Any parent can attest to the sometimes difficult task that is keeping children entertained. With shifting moods and interests I know I can sometimes feel like I need to be a grab-bag of ideas to make it through the day, especially during those summer months. When it comes to birthday parties this can potentially become even more difficult as you are not only responsible for making unique and lasting memories for your own children but also for that of their friends and possibly even their parents. Luckily for you, you are now not without hope.
Over the years I have thrown more birthday parties and get-togethers than I care to go into. Through the plethora of these celebrations I have learned a great deal about what works and what doesn’t. Being overly ambitious with a game or a craft always fails. Too much cutting, gluing and assemblage always is a perfect recipe for children to lose interest and or become frustrated with the activity. Below are five great birthday party crafts that are low on time but have all the makings to keep kids entertained and engaged for long after the party ends.
Bubbles, Bubbles and Bubbles
This first craft is perfectly suited for the party that will be held outside. Bubbles are always a hit, even parents can’t resist picking up a bubble wand and blowing a few iridescent globes into the air and watching them float away.
To make sure everyone has ample ammunition, I like to set aside a “Bubble Refill Station”. To accomplish this, I simply take a large glass beverage dispenser, about 2/3 cups of dish washing soap, a gallon of water and about three tablespoons of glycerin (available at most grocery stores). Put this mixture in the dispenser and put a fun and creative label on the jar letting party goers know that they can return here to fill up their bubble blowing ammo.
If you want to make it really interesting, you can set up three to four with a splash of food coloring to give the bubbles a variety of hues.
Side Walk Chalk Paint
I have always found that the best activities for children let them showcase their own artistic merits and abilities. Using side walk chalk paint is a creative twist on an activity that almost everyone is familiar with. Again, this DIY is great for the outdoors. Simply portion of a section of the sidewalk or drive way for each child and have plenty of the following chalk paints available. To get started you will need:
• Several small bowls (cheap Tupperware works great as do cupcake tins)
• ¼ a cup of regular old cornstarch (no need for anything fancy)
• ¼ a cup of cold water
• A box of food coloring
• Several inexpensive brushes
The day of the party you can whip up these easy paints. For large groups of children, I suggest using a few old cupcake tins. This allows for a variety of colors and a quick access point that everyone can share from.
To begin, place the cornstarch in the small cupcake divots (1/4 cup for each space). Once you have distributed the corn starch begin by adding in the cold water. Make sure that each section has a consistency that is a little more viscous then water but not as thick as normal paint. Once you have achieved proper consistency, experiment with a few different colors to give the party-goers a variety of options.
This sidewalk chalk paint washes off in a wink of an eye with a splash of water or quick sprays from a hose so don’t worry about any permanent damage to your driveway or sidewalk!
Toilet Paper Roll Bird Feeders
This is a craft that parents can appreciate too. These simple DIY bird feeders are a perfect complement to any tree or back porch. For this craft you will need the following:
• A few jars of peanut butter to accommodate however many guests you will have
• Several paper towel rolls (you can cut these in two) or toilet paper rolls
• Bulk bird feed
• Yarn, twine or thin rope to hang them once finished
I like to lay down a large amount of newspaper on the surface we will be using to go about this craft (peanut butter can sometimes end up in unexpected places and wadding up the newspaper is an easy cleanup for the birdseed.). After prepping the space, place several bowls of bird feed, tubs of peanut butter and plastic knives around the space so each child has a “station”. Once everyone has their spot, dispense the cut paper towel or toilet paper rolls to each child. Instruct them to put a heavy coat of peanut butter on the outside of the rolls. Once that has been completed, have them set the roll aside and spread out several handfuls of birdseed in the area in front of them. Now, tell the children to pick up their peanut butter
covered roll, and like a rolling pin, roll it over the seed that they have spread out. After a few back and forths, the roll should be properly covered.
From here, I like to give the feeders a chance to dry a bit before I loop the yarn or string through them for hanging (usually about an hour does the trick). Make sure to give yourself enough string to loop through the roll and hang from a branch or hook.
If you have any other great birthday party crafts I would love to hear what has worked for you! Leave a comment below and let me know about it!
About the Author: Rachel Woodham has worked as an editor for a number of magazines since graduating with a degree in journalism. Now, a full-time mom and wife, Rachel spends her days as a finger-painter extraordinaire, impromptu casserole maker and toy-reconstructor. When life gives her a breather, Rachel works with the great team of people over at Martha Stewarts, where you can find out everything from how to prepare the perfect Summer Corn to birthday party ideas.
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles freedigitalphotos.net