We love the "arts and crafts" birthday party because kids get to brandish their creative talent while still socializing with their friends. Plus, arts and crafts don't require strong physical skill. Just about any kid can draw a picture or make some crafts!
Making arts and crafts can be messy work, though, and all that creativity may whip up chaos at your party. How do you make this party organized as well as super-fun? We'll give you our best tips on how to host a successful arts and crafts birthday party.
Let's get started!
If you're planning an arts and crafts party, don't forget to make that message clear to the parents of the children invited. You don't want Sally showing up in her best party dress, only to see it ruined later with paints or markers. Make sure the kids wear clothes that can get stained, and offer them smocks.
If you're having this party in your own home, think carefully about what kinds of art supplies you'll be using. It's true that kids love glitter, but you don't want to find glitter in the nooks and crannies of your home for the rest of your life. Also, invest in washable markers and paints if you can. Your furniture will thank you.
Think about holding the party outside, too. Cleanup is much easier, and the kids can get sloppy without the adults panicking.
Another great thing about arts and crafts parties is that each child gets to go home with something. You don't need to give out party favors that -- let's be honest -- will likely wind up lost or in the trash within hours of the party. Instead, the children will bring home something they're proud to have made themselves.
Keeping that in mind, make sure you choose a craft that will be ready to go home at the end of the day -- nothing that takes all night to dry or set. Make it extra-special by placing each child's creation in a personalized paper bag, tied with a festive ribbon and a lollipop. Decorate the bag with ink stamps or stickers to match each kid's personality. Or check out some of the cute take-out containers carried at many local craft supply stores. Do you have a lot of old fabric lying around? Wrap up each creation in fabric and tie the top with a ribbon.
How about making crafts from items people already have around the house? This way you don't have to spend a ton of money on supplies, and you can also pat yourself on the back knowing you've done something good for the planet. Here are a few ideas of crafts you can make from household items:
- Sock puppets (who doesn't have stray socks lying around the house?)
- Cereal box robots
- Fabric scrap flower garden
- Clothespin magnets
- Milk jug bird feeders
- Shoe box cars
An added bonus is that kids love making things out of stuff they already recognize. Make sure you keep some extra supplies on hand just in case someone forgets to bring their cereal box or milk jug.
We've done a lot of talking about how to throw an arts and crafts party, but not a lot of talking about specific projects. Like we said, you want crafts that can be complete and ready to go home with your party guests at the end of the day. Don't choose things like painting or glazing plates; they'll need to sit overnight. Try to avoid crafts that the adults will need to finish -- for example anything that would have to go into the oven to dry. You want crafts that won't be too fragile and break, either. Here are a few of our favorites:
- Homemade bean bags
- Superhero masks
- Fairy wands or magic wands
- Decorated hair clips or barrettes
- Bedroom door hangers
- Tooth Fairy jars
- Margarine tub boats
Here's our No. 1 tip for hosting an arts and crafts birthday party: Keep it simple. If things get too complicated, you'll get frustrated and so will your party guests. Make sure the projects you pick are age-appropriate and within the skill range of every child at the party.
Think carefully about how many children you'll be inviting to the party. Will you be able to handle them all while they create their masterpieces? Remember, kids ask a lot of questions. Perhaps you could hire a local teen babysitter to help out for the day. Trust us, the expense will be minimal and completely worth it.
If you have a large group of kids, you might want to think about running two craft tables with two different crafts at the same time. About halfway through the party, the kids can switch off and start on craft No. 2. This way you won't have too many kids reaching for the same supplies the entire time.
So, are you ready to throw an arts and crafts party? Check out the links on the next page for more about entertaining and crafting.
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- "40 Party Favors You Can Make Yourself!" The Crafty Crow. 2010. (Oct. 3, 2010) http://belladia.typepad.com/crafty_crow/40-party-favors-you-can-make-yourself.html
- "Classic Kids' Crafts." Kaboose. 2010. (Oct. 3, 2010)http://crafts.kaboose.com/gifts/classic-crafts.html
- "Kids Craft Projects Out of Household Recycled Materials." Ziggity Zoom Parents. Feb. 20, 2009. (Oct. 3, 2010)http://www.ziggityzoom.com/parentsguide/content/kids-craft-projects-out-household-recycled-materials
- Levy, Susannah. The Craft Lounge. Email interview. Sept. 26, 2010. (Oct. 3, 2010)http://thecraftlounge.com/