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Toddler Talk: Caterpillar Birthday Party

Noah's favorite book, for as long as I can remember, was Eric Carle's The Very Hungry Caterpillar. So once it was time for his 2nd birthday, it was a natural party choice.

But rather than make it all about the ravished caterpillar, we focused on Eric Carle's bright colors and the iconic dots throughout the book:

I filled two tall vases with multi-colored gumballs to look like the book's dots.

I also used a large round hole-puncher to make multi-colored confetti out of tissue paper. (Tissue paper has a watercolor-like translucency that mimicked the book's dots.)

Then I made a cardboard circle template and hand-cut a bunch of multi-colored tissue paper circles, which I then ran through a sewing machine to make garland. I thought it might rip the delicate paper, but it worked like a charm. I also filled the ceiling with multi-colored helium balloon "dots" — without the balloon strings, of course.

As for the menu, we used the book as inspiration:

  • Deviled eggs on lettuce ("…A little egg lay on a leaf.")
  • Cheese platter with apples, pears, and grapes ("…the Caterpillar ate through one apple, two pears, and a slice of Swiss cheese.")
  • Chocolate-covered strawberries ("…on Thursday he ate through four strawberries.")
  • A big salad ("…on Sunday he ate a nice green leaf and felt much better.")

We also served non-book related food (like sandwiches), but the book has endless options: pie, chocolate cake, sausage, lollipops, ice cream cones, apples, etc. etc. etc.

For the cake, my sister made a bunch of cupcakes assembled into a caterpillar shape, and she varied the frosting color to make it Eric-Carle-ish. You could also make personal chocolate cake cups (baked inside mason jars, perhaps?), with a gummy worm sticking out. Or serve some cherry pie and ice cream.

We also had a big craft table for the kids, with giant Very Hungry Caterpillar coloring pages that we found at a local craft store, pom-poms and glue to make their own caterpillars, and — of course — watercolor paints. It was a huge hit.

See more of the party over at Early Mama.

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