Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Insect Unit Celebration

At the end of our unit, I decided we ought to use a few of the MANY cute ideas I'd seen online, and have an insect-themed celebration. It always seems like a lot of work to do these things, but since it's for school and the children like it SO much, I usually manage to muster up the motivation.

For decorations, we made these cute pleated butterflies. We worked on them together while we were watching some insect video (I think it was this one) earlier in the day, and they went really fast and took relatively little effort. You don't even really need the template, once you get the hang of it. And they looked really cute fluttering around on the windows. It would have been cute to put them on some sort of garland, but the way they were weighted made that seem tricky.

I would have also liked to make these butterfly balloons my friend Tia made for her daughter's birthday—but somehow I never got around to it!

We had a Honeybee-themed dinner to go along with one of our units a couple years ago, and we honestly could have just made all the exact same foods this time and been happy! (I think this Honey Panna Cotta was our favorite.) We decided we wanted to try some new things anyway, but you can find some more bee-specific ideas at this Pinterest board.
Here's what we ate at our celebration.
The caterpillar skewers were just fruit on a skewer. I drew in the eyes and antennae to give the general idea, ha ha. You could obviously make this better by using frosting or chocolate chips or what have you to make actual faces, but my kids mostly just wanted to eat theirs.
Here's how to make the little Babybel cheese ladybugs. We used a paring knife to trim the red wax into the right shape, and then an edible-ink pen to draw on spots. We also did some spots by punching out holes with a tiny straw, which I thought looked quite cute:
And then we stuck in toothpicks for legs. Seb also made probosces on some of his. :)

We made an Italian pasta salad using butterfly noodles, and then to go with that, we made these little mini corndogs which I liked because they were such a good model for a moth or butterfly. The hotdog is like the caterpillar; then you cover it with batter which is like the cocoon. When you deep-fry it, it hardens (again like the chysalis or the cocoon). Then to serve it, you stick some triangular chips into the side and it becomes a butterfly! :) Cute!
I ended up burning myself pretty severely while Abe and I were deep frying these, which rendered my hand useless for the rest of the evening, but luckily most everything was made by then and the kids could do the rest. I've never made corndogs from scratch (? well, not the hot dog part of course!) before, but it isn't hard. Just a quick stir-together corn batter and then the deep frying (use caution! Grabbing the wrong end of the tongs was my downfall). There's a recipe here.
These pretzel butterflies were really fun to make, although they didn't turn out nearly as smooth and nice as the ones we copied! We just melted white chocolate wafers (with a few drops of food coloring to color it), stirred, and poured into a squeeze bottle, then squeezed the melted chocolate into the spaces of the pretzels. They hardened quickly and they were really yummy. Here is another similar idea using fruit roll-ups that we considered.
We have liked Italian Sodas ever since we discovered them several years ago, so it was a simple matter to call them nectar sodas and add them to the menu. :) I wish we still had those rose and lavender syrups we made back then!
Abe took a picture of the final spread (as my hand was otherwise occupied in a bag of ice at that time) and it did look quite nice! I had ordered these edible crickets from Amazon in three flavors, so we ate those too. Everyone quite liked them, even Teddy, who kept yelling "KIKKET! More KIKKET!" with great enthusiasm. They don't really taste like anything except just the flavoring that's on them, and you get a nice little light crispness as you crunch into them. Not bad at all. And after dinner we watched "Valley of the Lost Ants" (though it could just as well have been "A Bug's Life") and we all considered it quite a satisfactory ending to this Insect Unit!


  1. But did you sing, Ugly Bug Ball?? I think it is so fun to study animals with kids. I always find so many fun craft ideas and things. Your unit looked like a ton of fun.

    1. Knowing you has really exposed the cultural poverty of my childhood. I don't even KNOW Ugly Bug Ball. And I haven't read any Louis L'Amour either. *sniffle*


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