Kids love making stuff, they are natural creators. Also crafty projects take time in a morning or afternoon of partying. It is usually down time amidst the intensity of party cake and games and general excitement. Once the kids have their material and understand it isn’t a race (there is always one!!!) they generally calm down and get set on the task…
The hardest part here is to give the kids the chance to actually do their own work – if you have very involved parents visiting and they aren’t drifting off with a cup of coffee, you can offer that they do their own version and give them there own materials – this often works!!!
That being said, obviously with all crafty projects you need a certain amount of adult supervision and with all these crafts I am expecting a capable adult or two to be on hand to supervise and help.
Another thing to keep in mind is that I usually put on the invitation: Dress for Mess… and then let the kids go for it. It is very awkward if they are all dressed in princess outfits to let them cut and stick and paint and glitter.
And for all crafts I have to say – and I think I only have to say it once: Kids absolutely love glitter!!! Take a breathe and vacuum when they leave.
Lastly, before I start crafting, try to remember you may have a wide age-range of crafters… we always have all our se7en to start with; often siblings arrive unannounced – it is a good idea to keep party crafts really simple – you don’t want to be doing intricate things for twenty-five kids while they wait (not very patiently) for their turn – trust me on this one!
Craft 1: Collage
This craft is basically sticking and can be used for all ages… little people especially love this – REALLY! If you can’t stand cold glue, then use glue sticks and if you can’t stand glue sticks then use stickers… trust me all children LOVE sticking… the mess is worth your popularity!!!
Monster Mask: This really was easy, plain masks from the party aisle at the supermarket. Stuck and glued to their hearts content and there you go, something to take home.
Wild Animals: This was lovely – we used off-cuts that we could buy at a local packaging factory, Merry Pac, that is brilliant for party, crafty and arty supplies. I plonked them on the table and off they went, inventing their own animals for a Safari Party.
Chameleons: The point of including this craft, from a one year old party, was that if you attach a lollipop stick to any artwork, then it becomes a puppet and its value (to the artist) increases dramatically.
Penguins: I couldn’t write a party post without a penguin somewhere… so here it is in the sticky section!
Bugs: We did this with great success for a recent 2 year old party and you can read the directions at the Bug Art post.
Dog Houses: This included painting as well (I don’t usually paint at a party in case someone is in their party best!) but anyway… we took party boxes and cut a dog looking door in the one end – they decorated to their hearts content.
Circus Tents: One party I gave every one a white packet and as they achieved their circus skills they got something to add to their packet. At the end they had the materials to make their own circus – and by sticking stripes on the bag they had a tent… easy!
Craft 2: Useful Collage
Kids love having something useful to take home, it is a really good craft if they have some function-able item to take away with them.
Kites: We made these for a recent Dr. Suess Party, really quick and easy, we decorated them with lots and lots of little stickers – really easy!
Scrapbooks: We placed a couple of punched papers between the front and back of cereal boxes – threaded the with scooby doo thread and off they went sticking galore… I made the invitations into interviews and printed out a couple of pictures of each of their favorites: books, pets, food etc.
Hats: We just used paper bags and stuck all sorts of goodies on them: scrunched up tissue paper for flowers and so on. Then rolled up the bottoms to fit their heads.
Trucks: Out of little boxes, very easy! they just had to stick on wheels and so on and we used stickers, no glue, no mess!- while they were eating cake we popped a little wild animal and some animal stickers into each box and their were their party packs.
Undersea Diorama: We gave everybody a little box and then spent the party going on a virtual tour of the local aquarium gathering goodies to put in their boxes along the way. Finally we put them together and they turned out really well.
Board Games: Make your own, we had a treasure party that we collected treasures from around the world: little sea shells, precious stones, spices whatever and then using the maps they made and stickers for the route they had their own board games.
Craft 3: Threading
All kids love threading, not just girls making princess gear! Really it is one of those crafts that kids can’t help themselves with, once in front of them they can not help themselves!
Liquorice necklaces: Really easy craft… give them something to make a hole through there liquorice pieces (we used huge nails) and then thread them onto scooby doo thread (it is quite strong and so easy even for little hands to thread).
Snakes: Beads on Pipe Cleaners – threading on pipe cleaners is great for little hands! We used fat beads and cut up straws.
Dingly Danglies: This is a wonderful craft, put a whole bunch of thread-able things out and things that are easy to tie on or stick on and let them thread to their hearts content. We threaded beads, feathers, bottle caps with a hole in through them – really anything, onto brightly colored rafia. Pop a saftey pin to the one end and they can pin them inside their pockets to dangle out and they look really cool.
Interestingly enough this craft works really well for guys too, I got some natural stoney looking beads for a bunch of ten year old boys and they loved it.
Craft 4: Fabric
I am always weary to start a fabric art craft and they are always a hit… with girls and boys, and generally they get something they can take home and actually use.
Pocket Bags: These were easy and great. We cut some pockets off some very old and worn out cargo pants and then with fabric glue and bits of fabric scraps they added some more pockets to their pockets and other embellishments.
Dragon Rider / Jeans Bags: We used old jeans (it really helps if they have belt loops!) and webbing bias binding, then we followed the directions from Family Fun to make the bags. We added badges (look at The Badge Bonanza post for directions) and dingly danglies from Craft 2 above.
Rag Dolls: We had a rag doll party and the craft is described in this Kids Rag Doll Craft post.
Craft 5: Fabric Painting
This is a fun craft and the kids go home with something they can show-off! I am loathe to buy t-shirts for the entire party, so either I ask every-one to bring their own or we make bandanas, which is a thrifty and really easy option. Basically you buy a huge piece of light cotton fabric, cut it into squares, hem them and decorate.
Potato Painted T-shirts: We got this idea from Family Fun. We did the potato prints at the start of the party and then went and did a whole lot of other stuff, to give the paint a chance to dry a bit, and then we did the decorating near the end of the party.
Tie-Dyed T-shirts/Bandanas: Really easy, tie elastic bands tightly around the fabric, as many as they like. Then dip the corners into different color fabric dyes and hang them up to dry.
Remember to tell them to iron their artwork before washing it, else they may be extremely disappointed.
Marble painting: We made bandanas for a pirate party with this. Take a pizza box, fold the bandana into quarters and place flat in the box. Then take marbles from your paint pots and place them in the pizza box. Shake like crazy. Put the marbles back in the paint pots for the next person. Hang the bandanas out to dry. Because the paint is wet it seeps quite easily through to all layers of fabric.
Craft 6: Food
Anything with food is always a big hit – I have no idea why!!!
Pizza: Make your own – supply a couple of simple toppings, kids like simple!
Sundaes: Make your own – supply a whole lot of yummy toppings – you might want to limit them to three or four toppings, some kids don’t know when to stop!
Craft 7: Nature Crafts
Kids love collecting things natural – and making something with their hoard is just wonderful!
Flower Pots: We collected pretty plastic coated cardboard mugs from the local ice-cream store for weeks (what a hardship!). We made holes in the bottom and sprinkled a few stones in the bottom and then some soil, then each kid planted their own pretty violet.
Sea – Shells: Covered sea-shells in glitter glue, very quick and very easy.
Sticks: Painted them into very funky snakes.
That’s it – surely… I should stop spilling my ideas into this poor post! Happy Crafting!!!
In the next installment of Se7en Steps to a Good Party I look forward to inspiring you with Step 5: Everything You Need to Know About Party Pinata’s.