Although invitations with a garden or ladybug theme won't be hard to find, here are two ideas for making your own:
- Pass out helium-filled red polka-dotted balloons with a note attached. Or, blow up red balloons by hand, write the party information on them and add black polka-dots, then deflate the balloon and mail. Recipients blow the balloon up again to read the details.
- Cut a 4-inch circle from red construction paper or posterboard, draw a black line down the center, and add 3 half-inch spots on each "wing." Punch two holes near the top and thread through a pipe-cleaner antennae and add 2 large "wiggle" eyes. Write a poem about ladybugs or just write the invitation information on the back.
- Lead guests to the door by using sidewalk chalk to decorate the driveway or sidewalk with large black and red polka dots.
- Decorate red balloons by adding black spots with a permanent marker. Tie with black or red ribbon.
- Turn each guest into a bug with headbopper antennae headbands.
- Make origami butterflies and tissue paper flowers (see Crafts page) with pipe-cleaner stems.
- Fill a dish garden with great butterfly and ladybug plants such as shasta daisies, marigolds, cosmos, allium, statice, lavender, phlox, coneflower, sunflowers or globe thistles. Exlain to the children that these are plants these garden creatures love.
- Make a display of butterfly nets, children's or antique gardening tools, gardening gloves, and flowers -- potted or cut.
- Order ladybugs or butterfly larvae from your local nursery or the Web site InsectLore.com. Put your guests of honor in the center of the action. Ladybugs arrive in their adult form. Butterflies arrive as larvae and take 17 to 21 days to emerge, so order them far enough in advance so they will be hatching on party day.
Continued on page 2: Food Ideas