Duration: 2+ hours
Age: 5-7, 8-10, 11+
Guest Numbers: under 8
Venue: Your Home
Budget: $100 – 200
Art and craft has been one of my kids favourite activities since they could spill glue and eat paper. It was the second choice behind the BYO bike party for my 7 year old this year. It is an awesomely fun theme and all the kids get to go home with the creations they make but it does take a fair bit of preparation, clean up and patience!
This party is messy, there is no getting around that so be ready for your home to be less than pristine at the end and requiring a clean up. You’ll need to have a decent sized area to have tables and chairs to try and limit the mess. A car port or garage are great if it’s warm enough weather. If inside if the option tiles, lino or wood are easier to clean but failing that drop sheets under the table help to preserve your carpet.
All invitations need to include the birthday person, date, time, location and an RSVP contact name and number. I recommend adding an RSVP date so planning and buying supplies is easier.
With a Craft Party mentioning on the invite that it will be messy, or if you plan on using paints and glue, will allow parents to dress kids appropriately so no ones favourite top gets ruined.
If you are crafty making your own invites is a great way to show what you plan on doing, or getting the birthday person involved to see what crafts they like to do. The invites don’t all need to look the same so pulling out a bunch of colour paper, textas and glue and letting the imagination run wild could add a unique feel to your invitations.
If you are not crafty or don’t have the time I have invitations available in my store.
Craft parties are easy to decorate and it can be even easier to go over the top with it. Just check Pinterest and you’ll find some amazing decorations. The most common and the most eye catching is a bright rainbow theme, generally displayed as paint in various forms.
Plastic table cloths will be your friend. Cheap, durable, versatile and bright they hit all the right notes for this theme. Use them in doorways as curtains. Use multiple cloths on the tables, or different colours to identify areas ie yellow is eating, blue is drinks, green is beading, red is paints. Cut them into strips and use them as a photo booth backdrop. My favourite way I seen them used is to hang a tin from the ceiling and have the cloths spilling out like rainbow paint. Easy to do and a striking centrepiece of the room.
Simple centrepieces could be containers of craft supplies – paint brushes, pencils, textas all sticking out or get clear containers and use small tubes of paint, pompoms or pipe cleaners inside them. Add a blackboard sticker label or sign on top and let guests know what’s happening at each station.
Food and Drink
Its easy to over do theme party food but here are some striking yet easy food ideas. Remember not to over cater either. Generally kids are more interested in playing than eating for a long time so only expect it to take a maximum of 15 minutes for them to refuel.
Rainbow fruit platter. A fruit platter is always served at parties I host. It’s easy, looks great and kids love it. For a craft party display the fruit in a rainbow shape or just in a rainbow line. Fruit options could be:
red: watermelon, strawberries, raspberries, grapes
yellow: pineapple, pear, half bananas (with the peel on to stop browning)
orange: mandarins, oranges, mango, rockmelon, peaches, apricots
green: apple, grapes, kiwi, honeydew melon
blue/purple: blueberries, plums, blackberries, grapes
Make a paint palette by icing a plain biscuit with white icing and adding MnMs as paint dollops.
Fairy bread with rainbow sprinkles is very easy and often loved by young kids and grown ups alike.
Homemade LCM bars with a paddle pop stick in one end and dipped in coloured chocolate or icing on the other look like paint brushes.
Individual vanilla yoghurt pots are glue pots.
Basically any food you can make into a variety of bright colours and arranged rainbow style will be loved: cupcakes or cake pops, vegetable platter and dips, kiss biscuits or even bowls of skittles or MnMs.
For this party the activities form the party bag, or the basis of it at least.
Party Bag/Box – materials required are bag/box, glue. stickers, papers, glitter, feathers, beads etc. Have each child decorate a bag or box as the party bag. Have the bag set up on a table when guests arrive. Also on the table have glue sticks, stickers, coloured paper, beads, feathers etc. Let their imagination go wild just ensuring each bag has a clear name on it by the end of decorating.
Hanging Name Plate – materials required are canvas, paint, letter stickers, ribbon, glue.
Do the painting early int he party so that it has time to dry before the party ends. Create a name to hang on their bedroom door with a canvas, ribbon and stickers. Before the party glue ribbon to the back of each canvas to create the loop that it hangs from. For each child get large letter stickers and place all the letters for their name in a small bag. At the party give each child their stickers and a canvas. Have them stick their name on however they like then paint over the whole canvas, including the stickers. As the children finish painting, carefully remove the stickers so that their name appears white against the colourful backdrop. Hang them up to dry on the clothesline.
Hama Bead Bag Tag – materials required are hama beads, peg boards, string, iron, baking paper.
Hama / Perler beads are popular and they can be used to make a bag tag. Have the beads in bowls on the table. If they are sorted into colours it helps the kids choose and prevent possible arguments but it’s not necessary. Have the bowls easily accessible down the centre of the table or if the beads are all mixed one bowl between 2 guests works well. Every child will also need a peg board. You can get many different shapes but squares, circles and hexagons are very versatile. Each child designs their own tag and once done leaves the board on the table for you to iron. When ironing use a dry iron on a high heat, cover the beads with baking paper and press firmly with the iron. Move the iron around so that all beads are heated and melted. Take the paper off and the beads should stick to it. Iron the other side in the same manner. Don’t melt the beads too much as you need the holes to remain where you can thread the string through so they can hang. Make sure to label each hanger so it goes home with the right creator.
Finger Print Flip Books – materials required are ink pads, flip books (either DIY or buy cheap note books), pens.
Finger print flip books are simple to make and the kids can tell any story they want. A flip book is simply blank pages stapled together and the action happens in the corner when you flip through quickly. Each page is slightly different from the one before so it appears that the character is moving. To make the fingerprint books you will need some ink pads and pens. Have the kids put a finger print in the bottom right hand corner of each page then add details to make them move. They could be jumping, falling, running, have a friend join them etc.
Bookmarks – materials required are card stock, stickers, pictures, paper, textas, pens etc.
A simple craft you can do with all ages is to DIY bookmarks. Simply have precut bookmarks that the children can decorate with textas, stickers or pictures from magazines. Once they are finishes laminate and cut to size. Ensure each child has their name on the bookmark somewhere.
Mandala – materials required are printed mandalas, pencils, textas, plain paper, different sized circular objects.
To finish off the party a nice wind down activity is to colour or design a mandala. There are plenty you can print for free off the internet for them to colour. Alternatively you can have them design their own. The basic mandala is formed on different sized circles then little shapes and details are added symmetrically around them. It can be quite calming and therapeutic for kids to spend time on an intricate task that takes shape quickly. They can take them home to finish or if they finish while at the party they can be laminated and become a place mat. This is a good activity to end on because it can continue while people are getting picked up and it doesn’t disrupt anything.
An easy DIY art and craft cake to make a large paint palette. Its similar in style to the biscuits mentioned above where you take a circle cake, ice it white or brown. Let that icing set somewhat then add patches of colour for paint. It doesn’t matter if your colours get mixed as that’s what a palette is for. Finish it off by placing a paintbrush dipped in one of the icing colours on the top and the effect is created.
If you are feeling more adventurous carve the cake into a palette shape and cut out a circle for the finger hole then ice as above.
Party Bag/Thank you
As mentioned above, all the activities become the party bag so that each child goes home with a number of items they can keep and use. If you want to add to it you can add things like lollies or chocolates, a small set of pencils, a small paint box and paintbrush, different shaped erasers or a blank note book that could be used as an art diary.
There are so many craft activities you can choose to do, and the age of the children will determine which are suitable. The ones listed above are suggestions that I have done and know work well with kids from age 6-11.
Having 1-3 helpers is recommended so that kids who need help can get it without waiting too long. Also the helpers can clean and prep the next activity so the party flows well.
Having a couple of hand washing stations with buckets of soapy water and hand towels makes it easier to keep the place and any art works clean. Helpers can empty and refill these as they get dirty. Hand washing before eating is a real must at this type of party.
When setting up the craft table have a designated spot for each guest with a name tag. This way anything made by them you can identify without having to ask everyone. It also avoids any issues over who is next to who. I also recommend having an apron or smock for each guest. You could add their name prior to the party and it can be another party of the party bag.
Having multiple craft tables and a food table will make moving from each activity easier as the take down of the completed activity can be done while the next one is already started. Vice versa the set up can happen while kids are occupied already. This may not be practical depending on your set up but have ea plan of how transitioning from each activity will be. It could be as simple as having the kids do a quick cleanup and then take their artworks to a designated spot and helpers quickly come in and swap activities.
Signs for each activity also help so kids know what is meant to be where. Such as hama beads in one section and gluing in another. You can purchase signs for the above activities here.
If you do the hama beads, after this activity it is a good time for the kids to eat to give you and the helpers time to iron all the hangers.
Be prepared to clean up for an hour or 2 after the party and that any think you are worried about getting marked is put away before guests arrive. Try as you might there will be splatters and over painting or spills.
Do any activity that needs time to dry at the start of the party. Make sure all kids know where the drying area is and that its out of bounds for general play.
To make life even easier for you I have created a printable party plan that you can write all your information on to keep in one handy location. You can download a free 2 page A4 version below or purchase A4 colour version or the one page A3 planner, in colour or black and white, in my Etsy store.
Craft Party Planner – Page 1
Craft Party Planner – Page 2