Party favors are a great deal more fun when children make them themselves. Set aside some time for arts and crafts at your child’s next birthday so that the guests can take home a little souvenir to remember the party by or a little gift to give to their parents. If your child really enjoys making crafts, you may want to dedicate the entire celebration to an arts and crafts theme.
The types of crafts you can make a party range from silly trinkets to edible delights to wearable objects. If there’s a theme, choose crafts that fit in well. If the party takes place outdoors, you may want to purchase inexpensive sunglasses and have the guests decorate the frame of the glasses with cut-out pieces of construction paper or foam, glitter or sequins, or small plastic objects. You can also help guests paint T-shirts or baseball caps with puffy fabric paint or help them make mobiles out of wire hangers.
Make sure you buy enough craft supplies ahead of time. Plan on purchasing enough supplies for each guest who has returned an RSVP as well as a few extras–in case guests show up without telling you. Basic craft supplies include craft or white glue or glue sticks, crayons and child-safe scissors. You may be able to get a discount if you buy a number certain of items at one time, such as plain T-shirts or hats. You may also want to ask guests to bring an item to craft on, such as a favorite old T-shirt or plain pair of canvas sneakers.
To demonstrate to the guests how to make the various crafts, you may want to keep the party on the small side. If you plan to have many guests, either divide them into groups and have each group work on a separate craft, or enlist the help of your partner or a friend to explain the crafts to the children. Save the elaborate crafts with long directions for older children. Keep the crafts for younger children simple.
Select crafts that do not require drying time and that children can easily complete within 30 minutes or an hour. Decide how long the party will go and choose enough crafts to fill the party, allowing room for cake and ice cream, snacks and gift opening. You may want to plan on having the crafting portion of the party end about 15 minutes before the party is scheduled to end, so that parents do not have to wait for their child to finish his craft.
Keep in mind that some children have better motor skills and crafting abilities than others. If you sense a child is getting frustrated when making a craft, swoop in and offer to help him. You may want to have a back-up activity or other craft in mind in case one craft doesn’t grab the children’s attention. Remember, it’s a birthday party, and the guests are there to have fun, not be forced to participate in activities they find boring.
- arts and crafts image by Gina Smith from Fotolia.com