featuring guest authors; crafting tips and projects; recipes from food editor and sleuthing sidekick Cloris McWerther; and decorating, travel, fashion, health, beauty, and finance tips from the rest of the American Woman editors.

Monday, July 26, 2010


Cloris and I got together for today’s and tomorrow’s blog posts to share with you ideas for a creative kid’s birthday party.  Some people might be able to afford renting out Chuckie Cheese for the afternoon or bringing three dozen ten year olds to the local Cineplex for the latest 3-D animated movie (at $15 a pop!)  However, most of us aren’t rolling in that kind of dough.  We’re more the Play-do and pizza dough types.

So what do you do when it’s time to celebrate the anniversary of the birth of your very own chip off the old block?  I’ve heard some parents say that their kids can only invite a small number of friends to a birthday party -- five kids for the fifth birthday, six for the sixth, seven for the seventh, etc.  Yeah, right!  Try explaining that to a six year old when he asks why he isn’t invited to his friend’s birthday party.  How do you think he’s going to feel when he’s the only neighborhood kid not invited to a party because the birthday boy is turning six and can only invite six friends? 

Instead of limiting the number of kids and causing all sorts of hurt feelings and possibly years of therapy (don’t we parents always get blamed for everything?), plan a party that doesn’t cost the equivalent of your next mortgage payment.  Invite all your kid’s friends to a crafting party.

Here’s how you do it:
Forget the goody bags filled with candy and cheap plastic do-dads.  Instead, buy inexpensive T-shirts at your local crafts store.  The craft chains usually sell these 5 for $10 and often run sales where they’re even cheaper.  Depending on the age of the kids, you can buy supplies for sponge painting, rubber stamping, or painting.  For very young kids buy fabric markers.  Supply buttons, pompoms, or “jewels” for embellishment that the kids can glue onto the shirts.  Just make sure you buy paints, inks, and glue made specifically for working with fabric.  Many white glues aren’t waterproof.  Read the labels. 

Working outside at a picnic table is ideal, but if the weather isn’t cooperating, make sure you cover your floor with a plastic drop cloth and use one on the table.  I’m sure I don’t have to remind you how messy kids can be. 

Once you’ve protected your floors and furniture, let the kids have fun.  They’ll have a blast creating their own shirts and take home a party favor that won’t break or be consumed within five minutes of leaving.

The shirts shown in the photo were sponge painted.  The kids drew the various shapes on a Miracle Sponge, then cut the shapes out.  Miracle Sponges are compressed cellulose sponges that expand in water and are perfect for sponge painting.  You can find them at your local crafts store.  Don’t want the hassle of drawing and cutting out shapes?  Buy pre-cut sponges that come in a variety of fun shapes.

What creative ways have you entertained kids at a party?  Let’s hear from you. -- AP


Kathy said...

Craft parties are a great way to go for kid's birthday parties. Kid's love to do crafts. I'm a first grade lunchaide and I bring in craft projects for rainy day recesses. As soon as I get to the classroom door they're all asking me, "What are we making today?".

jeff7salter said...

One year when our kids were little, we got a bunch of large cardboard boxes and several rolls of masking tape and built a tunnel / maze / passageway sort of thing.
The kids loved it.
Tore it to pieces by the end of the birthday party.
Don't recall if it was for Dave or Julie.

Jill said...

Did you use sponges for the flower petals too or are those thumbprints? Either way, the t-shirts are adorable! My girls would love 'em -- especially with the gemstones. The more sparkly, the better! ;-)


JIll, the flower petals were made from the sponges.
Jeff, love the maze idea!
Kathy, I'll bet you're the favorite aide at your school!