Our kids always have the best ideas, and at the start of every summer, I have them brainstorm ideas about what they want to do during their school break. (I pulled together 602 summer ideas here.) My favorite of their ideas was a Firefly Catching Party.
This could not be any easier — and, you get to craft with your kids to create the party. My kids…
- Brainstormed and pinned party ideas. (Find our Firefly Party Pinterest board here.)
- Chose the fabrics for our bunting.
- Made the s’mores marshmallows.
- Helped me print the favor bags.
- Helped set up for the party.
- And, of course, caught the fireflies (and two frogs, but we won’t talk about that).
Here’s how we did it.
1 – Order early from Etsy sellers.
I always start my party planning by ordering anything that an Etsy seller might later get too booked up to make in time for my event. That meant ordering firefly-in-a-mason jar cookies (soooo cute!) from Guilty Confections (inspired by an original design from Funky Cookie Studio).
The stunning yellow paisley frame came from Quite a Pair Keepsakes. My friend Juliet makes these frames and I use them any chance I get. I just wrapped a little twine around the photo opening to give my printable a little more oomph. (Secure the twine with glue dots, and they’ll pull right off when you’re done.)
My treat bags came from Cute Boxes and Bags and I loved these bags because they were paper on the outside (which made for easy printing) and glassine on the inside (so the grease of my cookies didn’t bleed through the bag). The yellow gingham napkins are left over from my Gardening Party and came from Peppermint Pinwheels.
Finally, I bought two pieces of digital firefly art from 641 Digital for a whopping $2. I made my own party sign, mason jar tags, and thank you printables using PicMonkey. (Just upload the image to PicMonkey and add your text.)
2 – Amazon Prime rocks.
Free two-day shipping makes this last-minute girl happy. I ordered these bug catcher nets and these mesh lids for mason jars.
3 – Now it’s time to shop local.
- Treat sticks
- Chocolate bark
- Graham cracker crumbs
- Fabric (I used my own scraps.)
- Jute twine (I used mine, but you also could use ribbon.)
- Mason jars
- Two-hole punch (I used this one.)
4 – Get crafting and baking with your kids.
If you cut the fabric, your kids can handle tying the knots for your fabric bunting. Just pick patterns you like. We used small dots to remind us of fireflies, and chose white, black, yellow and gray. Cut the fabric in 2″ x 11″ strips. Leave two feet of ties on either end.
Marshmallow s’mores take all the mess out of the classic summer treat. Melt your chocolate bark according to package directions. Have the kids stir the chocolate. Then, set up an assembly line. Dip the marshmallow in chocolate, then graham cracker crumbs and give the marshmallows time to set up. When the chocolate is firm, push two marshmallows onto each stick.
To print on treat bags, you’ll have to play around with your printer a bit — each printer’s feeder is different. Experiment to see which way you need to position your bags in the printer. For my laser jet, it was wrong side up and opening first. I also had to create a custom print setting for the specific size of my bag, and then shrink the design. When the bags are printed, slide in your cookie, fold over the top of the bag, punch two holes in top, and tie it with fabric scraps.
5 -Test your party arrangement.
I always like to pre-set my dessert table so I can try different combinations of arrangements. In this case, I used one tea cart for desserts, activities and party favors. The girls and I choose the arrangement, and they helped me set everything up.
6 – Start your party!
The kids came over around 8 p.m. They were goofballs for photos and ate their treats, and when dusk fell, the hunt was on! Everyone caught at least one firefly, and our little gentleman caught an extra for my daughter who was having trouble finding one — he’s such a sweetie!
We set our fireflies free at the end of the night (did you know they are disappearing?) and walked our guests home with extra cookies for their parents. Of course, you can catch fireflies without any extra fuss, but why not turn a classic summer activity into a week-long project with your kids?
A version of this post was originally published on Design Dazzle as part of Toni’s Summer Camp series.
I absolutely adore this idea! My kids would truly enjoy this nature experience. A daytime version might include a butterfly “hunt” (no actual catching would be needed, especially if you hold the party in a garden) to identify and learn about various species. I’m already imagining the cupcakes!
That sounds so fun!