Sunday, October 28, 2012

Simple Art Birthday Party

Would you believe it if I told you that one of the things I've been anticipating most nervously as a parent is the simple act of throwing a birthday party?  I've successfully avoided it thus far, and I don't plan on throwing a whole bunch for each of them, but with our move coming up I thought it would be nice to let my little girl have a party with a couple of friends.  Her birthday is shortly after the move and it will be nice to have the big stuff over with.  I think my fear stems from the idea of being able to handle that many kids in the house and organizing each activity and then following through with it.  I'm sort of the type to stress out if things don't go to plan, and a bunch of little kids all hyper and in an enclosed space just seems to have 'plans will go wrong' written all over it.  So I went with a simple plan:

Keep the party simple.

We went with an 'art' theme since I am readily able to come up with activities that will land in that category.  We only had three kids joining my two, so it wasn't the mad house that I've always had nightmares about.  And it only lasted an hour!  Perfect!  I'll show you how it went.

Decorations consisted of crepe paper draping from the ceiling and a blue plastic table cloth.  That was it!  My daughter thought the streamers were awesome and I loved that I didn't have to clean off the table afterwards.

We started off with decorating masks.  Each kid got a little plastic mask and was able to stick on jewel stickers, feathers, and scribble with glitter glue pens.  This wasn't the most brilliant activity for three and four year olds because of all the glue, but we pulled it it off with my husband and my sister there to help.  It also helped to guide the kids and move things along.  We handed out the stickers first and that took all of thirty seconds for them to tear off and stick on.  Then we showed them how the glitter glue pens worked, hovered over them as they did their work, then scooped them up again as soon as we could tell their attention was heading in other directions.  Then we asked where they wanted their glue dots and let them pick out the feathers and put them on.  That sounds frenzied and a bit too structured doesn't it?  But I think when kids are doing something they've never done before they need a bit  of direction and assistance.

After the masks were decorated we set them aside to dry.  Before the party I had each of the parents email me a photo of their child and I used this tutorial to make coloring pages of each of the kids.  It was a nice calming activity and the kids loved coloring pictures of themselves.

If you looked up the tutorial you'll notice that my coloring pages are a little more elaborate.  I added things for them to color by using free clip art from the internet.  I also looked up coloring pages on google and then put the kids heads on characters I thought they would like to be.

And lastly we decorated cupcakes!
My daughter said she wanted cat cupcakes, so I made a few cat faces and additional faces for our non-cat lovers.  To make things simple I made up the faces with starbursts beforehand and then just let the kids assemble them onto their own pre-frosted cupcake.  Working with starbursts is fun and a bit easier than making fondant. 

You can either roll out your starburst and use cookie cutters to create shapes,

or you can kneed the starburst with your fingers and shape it by hand.

I used this idea to create the cat-face shaped cupcakes.

So simple!  I think sometimes kids appreciate simple just as much as super elaborate.  At least little kids do anyway.  How about you?  Any awesome party ideas you've seen or used lately?  I'd love to hear!

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