Using a Butterfly Theme for a Child's Birthday Party

Hispanic girl in butterfly costume with jar
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The mystery and whimsy of the butterfly make this creature a great choice for a birthday party theme. Here are some ways you could bring the butterfly theme to life.

Butterfly Party Invitations

Party invitations should always set the tone for an event. Choose a pre-made butterfly party invitation (compare prices) or make your own. Here are some options:

  • Perideau Designs sells this modern butterfly invitation that urges guests to “fly on over” to the party.
  • Jodi shows us how to make fabric butterfly party invitations on her blog Sew Fearless.
  • The invitation itself doesn’t necessarily have to be adorned with butterflies. On a piece of heavy-weight white paper, print the party details using a beautiful and delicate font. Then use a craft punch (compare prices) to create small butterfly confetti and insert the confetti in the envelope with the card.
  • You could also deliver origami butterflies with the party details written on a square of cardstock attached to the butterfly.
  • If you’re handy with photo-editing software, make a silly butterfly party invitation by adding a photo of your child’s head to an image of a butterfly. Print the image on postcards or cards using your printer or a service like Café Press.

Butterfly Party Decorations

If possible, host the butterfly birthday party in a garden, park or backyard. That way, Mother Nature will do most of the decorating for you.

Here are a few touches you could add:

  • Cover tables with white tablecloths and set out bouquets of flowers nestled in tin cans or potted flowers that you could later give away as party favors.
  • Make large butterfly wings from tissue paper and hang the wings from trees. (At the end of the party, the kids get to take the wings home as party favors.)
  • On the food table, provide drinking straws with paper butterflies slipped onto them.
  • You could also make a butterfly garland by making a template from this butterfly outline, tracing it on decorative paper, cutting out the butterflies and then stringing them together with ribbon.
  • Your party supplies (cups, plates, napkins, balloons, etc.) could resemble the colors of a butterfly, such as blue, purple, yellow and pink.

Butterfly Party Games and Activities

If your guests enjoy arts and crafts, there’s no shortage of creative butterfly craft ideas on the Web.

FamilyFun magazine also has some neat butterfly activities on its site.

Other butterfly party games and activities:

  • Hire a balloon artist to make balloon butterflies for the guests.
  • Paint the children’s faces to look like butterflies, similar to these butterfly face paintings.
  • Play this butterfly game: Tell half the kids they are flowers and the other half are butterflies. On the count of three, the butterflies must find a flower to sit under. Keep repeating, telling the butterflies they must find a new flower to call home each time. There’s no end or winner to this game, although you could make it an elimination game, similar to musical chairs, by having fewer trees than there are butterflies.
  • Another butterfly game kids love is to pretend they are butterfly catchers. Give them each a net and have them stand in a circle. Stand in the center and toss some paper butterflies in the air (you will have to keep picking them up and tossing them). As they "fly" the kids try to catch them in their nets.

Butterfly Party Food

When setting up a food table, you can make the menu fit the butterfly theme simply by labeling regular food with garden-related terms. For example, potato chips could be called “Fairy Flakes, ” and lemonade could be called “Butterfly Nectar.”

Here are some more ideas:

  • This easy to make butterfly cake.
  • Use a cookie cutter to make butterfly-shaped tea sandwiches.
  • Ever notice how twisted pretzels resemble butterfly wings? Dip one end of a pretzel log in melted chocolate and then gently press a twisted pretzel to the chocolate and let it set.
  • Dirt dessert is always a hit at a garden party and would work perfectly with a butterfly theme. Check out this dirt dessert recipe and these garden cupcakes that follow a similar concept (you could replace the candy veggies with plastic butterfly rings).
  • Get the kids to eat their fruits and veggies with this cucumber caterpillar and pineapple butterfly from Little Food Junction.

Butterfly Cakes and Cupcakes

Feast your eyes on these clever and delectable butterfly-themed birthday cakes:

  • Goody goody gumdrop! This butterfly cake uses the classic candy for color.
  • A vibrantly-colored butterfly cake made using a Wilton cake pan.
  • A butterfly sits atop this two-tier birthday cake.
  • Yum! Butterfly cake pops.
  • strikingly beautiful cake made to look like a monarch butterfly.
  • This butterfly-covered cake was made for Teacher Appreciation Week at a school that uses butterflies as its mascot (what a great mascot!).
  • Gorgeous cupcakes topped with chocolate butterflies.
  • How's this for a brilliant idea? Print and laminate a background picture and place a cake on top of it. That's what one mom did when she made a butterfly birthday cake for her twins.

Butterfly Party Favors

Wondering what your birthday kid can give his or her guests as they head out the door? Here are some butterfly party favors to consider:

  • Send each child home with a potted plant that attracts butterflies, such as zinnias, purple cornflowers, black-eyed Susans or marigolds.
  • Make butterfly wings with straps that the kids can wear home.
  • Cut out a set of paper butterfly wings (about 2 inches tall) for each guest and insert a roll of candy Smarties in the center.
  • Give out copies of Eric Carle’s Very Hungry Caterpillar or Fancy Nancy’s Bonjour Butterfly by Jane O’Connor.
  • Make papier mache chrysalis party favors, as featured on Ohdeedoh.

The butterfly theme is a fun one to execute. Just ask the parents behind this dragonfly and butterfly theme birthday party thrown for their son and daughter. There are so many good ideas there, like playing a game where guests wrap each other in toilet paper cocoons and serving caterpillar fruit kebabs.

If you throw a butterfly party--or any party!--be sure to submit the details like that reader did to our real parties section.

Updated by Christine Gauvreau