If you have an inspiring entomologist in your family, a bug-themed birthday party might be right up his alley. And while some guests may think bugs are icky and gross, this party may change their minds or even spark an interest in insects. Get kids outside to celebrate the wonders of the outdoors, or play insect-inspired games inside. Either way—rain or shine—a bug-themed party shows just how fun and interesting creepy crawly critters can be.
Winding Caterpillar Race
A winding caterpillar race is as much fun for the parents as it is for the kids. To prep, first create two side-by-side winding paths in your yard by outlining them with balloons tied to golf tees or lawn stakes (the balloons lining the paths will also look like long, winding caterpillars). Divide the party guests into two teams and have each team line up at the start of each path. Instruct the kids to hold the waist of the person in front of them, forming a caterpillar. Then, tell them to run through the winding path to the finish line without letting go. The first team to reach the finish line with their caterpillar intact wins.
Designate a play area and spread out four blankets or beach towels in each corner of the space to act as “gardens.” Gather the kids and select one player as the exterminator; give him a spray bottle filled with water. The rest of the players are garden bugs. Instruct the bugs to run around the play area, trying to avoid the exterminator. When the exterminator sprays a bug, the bug then drops to the ground and “plays dead” with their arms and legs in the air. The rest of the bugs try to rescue their friend by carrying him by his limbs to one of the gardens. The exterminator can’t interfere with a rescue, but he can wait beside the garden for the rescuers to emerge. Once a dying bug is rescued, he spends one minute “recovering” in the garden before returning to the game. Set a timer for short intervals of play and switch out the players until everyone has had a turn to be the exterminator.
Bumble Bee Toss
For this game (a favorite of little kids), you will need a flower pot and three homemade bees. To make the bees, use black tape to form stripes on yellow, plastic Easter eggs or glue yellow ribbon to black bean bags. Place the flower pot on the ground and have the kids line up behind a tossing line. Each player then tries to toss the three bees into the pot. Record one point for each bee a that makes it into the pot and award prizes according to the scores.
Spider Web Tag
This game starts out like any other game of tag. Select a player as the spider; all the rest of the guests are flies. When the spider tags a fly, that fly then gets caught in the spider’s web. The spider and caught fly hold hands and chase after more flies. Each time a fly is caught, the hand-holding forms a larger web. Continue until only one player, or winner, remains.
Worm Eating Challenge
Be prepared for a sugar high after this game (and make sure parents allow their kids to eat candy, too). Set up the worm eating challenge by providing a bucket of gummy worms for kids to bob for. Alternatively, you can tie the worms from ribbon dangling from the ceiling. The child who eats the most worms without using their hands wins.
Fly Away Ladybugs
Prepare for this fun ladybug party game by blowing up several red balloons and then decorating them with black dots to look like ladybugs. Divide party guests into two teams of players and have each team form a circle. Toss a bunch of balloons into each circle. (You can start with one balloon per player or choose a number according to the age of your party guests.) Instruct the teams to pick up the balloons and keep all of their ladybugs “flying” in the air. When one of the ladybug balloons hits the floor, remove it and then have the players of that team step back to widen their circle. Play until only one team has one balloon remaining. Or, set a timer and record which team has the most balloons at the end of playtime. Select a winner.
For this game, give each child a butterfly net. Then, fill a large bag with a variety of fake bugs. You can use toy bugs, make your own bug crafts, or draw and cut bugs out of construction paper. (The idea is to have a lot of bugs for the kids to catch.) Gather the kids in a circle. Then, have an adult stand on a chair or ladder and release the bugs by shaking them out of the bag above the children’s heads. Instruct the kids to catch the falling bugs in their nets. The player who catches the most bugs wins the game.
You can also hide the fake bugs around the yard and send kids on a bug hunt with their nets. The player who returns with the most insects wins.