherbet. Using chocolate frosting, pipe frame of sunglasses. Pipe a smile onto sherbet with orange decorating gel. Scatter graham-cracker crumbs for sand, if desired.
                                                                  5. To serve, scoop sherbet into cones wrapped in paper napkins.

                                                                    Little Critter Cupcakes

                                                                    By Jacqueline Plant

                                                                    critter_cupcakes

                                                                    Create a garden of scrumptious cupcakes topped with edible bees, butterflies, and ladybugs.

                                                                      Prep and decorating time: 1 hour

                                                                      Bake time: 19 to 22 minutes

                                                                      Yield: 24 cupcakes

                                                                        • 1 box (18.25 oz.) yellow-cake mix
                                                                        • 1 can (16 oz.) vanilla frosting
                                                                        • Green food coloring
                                                                        • Froot Loops
                                                                        • Snack 'Ums Big Boomin' Pops
                                                                        • Marshmallows
                                                                        • Pink and yellow sugars
                                                                        • Red and black licorice strings
                                                                        • Brown decorating icing
                                                                        • Candy eyes
                                                                        • Flower sprinkles
                                                                        • Keebler Rainbow Vanilla Wafers
                                                                        • Reduced-fat chocolate Nilla Wafers
                                                                        • Hershey's candy-coated milk-chocolate sprinkles
                                                                          1. Heat oven to 350°F. Line two 12-cup muffin pans with paper liners. Prepare cake mix according to package directions, and bake 24 cupcakes. Cool completely. Tint frosting green with food coloring, and frost cupcakes.
                                                                          2. Butterflies: Stand 6 Froot Loops in a row down center of cupcake for the body. Place 1 Snack 'Ums pop at end for head. Cut 2 marshmallows in half, and sprinkle cut side with pink or yellow sugars. Place on cupcake as wings. Cut 2 red licorice strings 1 1/2" long, and insert for antennae. Pipe 2 dots of decorating icing onto head, and attach candy eyes.
                                                                          3. Ladybugs: Roll edge of frosted cupcake in flower sprinkles. For wings, cut 1 red-colored wafer in half, and attach with decorating icing to chocolate-wafer body. Place ladybug in center of cupcake. Pipe small dots of icing onto red wafer, and pipe a circle for the head. Attach candy eyes and a red candy-coated milk-chocolate sprinkle for nose. Cut 2 black-licorice strings 1 1/2" long, and insert for antennae.
                                                                          4. Bees: Roll edge of frosted cupcake in flower sprinkles. Place an orange wafer in center of cupcake. Pipe lines of icing onto wafer. Cut a marshmallow in half, and attach for wings. Using the icing, pipe a circle for the head. Attach candy eyes and yellow candy-coated milk-chocolate sprinkle for nose. Cut a 1" piece of black licorice, and insert into back of bee for stinger.